RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.34 (Tennis)
— Kansas Tennis (@KansasTennis) May 24, 2018
A post shared by Kansas Tennis (@kansastennis) on May 11, 2018 at 5:21pm PDT
The Kansas tennis team earned its third-straight bid to the NCAA Tournament, as well as bids for individual players, to the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships in early May.
Facing Denver on Thursday, May 11 in the first round of play in Malibu, California, the Jayhawks dropped the doubles point, quickly falling behind, 1-0, in the match. Having to claim four singles matches to clinch the win, it all came down to sophomore Maria Toran Ribes on court four. With the match tied at 3-3 all, Toran Ribes was battling in her third set with Camille Verden-Anderson, ultimately coming out on top, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, to give Kansas its first NCAA Tournament victory in 19 years.
In the second round, KU played opposite of the host and No. 12-ranked Pepperdine on Friday, May 12. The Jayhawks started out strong by taking the doubles point, but singles proved to be a tough task. The Waves clinched their, 4-1, win with a three-set victory on court two, ending Kansas’ run in the postseason.
As for the individual competition, junior Anastasia Rychagova was selected as the No. 8-seeded player in the singles field, while senior Despoina Vogasari was chosen as the fifth alternate. Rychagova and fellow junior Nina Khmelnitckaia were awarded an at-large bid to compete in the doubles bracket.
Due to an injury that kept Rychagova out of play since March 16, the coaching staff made the decision to withdraw her from the singles field. Vogasari was only one spot away from competing in the singles bracket, as she made it to the first alternate position before matches began.
Representing Kansas in the doubles field, and competing together for the first time in almost 10 weeks, No. 20-ranked Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia squared up against UCF’s No. 61 pair of Ksenia Kutznetsova and Maria Martinez on Thursday, May 24 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. With Rychagova serving underhand, the tandem played two sets and a tie breaker as the third. Despite losing all of Rychagova’s service points, Khmelnitckaia slammed the ball between the two Knights in the tiebreaker off of Rychagova’s serve for a, 6-4, 5-7, 10-4, match victory and a place in the Round of 16.
Seeing the No. 11-ranked duo of Vanderbilt’s Fernanda Contreras and Astra Sharma on Friday, May 25, Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia were not able to overcome their Commodore opponents, falling, 6-1, 6-2.
Overall this season, Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia together tallied a record of 16-5, including 8-2 at the No. 1 position in dual matches and a 1-1 mark in postseason play. The Moscow, Russia, natives climbed as high as No. 12 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s national doubles rankings, a career high for both Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia.