ITA All-American has a Kansas feel
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Since head coach Todd Chapman’s arrival in Lawrence in 2013, the program history of the Kansas women’s tennis team has been rewritten. Thursday during the main draw of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships at the Riviera Tennis Club another chapter was crafted as the Jayhawks reached new heights. KU seniors Anastasia Rychagova, Nina Khmelnitckaia and Janet Koch, along with freshman Sonia Smagina, all combined to post a 5-0 overall mark against top-20 competition on the day, as Kansas advanced two doubles teams to the quarterfinals and a singles player to the round of 16.
Rychagova, the No. 6-ranked singles player, accounted for three of the Jayhawks’ five victories Thursday, including her 7-5, 6-2 singles win over No. 20 Marianna Petrei from Idaho. Paired with Smagina, the KU team defeated Loyola Marymount’s No. 13-ranked doubles tandem of Veronica Miroshnichenko and Eva Marie Voracek, 8-7 (7-1), in the opening round. Rychagova and Smagina followed that effort with an 8-6 win over the No. 2-seeded Gabriela Knutson and Miranda Ramirez of Syracuse, who rank No. 4 nationally in the ITA preseason poll.
But that wasn’t the best Kansas doubles win on the day. In the top half of the bracket, Khmelnitckaia and Koch advanced with a win over the No. 18-ranked Tennessee duo of Ariadna Riley and Kaitlin Staines, 8-6. In the second round, the Jayhawks squared off against the No. 1-seeded team in the prestigious event, Michaela Gordon and Emily Arbuthnott of Stanford. Khmelnitckaia and Koch downed the preseason ranked No. 3 doubles team with a 7-5 victory to join their teammates in the quarterfinals.
Assistant coach Caroline Lilley
On today’s results:
“Janet, Nina, Sonia and Anastasia competed with grit and aggressive resilience today. All four of them just kept coming back time and time again, sticking to the process and competing as a unit. I am really proud of the style of tennis we chose to play Thursday and I am looking forward to move opportunities to grow and develop Friday.”
- With two teams among the final eight of the main draw doubles bracket, the Jayhawks are the lone school to accomplish that feat.
- The two KU teams also became the first Jayhawks’ doubles team to advance to the quarterfinals of the main draw since Ekaterina Morozova and Dylan Windom during the 2011 event.
Rychagova/Smagina (Kansas) def. #13 Miroshnichenko/Voracek (LMU), 8-7 (7-1)
Khmelnitckaia/Koch (Kansas) def. #18 Riley/Staines (Tennessee), 8-6
Rychagova/Smagina (Kansas) def. #4 Knutson/Ramirez (Syracuse), 8-6
Khmelnitckaia/Koch (Kansas) def. #3 Gordon/Arbuthnott (Stanford), 7-5
#6 Rychagova (Kansas) def. #20 Petrei (Idaho), 7-5, 6-2
Rychagova will face Stanford’s Melissa Lord, ranked No. 13, Friday in the round of 16 in the singles bracket. In doubles play, Rychagova and Smagina have drawn a familiar Big 12 Conference foe in Oklahoma State’s Sofia Blanco and Lisa Marie Rioux, ranked No. 24, in the quarterfinals. Khmelnitckaia and Koch will take on Arizona State’s Lauryn John-Baptiste and Ilze Hattingh, who are currently ranked No. 8 nationally in doubles.
In addition to competition continuing to take place in California, other members of the Kansas tennis team will be participating in the opening round of the H-E-B Invitational in Waco, Texas, at the Hurd Tennis Center. Maria Toran Ribes, Malkia Ngounoue and Julia Deming will represent the Jayhawks against host Baylor, LSU, Texas, Tennessee, North Texas, Texas-San Antonio and Incarnate Word. Play begins at 9 a.m., Friday.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.