Jayhawk tandem advances to Round of 16
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –Kansas juniors Nina Khmelnitckaia and Anastasia Rychagova earned a three-set win in the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Doubles Championship Thursday at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Teaming back up for the first time since March 16, No. 20-ranked Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova faced UCF’s duo of No. 61 Ksenia Kuznetsova and Maria Martinez.
“We are so proud of Nas (Rychagova) and Nina,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “They haven’t played a match together in nine weeks and to come through in such a pressure situation is quite unbelievable.”
In the first set, Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova took a, 4-2, lead before the Knights managed to tie the set at 4-4. The Jayhawk pair eventually pulled away from their opponent for a, 6-4, win with a shot down the line by Rychagova.
Playing a close second set, Kuznetsova and Martinez just edged Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova, 7-5, to send it to a 10-point match tiebreaker.
With the tiebreaker set at 1-1, Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova took a, 2-1, advantage and never looked back. The KU tandem ended its match with a, 10-4, tiebreaker win after Khmelnitckaia slammed the ball through the middle of UCF’s Kuznetsova and Martinez. Khmelnitckaia’s winning shot gave Kansas an overall match victory of 6-4, 5-7, 10-4.
Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova advance to play Friday, where they will face the winner of Vanderbilt’s Fernanda Contreras and Astra Sharma versus No. 2-seeded Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham of North Carolina, who play Thursday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., CT. Friday’s match time will be announced later this evening. Check @KansasTennis on Twitter for updates.
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