Jayhawks’ play makes for good start in Alabama

AUBURN, Ala. – Kansas tennis began the Marliss Gruver Fall Invitational in strong fashion by recording a nearly-perfect record on the opening day of competition with a 3-1 combined mark in doubles and singles. Malkia Ngounoue and Plobrung Plipuech teamed up to win their doubles match and then both went on to claim victories in their singles matches’ respective flights.
The Jayhawks’ duo of freshman Ngounoue and sophomore Plipuech triumphed over Arkansas’ Tatum Rice and Lauren Alter, 8-5.
Success from doubles play carried over into singles competition for both of those two Jayhawks. Ngounoue bested Ole Miss’ No. 53-ranked Sabina Machalova, 6-3, 6-0. Plipuech was victorious over Miami’s Lucia Marzal Martinez, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (7). Fellow Kansas freshman teammate Julia Deming was defeated by Auburn’s Caroline Turner, 6-2, 6-2.
Kansas head coach Todd Chapman
On the play of Ngounoue and Plipuech:
“Malkia and Plobrung competed really well and focused on the process that will allow them to continue to develop. I thought they were gritty and tough in the big moments and played to win.”
Ngounoue/Plipuech (Kansas) def. Rice/Alter of Arkansas, 8-5
Ngounoue (Kansas) def. #53 Machalova (Ole Miss) 6-3, 6-0
Plipuech (Kansas) def. Martinez (Miami), 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (7)
Turner (Auburn) def. Deming (Kansas), 6-2, 6-2
In doubles competition, Ngounoue and Plipuech will look to advance past the Ole Miss Rebel duo of Alexa Bortles and Isolde De Jong to reach the semifinals of the flight one doubles bracket.
Ngounoue and Plipuech are slated to face off against Auburn’s Sophia Graver and Taylor Russo, respectively, in the singles’ flights. Deming will play either Miami’s Ulyana Shirokova or Georgia State’s Damira Muminovic in a consolation-round match.
Action at the Marliss Gruver Fall Invitational will continue Saturday with two rounds of doubles and one round of singles competition. Matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
In addition, senior Anastasia Rychagova, ranked No. 6 in the preseason ITA standings, has traveled to Mexico City, Mexico, to compete in the ITF Internacional Irlandes 2018, which runs from Oct. 29-Nov. 4. Competition is slated to begin Saturday, but Rychagova has earned a bye in the first round and will not play until Sunday in the round of 16.

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