Khmelnitckaia, Koch each win matches on opening day of pre-qualifying

MALIBU, Calif. – Kansas seniors Nina Khmelnitckaia and Janet Koch began the first day of the pre-qualifying stage at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships by winning one match each at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on the campus of Pepperdine.

Koch, the ITA’s preseason No. 124-ranked singles player, defeated Georgia’s Elena Christofi, 6-2, 6-1. Victorious in round one, Koch lost in her second-round match against Texas freshman Tijana Spasojevic resulting in a 6-4, 7-5 loss.

No. 106-ranked singles player Khmelnitckaia was bested by Princeton’s Stephanie Schrage, 7-5, 6-3. However, in a consolation match, the Moscow, Russia, native bounced back to defeat sophomore Kaitlin Staines of Tennessee, 6-2, 6-3.

Kansas assistant coach Caroline Lilley
On the play of Khmelnitckaia and Koch:
“Saturday, we faced some great competition and we are better because of it. One of the most important parts of tennis is the freedom to miss, allowing yourself to play aggressive and rewarding yourself for doing the right things even when you might lose the point. Sometimes you can want something too much, hindering your ability to be process-focused. Janet and Nina represented themselves and KU incredibly well and the best is yet to come for both of them.”
J. Koch (Kansas) def. E. Christofi (UGA), 6-2, 6-1
S. Schrage (Princeton) def. N. Khmelnitckaia (Kansas), 7-5, 6-3
T. Spasojevic (Texas) def. J. Koch (Kansas), 6-4, 7-5
N. Khmelnitckaia (Kansas) def. Kaitlin Staines (Tennessee), 6-2, 6-3




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