Khmelnitckaia named Big 12 Player of the Week
IRVING, Texas – Kansas junior Nina Khmelnitckaia was named the Big 12 Conference Women’s Player of the Week as announced by the league office Tuesday afternoon.
This is the first Big 12 Player of the Week honor for Khmelnitckaia so far in her career and the second for Kansas this year. Junior Anastasia Rychagova was named Women’s Co-Player on February 20.
Khmelnitckaia earned four wins in singles and doubles over the course of two matches against then-ranked No. 26 Tulsa and No. 38 Baylor.
March 9 against Tulsa, Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova, the nation’s No. 25-ranked doubles team, cruised to a 6-1 win at the No. 1 spot over Ksenia Laskutova and Martha Matoula. The duo set up court two to take the doubles point and give Kansas an early 1-0 lead in the match.
Facing Tamara Kupkova on court four in singles, Khmelnitckaia lost her first set, 6-4. She then won 12-straight games to win the match, 4-6, 6-0, 6-0. Her victory clinched the overall match for the Jayhawks, 4-1, and snapped both KU’s 11-match losing streak to Tulsa and the Golden Hurricane’s seven-match win streak they were on.
Hosting Baylor in its first Big 12 Conference match of the season, Khmelnitckaia again had clutch points Monday for KU. She and Rychagova recorded another 6-1 doubles victory, this time against Kris Sorokolet and Jessica Hinojosa, allowing court three to earn the doubles point for Kansas.
It seemed like Khmelnitckaia did not miss a beat in her first set, wining it 6-1. She then led throughout the second set and with the score at 5-3, 40-40, Angie Shakhraichuk double faulted, resulting in a 6-3 second set for Khmelnitckaia. Her 6-1, 6-3 victory was the first singles match finished and extended the Jayhawks’ lead to 2-0 in the match.
Khmelnitckaia and Rychagova are now 7-2 in dual matches at the No. 1 position and 14-4 overall, including 3-1 against ranked opponents. In singles, Khmelnitckaia sits at 16-8 overall and 7-4 in dual play. She is currently on a five-match winning streak in both singles and doubles.
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