KU ends 11-match skid against Tulsa with 6-1 win
Order of Finish: 1, 2
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 6
TULSA, Okla. – Junior Nina Khmelnitckaia bounced back in impressive fashion after a first-set loss to post a 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 4 singles to secure the match win for No. 15 Kansas at No. 26 Tulsa, 6-1, at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center Friday afternoon. With the win, the Jayhawks (8-3) ended an 11-match losing streak against the Golden Hurricane (12-3), while claiming their fourth-straight victory on the season.
“What a great team win on the road against a tough Tulsa team,” head coach Todd Chapman said. “We are proud of how the team competed (Friday) throughout the match. At times, we may not have played our best tennis, but we kept competing and never went away.”
The Jayhawks set the tone early by capturing the doubles point for the sixth time in their last seven matches. Khmelnitckaia and Anastasia Rychagova, the nation’s No. 25 doubles team, cruised to a 6-1 victory at No. 1 doubles over Tulsa’s Ksenia Laskutova and Martha Matoula. Kansas’ No. 2 doubles team of Janet Koch and Tatiana Nikolaeva sealed the point with their 6-3 victory over Martina Okalova and Vera Ploner.
“Doubles was key from an emotional standpoint,” Chapman said. “If you lose the doubles point on the road against a tough team, it is really hard to come back from. So, we definitely felt good about getting up 1-0.”
Senior transfer Despoina Vogasari, ranked No. 119 nationally in singles, increased the Kansas lead to 2-0 following her efficient 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 97 Martina Okalova at No. 2 singles. Vogasari trailed 3-0 in the second set, but won six of the next seven games, including the final four, to come out on top. It was Vogasari’s third-straight win over a ranked opponent.
At No. 3 singles, Kansas junior Koch jumped out a 4-1 lead in her first set against Tulsa’s Martha Matoula, before holding on for a 6-4 win. Koch put KU up 3-0, after claiming the second set, 6-2, to set the stage for Khmelnitckaia’s match winner.
In the first set, it looked like it wasn’t going to be Khmelnitckaia’s day as she was down 3-1 and eventually dropped that set, 6-4, to Tamara Kupkova. Despite the early set back, Khmelnitckaia won 12-straight games to win the match and snap Tulsa’s seven-match win streak on the season. It was Khmelnitckaia’s fourth-straight win on the singles court.
Play continued, even though the match was won. Tulsa scored a point as Vera Ploner topped Maria Toran Ribes, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, at No. 5 singles. No. 3 ranked Rychagova captured her eighth-straight win after downing No. 71 Ksenia Laskutova, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), from the No. 1 spot. Rychagova improved to 11-1 this season against ranked opponents. Nikolaeva earned her fourth-consecutive victory with a 5-7, 6-3, 10-5 win over Rouxanne Van Rensburg, at No. 6 singles, for the sixth team point.
With the road victory in Tulsa, the non-conference season comes to an end for Kansas. The Jayhawks will open Big 12 Conference play Monday at 5 p.m., when they host No. 38 Baylor at the Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park.
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