Ngounoue, Plipuech both advance to finals

AUBURN, Ala. – Kansas tennis continued its success in singles competition as two Jayhawks advanced to the finals of their respective singles flights at the Marliss Gruver Fall Invitational. Freshman Malkia Ngounoue advanced to the finals of flight one while sophomore teammate Plobrung Plipuech will play in flight two of the singles.
The Jayhawks fought hard in both doubles matches although they were ultimately bested by their opponents. In their semifinals match, the KU duo of Ngounoue and Plipuech were bested by the Ole Miss Rebels’ Isolde De Jong and Alexa Bortles, 8-6. In the third-place match, Plipuech switched doubles partners as she paired up with fellow freshman Julia Deming to take to the court against Georgia State’s Daniela Ramirez and Andreea Stanescu, where the Panthers claimed the match over the Jayhawks, 8-5.
Despite KU’s struggles in doubles competition, the Jayhawks completely flipped the switch when playing singles, where they went undefeated Saturday. Ngounoue triumphed over Auburn’s Sophia Graver, 6-4, 7-6 (4), to advance to the finals of singles flight one. Just as Ngounoue made her way into the finals, fellow Jayhawk Plipuech beat another Auburn Tiger as she was victorious over Taylor Russo, 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the flight two championship match. After falling in her opening singles match Friday, Deming returned to the court Saturday and went on to best Georgia State’s Damira Muminovich, 2-6, 6-3, 3-0 as she was forced to retire in the third set.

Kansas head coach Todd Chapman
On the Jayhawks’ performance Saturday:
“Saturday was another great opportunity to get better and I feel like we took positive steps in that direction. We still need to clean up some things up within our doubles, but we played hard throughout. In singles, we played with grit and played maturely in the pressure moments. We look forward to finishing the tournament strongly Sunday.”
#31 De Jong/Bortles (Ole Miss) def. Ngounoue/Plipuech (Kansas), 8-6
Ramirez/Stanescu (GSU) def. Plipuech/Deming (Kansas), 8-5
Ngounoue (Kansas) def. Graver (Auburn), 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Plipuech (Kansas) def. Russo (Auburn), 6-1, 6-2
Deming (Kansas) def. Muminovich (GSU), 2-6, 6-3, 3-0 (retired)
Action at the Marliss Gruver Fall Invitational will conclude Sunday with singles competition. Matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.
Ngounoue and Plipuech will be playing for the chance to be crowned champion in their respective singles flights. Ngounoue is slated to compete against Miami’s Estella Perez-Somarriba while Plipuech will match up against Oklahoma’s Camila Romero. Deming will play Ole Miss’ Alexa Bortles in the match for fifth place in flight three.
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 began Saturday, but Rychagova earned a bye in the first round and will play for the first time on Sunday in the round of 16 against Wisconsin’s Sara Castellano.

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