No. 12 Texas Snaps No. 17 Kansas’ Win Streak
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 17 Kansas and No. 12 Texas battled toe-to-toe through simultaneous tiebreaker points on both courts No. 2 and No. 5 to decide the match Friday night at the Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park. Texas’ Marta Perez-Mur placed a ball in play on court five, but out of reach of Kansas sophomore Maria Toran Ribes to end the Jayhawks five-match win streak and to hand KU its first Big 12 Conference loss of the season, 4-2.
“That was a great college tennis match,” head coach Todd Chapman said. “Credit to Texas; they responded really well after doubles and really played and competed well. We will learn from (this match) and hopefully be a better team because of the match we played (Friday).”
With the win, Texas (10-4 overall, 1-0 in the Big 12) extended its win streak to five matches. Kansas (9-4, 1-1) also suffered its first home loss of the season. The match had a promising start for the Jayhawks. For the seventh time in the last eight matches, Kansas claimed the doubles point. The Jayhawks No. 1 team of Anastasia Rychagova and Nina Khmelnitckaia, ranked No. 25 nationally, made quick work of No. 44 ranked Petra Granic and Bojana Markovic, 6-1. With the match knotted, 1-1, Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia rattled off five-straight games for the win.
KU sealed the 1-0 lead when Toran Ribes and Despoina Vogasari knocked off Anna Turati and Katie Poluta, 6-3, at the No. 3 position. Tied, 3-3, Toran Ribes and Vogasari won three-straight games to give the Jayhawks the early lead. The No. 2 doubles match went unfinished with the point decided, but Texas was leading, 5-3.
On the singles court, at the No. 4 position, Khmelnitckaia showcased the type of grit that was going to be needed to get past the tenacious Longhorn squad. Trailing the first set 3-1, Khmelnitckaia scored five-straight points to win the set and rally against Markovic. In the second set, down 5-1, Khmelnitckaia once again won five-straight games to take a 6-5 lead. Markovic claimed the 12th game of the set to force a tiebreaker, which Khmelnitckaia won, 7-4, to win the set and match. It marked her sixth-straight singles victory on the season and gave the Jayhawks a 2-1 lead.
After three KU singles losses, all attention turned toward courts No. 2 and No. 5. On the second court, Vogasari, ranked No. 119 nationally, had fallen, 3-6, in the first set to No. 34 Anna Turati. Vogasari led the set, 3-1, but dropped five-straight games in the loss. The second set saw the two competitors trade points that eventually led to a set tiebreaker. Vogasari won the tiebreaker, 7-5, to force a third set with a chance for a Jayhawk victory.
That third set was never played, as on court No. 5, Toran Ribes lost the first set quick to UT’s Marta Perez-Mur, 6-1. Toran Ribes bounced back with a second-set win, 6-3, to force the third and decisive set. With Texas leading the overall match, 3-2, at this point, the Jayhawks’ fate fell on Toran Ribes and Vogasari. In the third set, Toran Ribes came out to a 3-1 lead, but Perez-Mur rallied to force a tie, 4-4. The two traded the next four games to force the set and match tiebreaker. With the final tiebreaker knotted, 4-4, Perez-Mur scored three-straight points for the 7-4 win.
In the three other singles matches, No. 1 Bianca Turati topped No. 3 Rychagova, 6-2, 6-3. The loss ended Rychagova’s eight-match win streak and her nine-set win streak. At No. 3 doubles, Janet Koch fell to No. 64 Petra Granic, 6-4, 6-0, while at No. 6, Tatiana Nikolaeva was stopped by No. 91 Poluta, 7-6 (7-1), 6-0.
The Jayhawks return to action Friday, March 23, when Kansas plays its first of five-straight road matches, as it faces Texas Tech at 5 p.m.
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