No. 14 Kansas blanks Iowa State, 7-0
LAWRENCE, Kan. – It took about three hours, but No. 14-ranked Kansas swept Iowa State, 7-0, Friday night at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
The doubles and five of the six singles matches went fairly quickly. Kansas’ No. 1-ranked duo of Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia bested Regina Espindola and Ekaterina Grib, 6-1, at first doubles. Jayhawks Maria Toran Ribes and Malkia Ngounoue then defeated Ekaterina Repina and Margarita Timakova at No. 2 doubles, 6-3, giving Kansas the doubles point.
The doubles match on court 2 between KU’s No. 60-ranked Anastasia Rychagova and Sonia Smagina and ISU’s Maty Cancini and Annabella Bonadonna went unfinished after Kansas claimed the doubles point.
Kansas’ doubles point Friday marks 17 out of 18 matches this season that KU has won the doubles point. The Jayhawks opened the 2019 season by securing the doubles point in 11-straight matches, and now have won six in a row.
In singles, No. 113-ranked Koch beat Espindola at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-3, giving KU a 2-0 lead.
Then on court 6, Ngounoue triumphed over Timakova, 6-4, 6-3, moving Kansas one point away from the win.
After starting off down 3-0 in her first set at No. 4 singles, Khmelnitckaia fought back to win the match 6-3, 6-4, giving Kansas the victory.
At No. 5 singles, Toran Ribes bested Bonadonna, 6-3, 7-5, giving KU the 5-0 lead.
Rychagova, ranked No. 25 in the nation, beat Cancini, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 1 singles.
All of those matches were completed within an hour and 45 minutes. But the final match of the night turned into a marathon that lasted more than two hours. With the fans and all the other players watching, Smagina and Grib fought tooth-and-nail in a back-and-forth clash on court 3. Smagina finally triumphed, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) and 10-7 in a super tiebreaker, giving the Jayhawks the 7-0 sweep.
With the win, Kansas improves to 14-4 overall, 5-2 in the Big 12 Conference. ISU’s record falls to 5-9 and 1-5 in Big 12 play.
Head coach Todd Chapman
“Iowa State competed hard and pushed us in multiple positions tonight. We have to continue to buy in to have the mental side of the game and how we respond to adversity. It starts in practice because your habits, good or bad, bleed into competition. We have part of the team where they need to be, and the goal is to get everyone pulling the same direction. We gave good effort tonight, but there will come a point in the season where effort on its own will not get us where we want to be.”
Kansas tennis continues its five-match homestand Sunday, hosting West Virginia at noon at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.