No. 15 Kansas falls to No. 38 Arkansas, 4-3

Tatiana Nikolaeva returned a point in her singles win.

#38 Arkansas 4, #15 Kansas 3
George M. Billingsley Tennis Center
Fayetteville, Ark.
February 23, 2018


No. 1 #36 Oparenovic/Rice (UA) def. #29 Khmelnitckaia/Rychagova (KU) 6-4
No. 2 Koch/Nikolaeva (KU) def. Pairone/Jurasic (UA) 6-2
No. 3 Vogasari/Toran Ribes (KU) def. Zerulo/Cepelyte (UA) 7-5

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3


No. 1 Pairone (UA) def. #77 Vogasari (KU) 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 #76 Oparenovic (UA) def. Koch (KU) 6-0, 6-1
No. 3 Jurasic (UA) def. Khmelnitckaia (KU) 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 Rice (UA) def. Toran Ribes (KU) 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
No. 5 Policare (KU) def. Zerulo (UA) 6-3, 2-6, 6-1
No. 6 Nikolaeva (KU) def. Cepelyte (UA) 6-2, 6-4

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3, 5, 6, 4

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Kansas redshirt-freshman Amber Policare won the first dual-play match of her career Friday in the Jayhawks’ 4-3 loss to No. 38 Arkansas at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Friday’s match marked the second time the No. 15-ranked Jayhawks (4-3) and Razorbacks (4-4) have met this season. KU won the first meeting, 4-3, during ITA Kick-Off Weekend.
Competing at the No. 5 spot, Policare fell behind early, but came back to win the first set opposite of Martina Zerulo, 6-3. With the match tied at 2-2, Zerulo won four games in-a-row to claim the second set, 6-2, and force a third. Policare then downed Zerulo, 6-1, in the third set. Her, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, victory put Kansas within one of Arkansas at 3-2.
Accounting for Kansas’ second singles win of the day, Tatiana Nikolaeva jumped ahead of Agne Cepelyte, 4-0, on court six before winning the first set, 6-2. Nikoleava took a commanding 4-1 lead in the second set before Cepelyte tied the set at 4-4. The Jayhawk prevailed, 6-4, to tie the overall match at 3-3.
“Credit to Arkansas,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “They took it to us in singles. I thought we played well at five and six singles. Amber and Tanya (Nikolaeva) gave us a fighting chance in the match.”
Nikolaeva also earned a doubles win with partner Janet Koch. Finishing their doubles match first, Nikolaeva and Koch defeated the Razorbacks’ pair of Giulia Pairone and Mia Jurasic, 6-2.
With court two going to the Jayhawks, the deciding point was up to two close matches at the No. 1 and 3 positions. Finishing almost simultaneously, No. 29 Nina Khmelnitckaia and Anastasia Rychagova fell to No. 36-ranked Ana Oparenovic and Tatum Rice, 6-4, but Despoina Vogasari and Maria Toran Ribes outlasted Zerulo and Cepelyte, winning, 7-5, and putting Kansas up early, 1-0.
In singles, Toran Ribes won four-straight games versus Rice to come out on top in the first set, 6-3, at the No. 4 spot. After a back-and-forth second set, Rice won, 7-5, to send the match to a third set. With the overall match on the line, the third set was tied at 2-2. Rice took a 4-2 lead and Toran Ribes was not able to complete the comeback, falling in three, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, and ending the match with a, 4-3, Arkansas win.
Koch was blanked by No. 76 Oparenovic at the No. 2 position and dropped her first set, 6-0. In the second, Koch notched one game before Oparenovic claimed the match, 6-0, 6-1, to tie the overall score at 1-1.
Playing on court one, No. 77 Vogasari only won one game against Pairone, falling in the first set, 6-1. Vogasari could not find her grove in the second set and Pairone took the match, 6-1, 6-2, giving Arkansas a 2-1 lead.
At the No. 4 position, Khmelnitckaia took and early 2-1 lead against Mia Jurasic, but fell in the first set, 6-4. Jurasic then defeated Khmelnitckaia, 6-1, in the second set to give the Razorbacks a 3-1 match lead.
Kansas and Purdue play at 2 p.m., tomorrow in a neutral match at the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.