No. 20 Kansas advances to Big 12 Championship Final with 4-2 win over No. 12 Oklahoma State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 20-ranked Kansas tennis defeated No. 12 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship semifinals, 4-2, at the Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park Saturday afternoon.
The Jayhawks are now 18-4 on the season and a perfect 13-0 at home.
This marks the first time the Kansas tennis program has ever advanced to the Big 12 final. The last time the Jayhawks made it to a conference final was in 1996, when Kansas won the last Big 8 Championship.
Kansas’ No. 73-ranked doubles tandem of Anastasia Rychagova and Sonia Smagina blasted their way past Katarina Stresnakova and Marina Guinart, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles. At No. 3 doubles Maria Toran Ribes and Malkia Ngounoue triumphed over Bunyawi Thamchaiwat and Tamara Arnold, 6-4, giving Kansas the doubles point.
The match on court 1 between KU’s No. 3-ranked doubles team of Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia and Oklahoma State’s Sofia Blanco and Catherine Gulihur went unfinished after Kansas claimed the doubles point.
Kansas has now won the doubles point in 21 out of 22 dual matches this season. The Jayhawks opened the 2019 season by securing the doubles point in 11-straight matches, and now have another win streak of 10 in a row.
In singles, Koch, the No. 104-ranked singles player in the country, fell to Lisa Marie Rioux, 6-4, 6-1, tying the score at one point apiece.
On court 4, Smagina was beaten by Guinart, 6-2, 6-4, giving Oklahoma State a 2-1 advantage.
At No. 5 singles, Khmelnitckaia bested Blanco, 7-5, 6-2, tying the score again at 2-2.
Rychagova, ranked No. 22 in the nation, defeated No. 26-ranked Stresnakova at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-4, giving the Jayhawks a 3-2 lead.
Toran Ribes clinched it for the Jayhawks, outlasting Gulihur, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
After Toran Ribes claimed the Kansas win, the match between KU’s Plobrung Plipuech and OSU’s Thamchaiwat’s match went unfinished. Plipuech had won the first set, 6-2; the second set was in a tiebreaker that was tied at 5-all.
Head coach Todd Chapman
“I think it was a great college tennis match today. I think we competed really well in every single spot. I cannot give Oklahoma State enough credit for the type of team they are and how well coached they are. Oklahoma State is a big-moment team and today it took us playing very well in the big moments and at the end of the day we continued to fight and work hard. We put ourselves in successful situations and did it enough times (that) we were able to pull through in the big moments today. Obviously, we are excited about tomorrow. It is a great opportunity the girls have earned and that is the way we are going to approach the match. It is a wonderful situation to be in and we are excited to be in it. Texas is a great, quality team and we know we are going to have to bring everything we have, but we are excited to be in this position.”
Kansas tennis advances to the Big 12 Championship final Sunday, April 21, at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. The No. 3-seeded Jayhawks will face off against No. 1-seed, and No. 7 in the nation, Texas, at 4 p.m.