No. 20 Kansas grinds out impressive win over No. 21 Wichita State, 4-3

Tatiana Nikolaeva returned a point in her three-set victory.
No. 20 Kansas 4, No. 21 Wichita State
Jayhawk Tennis Center
Lawrence, Kan.
March 2, 2018


No. 1 #29 Khmelnitckaia/Rychagova (KU) def. Bizhukova/Bellucco (WSU) 6-2
No. 2 Hsu/Guidetti (WSU) def. Koch/Nikolaeva (KU) 6-4
No. 3 Porubin/Saidhujaeva (WSU) def. Vogasari/Toran Ribes (KU) 6-3

Order of Finish: 3,1,2


No. 1 #1 Rychagova (KU) def. #71 Bizhukova (WSU) 6-1, 6-0
No. 2 #77 Vogasari (KU) def. #106 Honigova (WSU) 6-0, 6-2
No. 3 Guidetti (WSU) def. Koch (KU) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
No. 4 Khmelnitckaia (KU) def. Bellucco (WSU) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (12-10)
No. 5 Porubin (WSU) def. Toran Ribes (KU) 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
No. 6 Nikolaeva (KU) def. Saidhujaeva (WSU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2

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

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas junior Nina Khmelnitckaia came back in the third set to win her match and clinch the overall match for the No. 20 Jayhawks, 4-3, against in-state rival No. 21 Wichita State Friday at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
With the victory, KU moved to 6-3 on the season while Wichita State’s record changed to 10-4.
“What a match,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “What a college tennis match. That’s what we’re all in the profession for and why the girls come to play is to be in an environment like this. With the match on the line, I could not be more proud of Nina in the fight that she showed. Whether she won or lost, she had the willingness to keep competing. She was down 40-love and found a way to make a ball and win a point. She just took one at a time.”
All eyes were on court four with the match tied at 3-3. In the first set, Khmelnitckaia steadily led Marta Bellucco to win, 6-2. Bellucco sent the match to a third set after taking the second set, 6-4, against Khmelnitckaia. With the third set tied at 2-2, Khmelnitckaia fell behind, 5-2. The Jayhawk then found herself down 40-0 in the eighth game. She came back to tie the match at 5-5 and eventually end up in a tiebreaker. After going back and forth for 20 minutes, Khmelnitckaia prevailed with a 12-10 tiebreaker victory to claim the match, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (12-10).
“Nas (Rychagova) and Debbie (Vogasari) came out really quick and put points on the board for us and that was big,” said Chapman. “I thought both Nas and Debbie played really well, played with good energy and took care of business.”
No. 1-ranked Anastasia Rychagova only allowed No. 71 Fatima Bizhukova one game in the first set, winning it, 6-1, on court one. Rychagova showed her dominance in the second set by finishing the match with a 6-1, 6-0 victory to put Kansas on top, 2-1.
Playing at the No. 2 position, No. 77 Despoina Vogasari breezed through her first set, downing No. 106 Sandra Honigova, 6-0. Bringing that momentum into the second set, Vogasari clinched the match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, to even the overall score at 1-1.
“Tanya (Nikolaeva), was down a set and just found a way,” said Chapman. “Absolutely found a way. We had to have it at the time. The way she won that match was impressive so I’m proud of her as well.”
Competing at the No. 6 spot, Tatiana Nikolaeva started slow against Saidhujaeva, dropping her first set, 6-2. She bounced back in the second set with a 6-3 victory to force a third set. Nikolaeva held a commanding lead throughout the third set to take the match, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and give the Jayhawks a 3-2 lead.
Janet Koch took a 2-1 lead in her first set, but fell to Giulia Guidetti, 6-2. Koch was not going to give up easily, coming back to win her second set, 7-5, setting up a third set. In the final set, Guidetti came out on top, winning the match, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, and tying the overall match at 3-3.
On court five, Maria Toran Ribes led Gabriela Porubin, 5-3, in the first set, but was not able to hold on, falling 7-6 (7-3). She then dropped her second set, 6-2, allowing the Shockers to tie the match at 2-2.
In doubles, the No. 29-ranked pair of Rychagova and Khmelnitckaia won the Jayhawks’ only doubles match of the day, downing Bizhukova and Belluco, 6-2, at the No. 1 position.
“I was very disappointed in our energy at two and three doubles,” said Chapman. “I think that cost us. I thought we played well at one doubles. I don’t think we competed in a way that we’ve set as a standard here in the last four matches in doubles. That put us in a really tough position.”
Vogasari and Toran Ribes were not able to find their doubles grove, falling, 6-3, to Porubin and Saidhujaeva on court three. Koch and Nikolaeva battled at the No. 2 spot, but fell short dropping the match, 6-4, to Ting-Ya Hsu and Guidetti and giving Wichita State the doubles point.
“As a team hopefully we can learn and grow from this,” said Chapman. “We talk about it all the time. The match is never over until you lose the last point. There’s no time clock on when you’re down or you’re up and you just keep competing.”
Up next, Kansas will host Gonzaga at 12 p.m., Sunday at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.