Kansas battles to victory against Tulsa, 6-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 12 Kansas tennis knocked off the University of Tulsa, an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 team a year ago, 6-1 Saturday afternoon at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
The doubles point came down to an exciting match at #1 doubles. After Kansas won the #2 doubles match and Tulsa won at #3 doubles, the Jayhawks’ No. 3-ranked Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia found themselves in a battle with the Golden Hurricane’s No. 10-ranked Martina Okalova and Vera Ploner. With the match tied at six games apiece, Tulsa won the first three points of the tiebreaker that would decide the set. Koch and Khmelnitckaia, though, ripped off seven-straight points to claim the set and the doubles point, for the Jayhawks.
“I thought we competed long enough in the doubles to find solutions and that response was huge for the overall momentum of the match,” Kansas head coach Todd Chapman said. “We came out and took control with leads on five of the six courts in singles, so it was great to see us keep our foot on the gas pedal. The challenge is now to turn around and be ready to be at our best Sunday against a good Rice team.”
Jayhawk freshman Sonia Smagina completed her singles match first, topping Davtyan, 6-4, 6-0, at sixth singles, giving Kansas a 2-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, on court five, junior Maria Toran Ribes brought in the Jayhawks’ third point, beating Hopton, 6-3, 6-2.
The No. 53-ranked player in nation, senior Anastasia Rychagova, gave KU an insurmountable 4-0 lead, defeating Okalova, 6-0, 6-4, at first singles.
Despite KU clinching the victory, the teams played out the remaining singles matches. KU senior Khmelnitckaia bested Tulsa’s Shura Poppe on court four, 6-3, 6-3, and the Jayhawks’ No. 50-ranked senior, Koch, fell at No. 2 singles to Matoula, 7-6(3), 7-5.
With the win, Kansas improved to 5-1 on the spring season while Tulsa fell to 7-5.
Kansas is back in action inside the Jayhawk Tennis Center on Sunday to host Rice. First serve is set for noon.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.