Jayhawk Tennis Heads to Big 12 Championship
For the second year in a row, 8th-seeded Kansas will meet 9th-seed Iowa State in the first round of the 2014 Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championship. This year’s installment will be hosted by TCU at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center in Fort Worth, Texas, at 10 a.m., April 24.
KEEPING UP WITH KANSAS
Follow the Jayhawks’ tournament run on the Big 12’s live scoring at TCU’s gofrogs.com. Results will also be live-tweeted from KU’s official
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. IOWA STATE
Kansas and Iowa State have met on 42 occasions dating back to Kansas’ first season in 1977. The Jayhawks hold a commanding 39-3 series lead over the Cyclones.
On March 14, the Jayhawks traveled to the Ames, Iowa, and the Forker Tennis Courts to take on the Cyclones in KU’s Big 12 opener. The then-ranked No. 35 Kansas team topped ISU, 6-1, for the programs’ first conference opening victory in six seasons.
The Jayhawks claimed five of the six singles courts, as well as snagging the early doubles point lead. Both Maria Belen Luduena and Paulina Los downed their opponents, 6-1, 6-0.
KU suffered only two setbacks in the match at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles. Iowa State’s tandem of Pronina and Samantha Budai topped Windom and Los on the first doubles court, 8-6. In singles, Pronina bested Windom at No. 1 singles, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
For the second year in a row, KU will take on the Cyclones in the first round of the Big 12 Championship. The pair met at the 2013 Big 12 Championship, when KU rolled past ISU, 4-1 to advance to the second round of the tournament.
SCOUTING THE CYCLONES
The Cyclones are led by Pronina at No. 1 singles. Pronina has gone 13-18 this season overall, including a 1-8 mark in Big 12 play. Her lone win came over Kansas’ Windom in the Big 12 opener.
In doubles, Pronina and Budai play at the No. 1 spot an tout a 12-10 mark on the season. In the Big 12, the tandem is 1-7 with their lone victory coming against KU’s Windom and Los.
LAST TIME OUT
On April 19, Kansas traveled to in-state rival Kansas State for an afternoon match-up. KSU capitalized on its home court advantage with a 6-1 win over KU to conclude the regular season and claim a seventh place finish in the Big 12.
The Wildcats came out blazing, first shutting out seniors Dylan Windom and Paulina Los at No. 1 doubles, 8-0. K-State clinched the doubles point on the third court where freshmen Morgan Barnhill and Caroline Henderson fell in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (7-3).
Sophomore Maria Jose Cardona and junior Maria Belen Luduena notched a victory for KU on the second court, topping Palma Juhasz and Iva Bago, 8-3.
K-State continued its dominance from doubles to the singles competition. 61st-ranked Petra Niedermayerova ran past Windom at court one, 6-1, 6-0. The Wildcats claimed five of the six courts, but Cardona spoiled KSU’s run with a win on court two over Juhasz, 6-2, 6-1.
KANSAS IN THE TOURNEY
In the Big 12 era, Kansas has yet to clinch a championship. Kansas has won six Big Eight championships, dating back to 1979. The last time KU has clinched a tournament title was in 1996, led by head coach Chuck Merzbacher. Kansas has reached the semifinals of the Big 12 Championship on three occasions.
- The then-unranked Jayhawks upset then-No. 36 Nebraska on the road, 4-3 in their dual season opener. The win was the largest upset for Kansas in ten years and only the third time in a decade KU defeated a top-50 team. Previously, Kansas defeated No. 46 New Mexico on March 9, 2008, and No. 48 Oklahoma on March 18, 2005.
- KU’s No. 33 ranking on March 3 was the highest ranking the Jayhawks have reached in program history. The Jayhawks previously broke the record a week prior when they were pegged at No. 45; they debuted on the charts at No. 70 on Feb. 11.
- The Jayhawks were picked to tie Kansas State for seventh place in the Big 12 preseason poll, as voted by the conference coaches.
- Kansas opened its 2013-14 season on an eight-match winning streak before losing to current 34th-ranked Kentucky, 4-0. The Jayhawks’ opening run ties them for the second longest opening win streak since the program’s first season in 1977.
- To open the dual match season, senior Claire Dreyer went on a ten-match win streak before falling to Marcelina Cichon of No. 19 Tulsa on March 8.
- In TennisRecruiting.net’s Top 25 Women’s Recruiting Classes for the Class of 2014, Kansas’ recruiting class received 76 votes, leaving it just one spot (six votes) below the Top 25 and 32 votes ahead of the next-highest vote-getter.
The winner of the Kansas-Iowa State match-up will move on to the quarterfinals of the tournament where top-seeded Baylor awaits after receiving a first-round bye. The winner of the KU-ISU match will take on Baylor, April 25 at 9 a.m.
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