Cats open tournament with win over WVU

By The Mercury

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Seventh-seeded Kansas State tennis team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championships with a 4-0 win over No. 10-seed West Virginia on Thursday at the Friedman Tennis Center on the TCU campus.

K-State improved its overall record to 10-12 this season and advances to the quarter of the league tourney for the 10th time in the program’s history.

“The way we won today was awesome,” K-State’s interim head coach Liz Ullathorne said. “Every single one of them brought it and obviously it will give us great confidence heading into (Friday).”

K-State secured the doubles point for the second straight match with wins at No. 3 and No. 2 doubles. The Wildcats are 8-2 this season when they capture the doubles point.

At No. 3 doubles, the freshmen duo of Livia Cirnu and Maria Panaite edged past Irinka Toidze and Oana Manole, 8-2. The win by Cirnu and Panaite was their second straight win together and boosted their record to 4-8 this spring.

At No. 2 doubles, the freshmen pairing of Palma Juhasz and Iva Bago ended a six-match skid with an 8-5 win over Kaja Mrgole and Vivian Tsui clinching the doubles point for K-State. The duo is now 8-9 this season.

In singles, the Wildcats secured a quick 2-0 lead as Cirnu was the beneficiary of a retirement due to injury by Toidze at No. 5 singles. Cirnu, a freshman from Constanta, Romania, won her third straight match and improved her record to 16-16.

Senior Petra Niedermayerova pushed K-State into a 3-0 lead with a straight-set win at No. 1 singles. Niedermayerova, No. 51 in the ITA singles rankings, eased past Hailey Barrett, 6-2, 6-3.

Niedermayerova, who has won 18 of her last 24 singles matches, owns a 24-9 overall record this season including a 15-5 mark in dual-match play this spring. Her 24 wins this season are tied for fifth in school history, a record she set last season with 32 wins.

Niedermayerova improved her school record for career singles wins to 104-42.

The match point on Thursday came from Panaite at No. 3 singles. The freshman from Velika, Croatia, captured her second straight win with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Manole. She is now 9-19 in her rookie campaign.

K-State was set to return to the court Friday afternoon to face No. 2-seed and 25th-ranked Oklahoma State at 3 p.m.

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