K-State tennis beats Liberty for third straight victory

By The Mercury

The Kansas State tennis team cruised to a 7-0 win over Liberty on Saturday at the Body First Tennis and Fitness Center, marking the third straight victory for the Wildcats.

It’s the first time K-State has won three straight matches since April 19-25, 2013. This is the second straight season the Wildcats have started 3-1.

The afternoon’s match between the Wildcats and Flames used experimental formats set up by the ITA.

All of the singles and doubles were played to six games, with regular scoring and tiebreakers at six-all. If a singles match splits sets, a match tiebreaker was played instead of a third set. Doubles play was halted after a winner was decided.

The Wildcats quickly captured the doubles point with wins at Nos. 3 and 1 doubles.

KSU head coach Steve Bietau adjusted his lineup for the second match of the weekend. The duo of Livia Cirnu and Maria Panaite tallied a 6-1 win at No. 3 doubles over Belen Rivera and Nicola Wellman. This was the first time Cirnu and Panaite have been paired together this season.

At No. 1 doubles, Petra Niedermayerova and Amina St. Hill registered the point for K-State with a 6-2 win over Rebekah Jenkins and Maria Khval.

Despite being the only upperclassmen on the roster, Niedermayerova and St. Hill were paired together for the first time in their careers on Saturday.

With the doubles victory, Niedermayerova boosted her career doubles record to 66-44 to move into fourth on the K-State career doubles win list. With one more doubles victory, she will move into a tie for second. Eight doubles wins will put Niedermayerova atop the list.

In singles, Niedermayerova secured her fifth straight win to give K-State a 2-0 lead. Niedermayerova, No. 42 in the national ITA singles rankings, swept past Khval, 6-3, 6-0. She has now won seven of her last eight matches dating back to the ASU Thunderbird Invitational in November.

The product of Brno, Czech Republic, is 13-4 this season, owns a career mark of 76-21 in straight set matches including an 11-2 record this season.

Niedermayerova, a two-time ITA All-American and three-time All-Big 12 singles selection, improved her school record for career singles wins 93-37 (.715). Her career singles winning percentage of .715 ranks second in program history.

Freshman Iva Bago gave K-State a 3-0 lead, as she defeated Jenkins, 6-1, 7-5, in her first career match at the No. 2 position in the lineup. Bago is 8-7 this season and has won five of her last six singles matches.

Panaite secured the victory for K-State with a win at No. 3 singles. The freshman from Velika, Croatia, downed Rivera, 6-4, 6-4. Panaite is now 6-7 this season and improved to 5-5 in straight-set matches.

Palma Juhasz won her second straight match at No. 4 singles. The freshman from Debrecen, Hungary, carded a 6-0, 6-1 win over Cameron Richard. Juhasz improved her record to 8-6, which includes a 7-3 mark in straight-set matches.

Cirnu took advantage of her promotion to No. 5 singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Lauren Mabe. Cirnu has now won three straight matches for the first time in her career and owns a record of 9-7.

St. Hill captured her fifth straight win with a 6-1, 6-4 victory at No. 6 singles over Brittany Yang. The win improved St. Hill’s record to 9-6 this season.

The Wildcats faced an early deficit on Friday afternoon against Northern Iowa, but rebounded in a big way to secure its fourth straight win in a home opener with a 6-1 decision.

K-State will continue its four-match home stand next weekend, as the Wildcats host Fresno State on Friday at noon and former Big 12 opponent Colorado on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Body First Tennis and Fitness Center and are free and open to the public.

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