KSU tennis knocks off rival Jayhawks

By The Mercury

Playing in her final career home match, Kansas State senior Petra Niedermayerova capped her career in front of the largest crowd in Mike Goss Tennis Stadium history with a doubles and singles win to help the Wildcats to a 6-1 upset win over No. 63 Kansas on Saturday.

K-State ended a seven-match losing skid with the win and improved to 9-12 overall this season and 3-6 in the Big 12. K-State has now clinched the No. 7 seed in next week’s Big 12 Championship in Fort Worth.

The Jayhawks dropped to 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the league and enters the Big 12 Championship as the No. 8 seed.

K-State has now defeated KU six straight times in the series and 10 of the last 13 times they’ve met.

Prior to the start of Saturday’s match, K-State saluted the career of its lone senior on the roster.

In her four seasons with the Wildcats, Niedermayerova put together one of the most decorated careers of any Wildcat women’s tennis player in the history of the program.

Among her many career honors, Niedermayerova has garnered a pair of ITA All-American citations, been a three-time NCAA Division-I Singles Championship participant, a three-time singles All-Big 12 selection, a two-time All-Big 12 selection in doubles, the 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year, the 2011 Big 12 Freshman of the Year and has been ranked nationally for 38 consecutive weeks dating back to her freshman season in 2011.

Niedermayerova owns the school records for singles and doubles wins in a career and singles and doubles wins in a season. She is the first player in program history to reach 100 career singles wins.

As a student, Niedermayerova has received numerous honors for her efforts in the classroom, including 2013 Capital One/ CoSIDA Academic All-America First-Team honors and a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. She will graduate next month with her degree in economics and will pursue a Ph.D. in economics at Boston University beginning in the fall.

K-State ended a six-match skid in doubles by winning the first point on Saturday. The Wildcats’ tandems at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles tallied wins to give K-State an early 1-0 lead. This was the first doubles point K-State has won at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.

At No. 1 doubles, Niedermayerova and junior Amina St. Hill blanked the Jayhawks’ pairing of Dylan Windom and Paulina Los, 8-0. The Niedermayerova and St. Hill duo is now 9-5 this season and 3-4 in league action. The win secured the 74th career doubles win for Niedermayerova and placing her alone atop the K-State career doubles win list.

At No. 3 doubles, the freshmen duo of Livia Cirnu and Maria Panaite edged past Morgan Barnhill and Caroline Henderson, 8-7 (7-3). The win by Cirnu and Panaite ended an eight-match losing streak for the pair and marked their first league doubles win in their careers.

In singles, Niedermayerova pushed K-State into a 2-0 lead with a straight-set win at No. 1 singles. She blitzed past Windom, 6-1, 6-0.

Niedermayerova, who has won 17 of her last 23 singles matches, owns a 23-9 overall record this season, including a 14-5 mark in dual match play this spring and a 5-4 mark in Big 12 action. Her 23 wins this season are tied for eighth in school history for singles wins in a season.

With her win on Saturday, Niedermayerova finished her Big 12 regular-season career with winning seasons in all four years and an all-time Big 12 record of 26-12.

Niedermayerova improved her school record for career singles wins to 103-42. Her career singles winning percentage of .710 ranks second in program history. Saturday’s win capped her career home record at 24-9.

At No. 5 singles, Livia Cirnu gave K-State a 3-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Barnhill. The freshman from Constanta, Romania, won her second straight match, which marks the first time she has won consecutive singles matches since notching a personal-best win streak of four straight from Jan. 31 to Feb. 22. This was Cirnu’s third-career Big 12 win (3-5) and improved her record in her rookie season in Manhattan to 15-16.

Following a win by Kansas at No. 2 singles, St. Hill clinched the match for the Wildcats at No. 4 singles with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Los.

St. Hill ended a four-match skid with the win and improved upon her person single season best for wins with her 16th of the year (16-13).

The Wildcats finished out the afternoon with wins at Nos. 6 and 3 and singles. Freshman Iva Bago put an end to an eight-match skid with a hard fought 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-3) over Anastasija Trubica at No. 6 singles. Bago improved to 2-7 in league action and 11-17 overall.

The final match was the afternoon’s longest, as Panaite and Maria Belen Luduena dueled for over two and a half hours with Panaite securing her first-career Big 12 win with a 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (14-12) decision at No. 3 singles.

K-State will turn its attention to the Big 12 Tennis Championships in Fort Worth, Texas. The Wildcats will begin competition on the TCU campus on Thursday. Seeding and match times will be announced Monday.

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