Niedermayerova advances at NCAA tourney

By The Mercury

ATHENS, Ga. — Making her school record fourth straight appearance at the NCAA Singles Championships on Wednesday, Kansas State’s Petra Niedermayerova battled to a three-set win over 45th-ranked Lacey Smyth of Arizona, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5, in the first round of action at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

Niedermayerova improved her record to 5-3 in her NCAA appearances, including a 4-0 mark in three-set matches. The sneior has reached the Round of 16 in her previous two appearances. Niedermayerova is 3-1 in NCAA singles matches played in Athens, Ga., and holds a 3-0 mark in NCAA Championship play against opponents from the Pac-12.

Niedermayerova broke Smyth’s serve three times in the first set to capture a 7-5 win. The turning point of the opening set came with Niedermayerova leading 3-2, as she broke Smyth’s serve for the first time to capture a 4-2 lead. Smyth battled back to even the set at 5-5, but Niedermayerova held her serve to go up 6-5 and closed out the set by breaking her service for the third time for the 7-5 win.

Smyth, the 2014 ITA Southwest Region Senior Player of the Year and three-time NCAA tournament participant, controlled the action in the second set and defeated Niedermayerova 6-2. Smyth broke Niedermayerova’s serve three times in the frame, including consecutive games to give her a 5-2 advantage.

In the decisive third set, both players were able to control their service points. Niedermayerova captured a 2-1 lead after breaking Smyth’s serve in the second game and holding serve in the third game.

In the 12th game of the third set, Niedermayerova continued to fend off Smyth’s service and hold the advantage through a number of tie breaks. After playing for almost three hours, Niedermayerova smashed an emphatic backhand cross court winner to advance to the second round for third straight time.

Niedermayerova,  No. 55 in the ITA national singles rankings, owns a team-best singles record of 25-9 with an 8-5 record against ITA-ranked opponents and a 16-5 mark this spring. Her 25 wins this season rank fifth in school history for singles wins in a season.

A two-time ITA All-American and four-time All-Big 12 selection, Niedermayerova owns a career record of 105-42, which is the school record for career singles victories and marks the first time a K-State player has surpassed the 100-win threshold in their career. Her .714 winning percentage ranks second in school history. Niedermayerova is now 19-18 in her career in three-set matches.

Niedermayerova will face the winner of the Thursday’s match between UCLA’s Jennifer Brady and Baylor’s Jordaan Sanford. Brady is ranked No. 8 in the nation, while Sanford checks in at No. 46.

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