Kansas State’s Petra Niedermayerova fought through a three-hour marathon to defeat Kyle McPhillips of UCLA in three-sets, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6) Thursday to reach the round of 16 at the NCAA Division-I Singles Championships at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
The win for Niedermayerova moved her into the top spot on the school’s singles wins lists for a season and a career.
“She played well in the first set and had some opportunities in the second to possibly close out the match,” K-State head coach Steve Bietau about Niedermayerova’s singles victory. “It was a combination of both players in the second set going in different directions.
“McPhillips was gaining strength as the match went on. In the third set, momentum was in her favor and it looked bleak for Petra when it was 5-3. She held things together and did such a great job of staying composed and focusing on what she needed to do to win the match.”
Following a two-hour weather delay in the morning, the 15th-ranked Niedermayerova picked up where she left off following Wednesday night’s first-round win by securing a quick 2-1 lead in the first set on McPhillips.
McPhillips squared the opening set twice at 2-2 and 3-3 before Niedermayerova served herself to a 6-3 win.
In the second set, Niedermayerova opened with a 2-1 lead but McPhillips put Niedermayerova on the defensive with her service game, eventually forcing a third set with a 6-3 win.
In the decisive set, Niedermayerova captured an early 2-1 lead for a third straight set. McPhillips, who helped UCLA reach the national semifinals in the team championships, battled back to take what looked like a commanding 5-3 lead. Niedermayerova rallied back to take a 6-5 lead, though. The match, however, would be decided in a tiebreak, as McPhillips used her serve to even the match at six
In the tiebreak, Niedermayerova dashed out to a 5-2 lead. McPhillips rallied back to take a 6-5 lead in the tiebreak. Niedermayerova would not be deterred, as she was able to come from behind to register a 7-6 third-set win with an 8-6 tiebreak decision to end the match a little after three hours of play.
Niedermayerova owns a career record of 4-2 in her three NCAA Singles Championships appearances. Her 26th career win over an ITA-ranked opponent was her highest since defeating No. 16 Diana Nakic of Baylor on May 24, 2012 at the singles championships. She is now 7-3 this season and 15-14 in her career in three-set matches.
Niedermayerova was to play No. 7 Gina Suarez-Malaguti of North Carolina Friday morning.
With her win on Thursday afternoon, Niedermayerova boosted her overall record this season to 32-9 (.780). Her career-high 32 wins are a new school record for singles victories in a season.
In her career, Niedermayerova is 80-32 (.714) and captured the school record for career singles victories. Niedermayerova’s career singles winning percentage of .714 ranks second in school history.
“I am just so happy with the way she is playing, starting with last night’s match,” Bietau said. “Since we have been here, her play has stepped up a level. The way she has played here says a lot about her performance this season and in her career.”
Niedermayerova’s Thursday was not finished, though, as she teamed up with Karla Bonacic just two hours after her singles win to play in K-State’s first doubles championship match since 1995. Ranked No. 26 in the national ITA doubles rankings, Niedermayerova and Bonacic faced the 21st-ranked duo of Petra Januska and Chelsea Utting of Penn State.
The Wildcats made quick work of the Nittany Lions tandem with a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
“I thought with the exception of the first two games in the first set, I felt they played a good match,” Bietau said. “We have been here for a couple of days, so for Karla, it has been hotel and practice the last few days with the exception of cheering on Petra last night and this afternoon. You could tell she really wanted to get on the court and her play today was awfully good.”
The K-State duo improved to 22-10 this season with Thursday’s victory. The won the 2013 Big 12 doubles title from the No. 1 position in the lineup and earned All-Big 12 doubles honors for the second straight season together. The tandem has won 11 of its last 13 matches.
During the last three seasons when paired together, Bonacic and Niedermayerova are 35-26 and have been ranked together in the ITA doubles rankings for 12 straight rankings dating back to April 17, 2012.
In combination with her results with both Bonacic and freshman Ivana Kubickova (5-1), Niedermayerova owns the school record for doubles victories in a season with her mark of 27-11 (.711).
In her career, Niedermayerova has a doubles mark of 60-40 (.600) to rank tied for eighth in school history for career doubles wins.
Bonacic has only played doubles this season with Niedermayerova, carding a record of 22-10 this season, which ranks tied for seventh in school history for doubles wins in a season.