NORMAN, Okla. - Kansas tennis topped local rivals and sent two Jayhawks to the round of 16 on the third day of the ITA Central Regionals. The team went undefeated as it won all seven matches at the Headington Family Tennis center Saturday.
"I thought it was a great day," said tennis Head Coach Todd Chapman. "Not just because we won all seven matches but the way we won the seven. Probably three or four matches could have gone either way and I felt like the way we won those matches, as far as playing tough even when maybe we didn't feel very well or things like that. Those are things that show growth and that's exciting for me to see."
Maria Jose Cardona and Maria Belen Ludueña represented the Jayhawks in the start of the singles main draw. Cardona struck first and collected a hard-fought win from Julia Schiller of Wichita State, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Ludueña then defeated Oklahoma's Abbi Melrose (6-4, 6-3).
Next, the duo began round two of singles with Cardona besting Rachel Stuhlman of past Kansas Big 12 rival, Missouri (6-4, 6-3). Ludueña then picked up a win from Katie Zordani of Iowa (6-1, 6-1). The pair's wins qualified them for the round of 16 Sunday.
Three Jayhawks also competed in a match of singles consolations. Anastasija Trubica defeated Central Arkansas' Krizia Buck (6-4, 6-1) and Dylan Windom also collected a win from McKenzie Thomas of SIUE (6-2, 6-0).
Reminiscent of Thursday's match, Paulina Los and opponent Alex Clark of Missouri finished their match with a super tiebreaker. After losing the first set, Los bounced back and won the second. Unlike Thursday, Los claimed victory defeating Clark 10-5 in the super tiebreaker (2-6, 6-2, 10-5).
"I think it was big for her," said Chapman on Los' victory. "We talked about close matches and ways to handle situations and she had a match where she lost the first set and was able to come back and win the second and win in the super tiebreaker. That's been something that has been a nemesis to her- pressure situations like that. It was big for her to win that match today."
Matches will resume Sunday with the women's round of 16 and additional consolation matches. Ludueña will continue her singles run on day four of the championship against Tereza Brichacova of Minnesota.
"I'm looking for the same toughness I saw today," said Chapman on what he expects on Sunday. "Whether that means a win or a loss, that's secondary to me- at least where we are right now in the fall. It's can we do back-to-back days and show the same toughness, physically and mentality as we did today. If we can do that, I'm happy with the result whichever way it may turn out."
Cardona is slated to take on the championship's No.1 seed, Petra Niedermayerova of Kansas State. Niedermayerova holds the No.12 spot on the ITA's preseason ranking.
"She played her last year," said Chapman. "She felt pretty good about how she played in that match. I think it's not playing a name or a number, it's just going out and competing the way she did today. If she does that, I think she gives herself a chance to be successful. With a player like that, you have to try to not focus on the score, just focus on every point and continue to play the same style. That will definitely be a tough challenge, but one that I think she's up for."