MANHATTAN, Kan. – No. 25 Texas A&M was upset, 5-2, by much-improved No. 39 Kansas State today at the at Body First Fitness and Tennis Center indoor courts.
“I give K-State credit,” A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. “They came out from the start and played a very aggressive game and just took it to us all day. They had more things to their game, more things that they could go to than us. They could keep balls in the court, they could come to the net, and that was the difference in the match. We just didn’t have an answer for it today.”
A&M, which suffers its first-ever loss to the Wildcats in 16 meetings, drops to 8-4 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12. K-State, which upset No. 10 Baylor last week, improves to 11-3, 2-2 Big 12.
The Wildcats won two of three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead. The team of Petra Niedermayerova and Nina Sertic never trailed in an 8-3 victory at the No. 1 line over A&M’s Christi Liles (Largo, Fla.) and Nazari Urbina (Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico), who were playing their first dual match together.
A&M’s Stephanie Davidson (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) and Sheri Olivier (Topeka, Kan.) then got a win at No. 3 doubles to even the race for the crucial point. The Aggies broke serve to take a 4-3 lead against K-State’s Ana Gomez Aleman and Petra Chuda and held the lead for the remainder of the matching, pulling away for an 8-6 win. It was Davidson’s 10th win in her last 11 matches, and she reaches the 90-career win milestone.
Karla Bonacic and Antea Huljev then secured the doubles point for the Wildcats, defeating Janelle Cuthbertson (Perth, Australia) and Morgan Frank (Oldsmar, Fla.), 8-5, at the No. 2 line. Cuthbertson and Frank were playing together for the first time this spring.
“We had been struggling at No. 1 doubles, and we had lost enough that we thought it was time to make a change,” Kleinecke said about the new doubles lineup. “We almost did it after the Texas match but we didn’t. When we came back from Spring Break, we had a great practice with the teams we played today and felt this was a good change. But the next time we played, it was not good. Big 12 rules require us to turn in lineups at the beginning of the week, and if I didn’t have that rule, I wouldn’t have been playing these teams today.”
The Wildcats carried the momentum into singles with Nos. 1, 2 and 3 first taking the court at the 3-court facility. Niedermayerova put the Wildcats up, 2-0, by topping Urbina, 6-1, 6-1 at the No. 1 line. It was the first Big 12 loss for Urbina who drops to 3-1 in conference play. Meanwhile, it was the second consecutive top-20 victory for currently unranked Niedermayerova, who defeated No. 15 Aeriel Ellis of Texas on Friday.
Frank put the Aggies on the scoreboard as she held off Huljev, 6-4, 7-5, at No. 2. In the first set, Frank broke serve to take a 5-4 lead and then held to complete the set. Frank built a 5-3 lead in the second set, but Huljev came back, fighting off a match point to even the set at 5-5. Frank then won the next two games to put the Aggies within 2-1.
It marked Frank’s 81st career victory, putting her within two wins of breaking into the top 10 in the A&M all-time career records.
K-State went up 3-1 when Bonacic held on to defeat Liles, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3. Liles was down 4-1 in the first set but came back to win the next five games to take the set. She held a 4-3 lead in the second, but Bonacic rallied for three unanswered games to win the second set. The third set was tied at 4-4, but Bonacic won the next two games, with Liles getting overruled at match point marking one of several controversial calls during the contest.
“There was a lot of adversity we had to fight back from today, but it didn’t go our way,” Kleinecke said. “That is not an excuse. We just have to get better.”
Gomez Aleman secured the win for the Wildcats with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Cuthbertson at the No. 4 line. Davidson notched A&M’s only other point with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Sertic at No. 5. Carmen Borau Ramos then capped K-State’s victory with a 7-6 (0), 6-4 win against Lauren Santacroce (Spring, Texas) at the No. 6 line.
“We haven’t had the best week of workouts, but K-State definitely did not catch us by surprise,” Kleinecke said. “We’ve got to keep working to get better. Obviously taking Christi Potgieter out of the lineup because of her thumb injury weakens us. She is a great player and has been playing No. 4, but she is capable of playing higher. That is something hard to make up for.“
The Aggies play at Kansas tomorrow with first serve slated for 11 a.m. at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. Kansas, which has lost the last 12 meetings against A&M, fell to No. 26 Texas, 7-0, today in Lawrence, Kan. to drop to 6-7 overall and 0-3 in Big 12 matches.
“It is important that we bounce back from today and come out with a good team,” Kleinecke said. “Kansas always plays us tough here, and we have to be ready to play. It’s all us right now and how we are going to respond, and that is the challenge.”
Live scoring of the match will be available at AggieAthletics.com. In addition, updates will be posted on Twitter @AggieTennis.
No. 39 Kansas State 5, No. 25 Texas A&M 2
Body First Fitness and Tennis Center (Indoor)
1. Petra Niedermayerova (KSU) def. (#18) Nazari Urbina (TAMU), 6-1, 6-1
2. Morgan Frank (TAMU) def. Antea Huljev (KSU), 6-4, 7-5
3. Karla Bonacic (KSU) def. Christi Liles (TAMU), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
4. Ana Gomez Aleman (KSU) def. Janelle Cuthbertson (A&M), 6-4, 6-4
5. Stephanie Davidson (TAMU) def. Nina Sertic (KSU), 6-4, 6-2
6. Carmen Borau Ramos (KSU) def. Lauren Santacroce (TAMU), 7-6 (0), 6-4
Doubles (KSU wins the point)
1. Niedermayerova/Sertic (KSU) def. Liles/Urbina (TAMU), 8-3
2. Bonacic/Huljev (KSU) def. Cuthbertson/Frank (TAMU), 8-5
3. Davidson/Sheri Olivier (TAMU) def. Gomez Aleman/Petra Chuda (KSU), 8-6
Order of finish:
Doubles: 1, 3, 2
Singles: 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5, 6
Texas A&M: 8-4, 2-2 Big 12
Kansas State 11-3, 2-2 Big 12