University of Kansas

KU tennis falls to defending national champion in Sweet 16

The Kansas tennis team, in the end, came up one match short in its quest to advance to next week’s Elite Eight in Orlando, Florida.

KU, the No. 14 national seed, fell to third-ranked Stanford 4-3 in the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals on Friday afternoon in Palo Alto, California.

The Jayhawks finished their team season with a 21-5 record.

Stanford, the defending national champion, needed to play all six singles matches to defeat KU. After the Jayhawks won the doubles point, Maria Toran Ribes (No. 6) and Anastasia Rychagova (No. 1) took singles victories to tie the score at 3-3.

That left it up to No. 5 singles, where Stanford’s Janice Shin completed a rally against KU’s Nina Khmelnitckaia for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 match-clinching win.

KU, which won the Big 12 championship last month, advanced to the Sweet 16 this season for the first time since 1998.

The NCAA team championships begin May 16 in Orlando, with the individual championships starting on May 20.

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Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year.