FOR WORTH, Texas – She has won more matches than any player in the modern era of Lady Raider Tennis.
On Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Championships, Nikki Sanders put Texas Tech on her back and led the No. 30 Red Raiders to a 4-2 upset of No. 18 Oklahoma at the Friedman Tennis Center.
Sanders entered the match with a 97-39 career record. Oklahoma’s Morgan Chumney edged Sanders, 7-6 (7-1) in the first set, but Tech’s senior picked up a late break and won the second set, 6-4, to send it to a third set.
Tied at 2-2, Sanders broke Chumney and then served for a 4-2 lead. She then added a second break after battling back from 40-15 to go up 5-2. Sanders the served for the match and sealed the deal with a 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 6-2 to give Texas Tech a 4-2 victory, while adding her 98th career win.
“Overall, I think this was a great college dual match,” said Lady Raider head coach Todd Petty. “It was a tough one for anybody to lose. I thought Oklahoma competed very well, but it just came down to a few points here and there. Obviously when it fell into our all-time winningest player’s hands, I felt like there was anyone we would rather have out there than (Nikki Sanders). Hats off to Beatriz (Machado Santos) for getting to that third set and taking the pressure off of Nikki. Now we have to turn our focus to Saturday.”
The Lady Raiders (17-7) have advanced to the semifinals on Saturday, where they will face No. 14 Baylor. The Bears (22-6) cruised to a 4-0 victory over Kansas on Friday. For Texas Tech, it marks the third straight year the Lady Raiders have advanced to the semifinals, after not making the final four during the first 15 years in the league.
The day started with Texas Tech taking the doubles point from Oklahoma. Sanders and Rashmi Teltumbde throttled Hermon Bhrane and Zita Engrboks, 8-1, at No. 2. The Sooners responded with an 8-4 win at No. 1, as Chumney and Whitney Ritchie ousted No. 63 Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo, 6-2, 6-2.
This left the point to be decided by a pair of Texas Tech freshmen – Lynn Kiro and Beatriz Machado Santos. The duo pulled ahead early, 3-0, but watched OU’s Mia Lancaster and Whitney Wofford fight back to within one, 5-4. The Tech tandem then picked up a break and served for a 7-4 lead. Lancaster and Wofford held serve before Kiro and Machado Santos won ,8-5, securing the first point of the day.
Oklahoma took the lead, 2-1, after No. 74 Ritchie defeated Kilgo, who was fighting shin splints, 6-2, 6-2 and Bhrane added a straight-set win over Teltumbde, 6-1, 6-1.
Adams evened the score, 2-2, after she upended Emma Devine, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 5.
Kiro then gave the lead to Tech for good, with a 6-4, 6-3 won over Lancaster at No. 3. It was Kiro’s 16th straight win of the season, tying the school record for consecutive victories. She also improved to 28-6 equaling the modern day single-season wins record for a Lady Raider.
Leading 3-2, the match would be decided by one of the two remaining matches – Sanders at No. 4 or Machado Santos at No. 6. Both lost the first set and battled back to win the second. That led to Sanders’ heroics at No. 4 and the Lady Raider win, as Machado Santos’ match was abandoned.
Big 12 Championship Quarterfinals
#30 Texas Tech 4, #18 Oklahoma 2
Fort Worth, Texas (Friedman Tennis Center)
1. #74 Whitney Ritchie (OU) def. Kenna Kilgo (TT) 6-2, 6-2
2. Hermon Bhrane (OU) def. Rashmi Teltumbde (TT) 6-1, 6-1
3. Lynn Kiro (TT) def. Mia Lancaster (OU) 6-4, 6-3
4. Nikki Sanders (TT) def. Morgan Chumney (OU) 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 6-2
5. Samantha Adams (TT) def. Emma Devine (OU) 6-4, 6-1
6. Beatriz Machado Santos (TT) vs. Abbi Melrose (OU) 4-6, 7-6 (12-10), 0-0, unfinished
1. Morgan Chumney / Whitney Ritchie (OU) def. #63 Samantha Adams / Kenna Kilgo (TT) 8-4
2. Nikki Sanders / Rashmi Teltumbde (TT) def. Hermon Bhrane / Zita Engrboks (OU) 8-1
3. Lynn Kiro / Beatriz Machado Santos (TT) def. Mia Lancaster / Whitney Wofford (OU) 8-5
Records: #18 Oklahoma 16-5; #30 Texas Tech 16-7.
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (1,2,5,3,4)
Seeds: #4 Texas Tech vs. #5 Oklahoma