ATHENS, Ga. Like a mechanic fine tuning a car before putting it to the test, Kansas State head coach Steve Bietau made a few last second changes to his team and was pleased with the results on Friday at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational. The Wildcats swept early doubles play against Mississippi State at the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Complex as Bietau scrapped the planned doubles teams for previously untested pairs. Host school, pre-season No. 7 Georgia, won all six singles matches against Wildcats Friday afternoon.
“We switched our combinations up and they really looked good. I was definitely happy with the way they played today,” Bietau said. “We got off to a very good start and were solid throughout doubles play. We were really led by Jessica Simosa who played five or six straight games without an error. I think we definitely saw some potential in these pairings.”
Simosa, who practiced all week with Olga Klimova (KLI-mova), paired with Katerina Kudlackova (kud-LATCH-cove-ah) and knocked off Mississippi State’s Renee Joseph and Anastasia Kugakolova, 8-5, in the opening match of the tournament. Fernanda DaValle (duh VYE-ah) and Klimova followed with an 8-1 victory over Martina Banikova and Elna de Villiers. Tamar Kvaratskhelia (kah-vah-RATSK-heel-yah) and Maria Perevoschikova (pair-a-vosh-eh-cove-ah) completed the sweep with their 8-1 defeat of Daniela Juskova and Tatiana Feit.
“I didn’t have three doubles teams that I really liked,” Bietau said. “I think this gives us a chance to be competitive at every position and particularly strong at the third position.”
Bietau was also excited about his team’s performance against the pre-season No. 33 team in the country.
“They’re coming off the best year in the history of their program. I don’t know that they’re going to be that strong again, but they’re still a solid team. We’ll find out, as time goes on, how much of that result was us and how much was them,” Bietau said. “I was happy with the way we started.”
The Wildcats played solid singles matches on Friday but Georgia showed why they are ranked No. 7 in the nation and considered one of the top powers in the Southeastern Conference. Perevoschikova played the closest singles match of the afternoon, dropping a 6-4, 7-6, decision to Evgenia Subbotina.
“We went from playing a good team to an elite team,” Bietau said. “Georgia lived up to their reputation in singles against us.”
Kansas State continues play with doubles against Georgia on Saturday morning and singles play against Troy in the afternoon, but Bietau is already impressed by what his young team has shown.
“If this is where we set the bar to get started - in both what good tennis looks like, and what our effort looks like - then this was a good start,” Bietau said. “If we can build on what started today and improve from this, I think we have a chance to be a very good team.”
2006 Georgia Bulldog Invitational
Hopkins Indoor Tennis Center University of Georgia
Day One Results
Friday, January 20
(37) Natalie Frazier (UGA) def. Jessica Simosa (KSU), 6-1,6-2
(57) Caroline Basu (UGA) def. Tamar Kvaratskhelia (KSU), 6-4,6-4
(100) Darya Ivanov (UGA) def. Katerina Kudlackova (KSU), 6-1,6-2
Shadisha Robinson (UGA) def. Fernanda Da Valle (KSU), 6-0,6-2
Evgenia Subbotina (UGA) def. Maria Perevoschikova (KSU), 6-4,7-6
Kelley Hyndman (UGA) def. Olga Klimova (KSU), 6-3,6-3
Katerina Kudlackova/Jessica Simosa (KSU) def. Renee Joseph/Anastasia Kugakolova (MSU), 8-5
Fernanda Da Valle/Olga Klimova (KSU) def. Martina Banikova/Elna de Villiers (MSU), 8-1
Tamar Kvarastskhelia/Maria Perevoschikova (KSU) def. Daniela Juskova/Tatiana Feit (MSU), 8-1