Senior Tess Bernard-Feigenbaum and sophomore Nina Khmelnitckaia combined to achieve a 21st-century first for the Kansas tennis program Thursday in the NCAA Doubles Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia.
They became the first KU duo to win a match at the NCAA doubles tournament since Kylie Hunt and Christie Sim did so in 1998.
Bernard-Feigenbaum and Khmelnitckaia, ranked No. 37, scored a three-set victory against the tournament’s No. 2 seed.
They fell behind 4-0 before rallying to defeat Mississippi State’s Jasmine Lee and Lisa Marie Rioux.
“They kept fighting, kept battling,” Kansas coach Todd Chapman said. “They were very resilient. This was probably one of the matches where I thought we were very even throughout the match, emotionally. I thought our play was good the whole time, even when we were down 0-4.”
The upset victory advanced Bernard-Feigenbaum and Khmelnitckaia to Friday’s Round of 16 match against Denver’s No. 17-ranked doubles team of Julia O’Loughlin and Maureen Slattery.
Bernard-Feigenbaum played the first three years of her college tennis career at Purdue. Born in China, she lists New York as her hometown and she played high school tennis in Vermont. Khmelnitckaia, one of three Russians on KU's tennis team, is from Moscow.