June 26, 2013
This feature appeared in the June 26 edition of the K-State Sports Extra.
By Mark Janssen
On the heels of the success of junior All-American Petra Niedermayerova in both singles and doubles play at the NCAA Championships, no one is more excited about the 2013-14 Kansas State tennis season than longtime head coach Steve Bietau.
Even more exciting than the return of Niedermayerova is the fact that Bietau’s Wildcats will have a new place to call home in 2013-14.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the facility we will have next year,” said Bietau of the six-court complex still under construction just east of K-State’s Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex.
In a partnership between K-State Athletics and recreational services, the $3 million facility will also include three basketball courts, two sand volleyball courts, plus a building for rental equipment.
The six courts are purple in color, surrounded by green. There will be elevated seating for 380, plus an electronic scoreboard for the fans on the west end of the facility.
“It’s going to be a great place to watch a college tennis match,” said Bietau. “There will be a good full view of any of the courts. We really tried to keep the fans in mind when we designed the facility.”
Construction of a locker room and storage area will begin in the summer with an October completion date expected.
K-STATE’S SEASON ENDS IN NCAA ROUND OF 16 MATCHES: The Wildcats’ No. 15-ranked Petra Niedermayerova saw her season come to a conclusion in singles’ play, while the No. 26-ranked doubles team of Niedermayerova and Karla Bonacic were defeated in the afternoon on May 24 in the 2013 NCAA Division I Singles and Doubles Championships at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex.
Niedermayerova ended her 2012-13 season with a school record mark of 32-10 (.762). She ended the season with wins in six of her final eight matches and possessed a 12-8 record against ITA ranked singles opponents. She earned her second straight ITA All-American honor, her second career ITA Central Region Player to Watch award and garnered her third straight unanimous All-Big 12 singles selection.
She was also successful in the classroom, as she became the first Wildcat tennis player to earn Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honors to go with her second straight Academic All-Big 12 First Team honor and the Big 12 Conference’s inaugural Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s tennis.
For her career, Niedermayerova secured the school record for singles wins with an 80-33 (.708) mark. Her career singles winning percentage of .708 ranks second in school history.
The K-State tandem of Niedermayerova and Bonacic completed the season with a 22-11 record. The duo won the 2013 Big 12 doubles title from the number one position in the lineup and earned All-Big 12 doubles honors for the second straight season together. The tandem won 11 of their last 14 matches.
Over the last three seasons when paired together, Bonacic and Niedermayerova were 35-27 and were ranked together in the ITA doubles rankings for 12 straight rankings dating back to April 17, 2012.
In combination with her results with both Bonacic and freshman Ivana Kubickova (5-1), Niedermayerova secured the school record for doubles victories in a season with her mark of 27-12 (.692). In her career, Niedermayerova owns a doubles mark of 60-41 (.594) to rank tied for eighth in school history for career doubles wins.
Bonacic only played doubles this season with Niedermayerova, carding a record of 22-11, which ranks tied for seventh in school history for doubles wins in a season. In her career, Bonacic finished 61-59 (.508) in doubles action and ranked seventh in school history for career doubles victories.
BIETAU ADDS TO ROSTER: Bietau has added the signing of three players to the Wildcat roster for 2013-14. The threesome includes Iva Bago, Liv Cirnu and Maria Panaite.
“I'm excited about this group and the opportunity to work with them,” said Bietau about his new additions. “They are all talented, hard-working young women and I hope that their addition will allow us to raise the bar for our program. Good athletes, good students, and a record of success. As always, the true test will come as the next year or two progresses, but this group has a chance to be special.”
Bago joins the Wildcats from Velika Gorica, Croatia, with a solid junior career. In February of this year, Bago reached the quarterfinals of the Senior Croatian National Championships and played on the Croatian National Team in 2010 in the U16 Championships.
Cirnu, a product of Constanta, Romania, tallied a third-place finish in the U14 Romania National Tournament. She also advanced to the semifinals of the U16 ETA Tournament. At one point in her junior career, Cirnu reached a ranking No. 1,002 in the world ITF junior rankings.
Panaite, a native of Pitesti, Romania, won doubles titles at the 2010 and 2011 Romanian National Championships. During the 2010 Romanian National Championships, she also advanced to the semifinals in singles. In 2010, she registered a second-place singles finish at one ETA Tournament, then tallied a semifinal singles bid at a second ETA Tournament in Constanta, Romania.
These signees bring K-State’s overall signing class to five, as Bietau signed two during the fall signing period. The two student-athletes who signed in the early signing period were Palma Juhasz (Debrecen, Hungary) and Tegan Louw (Whitehill, Hampshire, United Kingdom).