Three Big Takeaways: Cyclones earn 4-1 win over Old Dominion


Daniel Jacobi II

Thasaporn Naklo gets ready to hit the ball during her match against Drake University at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center on Jan. 14, 2023.

Adarsh Tamma, Sports Reporter

The Cyclones earned another road win as they took down Old Dominion on Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia.

No. 6 Iowa State started off strong by completing a sweep doubles play to clinch the first point of the match. The Cyclones built off of that momentum in singles, winning at the No. 4, 5 and 2 spots to register their ninth win of the season. Saturday’s win over Old Dominion was also the sixth against a team that qualified for last season’s NCAA Championships.

The win was characterized by strong play in the singles department, as well as a comeback by their top-ranked doubles pairing to start the day.

Kadleckova gets a double bagel

Miska Kadleckova continued her winning ways by getting the first singles point on the board for the Cyclones, defeating Alesya Yakubovich 6-0, 6-0 at the No. 4 spot.

The win was the second consecutive “double bagel” for No. 123 Kadleckova, as she previously defeated Georgia’s Meg Kowalski by the same scoreline in the semifinals of the ITA Indoor National Championships last weekend.

Kadleckova ended that tournament as the Cyclones’ standout player, being named to the All-Tournament Team and winning Big 12 Player of the Week honors this past week.

Kadleckova’s win over Yakubovich pushed her overall record to 20-5 on the season. The junior from Slovakia has not lost in singles play during the spring campaign, as she’s currently 12-0 in 2023. She also leads the Cyclones in the number of wins over ranked opponents, as she has defeated 10 combined in singles and doubles play.

In doubles, Kadleckova and partner Sofia Cabezas clinched the first point of the match by winning at the No. 3 spot. The pair won their third straight match of the season by defeating Yakubovich and Sharar Brian 6-3. The Iowa State pairing led the match wire-to-wire, jumping out to leads of 3-0 and 4-1 before registering the win.

Cabezas delivered the second singles point of the day for Iowa State, defeating Alexandra Viktorovich 6-3, 6-2 at the No. 5 spot.

Kajuru clinches tie with 16th win of season

Sophomore Ange Oby Kajuru capped the tie against the Monarchs on Saturday by defeating No. 124 Sofia Johnson 7-5, 6-4 to register the dual-clinching victory in No. 2 singles.

Kajuru, who is currently ranked 53rd in the country in singles, was in for a battle on Saturday against Johnson as the scoreline indicated. The first set saw a back-and-forth theme unfold, and the score eventually being tied up at 3-3.

Johnson went up 5-4 after breaking Kajuru’s serve later in the opening frame, but the Japanese responded sharply by tying things back up at 5-5 in the very next game. Kajuru then tilted the momentum in her favor to make it 6-5 and eventually won the opening set on a sliced backhand that Johnson returned into the net.

In the second set, Kajuru opened up a 3-1 lead and never looked back, eventually taking the match on a 6-4 scoreline. She extended her lead later on in the frame, going up 5-2 whilst Johnson attempted a comeback. The match ended with Johnson hitting a forehand into the side alley after Kajuru had responded with a cross-court lob.

Kajuru has been a staple for the Cyclones at the No. 2 singles spot, taking an 8-1 record in dual play into Saturday’s match. She has also defeated seven ranked players in singles play so far this season after winning one last year. Her play at the No. 2 spot has now put her within the top five for most wins at that position in program history at 22.

Naklo and Kuearum fight back in doubles

Iowa State’s No. 1 doubles pairing of senior Thasaporn Naklo and sophomore Anna Supapitch Kuearum were the first team to finish on Saturday, upsetting 24th-ranked Johnson and Tatsiana Sasnouskaya 6-3.

The matchup was the first time that Naklo and Kuearum have faced off against a ranked pairing this season, and entered the tie with a 5-1 record on the year.

Johnson and Sasnouskaya started off strong, as they built up a 3-0 lead thanks to big serves heading into the first break. Iowa State was able to turn things around after the first half, and eventually tied things up at 3-3 through defensive work against the Monarchs’ all-out attack. Johnson double-faulted into the net to end the match, giving Naklo and Kuearum their 14th win as a pairing this season. The pair has dropped one match this season, falling to Mai Nirundorn Guillermina Grant of Georgia 2-6 last Sunday.

In singles, No. 42 Naklo lost at the top spot to No. 25 Sasnouskaya 6-0, 6-1. The Old Dominion player recorded her tenth singles win of the season after going 1-1 against Wake Forest’s Casie Wooten in her last pair of matches.

Naklo has faced a competitive schedule in singles this season, as her loss against Sasnouskaya was the third in a row for the Thai player. Naklo leads the Cyclones in ranked wins over a career at 18, with four of them coming this season. She last took down No. 14 Alexa Noel of Miami to help the Cyclones qualify for the ITA Indoor National Championships. Naklo’s loss puts her at 4-3 in dual play this season.

The Cyclones have one more non-conference match on their slate, as they will face off against in-state rivals Iowa on Friday. The match is scheduled to kick off at 5 pm in Iowa City.