Three Big Takeaways: Kadleckova breaks singles record, Cyclones take Kansas by storm


Daniel Jacobi II

Miska Kadleckova celebrates winning a match against Drake University at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center on Jan. 14, 2023.

Adarsh Tamma, Sports Reporter

The Cyclones had a strong start out of the blocks to their conference season, as they defeated both Kansas and Kansas State for their first pair of wins at home.

The No. 10 Cyclones overpowered the No. 13 Jayhawks 6-1 Friday, then turned around and beat Kansas State 4-2 Sunday to improve to a record of 11-2 on the year. It was also the second year in a row that the Cyclones swept their conference opponents from the state of Kansas, as they beat the Jayhawks and Wildcats on the road last season.

Iowa State’s pair of victories were highlighted by a dominance in doubles play, as well as a historic win in women’s singles. The bottom half of the Cyclones’ lineup were firing on all cylinders towards the end of each match, as their No. 4-6 players finished the weekend with a record of 4-1.

Kadleckova enters historic territory

Junior Miska Kadleckova again put her name in the record books by breaking the school record for No. 3 singles wins with her 25th victory.

The Slovakia native has been an ace for the Cyclones in singles play this year and entered the weekend with a 12-0 record in dual matches. Kadleckova also cracked the top 100 in the national rankings for the first time this season at No. 87 in the latest poll.

Kadleckova’s record-breaking victory came in poetic fashion, as she clinched the match for Iowa State by defeating Carmen Roxana Manu 6-4, 6-0. It was the fourth time that Kadleckova closed out a dual for Iowa State this season, a stat that she now leads in among her teammates.

Coming into the match, Kadleckova was tied with Meghan Cassens, as both players had 24 wins at the No. 3 spot. Cassens had a strong senior campaign for the Cyclones in 2015, finishing with 18 doubles victories and going 24-13 in singles play.

Kadleckova started out the season at the No. 4 spot in the Cyclones’ lineup, where she won her first nine matches of the season, including a win to clinch Iowa State’s upset over No. 1 Texas at the ITA Indoor National Championships. Kadleckova moved up a spot in the CyHawk matchup in late February, where she defeated Samantha Mannix 6-1, 6-1.

Against the Wildcats, Kadleckova’s streak was broken, as she fell to Vanesa Suarez in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. The loss was Kadleckova’s first since the start of the year, when she lost to USC’s Grace Piper in the opening round of the Weinman Foundation Invitational.

The Cyclones were aided in top-level singles by sophomore Ange Oby Kajuru, who took wins in both of her matches over the weekend in quick succession. The No. 51 Kajuru double-bageled Kansas’ Maria Titova 6-0, 6-0, and then took down Rosanna Maffei 6-2, 6-2. The Tokyo native is neck-and-neck with Kajuru in a number of individual categories, including singles and doubles wins against ranked opponents, and match-clinching victories.

Devil is in the doubles

Iowa State swept both Kansas and Kansas State in doubles play to take the first points on the board. The Cyclones have an 11-0 record in matches when they clinched the doubles point.

Against Kansas, the Cyclones fell behind at the start, as the Jayhawks took the No. 1 match. 45th-ranked Thasaporn Naklo and Anna Supapitch Kuearum lost to Malkia Ngounoue and Heike Janse Van Vuuren, 3-6. The loss was the pair’s second in a row, after having lost to Iowa’s Daianne Hayashida and Vipasha Mehra, 1-6.

Iowa State quickly responded to the early deficit through Kajuru and freshman Xinyi Nong, as the pair won over Titova and Tamari Gagoshidze, 6-1. The new pairing are 6-1 on the year, after having also defeated Rozalia Gruszczynska and Maffei of Kansas State 6-1 Sunday.

At the No. 3 spot, Iowa State saw another pair victories from Kadleckova and fellow junior Sofia Cabezas. The duo made history last season, as they qualified for both the ITA Fall National and NCAA Championships, ending the year ranked No. 85 in the country. Cabezas and Kadleckova went 21-10 together in 2021-22, defeating top-40 opponents Sarah Hamner and Misa Malkin of South Carolina.

Kadleckova and Cabezas clinched the doubles point for the Cyclones by taking down Jocelyn Massey and Carmen Roxana Manu of Kansas, 6-3. The pair made it 2-0 on the weekend by taking down Kansas State’s Florentine Dekkers and Aleen Quamar by a 6-0 decision. The win against the Wildcats was Kadleckova and Cabezas’ sixth-straight of the season, as they are 8-2 overall in dual play.

The Cyclones’ doubles dominance was showcased especially at the No. 2 and 3 spots. Iowa State is a combined 15-3 across all of its combinations so far this season at those spots, sporting an 83 percent winning mark.

Cabezas, Kajuru respond against Wildcats

The Cyclones’ match against Kansas State on Sunday seemed to be going in their direction, as they had once again sealed the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead early. Iowa State built on top of that lead in singles through Kajuru’s win at the No. 2 spot over Maffei.

Kansas State got their first point on the board with an upset, as No. 53 Naklo was beaten by Dekkers, 3-6, 3-6. The loss meant that Naklo ended the weekend with a 1-1 record, as she beat 45th-ranked Ngounoue Friday.

Iowa State bounced back at the No. 6 spot, as senior Chie Kezuka defeated Quamar, 6-3,  6-1 to put the Cyclones up 3-1. It was Kezuka’s third win in a row for the Cyclones, as she also took down Kansas’ Mariana Manyoma Velasquez 6-3, 6-4.

The Wildcats struck at the heart of the Cyclones’ lineup again with Kadleckova going down to Suarez to make the scoreline 3-2. Iowa State was ultimately rescued late thanks to Cabezas’ dual-clinching win over Gruszczynska.

Cabezas faced an up-and-down stretch a few weeks ago, as she went 5-4 in matches from Jan. 15 to Feb. 18. The Venezuela native has also had just one match go unfinished through the entirety of the season, with her encounter against Iowa’s Hayashida being stopped prematurely due to the Cyclones winning that dual at other spots.

Cabezas spent time primarily at the No. 5 spot in the lineup, where she is 6-4 in dual play. She finished the weekend without losing a match across singles and doubles, having beaten Kansas’ Gagoshidze 6-3, 6-0. The bagel served up by Cabezas in the second set was her first since beating South Dakota’s Paige Alter 6-0, 6-4 Jan. 15. Her win against Gagoshidze was the first time that she clinched a match for the Cyclones this season.

Iowa State has a bye week before going on the road the weekend of March 24 to take on Texas and Baylor. The Cyclones will face off against the Longhorns for the second time this season March 24, and then take on the Bears March 26.