Tennis Can’t Rebound Versus Washington State, Falling 6-1
North Texas Takes Doubles Point, Doesn't Muster Singles Win
Sujay Lama's squad sits at 1-2 in the spring season following a loss to Washington State. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
PULLMAN, Wash. — North Texas tennis started on the right foot in its second straight day of competition from Washington but didn’t have quite enough to get the best of the hosting Cougars on Sunday. The Mean Green dropped a 6-1 decision to Washington State, falling to 1-2 on the dual season.
The day began with doubles play, where the Mean Green put the first points on the board with a pair of wins. The No. 1 duo of freshmen Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze took down Donika Bashota and Lize Leenknecht, 6-1, while the No. 3 tandem of Agustina Valenzuela and Nastya Shestakova outdueled Aneta Miksovska and Barbora Michalkova, 6-3. The No. 2 battle featuring Minying Liang and Alexis Thoma went unfinished while North Texas led Maria Biryukova and Trang Huynh by a 6-5 score.
The Mean Green would not win another point for the remainder of the afternoon.
“Our doubles play was the highlight of the day,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “All three teams played at a high level. This will be important going forward with the season.”
It was in the singles rounds that Washington State began to take control. The Mean Green dropped two quick decisions as No. 1 Kononova fell to Biryukova, 6-3, 6-2. That finish preceded a 6-3, 6-2 loss for No. 4 Liang to Huynh.
It looked like North Texas would come away with a pair of singles wins in the following two matches. At the No. 2 spot, Shestakova was up by three games in the first set before Bashota, ranked 83rd in the latest ITA rankings, stormed back to take a 6-3, 6-1 win.
At the No. 3 position, Kutubidze had perhaps the grittiest battle of the day. Facing off against Michalkova, the freshman was up by four games in the first set and three games in the second set, but WSU’s player managed a comeback in both instances to earn a 6-4, 6-3 victory and clinch a win for the Cougars.
“We need to learn to capitalize when we create momentum that favors us,” Lama said on his focus going forward. “Time and again, we let out positive play fizzle and did not sustain the pressure on our opponents.”
North Texas tennis returns to the court at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6, for an away contest against the Kansas Jayhawks, followed by a a matchup against Wichita State at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
No. 1 Kononova falls to Maria Biryukova; 6-3, 6-2
No. 2 Shestakova falls to #83 Donika Bashota; 6-3, 6-1
No. 3 Kutubidze falls to Barbora Michalkova; 6-4, 6-3
No. 4 Liang falls to Trang Huynh; 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 Thoma falls to Aneta Miksovska; 6-2, 6-3
No. 6 Valenzuela falls to Victoria Matejevic; 7-5, 6-4
No. 1 Kononova/Kutubidze def. Leenknecht/Bashota, 6-1
No. 2 Liang/Thoma vs. Biryukova/Huynh, 6-5 (DNF)
No. 3 Valenzuela/Shestakova def. Miksovska/Michalkov, 6-3