Thoma Clinches 4-3 Win Over Wisconsin
Kononova Wins Her Fifth Straight Singles Match
NORMAN, Okla. -- The North Texas tennis team had a tight 4-3 win over Wisconsin Saturday afternoon at the University of Oklahoma's Headington Family Tennis Center.
After losing the doubles point, North Texas (2-4) won four singles matches over Wisconsin (3-2) to clinch the win. The Badgers had won three-straight matches coming into the day. Senior Alexis Thoma clinched it for the Mean Green at No. 3 in a winner take all three-set final match.
"We were resilient and mentally tough today," said head coach Sujay Lama. "Everyone stepped up in singes and battled until the end to get over the hump in closing out a close match. It was fitting for Alexis to clinch the match for us. Her game really came together this weekend."
One day removed from her program record setting win over the No. 16 ranked player in the country, sophomore Maria Kononova won her fifth straight match at No. 1, making quick work of her Badger opponent, 6-2, 6-3.
Fellow sophomore Minying Liang and freshman Alexandra Heczey gave the Mean Green a 3-1 lead as they finished their matches second and third. The clinching match, however, didn't come until there was just one left.
Senior Alexis Thoma at No. 3, won it for the Mean Green with a three set match victory over her Wisconsin opponent, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. It is Thoma's second-straight singles win at No. 3.
"Today we did what we needed to do," Thoma said. "My teammates and I are working hard, day in and day out, during the week and our work is starting to shine through."
Saturday ended a three consecutive match streak of winning the doubles point for North Texas. But that didn't faze the battled tested Mean Green who fought back and played through ups and downs on the road. Even the two singles matches they lost the Mean Green still pushed it to a third set.
Despite losing the doubles point, North Texas' No. 1 team of Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze continued their reign as they won 5-2. Kononova and Kutubidze remain undefeated in doubles this season at 5-0. Friday's 7-5 win over Oklahoma has been their narrowest match of the season.
Wisconsin is North Texas' fourth power-five conference team they've played this season. The Mean Green host the Big12's Kansas State and the Pac-12's Washington State both next weekend. In total, the Mean Green still have five more power-five teams left on their schedule.
"Playing a hard schedule is something coach Lama has always scheduled for us in our main season," Thoma said. "He does it because he knows we are a strong enough team mentally and physically to endure such a schedule. It makes us a stronger team and sets us up to be an overall resilient team."
North Texas hosts Kansas State at Waranch Tennis Complex on Friday a 2 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
- Saturday was the first time this season Minying Liang and Alexis Thoma paired up for a doubles team. Last season they played four dual matches together, two were unfinished.
- Kononova improved to 5-1 at No. 1 this season.
- Alexandra Heczey has won three straight singles matches this season.
1.Kononova (NT) def. Avgerinos (WIS); 6-2, 6-3
2.Grambeau (WIS) def. Kutubidze (NT); 7-5, 7-6, 5-7
3.Thoma (NT) def. Linden (WIS); 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
4.Liang (NT) def. Kirsch (WIS); 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
5.Zordani (WIS) def. Sasaki (NT); 0-6, 6-4, 3-6
6.Heczey (NT) def. Rider (WIS) 7-5, 6-3
1.Kononova/Kutubidze (NT) def. Avgerino/Pec (WIS); 5-2
2.Grambeau/Zordani (WIS) def. Heczey/Babić (NT); 6-2
3.Rider/Kirsch (WIS) def. Thoma/Liang (NT); 6-2