Mean Green Sweep Marshall
North Texas Starts Quick, Finishes Strong
DENTON -- The North Texas tennis team played a complete match and finished strong and quickly Sunday afternoon as they swept Marshall 4-0 in a one hour and 45 minute match at the Waranch Tennis Complex.
The Mean Green (4-5) claimed the doubles point in 33 minutes and after a forfeit in singles by the Thundering Herd (0-9) before singles started, North Texas needed just two more wins to claim the match. Juniors Minying Liang and Maria Kononova got it done.
"Today I was extremely pleased with how clean we looked," said head coach Sujay Lama. "We knew sooner or later this was going to happen. This team is working too hard for it not to eventually click."
Sunday's win ended a four-match losing streak for the Mean Green who had played some of the best opponents in the country.
"We can build off today's results and really start to get things rolling," Lama added.
Liang was most impressive Sunday as she came away with a 6-1, 6-1 win over her Marshall opponent in the No. 3 position in the lineup and closed her match out with furry.
On Friday in her last match, Liang won the first set 6-1 but let her Florida International opponent creep back in and she eventually lost the match in the third set.
Sunday, there was no letting up.
"Minying is playing the best tennis of her life right now," Lama said. "And her play has been a reflection of our team. Minying's level of play has been amazing but she hasn't finished matches."
Sunday's straight set win was relief for Liang who had lost her last five matches, though she'd won the first set in two of their last three matches and took Oklahoma to a tiebreak.
But for Liang, the team win was most important.
"I'm proud to see the improvements of each of us today," Liang said. "Even though we have some tough losses, I can tell that we are growing even stronger and learning more from those losses. I believe if we keep working, the victories will continue to come."
After beating the No. 2 ranked tennis player in the country on Friday, Kononova didn't let up on Sunday against Marshall. Kononova took an early lead over Marshall's No. 1, Stephanie Smith, and kept the pressure on her until she clinched the match for North Texas with a 6-2, 6-3 win.
At No. 2, Tamuna Kutubidze fell behind 3-0 in the first set but stormed back to win the set 6-4. She led 4-1 in the second set when the match was clinched.
The Mean Green return to the Waranch Tennis Complex to host Houston on March 3 at noon.
Alexandra Heczey/Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Stephanie Smith/Maddie Silver (MAR) 6-3
2. Maria Kononova/Minying Liang (NT) vs. Anna Smith/Marija Bogicevic (MAR) 5-3, unfinished
3. Nidhi Surapaneni/Haruka Sasaki (NT) def. Brooke Lashway/Ana Marhuenda (MAR) 6-0
1. #66 Maria Kononova (NT) def. Stephanie Smith (MAR) 6-2, 6-3
2. Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) vs. Maddie Silver (MAR) 6-4, 4-1, unfinished
3. Minying Liang (NT) def. Marija Bogicevic (MAR) 6-1, 6-1
4. Nidhi Surapaneni (NT) vs. Anna Smith (MAR) 0-6, 4-3, unfinished
5. Haruka Sasaki (NT) vs. Ana Marhuenda (MAR) 6-3, 4-0, unfinished
6. Alexandra Heczey (NT) def. Brooke Lashway (MAR), by forfeit