North Texas Tennis Falls To USF In Marathon Match, 4-3
Bulls Trump Mean Green In Final Matchup Of Day
TULSA, Okla. — The No. 68 North Texas tennis team fought for the entirety of the afternoon before being edged by South Florida, 4-3. After more than four hours, the showdown came down to Saturday’s very last match as the Mean Green fell from the Case Tennis Center on the campus of Tulsa.
After North Texas (5-6) went on to win the day-opening doubles point, it was a No. 1 singles dual between Maria Kononova and USF’s Jessica Cortes Chavez that broke a 3-3 tie to clinch the match for the Bulls. The Mean Green’s top-ranked freshman came back from a 2-5 deficit in the second set before falling in a 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3 decision.
With the win in team play, North Texas picked up a doubles point for the first time in the last four matches.
“We finally got the doubles point but came just a little short in singles,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “You’ve got to give South Florida credit for the way they hung in there and kept fighting when we had them on the ropes. This was a tough loss but we’ll learn from it and get better.”
The early momentum favored North Texas as Lama’s team controlled doubles action. Freshmen Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze took down Vera Bessonova and Olga Martinez, 6-0, at the top spot. At the No. 2, freshman Minying Liang and senior Anastasiya Shestakova took a 7-5 win that concluded doubles play.
But the momentum didn’t carry over to individual rounds as USF (2-4) went on to win the first two singles contests. It wasn’t until Shestakova took a 6-2, 6-1 win over Ana Roman Dominguez that the Mean Green picked up its first individual win, tying the match at 2-2. From there, senior Agustina Valenzuela knocked off Vera Bessonova by way of a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 decision.
The Mean Green would go on to lose the final two matches - a three-set loss for junior Alexis Thoma at the No. 4 position and Kononova’s setback at the team’s top spot.
Lama & Co. now prepare to face their first regional opponent of the year in a midweek matchup with TCU at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, from Fort Worth.
1. Maria Kononova falls to Jessica Cortes Chavez; 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3
2. Tamuna Kutubidze falls to Olga Martinez; 6-2, 7-5
3. Anastasiya Shestakova def. Ana Roman Dominguez; 6-2, 6-1
4. Alexis Thoma falls to Vanja Klaric; 6-0, 4-6, 6-3
5. Agustina Valenzuela def. Vera Bessonova; 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
6. Kamilla Galieva fall to Nicole Dzenga; 6-2, 6-2
1. Kononova/Kutubidze def. Bessonova/Martinez, 6-0
2. Liang/Shestakova def. Cortes Chavez/Cardosa, 7-5
3. Valenzuela/Arciniegas vs. Klaric/Murphy, 6-5 (unfinished)