Mean Green Lose Narrow Match To No. 49 Houston
Mean Green Lose 4-2
DENTON -- The North Texas tennis team came away with many positives in Saturday's 4-2 loss to No. 49 Houston.
The Mean Green (4-6) won the doubles point against the competitive Cougars (12-1) and are increasingly finding consistency in the rest of their lineup.
"The positive is that we have found the right combinations in doubles and are starting to play well at all spots," said head coach Sujay Lama. "We are improving even through these tough losses."
North Texas began the match with a much needed and impressive doubles victory.
In what was a doubles point-deciding victory, UNT's No. 1 doubles team defeated Houston's No. 54 nationally ranked doubles team 7-6(7) to clinch the doubles point for North Texas. The Mean Green's No. 2 doubles team, Maria Kononova and Minying Liang, began the match with 6-4 win. Liang and Kononova trailed 2-4 to start their doubles match but rallied all the way back to win and put the Mean Green in a position to win.
Houston, however, responded with two straight singles wins to take a lead.
Freshman Nidhi Surapaneni won the Mean Green's only single match and collected her third singles victory of the year with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win at No. 4 to tie the match score at two apiece.
After a Houston win at No. 5 gave them a lead, a three-set Cougar win at No. 6 clinched the match.
The match though, was much closer than the score indicated and could have easily gone in the Mean Green's favor.
If Alexandra Heczey's narrow third-set loss at No. 6 had gone in her favor, junior Tamuna Kutubidze was leading at No. 2 in the third set and was charging. However, the match was called after the Cougars clinched.
"We've got to give Houston a lot of credit," Lama said. "We had them where we wanted to but could not put them away. They competed just a little harder than us. We will learn from today and work hard to get better."
North Texas travels to TCU on Monday for a 5:30 p.m. match.
1. DIMITROVA, Tsveta (HOU) def. #66 Maria Kononova (NT) 6-4, 6-0
2. Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) vs. MAZZARI, Sveva (HOU) 6-4, 2-6, 4-3, unfinished
3. ALTER, Lauren (HOU) def. Minying Liang (NT) 6-1, 6-3
4. Nidhi Surapaneni (NT) def. MILLS, Alison (HOU) 7-6 (4), 6-3
5. NICOLAOU, Constanden (HOU) def. Haruka Sasaki (NT) 6-4, 6-4
6. GLUMAC, Ana (HOU) def. Alexandra Heczey (NT) 5-7, 7-5, 6-2
1. Alexandra Heczey/Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. #54 MAZZARI, Sveva/DIMITROVA, Tsveta (HOU) 7-6 (10-7)
2. Maria Kononova/Minying Liang (NT) def. ALTER, Lauren/MILLS, Alison (HOU) 6-4
3. NICOLAOU, Constanden/GLUMAC, Ana (HOU) def. Nidhi Surapaneni/Haruka Sasaki (NT) 6-4