Mean Green Fight Back But Lose At No. 22 TCU
North Texas Falls 5-2
Ft. Worth, TX — The North Texas tennis team lost 5-2 Wednesday night at No. 22 TCU.
To start the match, the Mean Green (5-8) lost the doubles point, losing at No. 2 and No. 3. North Texas faught back from the slow start and took the Horned Frogs to the brink in a few of the singles matches, but close losses at No. 3-6 sealed the deal for TCU (7-4) on the Horned Frogs' home court.
“It was an unbelievable effort by the team,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “They never stopped fighting and played with so much heart.”
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start in doubles but it was great to see them fight back,” he added.
Mean Green sophomore Maria Kononova got North Texas on the board first with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the No. 60 ranked player, Seda Arantekin, at No. 1. Kononova, the 82nd ranked player is one win shy of tying her win total from last season.
Fellow Mean Green sophomore Tamuna Kutubidze also won her singles match. At the No. 2 spot, Kutubidze defeated Aleksandra Zenovka 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, for her second straight singles win.
“She’s starting to build some confidence and momentum,” Lama said of Kutubidze. “Today, Maria seized the opportunity.”
In doubles, Kutubidze and Kononova entered Wednesday’s match as the No. 77 ranked team in the country. Wednesday, the pair led 5-4 against the No. 51 ranked team but the match was called as TCU had claimed the doubles point with victories at No. 2 and No. 3. The No. 1 North Texas doubles team remains undefeated on the season at 9-0.
Despite the loss at No. 4, North Texas freshman Alexandra Heczey continues to show incredible growth. She took her Horned Frog opponent, who was the team’s No. 1 a season ago, to a super tiebreaker. Heczey fell 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(1).
Senior Alexis Thoma also took her opponent to a third set but lost 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.
“Obviously it hurts to lose,” Lama said. “But it’s nice to see how far this team has come. With each match we are playing better and competing better.”
North Texas returns home to host Wichita State on Sunday at noon.
1. #51 Olaya Garrido-Rivas/Seda Arantekin (TCU) vs. #77 Maria Kononova/Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) 4-5, unfinished
2. Caroline Wegner/Donika Bashota (TCU) def. Alexis Thoma/Alexandra Heczey (NT) 6-0
3. Alexis Pereira/Aleksandra Zenovka (TCU) def. Minying Liang/Ivana Babic (NT) 6-4
1. #82 Maria Kononova (NT) def. #60 Seda Arantekin (TCU) 6-4, 6-4
2. Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Aleksandra Zenovka (TCU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
3. Donika Bashota (TCU) def. Alexis Thoma (NT) 3-6, 6-0, 6-3
4. Marie Norris (TCU) def. Alexandra Heczey (NT) 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-1)
5. Sofiko Kadzhaya (TCU) def. Minying Liang (NT) 6-4, retired
6. Caroline Wegner (TCU) def. Haruka Sasaki (NT) 6-2, 7-5