Tennis Drops Marathon Match To No. 45 New Mexico

Freshman Maria Kononova picked up her second win over a ranked opponent on Friday.
March 12, 2016

Final Stats

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DALLAS — It was long. It was grueling. And by the night’s end, the result was a loss for the North Texas tennis team following almost five hours of play.

The Mean Green fell, 4-3, to the No. 45 New Mexico Lobos on Friday in a de facto home match that was forced to relocate due to rain. Originally scheduled as an afternoon matchup at the Waranch Tennis Complex, the week-ending contest took place at the Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.

Beginning with an early-evening 7 p.m. serve, the showdown nearly stretched into the wee hours of Saturday morning before the Lobos seized the clinching point in a No. 5 singles showdown that lasted about two hours. The Mean Green fought back from a doubles point loss to take a 3-2 match lead, but it wasn’t enough to clinch a win.

“I thought that we put ourselves in a hole by dropping doubles but again we came back,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We never gave up, we fought and we put ourselves in a position to win the match. New Mexico came with a lot of confidence and I’m not sure that we matched that energy early on.”

Forced to fight back back from the early deficit, North Texas found itself on the board for its first points of the night after a 6-3, 6-2 win for freshman Maria Kononova. Playing against Andrea LeBlanc, the 115h-ranked singles player in college tennis, the Mean Green rookie controlled the matchup throughout and sparked life into her teammates at the top individual spot. It was her second win of the year against a nationally-ranked opponent.

North Texas (6-8) would go on to win the next two matches on the day. At the No. 3, senior Anastasiya Shestakova took down Dominique Dulski by way of a dominant 6-4, 6-1 decision, followed by a hard fought, three-set match for freshman Tamuna Kutubidze at the No. 2; 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

But New Mexico (7-5) bounced back from an early deficit in the match-clinching showdown at the No. 5 spot, ultimately snatching the win from the Mean Green’s grasp and breaking what had been a previously unbeaten home record in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 score.

As the tests continue for a North Texas team that has now lost four of its last five contests, its head coach is comfortable with where the group stands.

“They give 100 percent every single time, in practice and in matches,” Lama said. “Now it’s just about getting over the hump.”

Up Next
The Mean Green will be back at the Waranch Tennis Complex for its next three matches, the most immediate of those being a showdown with Louisville at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 15, from Denton.

1. Maria Kononova def. #115 Andrea LeBlanc; 6-3, 6-2
2. Tamuna Kutubidze def. Emily Olivier; 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
3. Anastasiya Shestakova def. Dominique Dulski; 6-4, 6-1
4. Agustina Valenzuela falls to Ludivine Burguiere; 6-4, 6-2
5. Alexis Thoma falls to Sharon Coone; 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Minying Liang falls to Rachana Bhat; 6-1, 6-3

1. Kononova/Kutubidze fall to Olivier/Dulski, 6-4
2. Shestakova/Thoma vs. LeBlanc/Bhat, 3-5 (unfinished)
3. Valenzuela/Arciniegas fall to Coone/Burguiere, 6-2



North Texas Mean Green