Tennis Bounces Back In Singles For 5-2 Win Over Louisville
North Texas Remains Undefeated From Waranch Tennis Complex
DENTON — The message for a young but talented North Texas tennis team has been one of starting matches strong and responding to adversity. After the Mean Green dropped its day-opening doubles point to Louisville on Tuesday, the coaching staff knew that theory would be put to the test.
North Texas (7-8) would respond in the singles portion of the day, winning five individual matchups to overwhelm the Cardinals in a 5-2 victory from the Waranch Tennis Complex. The win keeps the Mean Green undefeated at its home venue this season and advances the team’s record to 7-8 in dual matches.
“This was a huge match for us because we’ve played a very intense schedule to this point,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We were coming off a tough loss to New Mexico, so I knew physically and emotionally that this was going to be a tough match. But this is a resilient group of ladies. We’ve got a bunch of warriors out there, and they continue to go after it.”
The Mean Green’s comeback effort was sparked by stout singles play from the team’s seniors. At the No. 3 spot, Anastasiya Shestakova breezed through Louisville’s Jessie Lynn Paul by way of a 6-0, 6-2 decision, and Agustina Valenzuela followed her up with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Elle Stokes at the fourth spot.
But it was the one-two combo of freshmen Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze that sealed a win for North Texas on the day. For Kononova - Conference USA’s reigning player of the week - the win came in another two-setter as the Mean Green’s No. 1 player took a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Ariana Rodriguez. For Kutubidze, the match-clinching point was a little harder to come by, as she needed three sets to take a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Sena Suswam in a grueling, hard-fought battle.
With the match already in hand, North Texas added to its score with perhaps the most closely-contested match of the day. Playing at the No. 5 position, junior Alexis Thoma pulled off a hard-earned 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-7 win over Abbie Pahz. That came after Thoma trailed 5-1 in the first set before battling back for a three-set tiebreaker.
The Mean Green will get to enjoy some time off during spring break, as the team’s next match won’t take place until April Fools Day. In that one, North Texas will play host to Memphis at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 1, from the Waranch Tennis Complex.
1. Kononova/Kutubidze vs. Paul/Stokes, 4-5 (unfinished)
2. Valenzuela/Arciniegas fall to Boesing/Rodriguez, 6-4
3. Galieva/Thoma fall to Pahz/Suswam, 6-2
1. Maria Kononova def. Ariana Rodriguez; 6-2, 6-4
2. Tamuna Kutubidze def. Sena Suswam; 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
3. Anastasiya Shestakova def. Jessie Lynn Paul; 6-0, 6-2
4. Agustina Valenzuela def. Elle Stokes; 6-3, 6-3
5. Alexis Thoma def. Abbie Pahz; 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-7
6. Laura Arciniegas falls to Olivia Boesing; 7-5, 6-3