Tennis Returns From Break With 4-2 Win Over Memphis
Still Undefeated At Home, North Texas Ups Record To 8-8 On Year
Senior Anastasiya Shestakova picked up wins in singles and doubles play on Friday. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
DENTON — The Mean Green tennis team saw its first on-court action in more than two weeks, but shaking off the rust wasn’t a problem as the team took a 4-2 decision over the Memphis Tigers on Friday afternoon from the Waranch Tennis Center.
North Texas (8-8) benefitted from a limited Memphis roster on the day, as two Tiger players were unable to compete due to injury. As a result, the visiting team found themselves with only five available players, giving the Mean Green one win apiece in doubles and singles play.
An adjusted lineup proved worthy in the two remaining doubles matches as the No. 1 duo of freshman Maria Kononova and senior Anastasiya Shestakova made quick work of Hanna Sohn and Janina Berres with a 6-2 win.
The doubles victory comes after weeks of re-evaluations from head coach Sujay Lama and the Mean Green coaching staff, and it sparked a well-playing North Texas team on the day.
“We want to get on a hot streak and do some real damage throughout April and May and today was the start of that,” Lama said. “This team is ready to win. They’ve been through the grind. We’ve had the ups and downs, highs and lows, but really they've worked to where they’re prepared for this run.”
After doubles, North Texas needed only two singles wins to clinch the match, and they both came from Mean Green players in new individual positions.
The first of those came from freshman Minying Liang, who took a 6-2, 6-4 win over Gabrielle Paul at the No. 5 spot. The victory gives the Jiangmen, China, native her first singles win since a January 23 showdown against Central Arkansas.
Memphis (1-13) did its best at a comeback effort when trailing 3-0, picking up wins over freshman Maria Kononova and senior Agustina Valenzuela at the one and three spots, respectively.
That’s when senior Shestakova responded in singles action, using a 7-5, 6-4 decision over Kathryn Hughes at the No. 2 position to improve on a 3-2 score and clinch the match for North Texas. The victory marked the senior’s second win at that position on the year, but it was her first action at that spot since January.
North Texas will be back at the Waranch Tennis Complex for a noon showdown with C-USA foe UTSA on Sunday, April 3.
1. Maria Kononova falls to Hanna Sohn; 6-4, 6-3
2. Anastasiya Shestakova def. Kathryn Hughes; 7-5, 6-4
3. Agustina Valenzuela falls to Marta Morga; 6-2, 6-4
4. Alexis Thoma vs. Janina Berres; 6-7(4), 4-3 (unfinished)
5. Minying Liang def. Gabrielle Paul; 6-2, 6-4
6. Laura Arciniegas wins by default
1. Kononova/Shestakova def. Sohn/Berres, 6-2
2. Valenzuela/Kutubidze vs. Paul/Hughes, 3-4 (unfinished)
3. Arciniegas/Thoma win by default