Tennis Drops Dramatic 4-3 Decision To SMU
North Texas Comeback Falls Just Short In 4-3 Loss To Mustangs
Nastya Shestakova lost in nail-biting three-set finish to SMU's Dasha Sharapova on Tuesday. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
DALLAS — Friday’s match between the North Texas tennis team and metroplex rival SMU was all tied at 3-3 by the time Anastasiya Shestakova led five games to two in the second set.
After taking a tie-breaking win in the first frame, the senior had three games to put together enough plays for the match-clinching point. Then two. Then one.
Eventually Dasha Sharapova - SMU’s No. 3 player and cousin to Maria - clawed back in what became one of the closest-scoring matches you’ll find in collegiate tennis, using a 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 7-5 win to take down the final Mean Green player and clinch a 4-3 win for the Mustangs from the Brookshire Family Pavillion in Dallas.
“Today it was all about closing,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “We didn’t close when we had the chances. We can’t sit around and wait for someone to give the match to us. We’re disappointed, we’re hurt, but we’re going to turn this into a positive.”
North Texas (9-9) was forced to recover from a slow start that saw the team drop the doubles round. Shestakova joined freshman Maria Kononova in a 6-2 loss to the nation’s 62nd-ranked doubles duo, Vaszilisza Bulgakova and Hristina Dishkova. Junior Alexis Thoma and freshman Laura Arciniegas lost to Macie Elliot and Ana Perez-Lopez, 6-1.
But the Mean Green orchestrated a comeback at the beginning of the day’s singles portion, mainly due to a pair of wins at the top spots that finished seconds apart. Freshman Tamuna Kutubidze started things with a 6-3, 6-1 score against Yana Erkeeva, and Kononova took down Hristina Dishkova at the top spot, 7-5, 6-2.
The two teams then swapped three matches to setup the match-clincher, with senior Agustina Valenzuela winning over Macie Elliott at the fourth position; 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
North Texas now prepares for its last road match of the season, a contest against Houston at 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, from the campus of UH.
1. Maria Kononova def. Hristina Dishkova; 7-5, 6-2
2. Tamuna Kutubidze def. Yana Erkeeva; 6-3, 6-1
3. Anastasiya Shestakova falls to Dasha Sharapova; 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 7-5
4. Agustina Valenzuela def. Macie Elliott; 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
5. Minying Liang falls to Mary Wright; 6-2, 1-6, 6-4
6. Alexis Thoma falls to Ana Perez-Lopez; 6-2, 6-3
1. Kononova/Shestakova fall to Bulgakova/Dishkova, 6-2
2. Valenzuela/Kutubidze vs. Sharapova/Wright, 3-4 (unfinished)
3. Arciniegas/Thoma fall to Elliott/Perez-Lopez, 6-1