Tennis Dominates Singles, Advances To C-USA Quarterfinals
North Texas Takes Down UAB In First Round, 4-1
MURFREESBORO, Tennessee — The No. 71 North Texas tennis team trailed 14th-seeded UAB early on in the afternoon after dropping the doubles point in Day 1 of the Conference USA Tournament from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation.
An energetic and passionate Mean Green team rallied back in the singles portion of the day, advancing past the first round of the C-USA championship for the third straight year. In a thorough display of the team’s depth, North Texas dropped only one set between six singles players en route to a 4-1 win on Thursday.
“We responded the way we have all year long after the doubles point,” head coach Sujay Lama said. “This team has a quiet confidence and we have the right energy and mentality. We know each day will be a battle and nothing is going to be handed to us. Today was a reminder of that.”
UAB (7-15) didn’t look like the conference’s lowest seed in the day’s doubles round. In fact, only the No.1 Mean Green duo of Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze were able to win as a duo, knocking off Pardis Kianoush and Elaine Simon, 6-2. In the other doubles showdowns, the team’s of Agustina Valenzuela/Minying Liang and Anastasiya Shestakova/Alexis Thoma each fell by scores of 6-3 and 6-4, respectively.
But North Texas (12-9) picked up two quick singles wins from a pair of streaky players in Kutubidze and Liang. Playing on Court 2, Kutubidze picked up a 6-0, 6-1 win in a short-lived contest versus Simon, pushing the Georgia native’s win streak to seven matches. Meanwhile, Liang knocked off Reghan Lynch by way of a 6-1, 6-4 score to notch her third consecutive victory.
With a match lead in hand, the Mean Green then saw Valenzuela pick up a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Sophie Dodds in the only three-set match of the day. Along with Kutubidze, Valenzuela now leads North Texas with 12 dual wins on the year.
Closing things out was Thoma on Court 6. Despite playing only two sets, she battled with UAB’s Amy Lowther for nearly two hours in what became the deciding showdown for the Mean Green, culminating in a 6-2, 6-4 win for the 71st-ranked team in the country.
North Texas will be back on the courts at 2 p.m. for Friday’s quarterfinal matchup. In that one, the Mean Green will match up with the winner of (6) Louisiana Tech and (11) Charlotte.
1. Kononova/Kutubidze def. Kianoush/Simon, 6-2
2. Valenzuela/Liang fall to Valenzuela/Liang, 6-3
3. Shestakova/Thoma fall to Ragon/Lowther, 6-4
1. Maria Kononova vs. Pardis Kianoush; 7-6(5), 4-1 (unfinished)
2. Tamuna Kutubidze def. Elaine Simon; 6-0, 6-1
3. Anastasiya Shestakova vs. Catherine Ragon; 6-4, 3-3 (unfinished)
4. Agustina Valenzuela def. Sophie Dodds; 2-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. Minying Liang def. Reghan Lynch; 6-1, 6-4
6. Alexis Thoma def. Amy Lowther; 6-2, 6-4