Kutubidze And Kononova Become Just Second Mean Green Pair To Reach Semifinals
North Texas Pair Wins 8-1 Saturday
WACO — For just the second time in program history a North Texas doubles team has reached the ITA Texas Regional semifinals. Saturday, Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze defeated Texas Tech’s Katelyn Jackson and Reagan Collins (8-1) in the quarterfinals of the Baylor hosted tournament.
“Tamuna and Maria were very efficient today,” head coach Suja Lama said. “Their execution on the big points was flawless.”
The No. 8 seeded pair has won three consecutive doubles matches to reach the semifinals. Friday they defeated an Abilene Christian and then a Texas A&M team to get to Saturday’s quarterfinals. Mean Green alums Madura Ranganathan and Irina Paraschiv reached semifinals in 2009. No Mean Green doubles team has reached the finals.
Last year at the ITA Texas Regional, as freshmen, Kutubidze and Kononova only won one match before ending their regional tournament appearance.
The sophomore tandem has already won seven matches this fall, tying their fall total from last season. In California at the ITA All-American Tournament two weeks ago, Kononova and Kutubidze defeated the No. 36 ranked Oklahoma State team.
“The hard work they have put in is paying off for them,” Lama said.
Sunday they will face the No. 5 seeded Blair Shankle and Elizabeth Profit from Baylor at 10 a.m. for an opportunity to reach the ITA Texas Regional Finals. The winners of the tournament advance to the ITA Indoor National Championship in New York City.
In her consolation singles match, Kononova has reached the semifinals of the bracket. She defeated SMU’s Ana Luisa Perez Lopez (6-2,7-6(2), 10-8) and then Khee Yen Wee of Sam Houston State (6-2, 6-2). Mean Green freshman Alexandra Heczey lost to Jessica Birowski (7-5, 6-2) of Texas Arlington in the fourth round of the bracket.
Kononova defeated Perez Lopez (SMU); 6-2, 7-6(2), 10-8
Kononova defeated Wee (Sam Houston State); 6-2, 6-2
Heczey lost Birowski (UTA); 7-5, 6-2
Kononova/Kutubidze defeated Jackson/Collins (Texas Tech); 8-1