Tennis Wins Two Draws In Final Day of Wild West Open Shootout
North Texas Finishes 19-8, 9-4 In Last Tournament of the Fall Season
Freshman Maria Kononova won the Flight A consolation final and the doubles championship on Sunday. (Photo by Rick Yeatts)
DENTON - The North Texas tennis team had two shots to claim championships on the final day of the Wild West Open Shootout, and it did not disappoint as senior Anastasiya Shestakova and one doubles duo won their respective draws on Sunday.
Overall, the team combined for a 6-2 singles mark and went 1-2 in doubles play on the day, but North Texas players took over in the tournament’s pivotal matches. The Mean Green finished the weekend with a 19-8 singles record while going 9-4 in doubles.
Freshman duo Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze started the day by continuing their stronghold on the tournament’s doubles bracket, winning the draw’s championship match against teammate Laura Arciniegas and unattached competitor Minying Liang by a 6-4 score.
As has been the case for much of the fall season, head coach Sujay Lama was once again pleased with the way his doubles duos performed on the weekend.
“One thing that is great at this point in the season is that our doubles teams are looking really, really good,” Lama said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with over the last year or two but we have all the tools to put together a nice run in the spring season.”
Singles action was highlighted by a Flight B championship from Shestakova, who handled junior Emily Groeneveld of Liberty by a 6-4, 6-0 mark. The senior dropped a total of only nine games on the weekend en route to the finals win.
North Texas players won consolation championships in each of the singles draws. Kononova, who entered the tournament as the team’s top-seeded player, defeated UTA junior Jessica Birowski to take Flight A’s back draw championship in a tight 6-2, 1-6, 10-7 win. Meanwhile, senior Agustina Valenzuela picked up her back draw title in Flight B against UTA freshman Valeria Lopez by a 6-3, 6-3 total.
The Shootout was just the latest in what has been a fall season full of promising play from the team’s group of freshmen. Between Kononova, Kutubidze and Laura Arciniegas, the Mean Green rookies accounted for a doubles championship, put together a 9-4 mark in singles play and won the top flight’s consolation bracket.
Even with his young group, Lama thinks his team will be able to compete in a tough Conference USA when the official season begins in January.
“It’s going to be a learning process next semester but, knowing the character of this group, I think we’ll rise to the occasion,” Lama said. “We’ll focus on the process and enjoying the journey. I think the results will come with those day-to-day activities.”
For a full listing of winners or to view final draw sheets from the three-day tournament, visit our Wild West Open Shootout Tournament Central page.
Flight A Results
• Kononova defeats Birowski (UTA); 6-2, 1-6, 10-7
• Thoma falls to Dollar (Liberty); 0-6, 6-4, 10-3
Flight B Results
• Shestakova defeats Groeneveld (Liberty); 6-4, 6-0
• Valenzuela defeats Lopez (UTA); 6-3, 6-3
• Arciniegas falls to Thong (Liberty); 6-3, 6-1
• Galieva defeats Mabe (Liberty); 6-1, 6-3
• Kutubidze defeats Massereau (Seminole S.C.); 6-0, 6-3
• Arciniegas defeats Hess (Collin College); 8-1
• Kononova/Kutubidze defeat Arciniegas/Liang (UA), 6-4
• Valenzuela/Thoma fall to Crist/Thong (Liberty), 7-6(2)