Mean Green Doubles Team Nationally Ranked
Sophomores Maria Kononova And Tamuna Kutubidze Receive National Rankings
DENTON -- North Texas sophomores Tamuna Kutubidze and Maria Kononova begin the 2017 dual match season as the No. 54 ranked doubles team in the country and No. 7 in the Texas Region, announced by the ITA.
Kutubidze also received a regional singles ranking of No. 14.
"Maria and Tamuna have shown steady growth," said North Texas associate head coach Jeff Hammond. "They are very talented, but as all coaches know talent will only take you so far. It is their consistent approach to practice and training on a day-to-day basis that gives them their edge."
The Mean Green pair of Kutubidze and Kononova has accomplished a lot during their short time in Denton. They are on pace to finish their careers as one of the most successful No. 1 doubles teams in program history. As freshmen last season, Kutubidze and Kononova posted a 10-5 No. 1 doubles record during the duel match season. Their .667 winning percentage is tied for seventh best in program history for a single-season.
The highlight of their freshman season came when they defeated the No. 48 ranked doubles team of Emily Smith and Katherine Ip of Rice (6-3). For their success, Kutubidze and Kononova were named First-Team Conference USA in both singles and doubles last year.
This past fall, Kutubidze and Kononova topped their spring victory over Rice by defeating a No. 36 ranked Oklahoma State team 8-7(7) at the ITA Women's All-American Championships. Furthermore, the North Texas pair became just the second doubles team in program history to reach the ITA Texas Regional Doubles semifinals.
In duel singles last year, Kutubidze owned an 11-3 record on No. 2 and a 13-4 record overall. She ended the year on an eight-match win streak in singles play and defeated No. 92 ranked Katherine Ip of Rice in the C-USA semifinals (6-4, 6-1). Kutubidze led the team during the season with three clinches.
This past fall, Kutubidze played challenging matches and came away with some big wins, such as her victory over UC Santa Barbara's Palina Dubavets (5-7, 7-5, 6-4) at the ITA Women's All-American Championships.
The Mean Green's duel match season begins Saturday Jan. 21 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as they open the year at No. 5 Oklahoma State. North Texas hosts 15 home matches this spring, including the 2017 C-USA Tournament. Before that, though, the Mean Green have a tune up tournament at the SMU Invite beginning Saturday.