Four Matches In Eight Days
North Texas Hosts Wichita State On Sunday
DENTON – The North Texas tennis team begins a stretch where it will play four home matches in eight days.
The Mean Green (5-8) start the four-match home stand on Sunday against Wichita State at noon. The Shockers have won the Missouri Valley Conference title the last seven straight years and finished last season ranked No. 30 in the ITA postseason poll.
“This is a great opportunity for us to prepare for something similar to what the conference championship will be like,” said North Texas head coach Sujay Lama. “It’s spring break, so we’ll be able to just focus on our matches and build momentum in a short time period.”
Lama and the Mean Green are looking to attack Wichita State from the beginning. Lama believes winning the doubles point is crucial to all matches as it sets the tone. North Texas is coming off a tough 5-2 loss at No. 22 TCU. The Mean Green lost the doubles point and then had to try and fight back in the match. North Texas won two singles matches and took a couple others to the third set but in the end fell. However, last Saturday versus Arizona, they won the doubles point and transferred the momentum into singles play where they cruised to a 5-2 win over the Wildcats.
The unranked Shockers took on the No. 43 SMU Mustangs on Friday in Dallas and won 5-2. WSU won the doubles point in the match. In their previous two matches prior to SMU, also against top 50 opponents, the Shockers lost the doubles points and the matches.
“We’ve got have high energy from the beginning,” Lama said. “We will all feed off each other and great things will happen.”
North Texas’ No. 1 doubles team of sophomores Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze are ranked No. 77 in the country and remain undefeated on the year at 9-0. The pair won 10 matches at No. 1 all of last year when they posted a 10-5 record. Their .667 winning percentage last year was the seventh highest in program history for a single season. Sunday, they will look to remain undefeated and will likely face a No. 1 Shockers doubles team that is 8-4 on the year.
GOING FOR 11
Maria Kononova ended a two-match losing streak on Wednesday against TCU with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the No. 60 ranked player. Kononova, the No. 82 ranked player in the country, had won nine straight matches before the losses. She has already surpassed her singles win total from last year. She will likely face the No. 117 ranked player. Kononova has a .571 career winning percentage against opponents ranked in the top 125.