Kononova, Kutubidze Earn Program-Best Rankings
Tennis Sophomores Lead Bright Future For Mean Green
DENTON -- In the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's final season rankings, North Texas tennis earned four program highs.
The Mean Green's No. 1 doubles team of Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze received a program-best No. 58 national ranking and No. 6 Texas regional ranking. In singles, Kononova ended the year ranked No. 76 in the country and No. 9 in the region, all program-highs.
"Maria and Tamuna had a phenomenal season this year but this is just the beginning for them," said head coach Sujay Lama. "The sky is the limit for these two special student-athletes."
The sophomores went 17-1 this past season in dual match doubles. They set a program record for doubles wins, doubles winning percentage (.944) and longest doubles dual match winning streak (17). Kononova set the program record for singles wins with 18 and her straight-set win over the No. 16 ranked national player on Feb. 10 was the highest ranked opponent a Mean Green tennis player had ever beaten.
Kutubidze gave North Texas a more than competitive player at the No. 2 position in the lineup. Kutubidze was named first team all-conference with Kononova and ended the season with 11 singles wins despite missing the start of the season recovering from surgery.
Kutubidze played her best against teams and opponents in the Texas region. In 2017, the Georgia native posted a 4-1 dual match singles record against opponents from the region.
Together, Kononova and Kutubidze are 27-6 all-time in dual doubles matches in their two seasons in Denton, all at the No. 1 position. Their 27 wins are fourth most in program history and just four off 2013 graduate Barbora Vykydalova's program-record 31 doubles wins.
In October, the pair defeated the then No. 36 nationally ranked Oklahoma State team at the ITA All-American Championship. The win spring boarded the Mean Green doubles team to win 19 of their next 20 finished matches, including the record setting 17 straight in the dual match season.
"They have the talent, drive and desire to climb up the rankings and do something incredible in the next two years," Lama said. "They continue to build the expectations and competitiveness of the program as a whole."