Kononova Wins Opening Match At ITA Hall of Fame Invite
Kononova Wins In Three Sets
NEWPORT,RI – North Texas tennis junior Maria Kononova won her opening day singles match at the International Tennis Association Hall of Fame Invitational Friday afternoon in Newport, Rhode Island.
Kononova defeated Princeton’s Gabriella Pollner 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 in the grass court invite.
“It felt very different to play on the grass, especially to have the first match of the season like this,” Kononova said. “The main goal for me was to stay calm and wait for my chance to break her serve.”
Despite dropping the first set, Kononova, who is the No. 1 seed in her singles flight, stayed resilient through the unfamiliar surface and was able to pull away with the victory.
“Grass is tricky at times and you have to persevere,” said Mean Green associate head coach Jeff Hammond. “She kept her head in it and ultimately that was the difference in the match.”
The ITA Hall of Fame grass court event is an invite only competition and features the best collegiate tennis players in the country. Wins in this event will help Kononova improve on her ITA singles ranking, which is currently at a program-best No. 41.
In addition, she and fellow North Texas junior, Tamuna Kutubidze, earned a Mean Green record-setting No. 22 ranking for doubles in the preseason rankings.
For the Hall of Fame Invitational doubles, Kononova was paired with Florida’s freshman Katie Kubicz. The two had never played before Friday. In their doubles match they faced a North Carolina doubles team that was the No. 4 ranked team in the country and the No. 1 seed in their respected flight. Kononova and Kubicz lost 8-2.
Kononova will face Pollner again on Saturday but in doubles when she and Kubicz face a Princeton doubles team.
In singles she will face North Carolina freshman Alle Sanford, who was the No. 11 ranked player in her recruiting class.
“I think I did well for my first match,” Kononova said. “I’m happy I won and for my North Texas teammates supporting me from far away. It was really nice to get all the lovely messages after the match.”