Kononova And Kutubidze Lead Mean Green Charge In Day One Of RC Invite

Sept. 16, 2016

MIDLAND, Texas — North Texas’ Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze began the 2016 fall season with three victories each at the Racquet Club Invitational Friday. The sophomores won their first two singles matches and then teamed-up for a doubles match victory later in the day at the Midland, Texas, tournament.

It is the second consecutive year the two have reached the round of 16 in the singles bracket and the quarterfinals of the doubles bracket in this tournament.

“It was a really tough day for me,” Kononova said. “I didn't feel really well. But I'm glad that I won my matches in these circumstances.”

“It's a good start to the year,” she added.

Rain and lightning played a factor Friday. Many of the women’s doubles matches were suspended until tomorrow morning, including two of the Mean Green’s.

In the singles tournament, Kononova, who was seeded No. 10, began the day with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, victory over TCU’s freshman Madison Tedford and then a straight set (6-4, 6-3) win against Dasha Sapogova of Penn State.

Kutubidze had to come from behind after dropping her first set to UAB’s Reghan Lynch in the first round. However, Kutubidze didn’t lose a game from the second set on as she won the opening round match 3-6, 6-0, 6-0.

She then knocked off the No. 6 seed Claire Reifeis of Nebraska in the second round (6-4, 4-6, 6-4) to also advance to the round of 16 with Kononova.

Kononova will face TCU's No. 5-seeded Aleksandra Zenovka in the round of 16 Saturday while Kutubidze takes on No. 9 Sofiko Kadzhaya, also from TCU. 



Following their singles victories, the two paired-up in the doubles bracket as the No. 2 seed and defeated Texas State’s Julia Navajo and Eva Dench 8-2 after receiving a first round bye. 

“I'm really proud of myself,” Kutubidze said. “This is the first tournament for me after four months so mentally I handled it really well. Beating the six seeded player gave me a lot of confidence.”

Kononova and Kutubidze weren’t the only North Texas tennis players collecting victories Friday. Fellow sophomore Laura Arciniegas won her opening singles match against Nebraska’s M’Balia Bangoura in straight sets (6-1, 6-1). However, Arciniegas would lose her second round match to UTA’s Astrid Gehre (7-5, 6-3).

In doubles, senior Alexis Thoma and freshman Alexandra Heczey defeated a mix team in a walkover. Their second round doubles match against Texas Tech’s Lynn Kiro and Katelyn Jackson is currently suspended. Thoma and Heczey trail 6-2. The match will resume Saturday at 8:00 AM CT.

All three of North Texas’ freshmen competed Friday. Ivana Babić dropped her opening singles match to the No. 3 seed Katelyn Jackson of Texas Tech (6-1, 6-2) but defeated Carla Cerdan of UTA (6-3, 6-2) in the consolation round of 32. Babić’s opening round doubles match with fellow freshman Haruka Sasaki was postponed due to rain until 8:00 AM Saturday. 

Sasaki also lost her opening round singles match. Sasaki lost in straight sets (6-1, 6-3) to Abilene Christian’s Whitney Williams. However, Sasaki defeated Texas State’s Alexandra Jones in the consolation round of 32 (6-3, 6-3).

Heczey lost her opening round singles match to New Mexico’s Rachana Bhat (6-2, 6-3). Heczey then later lost her consolation round match to UAB’s Catherine Ragon (6-1, 7-5).

“The freshmen are looking good,” Kutubidze said. “They are doing there best and trying very hard to adapt to the new rules and college tennis.”

The Mean Green’s only senior Alexis Thoma lost her first round singles match to No.4 seed Vivienne Kulicke of UTEP (6-1, 6-4) but defeated Jacqueline Zuhse of Penn State in the consolation round of 32 (7-6(5), (6-0).



Singles Results


First Round

 No. 10 Maria Kononova defeat Madison Tedford (TCU); 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

Laura Arciniegas defeat M’Balia Bangoura (Nebraska); 6-1, 6-1

No. 12 Haruka Sasaki lost Whitney Williams (ACU); 6-1, 6-3

Ivana Babić lost No. 3 Katelyn Jackson (Texas Tech); 6-1, 6-2

Alexis Thoma lost Vivienne Kulicke (UTEP); 6-1, 6-4

Tamuna Kutubidze defeat Reghan Lynch (UAB); 3-6, 6-0, 6-0

Alexandra Heczey lost Rachana Bhat (UNM); 6-2, 6-3


Second Round

 Laura Arciniegas lost Astrid Gehre (UTA); 7-5, 6-3

Maria Kononova defeat Dasha Sapogova (Penn State); 6-4, 6-3

Tamuna Kutubidze defeat No. 6 Claire Reifeis (Nebraska); 6-4, 4-6, 6-4

Consolation Singles


First Round

 Haruka Sasaki defeat Alexandra Jones (Texas State); 6-3, 6-3

Alexis Thoma defeat Jacqueline Zuhse (Penn State); 7-6 (5), 6-0

Ivana Babić defeat Carla Cerdan (UTA); 6-3, 6-2

Alexandra Heczey lost Catherine Ragon (UAB); 6-1, 7-5



Doubles Results


First Round

Maria Kononova/ Tamuna Kudubidze Bye

Alexis Thoma/ Alexandra Heczey walkover Lynch (Lamar)/ Merchiers (UAB)

Haruka Sasaki/ Ivana Babić vs. Walker/Williams (ACU) postponed 8:00 AM CT Sat


Second Round

 Maria Kononova/ Tamuna Kutubidze defeat Dench/Navajo (Texas State); 8-2

Alexis Thoma/Alexandra Heczey vs. Jackson/Kiro (Texas Tech) Suspended trailing 6-2 30-30. Will resume at 8:00 AM Saturday.

North Texas Mean Green