Kutubidze And Kononova Anchor Strong Showing For North Texas At RC Invite

Sept. 18, 2016

MIDLAND, Texas — A championship tiebreaking loss ended North Texas doubles partners, Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze, Racquet Club Invitational run Sunday afternoon.

The No. 2-seeded Mean Green sophomores fell 8-6(8-6) in the Midland, Texas, doubles tournament finals to Abilene Christian’s Whitney Williams and Erin Walker.

“Overall, this was a good start to the year,” said head coach Sujay Lma. “Definitely the best results we have ever had at this tournament both in singles and doubles.”

After receiving a first round bye, the North Texas pair won two matches to reach the doubles semifinal round, which was held Sunday morning. In the semifinals, Kononova and Kutubidze defeated Texas Tech’s Kaitlyn Jackson and Lynn Kiro by a score of 8-3. In the final round later in the day, ACU won the tiebreaker 8-6 to win the fall season’s opening doubles tournament title.

“Tamuna and Maria were outstanding and a bit unlucky not to bring home a championship in doubles,” Lama said.

For the Mean Green’s doubles team, despite the loss, it’s a great start to a season that has high expectations after ending last spring so strong. As a team, Kononova and Kutubidze won their final four doubles matches last spring and now have won seven of their last eight.

In total as a team, the Mean Green collected four victories in the doubles tournament. Senior Alexis Thoma and freshman Alexandra Heczey reached the second round after a walkover win in the first round.

In the singles bracket, North Texas as a team had a strong showing compiling seven wins. Kononova and Kutubidze made it the furthest by reaching the quarterfinals of the 64-player tournament. Fellow sophomore Laura Arciniegas made the round of 32 after defeating her opening round opponent in straight sets. For Kononova and Kutubidze, making the singles quarterfinals was a round further than last year’s results in the RC Invite tournament.

 

 

The team will be back on the court in a couple weeks as North Texas travels to Norman, Oklahoma, for the Sooner Invite starting Sept. 30.

“We were able to identify the areas we need to work on and that will be our focus the next two weeks,” Lama said.

Sunday’s results:

DOUBLES SEMIFINAL ROUND

Tamuna Kutubidze/ Maria Kononova defeat Kaitlyn Jackson/Lynn Kiro (Texas Tech); 8-3

DOUBLES FINAL ROUND

Tamuna Kutubidze/ Maria Kononova lost Whitney Williams/ Erin Walker (ACU); 8-6(8-6).

North Texas Mean Green