North Texas Daily

Recap: Tennis overpowers Missouri State, snaps six game losing streak

Recap: Tennis overpowers Missouri State, snaps six game losing streak

Recap: Tennis overpowers Missouri State, snaps six game losing streak
March 20
19:41 2021

The tennis team played Missouri State University on Saturday riding a six-game losing streak that was capped off on Thursday by a 4-0 loss to Rice University (10-2). However, the team put together a strong performance for the match as they broke their recent skid with a 4-0 win.

“I’m really pleased, but there were some tricky situations,” Head coach Sujay Lama said. “They had to battle. This is college tennis, there are no easy wins. You have to go out there and get it done.”

Doubles saw the Mean Green (3-9, Conference USA 1-1) dominate as the team of freshman Saki Oyama and sophomore Sophia Hummel got off to a strong start with a 6-1 win. The top team of senior Nidhi Surapaneni and junior Lucie Devier then cleaned things up as they also swept by their opponents with a 6-1 win, putting the Mean Green up 1-0 in the match.

North Texas rode the momentum into doubles, as they took the first set on the top four courts. While the Bears (5-8) fought to take sets on the bottom two courts, the Mean Green were able to go up 3-0 as Surapaneni and Ponomareva both won 6-1, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-1 respectively. Sophomore Kexuan Zhou then proceeded to clinch the match for the Eagles with a 7-6(4), 6-1 win.

While the scores seemed simple for Surapaneni and Ponomareva, each of their opponents had unusual playstyles that they had to adjust to in order to gather the win.

“The first set was pretty comfortable, it was like a breeze,” Surapaneni said.”However, in the second set, she started hitting it harder…so I tried to get it out of her strike zone.”

Ponomareva’s opponent was even stranger, as she only hit underhand serves the entire match. However, it turned into a fairly lopsided affair once Ponomareva started paying attention only to her game.

“The first four games it took me a while to calm down,” Ponomareva said. “I was going crazy because of her serves. I was just like ‘I need to concentrate’ and I stopped thinking about what she was doing…I was just concentrating on my shots.”

While Lama believes that this was not the cleanest match they have played, he wants to let the team savor the win that has come after a long stretch of difficult losses.

“There are always areas of improvement, areas where we could’ve done better,” Lama said. “But for once, let’s forget about that. Let’s enjoy the fact that we got a win…Hopefully, this is the beginning of a good run.”

Up Next: The Mean Green host Midwestern State University on Tuesday at home before getting back into conference play on Friday against Louisiana Tech University at home as well.


Featured Image: Sophomore Sophia Hummel begins her serve during tennis practice on Feb. 21, 2021. Image by Zach Del Bello

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Caleb Yum

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