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Recap: Tennis taken down by Memphis at home in close contest, loses fourth straight match

Recap: Tennis taken down by Memphis at home in close contest, loses fourth straight match

Recap: Tennis taken down by Memphis at home in close contest, loses fourth straight match
March 09
00:40 2021

The tennis team fell to the University of Memphis in a close contest that boiled down to the very last match. It was a difficult loss for the team, as head coach Sujay Lama acknowledged his players did nearly everything right yet were still unable to come away with the win.

“We had everything lined up for us to win this match,” Lama said. “Everything was right there for the taking.”

Similarly to North Texas (2-7), Memphis (3-9) is a team that is much better than its record may suggest. The team recently took No. 23 University of Arkansas (10-1) down to the wire, narrowly losing by a score of 4-3.

The match started off competitively, as the Tigers drew first blood in doubles with a 7-5 win at the No. 3 spot. However, the pair of junior Maria Ponomareva and Kexuan Zhou was able to take the No. 2 match with a 7-5 win of their own. It all came down to junior Lucie Devier and senior captain Nidhi Surapaneni. After an intense tiebreak that saw the two pairs trading match points, the Mean Green was finally able to take the doubles point with a 7-6(8) win.

The pair of Surapaneni and Devier are getting better each week of playing with each other, having developed patterns that complement each other’s skillsets.

“After we’ve played so much together, we have some patterns that we know is working,” Devier said.

Singles was a nailbiting affair, as four of the six matches went to the third set. Tied at 2-2, Zhou was able to win her match 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 — putting the Mean Green up 3-2 in match count. However, freshman Saki Oyama was unable to come through in a 6-3, 1-6, 4-6 loss, which left Ponomareva as the deciding match. After nearly three hours of on-court play, Ponomareva was defeated 6-4, 6-7(4), 1-6.

Despite the overall defeat, Surapaneni was able to get revenge on an opponent she had lost to a year prior. Knowing her opponent’s game allowed her to gain the advantage this time around.

“I kind of knew what she would do,” Surapaneni said. “She had my game. She would want to convert forehands…so I knew if I trapped her on the backhand side I knew I would win a lot of points.”

Lama still believes that his players will only grow from this loss despite how the match came to an end.

“Let the loss hurt you, I want that to be painful,” Lama said. “If we are competitors and we didn’t care about the loss, we have a problem. However, it should not blind us to the fact that we got so much better.”

Up Next: North Texas stays at home to host Tulane University (8-4) on Friday at 3 p.m.

Featured Image: Senior captain Nidhi Surapaneni hits the ball during practice on Feb. 21, 2021. Image by Zach Del Bello

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Caleb Yum

Caleb Yum

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