North Texas Daily

Tennis defeats UTA in final match before postseason

Tennis defeats UTA in final match before postseason

April 14
20:47 2018

North Texas finished its regular season with a 4-1 victory over metroplex rival University of Texas at Arlington. The Mean Green (8-13) defeated the Mavericks(11-8) in the doubles point 2-0, with junior Tamuna Kutubidze and sophomore Haruka Sasaki defeating Almudena Boza and Carla Cerdan Viver 6-4 and sophomore Alexandra Heczey and freshman Nidhi Surapaneni defeating Nanaka Takeuchi and Momoka Horiguchi 6-1.

The victory in the doubles put the Mean Green up 1-0 heading into the singles match ups.

The Mean Green dominated the singles match ups, defeating the Maverick 3-1 to take home the 4-1 victory. This is the third consecutive season that the Mean Green have defeated the Mavericks.

With the victory, the Mean Green are heading into the conference tournament with a victory after a season full of ups and downs.

Junior Maria Kononova played the No. 1 singles spot again and after dropping her first set versus Agustina Serio, made quick adjustments to take the second set 6-3. The match went unfinished but these are the type of adjustments Kononova said will help her heading into the Conference USA tournament next week.

“I feel I played well in my first set, but I just could not finish my opportunities and I picked the wrong shot a couple of times,” Kononova said. “I was not disappointed and I kept fighting and I got on a roll.”

Kutubidze pulled out a three-set win 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 in her No. 2 singles match and the other two singles wins for North Texas were in straight sets.

After the victory over the Mavericks, Kononova knows the team needs to stay aggressive heading into the conference tournament next week.

“We have to stay aggressive, we can not wait for the opponent to make a mistake, but we need to force them to make a mistake,” Kononova said. “I think an aggressive mindset is important for us heading into the conference tournament.”

Head coach Sujay Lama has seen his team go through ups and downs in doubles this season and he said staying with a focused mindset helped the Mean Green win their doubles matches.

“I think staying even keeled has helped us during our doubles matches,” Lama said. “We do not high when we get ahead and we do not go down low when we get behind. The even keeled mentality has helped us out a lot.”

The victory over the Mavericks is huge for the Mean Greens confidence heading into the conference tournament, and players and coaches are excited for the challenge.

“Everyone competed and everyone fought,” Lama said. “Was it our best tennis match that we played? Probably not. Everything has been thrown at us this year, even the kitchen sink. I can tell you this, no one in conference wants to play us. They all know what kind of team we are.”

Up next: The Mean Green head to Norfolk, VA on Thursday to play Conference USA tournament.

Featured image: North Texas freshman Nidhi Surapaneni hits the ball during a singles match against Louisiana Tech on Jan. 27.

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Matthew Berger

Matthew Berger

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