North Texas Daily

Tennis falls in close rematch, but bounces back with shutout

Tennis falls in close rematch, but bounces back with shutout

Tennis falls in close rematch, but bounces back with shutout
March 12
11:36 2019

In a rematch of the 2018 Conference USA Tournament Quarterfinals, the North Texas tennis team (9-6, 3-2 C-USA) fell again to Old Dominion (12-2, 2-0 C-USA) by a score of 4-3 on Friday. The match was the Mean Green’s second straight loss to a C-USA opponent after starting conference play 3-0.

Old Dominion is one of the best teams in our league,” head coach Sujay Lama said to “Our goal is to win the conference championships so it’s good to know we’re right there with them. We just need to keep working.”

The day began with  the Mean Green losing the doubles point to the Monarchs. Seniors Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze were the only winners in doubles for North Texas and their win allowed them to stay undefeated in doubles this season with a 7-0 record.

“We knew it’d be a close 4-3 match,” Lama said. “We also knew it’d come down to the doubles point and that set the tone.”

The singles matches allowed the Mean Green to start making comebacks. Kononova, Kutubidze and junior Ivana Babic picked up wins while their teammates would end up losing to their Old Dominion opponents in straight sets.

The team moved on to face Louisiana Tech on Sunday in their penultimate conference match of the regular season. They shut out the Ragin’ Cajuns on the way to a 7-0 win.

“I’m so happy with how we dominated at each court today,” junior Haruka Sasaki said to “After the tough loss against Old Dominion (on Friday), we came back with the right attitude and put lots of extra work in as a team.”

Sasaki got her first singles win of the spring on Sunday in the number six slot. She beat her opponent in straight sets 6-3, 6-0 and was one of six North Texas players to win their singles match in straight sets.

“I’m so happy to get the opportunity to play and help the team win,” Sasaki said. “This season is not easy for me mentally but I just want to help my team who I love the most and hope to be successful in any way I can. I’ll continue to give my best in every practice and am willing to push myself as well as my teammates.”

Sunday was the sixth time that the Mean Green have shutout their opponent this season while also moving to 8-2 at home. With nine wins, they have matched their win total from last season with six more teams left to play.

“We’re so hungry to win and get the things done this year,” Sasaki said. “I really believe that this is the year we will make history.”

The Mean Green’s next match will be against Wichita State on March 17. North Texas will be going on the road to play the Shockers and will be their only match of the week. The start time is currently set for 12 p.m. at Coleman Tennis Complex in Wichita.

Featured Image: Ready to swing, junior Ivana Babic watches the ball to her racquet. Babic won with two 6-4 sets. Image by: Kara Dry.

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Caleb Akpan

Caleb Akpan

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