North Texas Daily

Tennis falls to .500 after two-loss weekend

Tennis falls to .500 after two-loss weekend

Tennis falls to .500 after two-loss weekend
March 31
19:16 2019

With three straight losses and three matches left for the season, Mean Green Tennis now sits at 9-9 after a 6-1 loss to Tulsa on Saturday and a 4-3 loss to Texas-San Antonio on Sunday.

Saturday saw the Mean Green face multiple injuries to their regular lineups. Junior Ivana Babic would miss the match against Tulsa and also sit out Sunday as fellow junior Haruka Sasaki took her place. Senior Maria Kononova was forced to retire her singles match in the second set but she returned to play on Sunday.

“[On Saturday] we played a really, really good team,” head Coach Sujay Lama said after Sunday’s match. “Overall I think we competed well but it was just a good team and some days no matter how hard you compete, they were just the better team.”

Saturday’s match was played at the SMU Tennis Complex due to weather concerns in Denton. The team would return to Waranch Tennis Complex on Sunday with a chance to bounce back. All three doubles pairings won their matches to start the day. They were led by Kononova and senior Tamuna Kutubidze rebounding from their first loss in doubles on Saturday.

“We played really well doubles-wise,” Lama said. “We had a couple of chances to kind of close the match. I think that’s what we didn’t do, we didn’t close the match.”

North Texas took a 1-0 lead with their doubles sweep and won the first two finished singles matches of the day with wins from Kononova and sophomore Nidhi Surapaneni. Texas-San Antonio would then win the next three matches of the day to tie the Mean Green 3-3 with one match to go.

Kutubidze played Roadrunner freshman Jasmin Starr on court number one to decide Sunday’s winner. The Mean Green’s ranked senior fell down 6-3, 3-1 before mounting a comeback to take the second set 7-6 and tie her opponent. In the deciding third set, Starr recovered from losing her lead in the second set with a 6-4 third set win to give Texas-San Antonio the day’s win.

“I’ve got to give them the credit,” Lama said. “As a competitor, you hate losing a tough one like that, but you’ve got to tip the hat to them and say, “Hey, well done”.

The Mean Green are now at .500 for the first time since early February. They will go on the road to play Texas-Arlington and Memphis before returning to Denton for a match with Southern Methodist to end the regular season on April 10.

“For me [the season] is like this massive journey,” Lama said. “I still believe in this team, I still believe we’re improving. Sometimes the results are not showing and today was a little bit of a setback, but we have to regroup as competitors and then go right back into the next mode.”

Featured Image: Ready to swing, junior Ivana Babic watches the ball to her racquet on March 8, 2019. Image by: Kara Dry.

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Caleb Akpan

Caleb Akpan

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