North Texas Daily

Tennis loses to hot Memphis team after slow start

Tennis loses to hot Memphis team after slow start

April 01
13:02 2018

Despite their focus to starting strong, North Texas made the same mistakes as their previous matches by allowing Memphis to establish momentum by winning the doubles point and capitalizing early in singles. The Mean Green were unable to gain any traction as they lost to the University of Memphis 4-0 Saturday evening at the Waranch Tennis Complex.

Head coach Sujay Luma admitted that Memphis played a great match and he liked the overall level of competition from his team.

“They executed better. But I was really proud of the way we battled,” Lama said. “We faced a lot of adversity this year and so many injuries so we’re banged up but the challenge was whether we can still fight and show character”

Junior Tamuna Kutubidze and sophomore Alexandra Heczey lost their doubles match 6-4, while juniors Maria Kononova and Minying Liang lost 6-2 to give Memphis the early lead with the doubles points.

Going into singles play, the Mean Green seemed distraught, but they remained competitive throughout the match.

Heczey and Liang gave the team much needed momentum after winning their first sets, while Kononova and Kutubidze put on a dominating performance in their second sets at No.1 and No.2, respectively.

Losses by the Mean Green at No.5 and No.6 put Memphis on the verge of winning the match entirely. Kononova, Kutubidze, and Heczey were close to closing their matches and giving the team enough hope to come back.

But a loss at No.3 clinched the victory for the Tigers just before North Texas’ top group could finish their matches.

“This is a good team,” Lama said. “Memphis is getting hot and they’ve played some good matches. I think today we gave everything we had. They were just the better team and sometimes you accept that and say ‘Hey you know what, we showed grit and we showed fight, it was not enough so we keep grinding away.’”

While seeing Kononova and Kutubidze unable to finish their matches was upsetting, Lama believes that saving their bodies is more important, especially since this was a non conference match.

“It’s frustrating, but at this point in the season, I think we’re all trying to save their bodies so as much as we want them to finish their matches, I think the most important thing is for them to look after their bodies,” Lama said. “When the match is decided, it doesn’t really make sense at this point in the year to keep grinding and making them play.”

Up next: North Texas will have a week to rest before they begin their final road trip of the regular season with a Thursday morning match at Tulsa.

Featured image: North Texas junior Tamuna Kutubidze hits the ball during a doubles match against Louisiana Tech on Jan. 27.

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Deondre Jones

Deondre Jones

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