Mean Green Fall 4-1 But Leave Kansas Feeling Positive
Kutubidze Remains Unbeaten
MANHATTAN, KS. — The North Texas tennis team lost 4-1 to Washington State Saturday afternoon at a neutral site on the campus of Kansas State.
Though the Mean Green lost by three, North Texas battled close with one of the most competitive teams they’ll play this season and head coach Sujay Lama saw a lot of positives from this weekend’s two matches.
“We took a huge step forward in doubles,” Lama said. “And competed our hearts out in singles.”
North Texas (3-3) lost the doubles point on Saturday but competed with the Cougars (7-0) at every court. At No. 2, the Mean Green’s Tamuna Kutubidze and Alexandra Heczey were one point away from picking up a win but had their doubles match called after WSU claimed the doubles point.
In singles, Kutubidze won her fifth straight match to remain undefeated on the year.
Saturday, Kutubidze won 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 at the No. 2 spot over the Cougars’ Guzal Yusupova.
“We just have to keep working hard and stay together as a team,” Kutubidze said. “The overall score does not really show how everyone fought until the end. We were right there, just didn’t finish.
“As for me, the physical and mental part of my game are big for me right now. Our strength and conditioning coach, Rick Lefebvere, has been huge. My movement on the court has never been this good, even before my surgery last year,” she added.
At the No. 1 spot, the Mean Green’s Maria Kononva took Washington State’s Michaela Bayerlova, the No. 54 nationally ranked college player and a top 600 world ranked player, to multiple deuces but couldn’t finish Bayerlova off in the games and lost 6-2, 6-2.
At No. 3 in singles, junior Minying Liang won her opening set 6-4, but couldn’t close her out and fell 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Saturday’s match was the team’s second match in as many days.
“We definitely grew from these two match,” Lama said. “These were two quality teams and playing them early on in the season will help us down the road.”
North Texas faces another competitive opponent next week as they travel to Norman, Oklahoma, and take on the Oklahoma Sooners on Feb. 14 at 3:00 p.m.
Melisa Ates/Barbora Michalkova (WSU) def. Maria Kononova/Nidhi Surapaneni (NT) 6-3
Guzal Yusupova/Tiffany Mylonas (WSU) vs. Tamuna Kutubidze/Alexandra Heczey (NT) 4-5 DNF
Aneta Miksovska/Michaela Bayerlova (WSU) def. Haruka Sasaki/Minying Liang (NT) 6-1
Order of Finish: 3, 1
Michaela Bayerlova (WSU) def. Maria Kononova (NT) 6-2, 6-2
Tamuna Kutubidze (NT) def. Guzal Yusupova (WSU) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Tiffany Mylonas (WSU) def. Minying Liang (NT) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Barbora Michalkova (WSU) def. Sille Tranberg (NT) 6-2, 6-3
Aneta Miksovska (WSU) vs. Haruka Sasaki (NT) 3-1 DNF
Melisa Ates (WSU) vs. Alexandra Heczey (NT) DNS
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 4, 2