LAFAYETTE, La. — North Texas swept Arkansas-Little Rock 4-0 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament at Red Lerille’s Health & Racquet Club.
UNT is the No. 1 seed in the tournament and is ranked 60th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll.
“UALR played well,” UNT coach Sujay Lama said. “We were tested, and that should help us for our match [today].”
UNT (16-5) jumped to an early 1-0 lead over the Trojans (15-10) after winning doubles matches at the No. 2 and 3 positions.
Kseniya Bardabush and Franziska Sprinkmeyer, who were named to the All-Sun Belt second team in doubles before the tournament, grabbed an 8-6 victory over UALR’s Dané Vorster and Christel Amsallem at the No. 2 spot.
Dané Joubert and Ilona Serchenko won a tiebreak 9-8 over UALR’s Viktoriya Plyuta and Kamilla Galieva a short time later to give UNT the doubles point.
“We struggled a bit in doubles but found a way, like we have all year long,” Lama said.
Three UNT seniors then won their singles matches in straight sets to give the Mean Green the win.
Serchenko won the first singles match, dropping just three points in a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Dané Vorster at the No. 5 spot.
Barbora Vykydalova, a second-team All-Sun Belt pick, swept UALR’s Yana Kakovkina 6-2, 6-3 in No. 2 singles.
Valentina Starkova clinched the match for UNT with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Kamilla Galieva in No. 3 singles.
“Our seniors stepped up in singles and took care of business,” Lama said.
UNT will continue its quest for a second consecutive Sun Belt title at 10 a.m. today on the Cajun Courts against No. 4 seed South Alabama. UNT defeated the Jaguars 4-3 in Mobile on Feb. 17.