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Women’s tennis: UNT wins Sun Belt opener

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From news reports

MOBILE, Ala. — North Texas won its Sun Belt Conference opener Saturday, defeating Florida International 5-2 at South Alabama.

“The conditions were tough today with the wind, and it didn’t help the way we came out to play doubles,” UNT coach Sujay Lama said. “It was not pretty, but sometimes you have to learn to win ugly. What we do have constant is the leadership from our seniors. They are gritty and they set the tone for the team.”

The Mean Green (4-1) dropped the doubles point for the fist time this season, losing two of three. UNT’s Ilona Serchenko and Dané Joubert beat Lotte Gras and Magali Holt 8-2.

North Texas powered back to win the first four singles matches. Agustina Valenzuela defeated Holt 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 6 slot. Barbora Vykydalova defeated Rita Maisak 6-2, 6-1 in No. 2 singles, and Franziska Sprinkmeyer defeated Gras 6-2, 6-1 at No. 5.

Serchenko clinched the win for UNT by defeating Giulietta Boha 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 4 slot, but Kseniya Bardabush lost in the No. 1 slot to Carlotta Orlando 4-6, 6-4, 10-6. UNT’s Valentina Starkova defeated Aleksandra Trifunovic 6-4, 4-6, 10-5.

“We have to step it up [today] against South Alabama,” Lama said. “I know our ladies are looking forward to the challenge.”

North Texas, ranked 56th, faces South Alabama at 11 this morning.