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Women’s tennis: UNT beats visiting Arizona

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From news reports

North Texas defeated No. 30 Arizona 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at the Waranch Tennis Complex.

“I am so happy for the ladies,” UNT coach Sujay Lama said. “This was a hard-earned victory over a quality opponent. We had Arizona on their heels all day long, but they just kept fighting, coming back hard. Our kids are fit and they know how to battle. That combination paid off for us.”

North Texas won the doubles point after dropping the point in its two previous matches.

Although UNT’s Ilona Serchenko and Dané Joubert dropped their doubles match in the No. 3 slot, Valentina Starkova and Barbora Vykydalova defeated Lacey Smith and Shayne Austin 8-2 in the No. 1 slot.

Kseniya Bardabush and Franziska Sprinkmeyer clinched the doubles point for North Texas, defeating Kim Stubbe and Inge Hendrikx 8-6.

“Winning the doubles point was big, but more importantly it’s good to get back our confidence,” Lama said. “We still have room to improve on our execution, but the good thing is we know we are capable of playing aggressive doubles.”

Although Bardabush dropped her singles match against Lacey Smyth, Sprinkmeyer rolled past Austin 6-3, 7-5 in the No. 5 spot to make it 2-1 UNT.

Then Starkova picked up her sixth singles victory in the No. 3 slot, beating Laura Oldham 6-3, 7-5.

Arizona (6-5) took the next two singles points to tie the match at 3. The match came down to UNT’s Agustina Valenzuela against Susan McRann in No. 6 singles.

Valenzuela defeated McRann in dramatic three-set fashion. Valenzuela took the first set 6-4, dropped the second set 5-7 then battled back to win the third set 7-5 and clinch the match for North Texas.

“I cannot say enough about Agustina’s effort to clinch the match for us,” Lama said. “To see a freshman have that poise in a deciding match was amazing. She has been doing extra work on her own every day, and that gave her the confidence to execute under pressure. This was definitely a breakthrough match for her.”

No. 57 North Texas (6-1) returns to action at 2 p.m. Wednesday when it plays host to No. 28 TCU.