The Mean Green tennis team closed their final tournament at the Cal State Northridge Invite during the weekend of Nov. 8-10, including a 7-2 record in their nine final qualifying players’ matchups. Singles’ and doubles’ performance over the weekend was en route of a group effort that saw multiple key wins in consolation play Sunday afternoon.
Over the weekend, singles’ had 14 wins and nine losses, while doubles’ had five wins and four losses. The Mean Green had a grand total of 19 wins and 13 losses with a .594 winning percentage.
Freshman Hala Khaled Badwy won the singles’ flight championship Sunday afternoon. Badwy won four straight matches against Long Beach (6-2, 6-3), Utah State in two of three sets (7-5, 5-7, 6-4), Loyola Marymount (6-2, 6-2), and against Long Beach (6-3, 6-0) in the final round.
“We played really good competition this weekend, and I’m glad we finished strong to finish out the fall,” Badwy said.
Junior Nidhi Surapaneni lost her opening set to Loyola Marymount (6-1 and 6-0), later winning two straight matches against Cal Santa Barbara (6-3, and 6-4) and Long Beach in two of three sets (6-3, 4-6, 11-9).
Freshman Kexuan Zhou won the consolation singles championship. After losing to Brigham Young in the opening frame in two of three sets, she went on to win three consecutive matches in a row against Portland (6-2, 6-4), Youngstown State in two of three matches (6-3, 4-6, 10-8), and Portland (6-0, 6-1) to seal the consolation bracket.
“I think this was a great tournament to play in and to get ourselves ready for the spring,” Zhou said. “Everyone played good Sunday to boost our confidence overall.”
The doubles’ team of Badwy and senior Alexandra Heczey won the consolation doubles flight bracket despite losing their first match against Long Beach (6-2). The pair went on to win the next two matches against Utah State (6-4), and Cal Santa Barbara (6-4).
“I feel like this tournament was a good experience and we all played really well this weekend,” Badwy said. “It’s nice to have good leadership with the seniors on our team to help us come up in big situations.”
The doubles’ pair of Surapaneni and sophomore Mariya Ponomoreva started off with two wins against Brigham Young (7-5) and Utah State (6-1) and later dropped a (6-2) score to Loyola Marymount in the third round.
Before heading into the Cal State Northridge Invite, head coach Sujay Lama was proud of the way his team responded Sunday afternoon to get one final look of the progress made throughout the semester. Lama believes some of the takeaways of the Los Angeles tournament showed his team improved in the manner he expected.
“Finishing strong is something that we focus on,” Lama said. “This weekend we started a little slow but we picked it up and made championship bracket runs. The seniors are getting better, along with the freshman that are very mature and they’re great students of the game.”
UP NEXT: Mean Green tennis opens play in the spring on the weekend of Jan. 10-12 in the SMU Invite in Dallas, Texas.
Featured Image: Freshman Hala Khaled Badwy returns the ball during practice on Nov. 5, 2019. Image by Ryan Cantrell