IRVING – North Texas senior Tamuna Kutubidze
has been named Conference USA's Women's Tennis Athlete of the Month after an undefeated September that included beating the No. 70 ranked player in the nation and claiming the Rice Invite Flight One Singles championship.
This is Kutubidze's first time receiving the conference's fall award.
"I put in a lot of work this summer and it's paying off," Kutubidze said. "I had a great run at the Rice Invite where I beat a very good player. This has been a great start to my senior season."
In what was the first fall tournament of the 2018-19 season, Kutubidze overcame rain delays and eventual postponements as well as stiff competition to claim the invite's top single flight honor.
Right from the get go, Kutubidze was matched up against Alabama's Andie Daniell who earned a No. 70 national ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's preseason ranking. Kutubidze made quick work of Daniell, beating her in straight sets. Daniell is the highest ranked singles opponent Kutubidze has ever beaten.
Following the 6-4, 6-2 victory, Kuutbidze was faced with multiple delays and eventual postponement in the second set of her semifinals match against SMU's Karina Traxler.
When they returned the next day, Kutubidze's confidence shined as she hit the ball better than ever before, cruising to the final round. In the finals, which were played the same day as the semifinals due to the rain, Kutubidze again showed off all the work she'd done this summer by beating South Florida's Ana Roman 6-4, 6-7(4,) 6-3 to claim the championship.
"This is the start I wanted and I will keep the same motivation and determination through my last year," Kutubidze explained. "I want this to be a year to remember."
With 54 wins, including the three earlier this year, Kutubidze enters her final year at North Texas as one of the most successful singles tennis players in program history. Another strong season from the Georgia native and she could break the single season school record for most singles wins along with her teammate Maria Kononova