Wolverines Upset No. 10 Rebels in First Round of ITA Kick-Off
Michael Zhu

Jan. 25, 2014

ITA Kick-Off Weekend

Site: Oxford, Miss. (Gillom Sports Center)
Event: ITA Kick-Off Weekend (First Round)
Score: Michigan 4, #10 Mississippi 3
Records: U-M (3-0), Miss (0-1)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Illinois - ITA Kick-Off Event (Oxford, Miss.), 1 p.m. CST

OXFORD, Miss. -- The No. 26-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team earned a 4-3 upset victory over No. 10-ranked Mississippi in first-round action at ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 25) inside the Gillom Sports Center. After winning the doubles point, the Wolverines won three of six singles matches to secure the match.

Senior Barrett Franks (Christchuch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys' School) clinched the dual in the final match on the court, delivering a 6-5 (6), 6-5 (1) victory over Vinod Gowda at the No. 5 singles position. Franks, an All-Big Ten second team selection last season, has won three straight singles matches to begin the 2014 dual-match campaign.

The Maize and Blue began the day by earning the doubles point for the third straight match, claiming victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. Senior Shaun Bernstein (Plainview, N.Y./Plainview Old Bethpage JFK) and freshman Kevin Wong (Hong Kong/Diocesa) were first off the court, swiftly defeating Joe Roger and Zach Wilder, 6-0, at the No. 3 spot. Michigan's No. 1 tandem of seniors Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys' School) and Alex Buzzi (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) followed with a narrow 6-5 (4) victory over Nik Scholtz and Johan Backstrom to secure the initial point.

Transitioning to singles play, Michigan quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a 6-3, 6-2 victory by junior Alex Petrone (Staten Island, N.Y./Laurel Springs Prep) over No. 104 William Kallberg at the second singles position, but the Rebels responded with back-to-back victories at No. 1 and No. 3 to even the dual.

Shortly thereafter, Backstrom posted a 6-2, 6-5 victory over Buzzi at the fourth singles position to put the Rebels in front, 3-2, before junior Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National) tied up the dual for the final time with 6-2, 6-2 decision over Wilder at No. 6.

The Wolverines will face No. 22 Illinois on Sunday (Jan. 26) at 1 p.m. CST, with the winner advancing to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will take place between Feb. 14-17 in Houston, Texas.

The following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 15 Nik Scholtz (Mississippi) d. Vlad Stefan (U-M), 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 -- Alex Petrone (U-M) def. No. 104 William Kallberg, 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 -- No. 108 Stefan Lindmark (Mississippi) d. Justin Rossi (U-M), 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
No. 4 -- Johan Backstrom (Mississippi) d. Alex Buzzi (U-M), 6-2, 6-4
No. 5 -- Barrett Franks (U-M) d. Vinod Gowda (Mississippi), 6-5 (6), 6-5 (1)
No. 6 -- Michael Zhu (U-M) d. Zach Wilder (Mississippi), 6-2, 6-2

No. 1 -- Alex Buzzi/Barrett Franks (U-M) def. Nik Scholtz/Johan Backstrom (Mississippi), 6-5 (4)
No. 2 -- Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (U-M) vs. No. 51 William Kallberg/Stefan Lindmark (Mississippi), 5-5 DNF
No. 3 -- Shaun Bernstein/Kevin Wong (U-M) def. Joe Rogers/Zach Wilder (Mississippi), 6-0

Order of Completion: Doubles 3-1, Singles 2-1-3-4-6-5