Michigan Rallies at Wisconsin for Fifth Straight Win
Alex Petrone

March 24, 2012

Site: Madison, Wis. (Nielsen Tennis Stadium)
Score: Michigan 5, Wisconsin 2
Records: U-M (9-4, 2-0 Big Ten), Wisconsin (8-6, 0-2 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, March 25 -- at Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), Noon CDT

MADISON, Wis. -- After dropping the doubles point for just the fourth time this season, the No. 28-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team claimed five-of-six singles matches to claim a convincing 5-2 victory at Wisconsin on Friday evening (March 23) at the Badgers' Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The Wolverines improve to 2-0 in Big Ten Conference play.

Michigan won the first five singles matches off court, including three in straight sets, to surge past the Badgers. It was U-M's fourth dual this season with five or more singles victories.

The Wolverine captains, junior Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan Prep) and sophomore Shaun Bernstein (Plainview, N.Y./Old Bethpage JFK HS), finished in quick succession at the No. 1 and No. 2 position, respectively, to kick start the rally and put U-M ahead for good. King claimed his sixth consecutive win with a 6-4, 6-0 decision against Fredrick Ask, earning a seventh-game break to take the first set before shutting out the second. Bernstein used a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Alexander Kostanov to collect his fourth straight dual win, earning a late break in the first and an early break in the second.

Freshman Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National HS) battled to a 7-6 (3), 7-5 victory against Petr Satral at No. 4, earning a 12th-game break in the second to close out the match.

Just moments after Zhu's victory, fellow freshman Alex Petrone (Staten Island, N.Y./Laurel Springs Prep) clinched the dual from the No. 3 position, defeating the Badgers' Rod Carey, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, for his fourth straight dual win. He earned breaks in the fourth and sixth games to garner a significant early advantage in the third and deciding set.

With the dual already decided, the teams split the final two matches. Sophomore Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys' School) won on the No. 5 court, edging Billy Bertha, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3), while the Badgers' Andy Quirk picked up his team's only singles win with a 6-0, 3-6, 7-5 decision against sophomore Alex Buzzi (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) at the No. 6 position.

Wisconsin claimed the initial advantage with wins on the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles courts. The Wolverines' freshman pairing of Petrone and Zhu earned their team's lone victory, as the first match off court, with an 8-4 victory over Alex Robles and Carey at No. 3. After giving up an early break, the duo broke back to 5-5 before cruising to three straight games and the match. They improved to 8-4 in dual-match play.

The Wolverines (9-4, 2-0 Big Ten) will wrap up their Big Ten road swing on Sunday (March 25), heading to Minneapolis, Minn., to face the Golden Gophers at noon CDT at the Baseline Tennis Center.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 10 Evan King (U-M) d. Fredrik Ask (UW), 6-4, 6-0
No. 2 -- Shaun Bernstein (U-M) d. Alexander Kostanov (UW), 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 -- Alex Petrone (U-M) d. Rod Carey (UW), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
No. 4 -- Michael Zhu (U-M) d. Petr Satral (UW), 7-6 (3), 7-5
No. 5 -- Barrett Franks (U-M) d. Billy Bertha (UW), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3)
No. 6 -- Andy Quirk (UW) d. Alex Buzzi (U-M), 6-0, 3-6, 7-5

No. 1 -- Fredrik Ask/Billy Berth (UW) d. No. 15 Evan King/Shaun Bernstein (U-M), 8-5
No. 2 -- Alexander Kostanov/Petr Satral (UW) d. Barrett Franks/Alex Buzzi (U-M), 8-4
No. 3 -- Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (U-M) d. Alex Robles/Rod Carey (UW), 8-5

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


• With today's victory, Michigan improved to 73-9-1 in the all-time series against Wisconsin. U-M has won the last three meetings against the Badgers.

• After losing their first true road dual of the season at Washington, the Wolverines have won each of their last four road contests.

• Three different Wolverine players boast win streaks of four games or more. Shaun Bernstein and Alex Petrone carry four-match win streaks, while Evan King has won six matches in a row. King has claimed 10 of his last 11 matches.

• Michigan is 2-2 this season when dropping the doubles points. The Wolverines also rallied to defeat Vanderbilt, 4-3, on the road.


Michigan Head Coach Bruce Berque
On bouncing back after losing the doubles point ... "We're winning a fair amount of doubles points this season, and there's no sense of panic now if we lose. I felt like our guys did a pretty good job in doubles today; Wisconsin really played quite well against us, and it just didn't go our way. The guys knew they all had to step up, but they were confident and did a good job. Wisconsin is a dangerous team, especially at their place, so I was really proud of the effort our guys put out in singles."

On setting the tone quickly in singles play ... "Not too many of those first sets were easy. They were pretty hard fought, so we had to work for it today. But we were able to get up on them early, and we were able to reverse the momentum in the match pretty quickly. In the last three matches, Evan [King] has been able to get off the court quickly and put that first point on the board."

On sophomore Shaun Bernstein ... "He has been doing a really good job lately. He has taken a few lumps this season, but he's very resilient. He loves to play, loves to compete, loves to learn and get better and loves to be challenged. I think he really enjoys playing up at that No. 2 spot. He's earned it. He's really starting to figure some things out about what it takes to play high in the lineup against a good player every match. He's very slowly but surely getting over some of his tentativeness. He's got a great handle on things now, and he's really stepped up his game quite a bit."

On the Wolverine freshmen ... "I've been very impressed. Today was a great day for them. They started off playing really well, earlier in the year, in doubles, and lately they hadn't been playing quite at the same level. But we challenged them this week in practice, and today was the best match they've played in a long time. Then playing at No. 3 and No. 4 in the singles lineup is not easy at all, but they're both winning. Michael [Zhu] finished his match to get the third point then only about five seconds later, Alex [Petrone] clinched it. They both played great matches tonight."

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423