Michigan Drops Match to Minnesota in Battle for Little Brown Jug
Alex Buzzi

March 24, 2013

Photo Gallery 

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Score: Minnesota 4, Michigan 3
Records: U-M (7-7, 2-1 Big Ten), Minnesota (6-8, 2-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 29 -- at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.), 2 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's tennis team could not hang on to its early advantage, dropping the final three singles matches in a narrow 4-3 loss to Minnesota in the battle for the Little Brown Jug on Sunday afternoon (March 24) at the Varsity Tennis Center. It is the Wolverines' first Big Ten Conference defeat of the season.

With the dual score knotted up at three apiece, sophomore Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National) came up just short in a three-set match against Minnesota's Juan Pablo Ramirez, falling, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4, at the No. 5 singles position. After forcing a third set with a tiebreaker win in the second, Zhu battled back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the final set, 4-4, before dropping the final two games of the match.

The Golden Gophers won two of three doubles matches to take the dual's first point, earning victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Michigan's 37th-ranked tandem of senior Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan HS) and Alex Buzzi (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) notched U-M's lone doubles win, rolling to an 8-3 victory over Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment. With the victory, King and Buzzi improved to 4-0 in dual-match play.

The Wolverines responded by winning the first two singles matches off the court to earn a 2-1 advantage. Sophomore Alex Petrone (Staten Island, N.Y./Laurel Springs Prep) cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Hamburg at the No. 3 position, and junior Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys') followed with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 triumph over Froment at the No. 4 spot. Franks has won five consecutive matches -- including three in a row from the No. 4 spot -- and is 11-2 in dual-match competition this season.

Moments after Franks wrapped up his match, King increased Michigan's lead to 3-1, posting a 6-1, 6-2 win over 36th-ranked Rok Bonin at the top of the lineup. King, ranked No. 15 in the latest ITA rankings, improved to 13-1 in dual-match competition with the victory.

Minnesota pulled even with back-to-back wins at the No. 6 and No. 2 singles positions. Ruben Weber downed Buzzi, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, and Leandro Toledo earned a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (5) decision over sophomore Vlad Stefan (Bucharest, Romania) to tie the dual for the final time. Down 5-2 in the third-set tiebreaker, Stefan fought back to tie the breaker, 5-5, before losing the final two points.

Michigan will return to the road next weekend for a pair of Big Ten duals. U-M will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to face Purdue at 2 p.m. on Friday (March 29) before wrapping the weekend Sunday (March 31) with a 1 p.m. dual against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 15 Evan King (U-M) d. No. 36 Rok Bonin (Minnesota), 6-1, 6-2
No. 2 -- No. 102 Leandro Toledo (Minnesota) d. No. 76 Vlad Stefan (U-M), 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (5)
No. 3 -- Alex Petrone (U-M) d. Jack Hamburg (Minnesota), 6-2, 6-1
No. 4 -- Barrett Franks (U-M) d. Mathieu Froment (Minnesota), 7-6 (4), 6-4
No. 5 -- Juan Pablo Ramirez (Minnesota) d. Michael Zhu (U-M), 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-4
No. 6 -- Ruben Weber (Minnesota) d. Alex Buzzi (U-M), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1

No. 1 -- No. 37 Evan King/Alex Buzzi (U-M) d. Jack Hamburg/Mathieu Froment (Minnesota), 8-3
No. 2 -- Juan Pablo Ramirez/Rok Bonin (Minnesota) d. Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (U-M), 8-6
No. 3 -- Leandro Toledo/Eric Frueh (Minnesota) d. Barrett Franks/Shaun Bernstein (U-M), 8-6

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

Media Contact: Zach Eisendrath (734) 763-4423