Wolverines Swoop Past Penn State for Seventh Straight Win
Michael Zhu

April 20, 2012

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Score: #21 Michigan 6, Penn State 1
Records: U-M (16-5, 9-1 Big Ten), Penn State (11-12, 1-9 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, April 22 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), Noon

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After claiming a marathon doubles point, the No. 21-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team dominated singles play, winning five-of-six matches, to claim a 6-1 decision against Penn State on Friday evening (April 20) at the Varsity Tennis Center. With the victory, U-M extended its win streak to seven and improved to 9-1 in Big Ten Conference play.

Extra games were necessary on all three doubles courts as the Wolverines won in the tiebreaker at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions to clinch the initial point for the seventh straight dual match. Sophomores Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys' School) and Alex Buzzi (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) finished first, defeating PSU's Taylor Cohen and Bryan Welnetz, 9-8 (2), after giving up a late break that knotted the score late. The Wolverine duo surged in the tiebreaker, however, claiming the final five games to extend its win streak to five in a row.

After the Nittany Lions won on the No. 1 court, U-M's freshman team of Alex Petrone (Staten Island, N.Y./Laurel Springs Prep) and Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National HS) clinched the point with their fourth decision, a 9-8 (6) win over Tomas Hanzlik and C.J. Griffin. The two teams traded several breaks with the Wolverines twice rallying to even the score, including late at 6-6. They also rallied in the tiebreaker, overcoming a three-point deficit before claiming the match's final three points.

Michigan carried the momentum into the singles competition, taking four first sets and winning five-of-six matches. After PSU claimed its lone singles win on the No. 3 court to temporarily even the dual score, Zhu, Buzzi and Franks won handily at the No. 4, No. 6 and No. 5 positions, respectively, to put it away.

Zhu broke late in the first set and early in the second to take a 6-3, 6-2 win against Taylor Cohen at No. 4 and put U-M ahead for good in the contest. He built a 3-0 advantage in the latter, before Cohen narrowed the score to 3-2 with back-to-back games. Zhu claimed the final four games, however, icing the match with a charging forehand that Cohen returned into the net.

Buzzi and Franks finished simultaneously on opposite sides to clinch. Buzzi defeated C.J. Griffin, 6-3, 6-1, for his fourth consecutive singles win, rallying from an early break to claim the first set before cruising in the second. Franks battled against Bryan Welnetz at No. 5, claiming a 7-6 (5), 6-4 decision. The Wolverine sophomore won back-to-back points to close out the first-set tiebreaker and carried an early break throughout the entire second set to secure the win.

Junior Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan Prep), ranked No. 8 in the latest ITA poll, extended his singles win streak to 14 with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Jason Lee at the No. 1 position. King used a seventh-game break, going up 4-3, to claim the first set and broke early and late the take the second, serving out the match with four consecutive points.

Petrone capped the dual match with a three-set comeback against Hanzlik, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0, at the No. 2 spot. The Wolverine rookie, who improved to 4-1 at No. 2, could not recover from an early break in the first set but responded by winning 12 of 13 games in the latter two. Like King, he won four consecutive points to serve out the match.

The Wolverines (16-5, 9-1 Big Ten) are in a position to earn a share of the Big Ten title with a win on Sunday (April 22) at No. 3 Ohio State. The Buckeyes (28-2, 10-0 Big Ten) will host U-M in its regular-season finale at noon at the Varsity Tennis Courts in Columbus, Ohio.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 8 Evan King (U-M) d. Jason Lee (PSU), 6-4, 6-2
No. 2 -- Alex Petrone (U-M) d. Tomas Hanzlik (PSU), 4-6, 6-1, 6-0
No. 3 -- Russell Bader (PSU) d. Shaun Bernstein (U-M), 6-0, 6-3
No. 4 -- Michael Zhu (U-M) d. Taylor Cohen (PSU), 6-3, 6-2
No. 5 -- Barrett Franks (U-M) d. Bryan Welnetz (PSU), 7-6 (5), 6-4
No. 6 -- Alex Buzzi (U-M) d. C.J. Griffin (PSU), 6-3, 6-1

No. 1 -- Jason Lee/Russell Bader (PSU) d. No. 22 Evan King/Shaun Bernstein (U-M), 9-7
No. 2 -- Barrett Franks/Alex Buzzi (U-M) d. Taylor Cohen/Bryan Welnetz (PSU), 9-8 (2)
No. 3 -- Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (U-M) d. Tomas Hanzlik/C.J. Griffin (PSU), 9-8 (6)

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

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423