Wolverines Cruise Past MSU in Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals
Alex Petrone

April 27, 2012

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Site: Evanston, Ill. (Vandy Christie Tennis Center)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Quarterfinals)
Score: #22 Michigan 4, Michigan State 1
Records: U-M (17-6), Michigan State (18-11)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, April 28 -- vs. Illinois - Big Ten Tournament Semifinals (Evanston, Ill.)

EVANSTON, Ill. -- The No. 22-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team claimed the doubles point and three of the first four singles matches off court to cruise to a 4-1 win over Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament on Friday evening (April 27) at Northwestern's Vandy Christie Tennis Center.

Freshman Alex Petrone (Staten Island, N.Y./Laurel Springs Prep) clinched the dual from the No. 2 singles position, rallying from an early three-game deficit to knock off Denis Bogatov, 7-6, 6-3. The Wolverine rookie, who earned All-Big Ten second team honors, gave up an early break and trailed 4-1 early in the first set but fought back to even the score and claim the subsequent tiebreaker. It was Petrone who jumped to a 4-1 lead in the second and held serve to close out the match. He improved to 15-7 in dual-match play, including a 5-2 mark from the No. 2 spot.

Sophomores Alex Buzzi (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Barrett Franks (Christchurch, New Zealand/Shirley Boys' School) picked up the Wolverines' two other singles victories, winning handily at the No. 6 and No. 5 positions, respectively, as the first two matches off court.

Buzzi extended his win streak to five in a row with a 6-4, 6-2 decision against Gijs Linders. While he took advantage of early breaks to garner early leads in both sets, Buzzi struggled to close out the first as Linders won three straight games to pull within one. The Wolverine cruised in the second set, however, going up 3-1 before taking each of the final three games to seal the win.

Franks wrapped up his win on the No. 5 court just moments later, defeating Austin Brooks, 6-4, 6-1. Franks broke to 3-1 in the first set and carried the break through to the win. In the second, Brooks held in the first game, before Franks claimed each of the final six.

Freshman Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National HS) had rallied to force a third set on the No. 4 court and was ahead 3-2 in the third when Petrone clinched and his match was abandoned. Junior Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan Prep), ranked No. 7 in the latest ITA poll, was also heading to the third set at the No. 1 position but did not finish. He will look to resume his 15-match win streak tomorrow.

The Wolverines locked up the doubles point quickly, earning lopsided wins on the No. 1 and No. 3 courts. King and sophomore Shaun Bernstein (Plainview, N.Y./Old Bethpage JFK HS), ranked 29th, halted a four-match skid at the top spot, earning an early break and claiming each of the final four games to defeat Aaron Pfister and Drew Lied, 8-3. U-M's freshman duo of Petrone and Zhu clinched the initial point for the eighth time this season with an 8-4 win against Bogatov and Linders.

Michigan will face No. 24 Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals tomorrow (Saturday, April 28) at 1:30 p.m. CDT at Northwestern's Vandy Christie Tennis Center. The Fighting Illini defeated the host Wildcats, 4-0, in the quarterfinal round. U-M defeated then-No. 18 Illinois in the teams' first meeting, 4-3, on April 6 in Champaign, Ill.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 7 Evan King (U-M) vs. Aaron Pfister (MSU), 7-5, 6-7 abandoned
No. 2 -- Alex Petrone (U-M) d. Denis Bogatov (MSU), 7-6, 6-3
No. 3 -- Ronnie Hulewicz (MSU) d. Shaun Bernstein (U-M), 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 -- Michael Zhu (UM) vs. Drew Lied (MSU), 4-6, 6-0, 3-2 abandoned
No. 5 -- Barrett Franks (U-M) d. Austin Brooks (MSU), 6-4, 6-1
No. 6 -- Alex Buzzi (U-M) d. Gijs Linders (MSU), 6-4, 6-2

No. 1 -- No. 22 Shaun Bernstein/Evan King (U-M) d. Aaron Pfister/Drew Lied, 8-3
No. 2 -- Alex Buzzi/Barrett Franks (U-M) vs. Austin Brooks/Harry Jadun (MSU), 6-3 abandoned
No. 3 -- Michael Zhu/Alex Petrone (U-M) d. Denis Bogatov/Gijs Linders (MSU), 8-4

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


• With today's win, Michigan improved to 95-19 in the all-times series against Michigan State. The Wolverines have claimed the last 10 meetings in the series. U-M defeated the Spartans, 7-0, during the regular-season dual match.

• The Wolverines have won eight of their last nine matches and 13 of their last 15.

• Matches in postseason play are abandoned once the match is clinched.

• The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in eight of their last nine dual matches and in 16 of 22 duals on the year, combining for a solid 39-24 combined doubles record.

• Freshman Alex Petrone improved his overall record to 22-11 on the season, earning a share of the eighth position on Michigan's list of most wins by a freshman. He is tied with five other Wolverines, including sophomore Shaun Bernstein. Petrone needs just two more wins to reach the sixth spot, currently held by William Farah (24, 1996) and Michael Leach (24, 1979).

• Sophomore Barrett Franks improved to 17-17 on the season, tying his season win total from last season. He is the third different Wolverine player to match or surpass his previous best singles win total.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423