Zhu's Late Rally Sends U-M into Big Ten Championship Match
Michael Zhu

April 27, 2013

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Site: Columbus, Ohio (Buckeye Varsity Tennis Center)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Semifinals)
Score: #23 Michigan 4, Minnesota 3
Records: U-M (16-8), Minnesota (15-10)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, April 28 -- vs. Ohio State - Big Ten Tournament Final (Columbus, Ohio)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In the final the match on the court, sophomore Michael Zhu (Princeton, N.J./Keystone National) rallied back from a first-set deficit to propel the No. 23-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday afternoon (April 27) at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Courts.

With the win, the Wolverines advance to the Big Ten Tournament final for the first time in program history. U-M will face Ohio State in Sunday's (April 28) Big Ten Tournament championship match, which is slated for a noon start at OSU's Varsity Tennis Courts. The Buckeyes downed Illinois, 4-0, in the semifinal round. The winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

With the match knotted, 3-3, on the No. 5 court, Zhu trailed Minnesota's Ruben Weber, 2-6, 0-4, before putting together an aggressive rally to win the match. Despite dropping the first four games of the second set, Zhu fought back to win the set in a tiebreaker, 7-5. In the third and decisive set, Zhu and Weber exchanged breaks on multiple occasions, before Zhu held serve in the final game to clinch the dual victory at 7-5.

The Golden Gophers claimed the doubles point with wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. The match at No. 1 featuring the 30th-ranked tandem of senior Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan) and junior Shaun Bernstein (Plainview, N.Y./Plainview Old Bethpage JFK) was abandoned after the Golden Gophers clinched the initial point. King and Bernstein led Jack Hamburg and Mathieu Froment, 6-5, when the point was secured.

Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the match after 79th-ranked Leandro Toledo defeated Petrone, 6-1, 6-4, in the first match off the court. Minutes later, sophomore Vlad Stefan (Bucharest, Romania) registered Michigan's first point of the match, notching a 6-3, 6-0 decision over Mathieu Froment at the No. 4 position. Stefan has won five straight matches and is 7-3 against Big Ten competition during the dual-match season.

Junior Alex Buzzi (Key Biscyane, Fla./Gulliver Prep) tied the match, 2-2, with a 7-6 (4), 6-0 win at the No. 6 position. Buzzi has won nine straight singles matches and is 20-6 overall this season.

King put the Wolverines in the lead for the first time with a 6-4, 6-4 win over 50th-ranked Rok Bonin at the top of the lineup. King, the 2013 Big Ten Athlete of the Year, is 22-1 in dual-match competition and 28-4 overall this season. After Minnesota won at No. 3 singles, Zhu tallied the come-from-behind win over Weber to guide the Maize and Blue into the championship match.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 11 Evan King (U-M) d. No. 50 Rok Bonin (Minnesota), 6-4, 6-4
No. 2 -- No. 79 Leandro Toledo (Minnesota) d. Alex Petrone (U-M), 6-1, 6-4
No. 3 -- Jack Hamburg (Minnesota) d. Barrett Franks (U-M), 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-4
No. 4 -- No. 123 Vlad Stefan (U-M) d. Mathieu Froment (Minnesota), 6-3, 6-0
No. 5 -- Michael Zhu (U-M) d. Ruben Weber (Minnesota), 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5
No. 6 -- Alex Buzzi (U-M) d. Juan Pablo Ramirez (Minnesota), 7-6 (4), 6-0

No. 1 -- No. 30 Evan King/Shaun Bernstein (U-M) vs. Jack Hamburg/Mathieu Froment (Minnesota), 6-5 DNF
No. 2 -- Rok Bonin/Juan Pablo Ramirez (Minnesota) d. Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (U-M), 8-2
No. 3 -- Leandro Toledo/Eric Frueh (Minnesota) d. Barrett Franks/Alex Buzzi (U-M), 8-4

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

Contact: Zach Eisendrath (734) 763-4423