Jan. 13, 2014
Saturday, Jan. 18 -- vs. Western Michigan (Varsity Tennis Center), 9 a.m.
Saturday, Jan. 18 -- vs. Toledo (Varsity Tennis Center), 7 p.m.
The No. 26-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis (0-0) team kicks off the 2014 dual-match season with a doubleheader this Saturday (Jan. 18) at the Varsity Tennis Center, hosting Western Michigan (1-0) at 9 a.m. and Toledo (0-1) at 7 p.m.
Both of Saturday's matches will be contests for the best-of-seven team points. Each dual will begin with three doubles matches consisting of six-game pro sets. The team that wins two of these three matches will enter the singles competition with one of seven points. Once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. No-add scoring will be implemented during doubles play and a tie-breaker will occur if a doubles match is tied at five-all. After a brief intermission, six singles matches will be played. Each singles match will be the best of three tie-break sets and worth one point towards the team competition. Each singles match will use no-ad scoring and a tie-breaker will occur if a set is tied at five-all. The overall dual match will be decided when one team secures four total points. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.
Wolverines in Season Openers -- U-M will look for its 11th straight season-opening victory when it takes the court against Western Michigan on Saturday morning. Six of those wins have come against the Broncos, with Michigan earning victories in 2004 (6-1), 2005 (5-2), 2006 (4-3), 2008 (7-0), 2009 (6-1), 2011 (7-0) and 2012 (7-0). The other victories in that stretch came against Marquette in 2007 (W, 7-0), Vanderbilt in 2010 (W, 4-3) and TCU in 2013 (W, 4-3). The Maize and Blue is 9-0 in season openers under head coach Bruce Berque.
Michigan at the Varsity Tennis Center -- The Wolverines have been tough to beat at the VTC since the facility opened in 1997. Michigan is 73-24 (.753) since the 2005 season and is 133-44 (.751) overall at the complex.
Scouting Western Michigan -- The Broncos, who have won 10 Mid-American Conference titles over the last 15 seasons, began their dual-match season in impressive fashion, winning all nine matches against Detroit in the team's home opener last Friday (Jan. 10). Western Michigan lost just two players for last year's lineup that went 19-11 overall before falling to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. U-M owns a 53-8 all-time series record against Western Michigan, and the Wolverines have won seven in a row against the Broncos, including a 7-0 shutout against WMU at the Varsity Tennis Center to open up the 2012 dual-match season.
Scouting Toledo -- The Rockets opened their 2014 campaign against a Big Ten foe, falling at Michigan State, 6-1, on Saturday (Jan. 11). Toledo sophomore Ryan Jorgensen notched the team's lone singles victory in the match, a 6-5 (4), 6-5 (7) decision at the No. 6 position. The Rockets finished the 2013 season with a 19-10 overall record, including a 1-4 mark in the Mid-American Conference. U-M holds a perfect 14-0 record against Toledo in the all-time series, with the most-recent victory coming during the 2004 season, when the Wolverines earned a 6-1 victory in Ann Arbor.
Key Biscayne Individuals Rewind -- The Wolverines posted a combined 10-13 singles record and went 6-6 in doubles in round-robin competition against No. 20 Texas, No. 24 LSU and No. 57 Denver at the Key Biscayne Individuals Jan. 5-7. Playing in his hometown of Key Biscayne, Fla., senior Alex Buzzi won two of three singles matches at the event, earning a straight-sets victory over Denver's Eric Marbach, 6-5 (1), 6-5 (6), before knocking off LSU's Tam Trinh, 6-3, 6-5 (1). Two other Wolverines posted similar 2-1 records in the singles competition. Freshman Kevin Wong downed Denver's William Ro, 6-0, 6-1, on the opening day before closing the event with a straight-sets decision over LSU's Eric Perez, 6-3, 6-0, while redshirt junior Justin Rossi earned victories over LSU's Andrew Korinek, 6-3, 6-4, and Denver's Alex Clinkenbeard, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
Wolverine To Watch -- Senior Barrett Franks, who was selected to the All-Big Ten second team last season after finishing the year with a career-best 17-7 dual-match record, looks to build on a standout junior campaign. The Christchurch, New Zealand, native won 11 of his last 12 singles matches to conclude the regular season, including one match from the No. 2 position and five from the No. 3 spot. In total, he posted a 9-1 mark in Big Ten singles action last season.
In Their Debut -- Freshmen Tyler Gardiner and Kevin Wong both made their collegiate debuts during the fall individual season. Wong went 6-5 in singles competition while Gardiner posted a 2-4 mark through his first three singles matches for the Maize and Blue. Two other freshmen -- Davis Crocker and Alex Knight-- joined the team this semester and both players and expected to redshirt this season.
Point of Emphasis -- The Wolverines claimed the doubles point in 14 of 26 dual matches last season, combining for a 29-27 doubles record. U-M's ability to win the doubles point had a direct correlation to the team's overall record. Michigan was 10-4 in 2013 winning the doubles point and 6-6 when dropping the initial point.
The Captains -- At the conclusion of the fall season, seniors Shaun Bernstein and Barrett Franks and junior Alex Petrone were voted by their teammates to serve as team captains for the 2014 season. This marks the third consecutive season Bernstein has been voted a captain by his peers.
Future Wolverines -- Michigan inked two top prep players -- Runhao (Leo) Hua (Shanghai, China/Edison Academics) and Cameron Norrie (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College) -- to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period this fall. Hua holds a career-best International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior World Ranking of 138. Norrie has been ranked as high as No. 10 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior World Rankings and holds 12 ITF titles (five singles and seven doubles). Both players will join the Maize and Blue next fall.
A Look Back -- Michigan posted a 16-10 record in 2012-13, including a 9-2 mark in Big Ten play and qualified for the NCAA Championships for the eighth consecutive season. Senior Evan King, a three-time ITA All-American, ended his illustrious Michigan career with a 116-34 singles record and became U-M's all-time leader in combined singles and doubles wins with 195. The 2013 Big Ten Athlete of the Year award recipient, King finished his senior campaign with a 32-5 singles record, including a 23-1 mark in dual matches and a perfect 10-0 record in Big Ten play. King was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team, while Barrett Franks was an All-Big Ten second team selection
Coaching Staff -- Head coach Bruce Berque is in his 10th year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 143-91 overall record and 60-22 Big Ten mark over his tenure. Berque has led the Wolverines to eight consecutive NCAA Championships berths, including the 2008 Sweet 16, and has finished among the top four of the Big Ten in eight of nine seasons. Jeremy Wurtzman is in his first season as Michigan's associate head coach. A former ATP tour professional and a three-year standout at Ohio State, Wurtzman spent the last four years as the head coach of the University of Denver women's tennis program.
Saturday, Jan. 25 -- vs. Mississippi - ITA Kick-Off (Oxford, Miss.), 10 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 26 -- vs. Clemson or Illinois - ITA Kick-Off (Oxford, Miss.), Time TBA