Jan. 31, 2012
Thursday, Feb. 2 -- vs. Louisville (Varsity Tennis Center), 5 p.m.
Live Scoreboard/Video | Promotions: Wii Tennis Tournament
Saturday, Feb. 4 -- vs. LSU (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Live Scoreboard/Video | Promotions: Wii Tennis Tournament, Tennis Club Day, Prize Pack Giveaway
The University of Michigan men's tennis team (2-2) returns to the Varsity Tennis Center this week to host a pair of non-conference opponents. U-M will face Louisville at 5 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 2) before wrapping weekend action with a 6 p.m. dual against LSU on Saturday (Feb. 4).
Dual Match Format --This weekend's dual matches will be contests for the best-of-seven team points. The dual will begin with three doubles matches consisting of eight-game pro sets. The team that wins two of these three matches will enter the singles competition with one of seven points. 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. The overall dual match will be decided when one team secures four total points. Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.
Scouting the Opponents
Louisville -- The Cardinals carry a 3-2 record on the season after dropping two matches against Washington (4-0) and VCU (4-2) at last weekend's ITA Kickoff Weekend (Jan. 28-29). Andrew Carter is ranked No. 113 as Louisville's No. 1 singles player, while Carter and Sebastian Steifelmeyer own the No. 24 doubles listing. Michigan boasts a 1-0 record in the all-time series against Louisville, claiming the lone meeting in 1999.
LSU -- The Tigers are 2-1 on the season and split their two matches at last weekend's ITA Kickoff event, falling to California (4-0) before rebounding with a shutout win against Minnesota (4-0). LSU's No. 1 singles player, Oliver Borsos, owns the No. 68 rankings, while Borsos and Chris Simpson carry the No. 28 doubles ranking. The Wolverines trail 4-0 in the all-time series against LSU, most recently dropping a 5-2 decision in last season's road dual match.
Last Time Out -- Michigan split its matches at the ITA Kickoff Weekend (Jan. 28-29), falling to No. 21 Texas Tech, 4-3, in the final match before bouncing back with a 4-0 shutout victory against No. 38 Maryland. Junior Evan King won both matches from the No. 1 singles position, while the Wolverines claimed the doubles point in both contests.
[ Recaps: Texas Tech | Maryland ]
A Point of Emphasis -- The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in all four dual matches this season, combining for a solid 8-2 combined doubles record, including a perfect 4-0 mark at the No. 3 position. Michigan won just six doubles points through 24 duals last season.
Phenomenal Freshmen -- Freshman Alex Petrone and Michael Zhu earned one singles win apiece at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions, respectively, at last weekend's ITA Kickoff event. Petrone knocked off Maryland's No. 121-ranked Vlad Stefan, 6-4, 6-4, for his second win over a ranked opponent this season. The duo are also a perfect 4-0 in doubles play this season, appearing at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions. Michigan's other newcomer, freshman Eli Brown, owns a 1-0 record in dual appearances.
Where We Rank -- Michigan climbed up a spot, to the No. 31 position, in the latest ITA national rankings, released last Tuesday (Jan. 24). All-American Evan King holds onto No. 6 in the first edition of the 2012 singles rankings, climbing two spots from his No. 8 fall ranking, while U-M's top doubles tandem of King and sophomore Shaun Bernstein list No. 22.
[ ITA Rankings ]
Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Bruce Berque is in his eighth year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 110-75 overall record and 42-18 Big Ten mark over his tenure. Berque has led the Wolverines to six consecutive NCAA Championships berths, including the 2008 Sweet 16, and has finished among the top four of the Big Ten in six of seven seasons. Mark Merklein is in his first season as Michigan's assistant coach after joining the staff this past summer. A former ATP tour professional (1994-2005) and NCAA singles (1994) and doubles (1993) champion while at Florida, Merklein spent the previous six years as a national coach with the USTA Player Development Center in Boca Raton, Fla. [ Merklein Hired as Assistant Coach for Wolverine Program ]
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Saturday, Feb. 11 -- at Washington (Seattle, Wash.), 2 p.m. PST
Saturday, Feb. 18 -- vs. Notre Dame (Varsity Tennis Center), 3 p.m.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423