Feb. 4, 2014
Friday, Feb. 7 -- vs. No. 10 Texas (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 9 -- vs. No. 13 Duke (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Sunday, Feb. 9 -- vs. Youngstown State (Varsity Tennis Center), 5:30 p.m.
The No. 26-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team (3-2) continues its seven-match homestand this weekend in Ann Arbor, squaring off against three non-conference foes at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines will take on 10th-ranked Texas on Friday (Feb. 7) at 6 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend slate with a doubleheader against 13th-ranked Duke (Noon) and Youngstown State (5:30 p.m.) on Sunday (Feb. 9).
Each match this weekend will be a contest 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.
The Maize and Blue is coming off a 4-3 loss to 35th-ranked North Carolina State last Sunday (Feb. 2) at the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan generated three team points thanks to two doubles victories and singles wins by junior Alex Petrone and senior Alex Buzzi, but the Wolfpack clinched the dual in the final match on the court, as 50th-ranked Austin Powell defeated junior Vlad Stefan in three sets (6-2, 3-6, 6-4) at the No. 1 singles position.
U-M is in the midst of a stretch in which it squares off against nine ranked opponents over a span of 10 dual matches. Over the first month of the season, the Wolverines squared off against No. 11 Mississippi, No. 22 Illinois and No. 35 North Carolina State. Following this weekend's slate, which includes matchups against No. 10 Texas and No. 13 Duke, three more ranked foes are scheduled to visit the Varsity Tennis Center in the month of February (No. 27 LSU on Feb. 21, No. 21 Vanderbilt on Feb. 23 and No. 48 Michigan State on Feb. 28).
The Wolverines have earned the doubles point in each of their first five dual matches this season, combining for a 10-2 doubles record, including 4-0 marks by the duo of seniors Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi at the No. 1 position and the tandem of senior Shaun Bernstein and freshman Kevin Wong at the No. 3 position. U-M claimed the doubles point in 14 of 26 dual matches last season, combining for a 29-27 doubles record. Michigan's ability to win the doubles point has 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 Wolverines are 3-2 this season when claiming the doubles point.
After dropping his first dual-match of the season, junior Alex Petrone has won his last four matches. All four of Petrone's victories have come from the No. 2 singles position, and two of those triumphs have come against ranked opponents -- straight-set wins over North Carolina State's 82nd-ranked Thomas Weigel (6-2, 4-6, 6-3 ) and Mississippi's 104th-ranked William Kallberg (6-3, 6-2). Petrone, who posted a 13-18 overall record last season, holds an 8-6 record through 14 matches during the 2013-14 campaign.
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, is off to a hot start in his final season with the Maize and Blue, winning three of his first four singles matches to start the dual-match season. The Christchurch, New Zealand, native won 11 of his last 12 singles matches to conclude the regular season in 2013, 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.
Michigan is off to a 2-1 start at the Varsity Tennis Center this season. The Wolverines have been tough to beat at the VTC since the facility opened in 1997. Michigan is 75-25 (.750) since the 2005 season and is 135-45 (.750) overall at the complex.
Freshmen Tyler Gardiner and Kevin Wong both made their collegiate debuts during the fall individual season. Wong is 7-5 in singles competition while Gardiner has 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.
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.
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.
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.
Head coach Bruce Berque is in his 10th year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 146-93 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.
Friday, Feb. 21 -- vs. LSU (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 23 -- vs. Vanderbilt (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon