Weekly #6: Wolverines to Remain at VTC against LSU, Vandy
Shaun Bernstein

Feb. 19, 2014

Live Scoring/Live Video

Friday, Feb. 21 -- vs. LSU (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 23 -- vs. No. 18 Vanderbilt (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon

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After a 12-day layoff, the No. 33rd-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team (3-4) returns to the Varsity Tennis Center this weekend to square off against a pair of non-conference opponents. The Wolverines will face No. 30 LSU (5-2) at 6 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 21) before wrapping up their weekend slate with a noon dual against No. 18 Vanderbilt (7-1) on Sunday (Feb. 23).

This Weekend's Promotional Events
Come out to the Varsity Tennis Center on Friday and Sunday to help cheer the Wolverines on to victory against two ranked non-conference opponents. On Friday night, current professional tennis player and former U-M three-time ITA All-American Evan King will play "King of the Court" with children in eighth grade or under during the intermission between singles and doubles action. All children who win points off of King will be awarded prizes. Children wishing to participate should bring their own racket and wear non-marking shoes.

Fans in attendance at Friday night's match against LSU will also receive free pizza (while supplies last), and will be entered into a free Michigan tennis raffle for an opportunity to win two free Wolverine Den specialty seating tickets to the Michigan men's basketball game vs. Indiana on Saturday, March 8.

Dual-Match Format
This weekend's dual matches will be 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.


• Last week, freshman Kevin Wong represented his native country of Hong Kong at the 2014 Davis Cup in Phuket, Thailand. Competing in Group II of the Asia/Oceania Zone, Hong Kong fell to Thailand, 4-1, in first round action at the Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club. Wong teamed with former Duke four-time All-American Phillip King in the tournament's doubles competition. Wong is off to a strong start to his collegiate career, holding overall marks of 8-6 in singles and 10-4 in doubles. Wong and senior Shaun Bernstein are 8-1 this season and are No. 55 in the latest ITA Men's Doubles Rankings after recording five straight victories to start dual-match play. Wong has also excelled in singles action and is 2-0 from the No. 6 singles through the first month of dual-match competition.

• U-M is in the midst of a stretch in which it squares off against eight straight ranked opponents at the Varsity Tennis Center. Over the first month of the season, the Wolverines have already squared off against No. 10 Texas, No. 11 Mississippi, No. 13 Duke, No. 22 Illinois and No. 35 North Carolina State. Following this weekend's slate against two ranked foes, the Maize and Blue wrap up the lengthy stretch against ranked opponents when it opens up Big Ten play against No. 53 Michigan State on Feb. 28.

• This weekend's match will mark the seventh meeting between Michigan and LSU, with the Tigers holding a 4-2 series advantage. After dropping the first four encounters between the two teams, U-M has won two in a row, including last season's 5-2 decision in Baton Rouge.

• Michigan owns a 7-3 advantage in the all-time series against Vanderbilt. U-M has won four of the last five meetings overall, including a 4-3 decision when the teams last met in Nashville in 2012.

• The Wolverines have earned the doubles point in six of their first seven matches this season, combining for a 12-4 doubles record, including a 5-0 mark by the 55th-ranked tandem of senior Shaun Bernstein and freshman Kevin Wong at the No. 3 position and a 5-1 record by the 13th-ranked duo of seniors Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi at the No. 1 position. Buzzi and Franks won their first five doubles matches to start the 2014 campaign, including three straight victories over top-20 ranked opponents. The Wolverines are 3-3 this season when claiming the doubles point.

After dropping his first dual-match of the season, junior Alex Petrone has won four of his last 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 solid start to his final season with the Maize and Blue, winning three of his first six singles matches to start the dual-match season. The Christchurch, New Zealand 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 2-3 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 75-27 (.735) since the 2005 season and is 135-47 (.742) overall at the complex.

Freshmen Tyler Gardiner and Kevin Wong both made their collegiate debuts during the fall individual season. Wong is 8-6 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 146-95 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. 28 -- vs. Michigan State (Varsity Tennis Center), 6 p.m.
Thursday, March 6 -- at Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii), 2 p.m. HST