Feb. 21, 2012
Saturday, Feb. 25 -- at Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.), 1 p.m.
The No. 28-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team (4-4) will hit the road on Saturday (Feb. 25), traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to face Vanderbilt at 1 p.m. CST at the Commodores' Currey Tennis Center.
Scouting Vanderbilt -- The Commodores carry a 5-4 record into the weekend after splitting a pair of duals last weekend (Feb. 17-19), falling to Memphis, 4-3, before battling past UAB, 4-3. Vanderbilt's top player, Charlie Jones, owns the nation's No. 66 singles rankings and is 9-1 on the season, while its top doubles team, Austin Gonzales and Blake Bazarnik, is 5-1 and ranked 45th. Michigan owns a 6-3 advantage in the all-time series against Vanderbilt. The Commodores snapped U-M's three-match win streak in the series with a 5-2 decision last season in Ann Arbor.
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.
Where We Rank -- Michigan is still listed as the No. 28 team in the latest ITA national rankings, released last Tuesday (Feb. 7). All-American Evan King fell a couple spots in the singles rankings but remained in the top 10, coming in at the No. 8 spot, while U-M's top doubles tandem of King and sophomore Shaun Bernstein shot up to the No. 10 position.
[ ITA Rankings ]
Last Time Out -- The Wolverines swept the doubles matches but could not hang onto its early advantage against No. 30-ranked Notre Dame, falling, 4-3, in the final match last Saturday (Feb. 18) at the Varsity Tennis Center. Junior Evan King and sophomore Alex Buzzi claimed singles victories from the No. 1 and No. 6 positions, respectively, but Notre Dame won the other four and clinched the dual with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) victory from Sam Keeton at the No. 3 spot.
[ Full Recap ]
Michigan seeks its first road victory of the season. The Wolverines are 3-2 at home, 1-1 in neutral sites and 0-1 as the visiting team.
Sophomore Alex Buzzi was victorious in his return to the Wolverine lineup, earning his first dual win with a 7-5, 7-5 decision over Notre Dame's Michael Moore.
Four different Wolverine players have clinched U-M's dual wins this season.
A Point of Emphasis -- The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in six of eight dual matches this season, combining for a solid 15-7 combined doubles record, including a near-perfect 6-1 mark at the No. 1 position. Michigan won just six doubles points through 24 duals last season.
Top Dogs -- Michigan's No. 1 doubles tandem of junior Evan King and sophomore Shaun Bernstein boast a five-match winning streak and lead the Wolverine team with a 6-1 dual record. The duo own a pair of wins over ranked opposition this season, including a lopsided 8-3 decision over LSU's 28th-ranked Olivier Borsos and Chris Simpson on Feb. 4.
King of the Court -- Junior Evan King returned to his winning ways last weekend, rallying past Notre Dame's Casey Watt, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, to improve to 6-2 in dual competition. King has won five of his last six matches with a pair of wins over ranked opposition, defeating Louisville's No. 113 Andrew Carter, 6-0, 6-4, and LSU's No. 68 Olivier Bortsos, 6-1, 6-4, to extend his win streak to four straight matches. King, the nation's No. 8-ranked singles player, owns a 9-6 record against ranked opposition this season. Among his six losses, five came against top-15 players, including two against Duke's Henrique Cunha and two against Washington's Kyle McMorrow.
Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Bruce Berque is in his eighth year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 112-77 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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Thursday, March 1 -- at Hawai'i (Honolulu, Hawaii), 3 p.m. HST
Saturday, March 10 -- at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, N.C.), 11 a.m.
Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423