Weekly #11: U-M to Wrap Up March with Trip to Louisville, Two at Home

March 25, 2014

Wednesday, March 26 -- at No. 26 Louisville (Louisville, Ky.), 4 p.m.
Live Scoring
Saturday, March 29 -- vs. Iowa (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Free Admission | Live Scoring/Live Video
Sunday, March 30 -- vs. Nebraska (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Free Admission | Live Scoring/Live Video

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The University of Michigan men's tennis team (9-7 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) will wrap up the month of March by squaring off against a nationally ranked opponent and two Big Ten foes. The Wolverines conclude their non-conference slate on Wednesday (March 26), traveling to Louisville, Ky., to take on 26th-ranked Louisville (14-5 overall, 0-0 AAC) at 4 p.m. U-M will then shift its attention back to Big Ten action, hosting Iowa (9-5, 1-1 Big Ten) and Nebraska (9-7, 1-1 Big Ten) at the Varsity Tennis Center on Saturday (March 29) and Sunday (March 30), respectively. Both duals are slated to start at noon.

Dual-Match Format
Each match this week will be for the best-of-seven team points. Each 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. Each 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.


• The Wolverines are coming off a 1-2 weekend, capped by a 7-0 victory over Youngstown State on Sunday night (March 23) at the Varsity Tennis Center. Freshman Kevin Wong clinched the match for the Maize and Blue, notching a 6-0, 6-3 decision over Rodrigo Campos at the No. 5 singles spot.

• U-M has earned the doubles point in 11 of its first 16 matches this season, combining for a 24-14 doubles record, including a 9-1 mark by the 52-ranked tandem of senior Shaun Bernstein and freshman Kevin Wong, who have played at both the No. 2 and No. 3 positions this season. The 22nd-ranked tandem of seniors Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi make up U-M's No. 1 doubles team. The senior duo won their first five doubles matches to start the 2014 campaign, including three straight victories over top-20 ranked opponents. The Wolverines are 7-3 this season when claiming the doubles point.

• Seven different Michigan players have clinched U-M's nine dual wins this season: senior Barrett Franks (Mississippi and Detroit), and freshman Kevin Wong (Western Michigan, Youngstown State) have each clinched two matches, while seniors Shaun Bernstein (Vanderbilt) and Alex Buzzi (Michigan State), juniors Michael Zhu (Toledo) and Alex Petrone (LSU) and redshirt junior Justin Rossi have each clinched one match apiece.

• Redshirt junior Justin Rossi leads the Wolverines in dual-match singles wins with eight. Dating back to Feb. 2, Rossi has won seven of his last eight singles matches.

• Over its last nine matches, U-M has gone a combined 19-8 from the No.4 - No. 6 singles positions.

• As has become tradition under the guidance of head coach Bruce Berque, Michigan has once again played a challenging schedule to start the season. Prior to this weekend's encounters with No. 26 Louisville, No. 60 Nebraska and No. 68 Iowa, the Wolverines have already squared off against 10 ranked opponents: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 10 Texas, No. 11 Mississippi, No. 13 Duke, No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 22 Illinois, No. 24 Columbia, No. 27 Penn State, No. 30 LSU and No. 35 North Carolina State.

• Freshman Kevin Wong represented his native country of Hong Kong at the 2014 Davis Cup (Feb. 14-16) 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 10-5 in singles and 15-5 in doubles. Wong and senior Shaun Bernstein are 12-2 this season and are No. 52nd in the latest ITA Men's Doubles Rankings after recording a 9-1 mark to start dual-match play. Wong has also excelled in singles action and is 4-1 through five matches during the dual-match season.

• Junior Michael Zhu is off to a strong start to the dual-match season, owning an impressive 6-1 mark (.857) through seven matches. Zhu, who has earned victories from the No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 positions, has won four straight matches since a loss to North Carolina State on Feb. 2.

• Freshman Tyler Gardiner owns a combined 4-0 record in singles and doubles play during U-M's dual-match season. A native of Novi, Mich., Gardiner is 2-0 at the No. 6 singles position and 2-0 at the No. 3 doubles position since making his dual-match debut against Detroit on March 15. Gardiner, who made his debut this fall, has posted a 4-4 mark through the first eight singles matches of his collegiate career.

• Michigan is off to a 7-5 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 80-29 (.734) since the 2005 season and is 140-49 (.741) overall at the complex.

• 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.

• Head coach Bruce Berque is in his 10th year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 151-96 overall record and 61-22 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, April 4 -- at Northwestern (Evanston, Ill.), 2:30 p.m. CDT
Sunday, April 6 -- at Illinois (Champaign, Ill.), Noon CDT

Media Contact: Zach Eisendrath (zeisen@umich.edu)