March 26, 2013
The University of Michigan men's tennis team (7-7, 2-1 Big Ten) hits the road this weekend to take on a pair of conference foes. The Wolverines will face Purdue (14-4, 1-1 Big Ten) on Friday (March 29) at 2 p.m. at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind., before squaring off with Indiana on Sunday (March 31) at 1 p.m. at the IU Tennis Center in Bloomington, Ind.
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.
Senior Evan King picked up his 104th career singles victory with his 6-1, 6-2 decision over Minnesota's 36th-ranked Rok Bonin on March 24. King, who ranks third on U-M's all-time singles wins list, is 13-1 in dual-match competition and 19-4 overall this season.
With a total of 180 career wins (104 singles, 76 doubles), senior Evan King is tied with Peter Pusztai (115 singles, 65 doubles) for the most combined career wins in program history.
On March 6, senior Evan King became only the fifth Wolverine in program history to post 100 career singles victories, accomplishing the feat by defeating Pepperdine's seventh-ranked Sebastian Fanselow, 6-2, 6-4, at the No. 1 singles position. The victory also marked King's second top-10 win of the season.
On March 13, senior Evan King collected his third Big Ten Athlete of the Week accolade of the season after putting together a 3-0 road trip. King has garnered Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors on nine occasions during his Wolverine career.
Junior Barrett Franks has won five consecutive matches -- including three in a row from the No. 4 spot -- and is 11-2 in dual-match competition. He trails only senior Evan King in dual wins this year.
The Boilermakers enter the weekend with a 14-4 record on the season and are 1-1 in the Big Ten. Purdue split its first two conference duals of the season, registering a 6-1 victory at Penn State last Sunday (March 24), after dropping the conference opener at Ohio State, 7-0, last Saturday (March 23). Michigan owns a 67-10 advantage in the all-time series against the Boilermakers and has won the last eight straight meetings, earning a 5-2 decision in last season's match in Ann Arbor. Purdue (No. 60) will represent Michigan's 13th ranked opponent this season.
Indiana is 9-9 on the season and 1-1 in Big Ten Play. The Hoosiers boast a pair of ranked doubles teams in the 31st-ranked tandem of Sam Monette and Isade Juneau and the 49th-ranked duo of Juneau and Josh MacTaggart. U-M owns a 61-5-1 lead in the all-time series against the Hoosiers, including a 5-2 win in last season's dual at the Varsity Tennis Center. Indiana claimed the most-recent meeting in Bloomington, earning a narrow 4-3 victory over the Wolverines in 2011.
Senior Evan King clinched Michigan's first two wins of the season, while junior Barrett Franks has secured three U-M victories. King clinched the Wolverines' home opener against TCU on Jan. 19 and the squad's neutral-site win over Santa Clara on Jan. 25, while Franks secured victories against Princeton on Feb. 1 and Wake Forest on Feb. 3 at the VTC, and on the road at LSU on March 17. Junior Alex Buzzi picked up his first dual-clinching victory of the season last Saturday against Wisconsin (March 23), earning a 6-3, 7-6 (3) decision over Alexander Kokorev at the No. 6 position.
Michigan is listed as the No. 35-ranked team in the latest ITA national rankings, released last Tuesday (March 26). Evan King is listed at No. 15 in the fourth edition of the 2013 ranking, while sophomore Vlad Stefan is 98th in the latest ITA singles rankings. U-M's top doubles tandem of King and junior Shaun Bernstein is No. 12 in the country, while the pairing of King and junior Alex Buzzi is ranked 30th.
The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in eight of 14 dual matches this season, combining for an 18-14 doubles record. Senior Evan King and junior Shaun Bernstein own a 6-1 mark at the No. 1 position, while the tandem of King and junior Alex Buzzi are 4-0 together at the top of the lineup. U-M is 5-3 when winning the doubles point this season and 2-4 when dropping the initial point.
Michigan is off to a 4-2 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 71-23 (.755) since the 2005 season and is 131-43 (.753) overall at the complex.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
On playing at the No. 1 doubles position with Evan King ... "I love playing with Evan. I think we complement each other very well and work well together as team. He has a big serve and we are both very good at volleys. It is nice to know that if I am having an off day that I have someone great like Evan that can back me up on the court."
On why he chose to come to Michigan ..."Michigan was actually a very late choice for me in the recruiting process. I was looking at other schools, but then I talked to Coach Berque and I realized how great a school Michigan was. I knew it was a very strong school academically."
On what he is studying in school ... "Right now I'm in the College of Engineering. What I want to do out of college is still a little up in the air, but right now I am trying to finish up my undergrad degree in mechanical engineering, and I am thinking about getting my master's in mechanical engineering as well."
On what sport he would try playing if he wasn't playing tennis ... "I played soccer when I was younger until I was about 12. I was actually probably better at soccer than at tennis at one point, but I decided to focus on tennis as I grew up."
On what this team is capable of ... "We have had a couple injuries this season, and if you look at our losses, nearly all of them have been 4-3 coming down to a couple points. Right now, I don't think anyone is counting us out of anything. If we work hard every day, we believe some of these close matches will start going our way."
Saturday, April 6 -- vs. Illinois (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Sunday, April 7 -- vs. Northwestern (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon