April 1, 2014
The University of Michigan men's tennis team (11-8 overall, 3-2 Big Ten) returns to the road next weekend for a pair of Big Ten duals. The Wolverines will travel to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern (12-9 overall, 1-4 Big Ten) at 2:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, April 4, before wrapping up the weekend on Sunday, April 6, with a dual against No. 11 Illinois (14-6 overall, 4-1 Big Ten) in Champaign, Ill., noon CDT.
Each match this weekend 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.
U-M is coming off a 2-0 weekend homestand at the Varsity Tennis Center, earning victories over Iowa (W, 5-2) and Nebraska (W, 7-0) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Redshirt junior Justin Rossi leads the Wolverines in dual-match singles wins with 11. Dating back to Feb. 2, Rossi has won 10 of his last 11 singles matches.
Freshman Kevin Wong has won four consecutive singles matches and owns a 6-1 record during dual-match play.
The Wolverines have earned the doubles point in 13 of their first 19 matches this season, combining for a 28-17 doubles record, including an 11-2 mark by the tandem of senior Shaun Bernstein and freshman Kevin Wong, who have played at both the No. 2 and No. 3 positions this season. The 24th-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 9-3 this season when claiming the doubles point.
Eight different Michigan players have clinched U-M's 11 dual wins this season: senior Barrett Franks (Mississippi and Detroit), junior Alex Petrone (LSU and Iowa) 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 Vlad Stefan (Nebraska) and redshirt junior Justin Rossi (Hawaii) have each clinched one match apiece.
Over its last 12 matches, U-M has gone a combined 26-10 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. 11 Illinois and No. 37 Northwestern, the Wolverines have already squared off against 13 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. 26 Louisville, No. 27 Penn State, No. 30 LSU, No. 35 North Carolina State, No. 60 Nebraska and No. 68 Iowa.
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 12-5 in singles and 18-6 in doubles. Wong and senior Shaun Bernstein are 14-2 this season and hold an 11-2 mark during dual-match play.
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 9-5 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 82-29 (.739) since the 2005 season and is 142-49 (.743) 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 153-97 overall record and 63-22 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 11 -- at Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), 6 p.m. CDT
Sunday, April 13-- at Wisconsin (Madison, Wisc.), Noon CDT
Media Contact: Zach Eisendrath (firstname.lastname@example.org)