April 22, 2014
Big Ten Tournament (East Lansing, Mich.)
Thursday, April 24 -- vs. Wisconsin, 2 p.m.
Friday, April 25 -- Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, 2 p.m.
Saturday, April 26 -- Big Ten Tournament semifinals, 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 27 -- Big Ten Tournament final, Noon
The University of Michigan men's tennis team (14-11, 6-5 Big Ten) will begin postseason play this week, traveling to East Lansing, Mich., to participate in the 2014 Big Ten Conference Tournament, hosted by Michigan State this Thursday through Sunday (April 24-27) at the MSU Outdoor Tennis Courts. The Wolverines earned the No. 6 seed and will square off against No. 11 seed Wisconsin (9-15, 1-10 Big Ten) in tournament first-round action at 2 p.m. on Thursday (April 24).
This week'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. For postseason competition, once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles matches will not be completed. 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. All other matches in progress when the match point is clinched will be abandoned.
Michigan owns a 75-9-1 advantage in the all-time series against Wisconsin and has won each of the last five matches, including a 4-3 victory earlier this month when the Wolverines and Badgers squared off in Madison on April 13.
Senior Alex Buzzi has won four consecutive matches and leads the team with 17 singles victories, while redshirt junior Justin Rossi has posted a team-high 13 dual-match victories during the 2014 campaign.
Dating back to Feb. 2, redshirt junior Justin Rossi has won 12 of his last 17 singles matches. After two victories last weekend at the No. 3 position, Rossi owns a career-high 16 singles victories this season.
Freshman Kevin Wong has won five consecutive singles matches and owns a 7-1 record during dual-match play.
The Wolverines have earned the doubles point in 17 of their first 25 matches this season, combining for a 37-22 doubles record, including 1 13-3 mark by the tandem of senior Shaun Bernstein and freshman Kevin Wong, who have played at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 positions this season. The 31st-ranked tandem of seniors Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi make up U-M's No. 1 doubles team. The senior duo owns four victories over top-20 ranked opponents, including an 8-7 (6) victory over Illinois' third-ranked tandem of Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon on April 6. The Wolverines are 11-4 this season when claiming the doubles point.
Following the season, U-M will lose five players to graduation: Shaun Bernstein, Alex Buzzi, Barrett Franks, Justin Rossi and Vlad Stefan. Through last weekend's action, the five players have combined to win 437 matches (236 in singles, 201 in doubles).
Eight different Michigan players have clinched U-M's 14 dual wins this season: junior Alex Petrone (LSU, Iowa and Purdue) leads the team with three dual-match clinching victories this season. Seniors Barrett Franks (Mississippi and Detroit) and Alex Buzzi (Michigan State and Wisconsin), redshirt junior Justin Rossi (Hawaii and Indiana) and freshman Kevin Wong (Western Michigan and Youngstown State) have each clinched two matches, while senior Shaun Bernstein (Vanderbilt) and juniors Michael Zhu (Toledo) and Vlad Stefan (Nebraska) have each clinched one match apiece.
In dual matches, Michigan is 76-73 (.510) in singles play and 37-22 (.627) in doubles action. Overall, U-M is 105-113 (.482) in singles and 55-38 (.591) in doubles action for the season.
Over its last 18 matches, U-M has gone a combined 34-20 from the No.4 - No. 6 singles positions. Michigan players are a combined 17-7 from the No. 6 singles position this season.
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 Big Ten Tournament, the Wolverines have already squared off against 17 ranked opponents: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 10 Texas, No. 11 Illinois, No. 11 Mississippi, No. 13 Duke, No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 22 Illinois, No. 24 Columbia, No. 26 Louisville, No. 27 Penn State, No. 28 Purdue, No. 30 LSU, No. 35 North Carolina State, No. 37 Northwestern, No. 51 Minnesota, No. 59 Indiana, No. 60 Nebraska, No. 68 Iowa and No. 70 Wisconsin.
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 13-5 in singles and 19-7 in doubles. Wong and senior Shaun Bernstein are 14-4 this season and hold an 11-3 mark during dual-match play.
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 2-1 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 finished its 2014 campaign with an 11-5 record at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines have been tough to beat at the VTC since the facility opened in 1997. Michigan is 84-29 (.743) since the 2005 season and is 144-49 (.746) overall at the complex.
Through the month of March, Michigan is fifth in the nation in overall attendance, drawing 3,804 fans to the Varsity Tennis Center so far 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.
Head coach Bruce Berque is in his 10th year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 156-100 overall record and 66-25 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.
Fri-Sun., May 9-11 -- at NCAA Regionals (Site TBA)
Fri-Tue., May 16-20 -- at NCAA Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Wed-Mon., May 21-26 -- at NCAA Individual Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Media Contact: Zach Eisendrath