April 23, 2013
Big Ten Tournament (Columbus, Ohio)
Friday, April 26 -- vs. Indiana or Penn State, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 -- Semifinals, 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 28 -- Championship Match, Noon
The No. 23-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team (14-8, 9-2 Big Ten) will begin postseason play this weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the 2013 Big Ten Conference Tournament, hosted by Ohio State this Thursday through Sunday (April 25-28) at the Buckeyes' Outdoor Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines, who finished tied for second in the Big Ten regular-season standings, earned the No. 3 seed and will received a first-round bye before squaring off with the winner of No. 6 seed Indiana and No. 11 seed Penn State in the tournament quarterfinals at 4 p.m. on Friday (April 26).
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. 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.
• After splitting its final two dual matches of the Big Ten regular season, Michigan finished 9-2 in Big Ten play for the second consecutive season, concluding regular-season play tied with Minnesota for second place in the conference standings. U-M has finished among the Big Ten's top four teams in each of the last nine seasons.
The Wolverines saw their seven-match win streak halted by No. 5-ranked Ohio State in the regular-season finale. Michigan has won 10 of its last 12 matches overall.
Senior Evan King owns the U-M program record for most combined career singles and doubles wins. After two more victories last Friday at Penn State, King upped his career total to 190 wins (111 singles, 79 doubles). Prior to this season, Peter Pusztai previously owned the school record for most combined victories with 180 career triumphs (115 singles, 65 doubles) from 1993-96.
• Senior Evan King picked up his 111th career singles victory with his 6-4, 6-4 win over Penn State's Russell Bader on April 19. King, who ranks third on U-M's all-time singles wins list, is 20-1 in dual-match competition and 26-4 overall this season.
• Senior Evan King has won nine consecutive matches dating back to a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Wisconsin's Billy Bertha on March 23. King is no stranger to long winning streaks. He boasted a 14-match run earlier this season.
• Senior Evan King, the nation's No. 10-ranked singles player, owns an impressive 11-3 record against ranked opponents this season, most recently moving past Minnesota's 36th-ranked Rok Bonin, 6-1, 6-2, on March 24.
• 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 11 of his last 12 matches -- including one from the No. 2 position and five from the No. 3 spot -- and is 17-3 in dual-match competition. He trails only senior Evan King in dual wins this year.
• Junior Alex Buzzi has also been on a tear as of late, winning a season-high seven straight matches. Buzzi is 9-1 in Big Ten play and 18-6 overall this season.
• After starting the dual-match season 0-5 in singles competition, redshirt sophomore Justin Rossi finished the regular season a perfect 4-0 in Big Ten action.
• Senior Evan King has clinched four of Michigan's wins this season, while junior Barrett Franks has secured four U-M victories. King clinched the Wolverines' home opener against TCU (Jan. 19), the squad's neutral-site win over Santa Clara (Jan. 25), U-M's home triumph over Northwestern (April 7) and Michigan's road win at Iowa (April 14). Franks has secured victories against Princeton (Feb. 1) and Wake Forest (Feb. 3) at the VTC and on the road at LSU (March 17) and at Purdue (March 29). Junior Alex Buzzi up his second dual-clinching victory of the season last Saturday against Illinois (April 6), earning a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Alex Jesse at the No. 6 position. Junior Shaun Bernstein clinched the winning point for the Wolverines against Indiana (March 31) with a come-from-behind win at the No. 6 singles position. Bernstein trailed Chris Essick 5-1 in the third set before catching fire from that point forward, winning the next six games to secure the match for Michigan with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 decision. Sophomore Vlad Stefan picked up his first dual-clinching win of the season at Nebraska (April 12), rallying from a first-set deficit to earn a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at the No. 3 singles position. Sophomore Alex Petrone notched his lone dual-clinching victory of the year at Penn State (April 19), posting a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Tomas Hanzlik at the No. 2 singles position.
• Michigan is listed as the No. 23-ranked team in the latest ITA national rankings, released last Tuesday (April 16). King is listed at No. 11 in the eighth edition of the 2013 ranking, while sophomore Vlad Stefan is 123rd in the latest ITA singles rankings. U-M's top doubles tandem of King and junior Shaun Bernstein is No. 30 in the country, while the pairing of King and junior Alex Buzzi is ranked 49th.
• The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in 13 of 22 dual matches this season, combining for a 29-23 doubles record. Senior Evan King and junior Shaun Bernstein own an 8-5 mark at the No. 1 position, while the tandem of King and junior Alex Buzzi is 5-1 together at the top of the lineup. U-M is 10-3 when winning the doubles point this season and 4-5 when dropping the initial point.
• Michigan went 6-3 at the Varsity Tennis Center this season. The Wolverines have been tough to beat at the VTC since the facility opened in 1997. U-M is 73-24 (.753) since the 2005 season and is 133-44 (.751) overall at the complex.
• Head coach Bruce Berque is in his ninth year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 141-89 overall record and 66-26 Big Ten mark over his tenure. Berque has led the Wolverines to seven consecutive NCAA Championships berths, including the 2008 Sweet 16, and has finished among the top four of the Big Ten in eight of his nine seasons in Ann Arbor. Mark Merklein is in his second season as Michigan's assistant coach after joining the staff prior to the 2011-12 season. 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.
Fri-Sun., May 10-12 -- at NCAA Regionals (Site TBA)
Thu-Tue., May 16-21 -- at NCAA Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Wed-Mon., May 22-27 -- at NCAA Individual Championships (Athens, Ga.)