Maize & Blue Dispatches of No. 19 Illinois for Sixth Straight Win
Mimi Nguyen

April 7, 2012

Notes & Quotes | Highlights

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
Score: #15 Michigan 6, #19 Illinois 1
Records: U-M (13-5, 6-0 Big Ten), Illinois (12-5, 4-2 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, April 8 -- vs. Northwestern (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team used a dominant singles performance to cruise past No. 19 Illinois, 6-1, en route to its sixth consecutive dual-match victory on Saturday afternoon (April 7) at the Varsity Tennis Center. With the win, the Wolverines also improved to 6-0 in Big Ten Conference play.

Michigan won five-of-six singles matches, winning three in straight sets, to wrap up the dual win before the Fighting Illini claimed the last match to narrow the final score.

Freshman Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) and junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Milliken HS) won in quick succession at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions, respectively, as the Wolverines' first two off court. Lee shook off a slow start to secure her sixth straight singles win, surging past Marisa Lambropoulos, 6-4, 6-1. She gave up a pair of early breaks to trail 3-0 in the first set but evened the score before breaking again to serve out the set. The Wolverine rookie cruised in the second, breaking in the fourth game and claiming the final five games. She improved to 16-1 in dual-match play.

Nguyen, ranked No. 114 in the latest ITA poll, closed out a 6-0, 6-4 win over Amy Allin just moments later, rallying from an early break in the second set before taking each of the final four games. Nguyen is 12-5 in dual competition.

Sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) clinched the dual from the No. 2 position, earning a 6-3, 7-5 decision against the Fighting Illini's No. 124-ranked Melissa Kopinski. After trading early breaks in the second set, Bolender, ranked 65th, regained the advantage in a break in the 11th game and after working back to deuce in the next game, finished the match when a Kopinski forehand went long. Bolender improved to 9-6 in dual-match play.

With the Wolverine victory already in hand, freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) and senior Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) added three-set decisions at the No. 1 and No. 6 spots, respectively. Bektas, ranked 10th nationally, defeated Allison Falkin, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, after an early break in the third set. The Wolverine freshman claimed the match's final three games to improve to 14-2 in dual action. Sulahian won in the match tiebreaker against Breanne Smutko, 7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (5), to even her dual record to 7-7.

Michigan won the doubles point for the fifth consecutive match with wins on the No. 1 and No. 3 courts. The Wolverines' top pairing of Bektas and Bolender claimed their third straight win with a lopsided 8-2 victory at the former spot. They lead the U-M team with a 14-3 record in dual play.

The Wolverines (13-5, 6-0 Big Ten) will wrap up the weekend homestand tomorrow (Sunday, April 8) with a noon match against No. 14 Northwestern at the Varsity Tennis Center.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 10 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. Allison Falkin (UI), 6-1, 4-6, 6-2
No. 2 -- No. 66 Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. No. 124 Melissa Kopinski (UI), 6-3, 7-5
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) d. Marisa Lambropoulos (UI), 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 -- No. 114 Mimi Nguyen (U-M) d. Amy Allin (UI), 6-0, 6-4
No. 5 -- Rachael White (UI) d. No. 121 Sam Critser (U-M), 6-4, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (3)
No. 6 -- Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Breanne Smutko (UI), 7-5, 2-6, 1-0 (5)

No. 1 -- No. 7 Brooke Bolender/Emina Bektas (U-M) d. No. 48 Marisa Lambropoulos/Melissa Kopisnki (UI), 8-2
No. 2 -- Rachael White/Amy Allin (UI) d. Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian (U-M), 8-6
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee/Sam Critser (U-M) vs. Chelcie Abajian/Allison Falkin (UI), 8-4

Order of Completion: Singles 3-4-2-1-6-5; Doubles 1-3-2

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423