Wolverines Unable to Close Out Wildcats in Big Ten Tourney Final
Emina Bektas

April 27, 2014

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Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Final)
Score: #16 Northwestern 4, #17 Michigan 3
Records: U-M (21-4), NU (19-6)
Next U-M Event: Tuesday, April 29 -- NCAA Selection Show (NCAA.com), 5:30 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- The No. 17-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team opened up a 3-1 lead, but Northwestern won the final three matches on court for a 4-3 victory in the Big Ten Tournament championship match on Sunday afternoon (April 27) at the Combe Tennis Center.

Michigan rallied for the doubles point, winning at No. 1 and No. 3 after dropping an 8-2 decision at No. 2.

U-M's top pair of junior Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels) and senior Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan) recovered from a first-game break to get back on serve at 2-2. The teams stayed on serve and headed to a breaker at 7-7.

Bektas and Bolender jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker, before Northwestern came back to score five of the next six points and take a match point at 6-5. Bektas staved off the point with an ace, and Michigan scored the ensuing two points for its own match point at 7-6. The Wildcats ripped off two straight points for the second match point, but a Bolender ace ignited a three-point run for the Maize and Blue to seal the breaker for U-M (10-8).

At the same time, Michigan's No. 3 pair of junior Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall) and sophomore Amy Zhu (Newark, Del./Laurel Springs) lost their one-break lead to get back on serve at 7-6. NU was serving to send the match to another tiebreaker, but Michigan won the final four points of the game to clinch the doubles point for U-M with an 8-6 win.

After dropping the first set, Bektas saved two match points in the second to tie the set at 5-5. She won the next two games to push the match to a third set, where she blanked Veronica Corning to put Michigan's second point of the day on the board.

Northwestern then got a point back moments later with a three-set win at No. 3, trimming Michigan's lead to 2-1.

Bolender went up a break at 4-3 and held serve in her following game for a 5-3 lead. NU held serve at 5-4, and Bolender did the same at love in the next game to wrap up a 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 win for U-M's third tally of the day. She lost the first eight games of the match before getting on the board at 2-1 in the second. She ripped off six of the final seven games of the second set to send the match to the third set, where she pulled out the win.

Northwestern grabbed a 7-5, 7-5 win at No. 5 to get within a point at 3-2 and won again at No. 6 in a 7-4 third-set tiebreaker to even the score at 3-3, turning all the attention to the match at No. 2.

Sophomore Ronit Yurovsky (New Kensington, Pa./Plum) dropped her first set at No. 2, 6-1, and found herself in an early hole in the second before rallying. Yurovsky hung on to force the second set to a tiebreaker, where she jumped out to a 5-1 lead to take a 7-3 breaker win. In the third, Yurovsky jumped out to a 5-2 lead, before Belinda Niu stormed back to win the last five games and seal the title-clinching win for Northwestern.

Michigan will now await selection to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will air on NCAA.org on Tuesday (April 29) at 5:30 p.m.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 10 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. No. 37 Veronica Corning (NU), 2-6, 7-5, 6-0
No. 2 -- No. 41 Belinda Niu (NU) d. No. 22 Ronit Yurovsky (U-M), 6-1, 7-6 (2), 7-5
No. 3 -- Alicia Barnett (NU) d. No. 124 Sarah Lee (U-M), 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
No. 4 -- Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. Manon Peri (NU), 0-6, 6-3, 6-4
No. 5 -- Lok Sze Leung (NU) d. No. 125 Amy Zhu (U-M), 7-5, 7-5
No. 6 -- Nida Hamilton (NU) d. Laura Ucros (U-M), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4)

No. 1 -- No. 14 Emina Bektas/Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. N. 28 Veronica Corning/Alicia Barnett (NU), 8-7 (8)
No. 2 -- No. 85 Nida Hamilton/Maddie Lipp (NU) d. Laura Ucros/Ronit Yurovsky (U-M), 8-2
No. 3 -- Amy Zhu/Sarah Lee (U-M) d. Belinda Niu/Brooke Rischbieth (NU), 8-6

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

• Previous Results: Semifinals | Quarterfinals


• Michigan has reached 10 straight Big Ten Tournament championship matches.

Brooke Bolender now stands alone atop Michigan's all-time singles wins list with 112 career wins. Denise Muresan previously held the mark with 111.

Emina Bektas won her 23rd dual match of the year, moving her record to 23-2. She has won a Michigan-record 37 total singles matches this season.

• U-M is now 19-2 when winning the doubles point.

Amy Zhu had her 12-match winning streak snapped.

• Today's match was played indoors.

• It was Michigan's first road loss of the season. U-M is now 10-1 on the road this season.


Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein
On the match ... "That was one of the best matches I have ever had the opportunity to coach. Both teams battled so hard, all the way until the end. We put ourselves in a position to win and just couldn't come away with it. We dug ourselves into too big of a hole with the start we had singles. We were able to recover on some courts but not all the courts. I thought our doubles play was solid, pulling out that first point. I was a little disappointed with the start we had in singles, but we really hung in there and turned a few matches that I wasn't sure if we could. It was a great match, just unfortunate that we had to come out on the short end."