U-M Shuts Out No. 20 Illinois to Advance to Big Ten Tournament Final
Sarah Lee

April 28, 2012

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Site: Columbus, Ohio (Varsity Tennis Center)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Semifinals)
Score: #15 Michigan 4, #20 Illinois 0
Records: U-M (19-6), Illinois (18-7)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, April 29 -- vs. Purdue - Big Ten Tournament final (Columbus, Ohio), Noon

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The No. 15-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team used several first-set rallies to claim the first three singles matches off court en route to a 4-0 shutout victory over No. 20 Illinois in the Big Ten Conference Tournament semifinals on Saturday afternoon (April 28) at Ohio State's Varsity Tennis Center.

The Wolverines will face Purdue in Sunday's (April 29) Big Ten Tournament championship match, which is slated for a noon start at OSU's Varsity Tennis Courts. The Boilermakers upset top-seeded Northwestern, 4-2, in the semifinal round. The winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

After claiming the doubles point with wins on the No. 1 and No. 2 courts, including an 8-0 shutout in the former match, Michigan found itself trailing early in four singles matches. The Wolverines rallied to win all six first sets, but four contests went to a third set; three were abandoned when U-M earned its fourth point to clinch the dual.

Sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) earned the deciding point with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 decision against No. 102-ranked Allison Falkin at the No. 2 singles position. Bolender, ranked 85th in the latest ITA poll, trailed 4-0 in the first set before claiming six straight games to close it out. After giving up another early break in the second set, which Falkin won to even the score, the Wolverine sophomore cruised in the third, breaking in the first game before serving it out to end the dual.

Freshman Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, Ind./New Braunfels HS) and junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan HS) preceded Bolender in victory with straight-set decisions at the No. 1 and No. 4 positions, respectively.

Like Bolender, Bektas claimed her second singles win of the weekend and extended her win streak to four straight with a 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over Melissa Kopinski. The Wolverine rookie, ranked 12th, surged to a 4-0 lead to cruise in the first set and on serve throughout the second, claimed the final five points to rally in the tiebreaker. With the win, Bektas improved to 30-8 on the season.

Nguyen, ranked 121st, rebounded from early breaks in both sets to claim a 6-4, 6-4, win against Amy Allin. She trailed 4-0 in the first before winning each of the final six games. Nguyen and Allin traded breaks early in the second and stayed on serve through 4-4 when the Wolverine broke in the ninth game and successfully served out the match.

The Wolverines were even or trailed in the three remaining matches when the dual match ended.

Following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 12 Emina Bektas (U-M) d. Melissa Kopinski (UI), 6-2, 7-6 (4)
No. 2 -- No. 85 Brooke Bolender (U-M) d. No. 102 Allison Falkin (UI), 6-4, 3-6, 6-0
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee (U-M) vs. Marisa Lambropoulos (UI), 6-2, 4-6, 2-3 abandoned
No. 4 -- No. 121 Mimi Nguyen (U-M) d. Amy Allin (UI), 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 -- Michelle Sulahian (U-M) vs. Rachel White (UI), 6-3, 0-6, 3-3 abandoned
No. 6 -- Kristen Dodge (U-M) vs. Chelcie Abajian (UI), 7-6 (7), 4-6, 0-1 abandoned

No. 1 -- No. 10 Brooke Bolender/Emina Bektas (U-M) d. No. 53 Marisa Lambropoulos/Melissa Kopinski (UI), 8-0
No. 2 -- Mimi Nguyen/Michelle Sulahian (U-M) d. Rachel White/Amy Allin (UI), 8-5
No. 3 -- Sarah Lee/Kristen Dodge (U-M) vs. Chelcie Abajian/Allison Falkin (UI), 4-5 abandoned

Order of Completion: Singles 1-4-2, Doubles 1-2


• With today's win, Michigan improved to 26-11 in the all-time series against Illinois. U-M defeated the Fighting Illini, 6-1, during the regular-season dual match.

• Michigan moves on to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament for the eighth consecutive season. The Wolverines are in search of their second tournament title, winning it all in 1997.

• U-M defeated Purdue in regular-season dual match, 5-2, on March 31 in Ann Arbor.

• Matches in postseason play are abandoned once the match is clinched.

• Michigan has won each of its last six dual matches.

• The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in each of their last six matches and in 16 of 25 dual matches this season, combining for a 49-19 doubles record in dual action.

• Freshman Emina Bektas is the second Wolverine player to reach 30 wins this season, joining fellow newcomer Sarah Lee (31-8). Michigan had three players with more than 30 wins last year, including then-freshmen Brooke Bolender and Sam Critser.

• Junior Mimi Nguyen improved to 78-33 in her collegiate singles career, moving to the 14th position among Michigan's all-time winningest singles players, where she is tied with Christine Nolan (2001-04). Nguyen needs two more wins to reach the 12th spot, currently held by Danielle Lund (80, 1997-2000).

• Bektas and Bolender extended their doubles win streak to 10 in a row at the No. 1 position. The U-M duo is 29-8 on the season and 21-3 in dual matches.

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423