Week #2: U-M to Begin Dual Play against WMU Sunday at Home
Sam Critser

Jan. 17, 2012

Sunday, Jan. 22 -- vs. Western Michigan (Varsity Tennis Center), Noon
Live Scoreboard/Video | Promotions: Wii Tennis Tournament, Club Tennis Invite

The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (0-0) kicks off the dual-match season on Sunday (Jan. 22) against Western Michigan (0-0) at the Varsity Tennis Center. It is the third consecutive season-opening match against WMU for the Wolverines, who blanked the Broncos (7-0) to begin last season in Ann Arbor.

Dual-Match Format
This Saturday's dual match will be a contest 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. 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. Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.

Scouting Western Michigan -- The Wolverines hold a 32-5 series advantage over Western Michigan, winning the past 23 matches against their in-state opponent, including a 7-0 shutout win last season at the Varsity Tennis Center. Like Michigan, the Broncos will kick off dual-match play on Sunday. They posted a combined 35-57 singles record in tournament play and went 19-23 in doubles.

Michigan Invitational Rewind -- The Wolverines concluded tournament action this past weekend (Sat-Mon., Jan. 14-16), hosting the Michigan Invitational. Freshman Emina Bektas won the singles title with a 3-0 mark at the top of the lineup, including a pair of wins over nationally ranked opposition. Sophomore Brooke Bolender and freshman Kristen Dodge also notched perfect 3-0 marks, while the Wolverines combined for an overall 15-3 record in singles play and 7-2 mark in doubles.

Tournament Season Complete -- The Wolverines compiled an impressive 70-28 overall singles mark during preseason tournament action with Kristen Dodge (13), Emina Bektas (11), Brooke Bolender (11) and Michelle Sulahian (11) all reaching double-digit wins during the individual play. U-M went 29-12 in doubles, using only four different combinations over the course of the tournament season.

Fabulous Freshman -- Freshman Emina Bektas earned Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Week after capturing the overall singles title at the Michigan Invitational (Jan. 14-16). Betkas posted a perfect 3-0 record at the No. 1 position with a pair of wins over nationally ranked opponents, defeating Washington's No. 10 Denise Dy (4-6, 6-4, 6-1) and Georgia Tech's No. 45 Jillian O'Neill of Georgia Tech (6-4, 6-4). It is the second weekly honor for Bektas in her rookie campaign and the third for the Wolverines this season.

Where We Rank -- The Wolverines received their second straight top-10 preseason ranking at No. 10, while four Michigan players earned individual singles rankings. Freshman Emina Bektas jumped to No. 36 after earning a No. 9 fall ranking in the freshman/newcomer division. Sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) moved up to No. 46 and sophomore Sam Critser (Mountain View, Calif./Mountain View HS) checked in at No. 53, while junior Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Milliken HS) returned to the national rankings at No. 113. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender received a No. 24 preseason ranking. [ ITA Rankings ]

The Captain -- At the conclusion of the fall season, senior Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell Hall School ) was selected to serve as team captain by her teammates for the 2012 season. A three-year letterwinner and Michigan's lone senior, Sulahian owns a career singles record of 62-34, including a 40-13 mark in dual competitions. She went 32-11 during her sophomore campaign; her 32 wins rank third on the single-season list. In doubles competition, Sulahaian is 66-31 over her collegiate tenure, posting a 34-11 dual record, including a 17-3 mark in Big Ten duals. She is 7-3 in singles this season and 8-3 in doubles.

A Look Back -- The Wolverines won their second consecutive Big Ten championship in 2011, finishing the season with a 24-5 record and 10-0 mark in Big Ten action. U-M reached the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships before falling to No. 7 Miami (Fla.). Denise Muresan became the first Wolverine to earn back-to-back ITA All-America singles honors and the first to earn singles and doubles accolades in the same season. She shared doubles All-America honors with sophomore Brooke Bolender. Muresan was named Big Ten Player of the Year, Bolender won Freshman of the Year and Ronni Bernstein was Coach of the Year. [ 2010-11 Statistics ]

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein enters her fifth year in Ann Arbor, compiling an 85-23 overall record and 38-2 Big Ten mark in her first four years. The Wolverines have strung together the best two-year span in program history during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, going 24-5 in both campaigns while winning two Big Ten championships. For her efforts, Bernstein has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and ITA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in both seasons. Teryn Ashley-Fitch is in her sixth year at Michigan and was promoted to associate head coach last summer after earning ITA Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010.

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Host ITA Kick-Off
Saturday, Jan. 28 -- vs. Maryland (Varsity Tennis Center), 10 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 29 -- vs. Notre Dame or Yale (Varsity Tennis Center), Time TBA

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423