Weekly #1: Wolverines Host Western Michigan to Kick Off Dual Season

Jan. 19, 2010

Sunday, Jan. 24, 1 p.m. -- vs. Western Michigan (Varsity Tennis Center)
Live Video/Live Results

The No. 20-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team hosts Western Michigan this Sunday (Jan. 24) at 1 p.m. to kick off the dual-meet portion of the 2010 season at the Varsity Tennis Center.

A Look at the Broncos
-- The Wolverines hold a 30-5 series advantage over Western Michigan, winning the past 21 matches against their in-state opponent. WMU started dual match play last Sunday (Jan. 17), traveling to Bloomington, Ind., for a doubleheader at Indiana University. WMU fell to No. 46 Indiana, 5-2, before rebounding for a 6-1 win over Evansville. Western will host Cleveland State Saturday (Jan. 23) before coming to Ann Arbor Sunday (Jan. 24).

First Dual Match of 2010 -- This weekend'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.

Michigan Invitational Ends Tournament Play -- The women's tennis team put an exclamation point on its tournament season, hosting the three-day Michigan Invitational. The tandem of freshman Mimi Nguyen (Long Beach, Calif./Millikan) and sophomore Michelle Sulahian (Valley Glen, Calif./Campbell School) went 3-0 on the weekend to win the doubles title. As a team, U-M only dropped one doubles match, coming at the hands of the No. 3 duo in the country. In singles play, Sulahian and junior Kari Wig (Cochrane, Alberta/Cochrane) were both undefeated in singles, while junior Denise Muresan (Lincolnshire, Ill./Adlai E. Stevenson) defeated her second top-10 opponent of the season. Muresan came away with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over No. 6 Caitlin Whoriskey of Tennessee. On the weekend, U-M sported a 7-1 doubles mark and a 12-9 singles mark.

A Successful Tournament Season For the Wolverines -- The tournament portion of the 2009-10 season for the Wolverines was a successful one, as U-M went 70-43 as a team in singles action. U-M won four singles titles, with Denise Muresan winning two and freshman Taylor Fournier (Leawood, Kan./Blue Valley North) and senior Tania Mahtani (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) each winning one title. U-M had three players with double-digit wins; Muresan was 15-5, Michelle Sulahian went 11-6 and Kari Wig was 10-6. On the doubles side, Michigan used 12 different combinations, going 30-23 overall as a team with Mimi Nguyen and Sulahian winning the doubles crown at the Michigan Invitational (Jan. 16-18).

Michigan in the Rankings -- In the first ITA rankings of the season (Jan. 5), junior Denise Muresan earned the first ranking of her career, coming in at No. 36 in singles. As a team, the Wolverines were slotted at No. 20 after concluding the 2009 season at No. 18.

U-M at the Varsity Tennis Center -- The Wolverines are tough to beat at home, carrying a 94-36 (.723) all-time record at the Varsity Tennis Center in its 13-plus seasons. The Maize and Blue has won 43 of the last 50 dual matches at the VTC, dating back to the 2005 season. Michigan has dropped only one contest in head coach Ronni Bernstein's tenure, a 6-1 loss to then-No. 1 Northwestern.

Muresan Has a Break-Out Fall -- Junior Denise Muresan made a name for herself during the tournament portion of the season, going 15-5 while defeating two top-10 opponents. Muresan started off the fall season by winning the Maize flight at the Wolverine Invitational (Oct. 2-4). The junior then made a run to the ITA Midwest Regional semifinals (Oct. 22-26) before falling to the No. 1-ranked player in the country. In the fall tournament finale, Muresan came away with a perfect 5-0 record to win the ASU Thunderbird (Nov. 6-8). While in Tempe, she knocked off three ranked opponents to become the second Wolverine in five years to win the tournament.

Oh Captain! -- Junior Whitney Taney (Edina, Minn./Edina) was voted by her teammates as the captain of the 2009-10 Wolverines. Taney was Michigan's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree last season, in addition to being named an ITA Scholar Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten. Each Wednesday during the 2010 season, Taney will give a glimpse into the women's tennis team in her blog, Serving It Up.

From Afar -- Out of the eight athletes on the tennis team, not one of them is a native of Michigan. Four hail from California with Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas and Canada each producing one student-athlete. The only other varsity team at the University of Michigan that is full of non-Michiganders is, coincidentally, the men's tennis team.

Juniors Anchor the Wolverines -- The junior quartet of Denise Muresan, Whitney Taney, Rika Tatsuno (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) and Kari Wig accounts for a large chunk of the team. With only one senior, one sophomore and two freshmen, the junior class is half the size of the eight-member Wolverines.

Duo of Newcomers -- The Wolverines welcome two newcomers for the 2009-10 season in Taylor Fournier (Leawood, Kan./Blue Valley North) and Mimi Nguyen.

Bolender Signs to Join Wolverines -- Brooke Bolender, a Blue Chip recruit, signed to join the Wolverines for the 2010-11 season. One of the top junior competitors in the country, Bolender is currently listed as the No. 9-ranked senior on tennisrecruiting.net and is No. 99 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings. She has been training at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., since 2005 and also has been a member of the USTA High Performance Development Program.

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein enters her third season at the helm of Michigan women's tennis. In her first two seasons in Ann Arbor, Bernstein has compiled an impressive record of 37-13 with an 18-2 Big Ten Conference mark. She has led the Wolverines to postseason play in both seasons.

A Look Back at 2009-- The Wolverines ended the 2009 dual-match season with an 18-7 overall record to go along with a 9-1 mark in Big Ten action. U-M concluded the season with a No. 18 ITA national team ranking, improving on the No. 19 finish in 2008. U-M made it to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season before bowing out to No. 5 Notre Dame in the second round. Chisako Sugiyama became the program's leader in all-time singles wins, eventually ending her career with 104 victories while earning All-Big Ten honors for the third consecutive season. Sugiyama completed her senior season with a No. 69 ITA national ranking. Rika Tatsuno earned All-Big Ten laurels for the first time in her career, ending the season ranked No. 102.

Michigan women's tennis is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_tennis) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check out both in our new publications section! ]

Completed in 1997, the $6 million indoor and outdoor complex provides the Wolverine tennis programs with a state-of-the-art on-campus training and competition site that is an excellent recruiting tool, and a premier and nationally competitive facility to nurture Michigan tennis players for many more decades to come. The Varsity Tennis Center has undergone a number of extensive upgrades over the past five years, including the addition of indoor and outdoor electronic scoreboards, individual video cameras on each indoor court, and new indoor and outdoor audio systems. Just this past summer, outdoor chair back seating was added overlooking six of the outdoor courts.

ITA Kickoff Weekend

Friday, Jan. 29 -- vs. South Carolina (Fayetteville, Ark.), 11 a.m. CST
Saturday, Jan. 30 -- vs. Washington/Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark.), TBD