Week #5: U-M to Meet No. 15 Clemson in Round One of National Indoors
Brooke Bolender

Feb. 7, 2012

ITA Indoor National Championships (Tournament Central | Live Scoring | Main Draw )
Friday, Feb. 10
-- vs. Clemson (Charlottesville, Va.), 9 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 11 -- Opponent/Time TBD
Sunday, Feb. 12 -- Opponent/Time TBD
Monday, Feb. 13 -- Opponent/Time TBD
* each team is guaranteed three matches, with two playing a fourth in the championship Feb. 13.

The No. 10-ranked University of Michigan women's tennis team (4-1) received the No. 8 seed and will head to Charlottesville, Va., for its third consecutive appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships at the Boar's Head Tennis Club. First up for Michigan is No. 15 Clemson on Friday (Feb. 10) at 9 a.m. Each team is guaranteed three matches, while the two schools that make it to the championship match will play four total matches.

Indoor Championships Again -- For the third straight year, the Wolverines qualified for the ITA Indoor Championships by winning their ITA Kick-Off Weekend. U-M cruised past No. 40 Maryland, 5-2, in its opener before rallying on to beat No. 35 Yale, 4-3, on Sunday (Jan. 29) in the championship match. Since the ITA Kick-Off began in 2009, the Wolverines have a 7-1 record in the event and have advanced to the indoor championships in three of the four years. The Wolverines have a 4-2 record at the national tournament. Last season, U-M fell to No. 1 Stanford (4-1) in the second round between wins over Georgia Tech (4-1) and Clemson (4-2).

A Look at Clemson -- Clemson comes into the weekend with a 7-0 overall record, defeating UNC Wilmington (4-0) and Purdue (4-2) to qualify for the championship. The Tigers boast three nationally ranked singles players, most notably Klara Vyskocilova at the No. 58 slot, while its top doubles tandem of Keri Wong and Josipa Bek lists No. 8 nationally. Michigan narrowly trails, 3-2, in the all-time series against Clemson but took each of the last two meetings against the Tigers, including a 4-2 decision at last year's ITA National Indoors.

Dual Match Format -- This weekend's dual matches will be contests 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.


Quick Hits
• Michigan has faced top-40 ranked opponents in each of its last four dual appearances.

• Freshmen Emina Bektas and Sarah Lee boast perfect 5-0 dual records. Bektas carries an eight-match win streak; she has won every singles match this semester.

• Michigan has lost the doubles point in three consecutive duals. U-M rallied to defeat No. 35 Yale and No. 18 Vanderbilt -- both by 4-3 margins -- but suffered its first loss of the season at No. 17 Tennessee, 5-2.

Emina Bektas and Sarah Lee have each gone 5-0 in singles in dual matches this season.

Last Time Out -- The Wolverines split its road dual matches in the Volunteer State last weekend, rallying to beat No. 18 Vanderbilt, 4-3, before falling to No. 17 Tennessee, 5-2. Michigan claimed four singles wins, including three against ranked opposition, against the Commodores. Freshmen Emina Bektas and Sarah Lee posted two weekend singles wins apiece at the No. 1 and No. 4 positions. [ Recaps: Vanderbilt | Tennessee ]

Saving the Best for Last -- Michigan earned its trip to the ITA National Indoor Championships in dramatic fashion, rallying to edge No. 35 Yale, 4-3, in the final match of the ITA Kickoff Weekend championship (Jan. 28-29). Sophomore Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, Fla./Kaplan Prep) clinched the Wolverine win with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over Blair Seideman at the No. 2 singles position. The victory provided U-M its first lead of the dual match.

Fabulous Freshman -- Freshman Emina Bektas earned back-to-back wins over ranked opponents last weekend, defeating Vanderbilt's No. 23 Jackie Wu, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, and Tennessee's No. 24 Natalie Pluskota, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 1 position. Bektas has won each of her last eight appearances, earning five wins over ranked opponents, including four in the nation's top 20, over the stretch. Bektas, who owns an overall 9-3 record against ranked opponents this season, is the first freshman to play at the No. 1 singles position under Ronni Bernstein's tenure at Michigan.

Where We Rank -- The Wolverines remained at the No. 10 position in the latest ITA rankings, released Tuesday (Feb. 1), while four Michigan players own 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 moved up to No. 46 and sophomore Sam Critser checked in at No. 53, while junior Mimi Nguyen returned to the national rankings at No. 113. On the doubles side, Michigan's duo of Bektas and Bolender carries the No. 24 ranking. [ ITA Rankings ]

Leader of the Wolverines -- Head coach Ronni Bernstein is in her fifth year in Ann Arbor, compiling an 89-23 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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Wednesday, Feb. 22 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 3 p.m.
Friday, March 2 -- at Hawai'i (Honolulu, Hawai'i), 3 p.m. HST

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423