Michigan Tennis B10 Tournament Recap

Michigan Tennis B10 Tournament Recap

Submitted by BlueDragon on April 30th, 2012 at 10:14 PM


Michigan played well in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. No championships were won, but good games were played, rough country justice was meted out, and more than a few hearts were broken in Evanston when Evan King stepped back on the team bus for the drive back to Ann Arbor.

MMT and MWT entered the Big Ten tournament as 2 seeds, thus earning first-round byes. Two minute opera overture. Curtain.


April 27, 2012: #22 Michigan 4, MSU 1: Advance to B10 Semifinals, 17-6 overall

Team and Court Score
#22 Bernstein/King 1 8—3
Buzzi/Franks 2 6—3*
Zhu/Petrone 3 8—4
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#7 Evan King 1 7—5 6—7*  
Alex Petrone 2 7—6 6—3  
Shaun Bernstein 3 3—6 2—6  
Michael Zhu 4 4—6 6—0 3—2*
Barrett Franks 5 6—4 6—1  
Alex Buzzi 6 6—4 6—2

*Game abandoned

Good, good. Add another victory over MSU to the vault. Bernstein still cannot serve overhanded, and putting Brown back in the singles lineup is to be considered if Bernstein is not 100% by the beginning of the NCAAs. Beating MSU in doubles is a step in the right direction but it is not enough to win the B10. Other than some minor gloating I have little to say about this game. MSU court 1 Aaron Pfister offered much stiffer resistance to King this time around but still dropped the first set to the King. Petrone is looking like the designated 2 court for the forseeable future. Zhu will battle with Bernstein for 3 court next year if he can get over his streakiness.

April 28, 2012: #22 Michigan 0, #24 Illinois 4: B10 Tournament Over, 17-7 overall

Team and Court Score
#29 Bernstein/King 1 4—8
Buzzi/Franks 2 5—8
Zhu/Petrone 3 7—2*
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#7 Evan King 1 3—6 6—3 1—2*
Alex Petrone 2 7—5 3—6 1—1*
Shaun Bernstein 3 3—6 4—6  
Michael Zhu 4 6—7 2—6  
Barrett Franks 5 4—6 5—7  
Alex Buzzi 6 6—7 6—6*

Darn it all. On the bright side Illinois beat Ohio 4-3 in the final on April 29th, which was Ohio's first loss in the B10 tournament final after a six-year winning streak, five of those wins also coming against the Illini.


April 27, 2012: #15 Michigan 4, Indiana 2: Advance to B10 Semifinals, 18-6 overall

Team and Court Score
#10 Bolender/Betkas 1 8—2
Nguyen/Sulahian 2 8—6
Lee/Dodge 3 6—5*
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#12 Emina Betkas 1 6—4 4—6 6—4
#85 Brooke Bolender 2 6—1 6—1  
Sarah Lee 3 6—4 6—1  
#121 Mimi Nguyen 4 6—4 2—0*  
Michelle Sulahian 5 3—6 1—6  
Kristen Dodge 6 3—6 3—6

#12 Brooke Bolender avenged a season loss on 2 court, and #85 Emina Betkas delivered the goods on 1 court. Also, this match and the next two were played in Columbus. Which makes them extra awesome.

April 28, 2012: #15 Michigan 4, #20 Illinois 0: Advance to B10 Finals, 19-6 overall

Team and Court Score
#10 Bolender/Betkas 1 8—0(!)
Nguyen/Sulahian 2 8—5
Lee/Dodge 3 4—5*
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#12 Emina Betkas 1 6—2 7—6(4)  
#85 Brooke Bolender 2 6—4 3—6 6—0
Sarah Lee 3 6—2 4—6 2—3*
#121 Mimi Nguyen 4 6—4 6—4  
Michelle Sulahian 5 6—3 0—6 3—3*
Kristen Dodge 6 7—6(7) 4—6 0—1*

Unfortunately, Michigan lost to Purdue 4-3 in the B10 final on April 29, 2012, with a 19-7 overall record.

Team and Court Score
#10 Bolender/Betkas 1 9—8(0)
Nguyen/Sulahian 2 1—8
Lee/Dodge 3 8—5
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#12 Emina Betkas 1 6—1 3—6 6—0
#85 Brooke Bolender 2 3—6 6—4 6—7(5)
Sarah Lee 3 1—6 3—6  
#121 Mimi Nguyen 4 6—3 6—2  
Michelle Sulahian 5 1—6 6—4 2—6
Kristen Dodge 6 0—6 2—6

It was close, very close. Michigan could have won the regular season and the tournament, but it was not meant to be this year.



MWT Beats Ohio, Wins Third Consecutive Big Ten Title/MMT Abides

MWT Beats Ohio, Wins Third Consecutive Big Ten Title/MMT Abides

Submitted by BlueDragon on April 23rd, 2012 at 6:59 PM


MWT* won convincingly 5-2 at home this past Sunday, earning their third consecutive Big Ten title. The victory was Michigan's eleventh consecutive victory over their rivals from Ohio.

Team and Court Score
#8 Bolender/Betkas 1 8—4
Nguyen/Sulahian 2 8—4
Lee/Dodge 3 8—1
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#13 Emina Betkas 1 6—0 6—1  
#73 Brooke Bolender 2 6—3 6—4  
Sarah Lee 3 2—6 6—3 6—3
#108 Mimi Nguyen 4 1—6 6—3 3—2ret.
Michelle Sulahian 5 0—6 5—7  
Kristen Dodge 6 6—3 7—5  

*Michigan Women's Tennis

Terrific stuff! 3 for 3 in doubles will put fear into any opponent. Brief highlights, and a DB statement. There is also a Gatorade bath. I won't pick on Ohio too hard, as they have a 9-15 record this year. #13 Emina Betkas is only a freshman and she will play another three years hopefully for us. The team only graduates senior and 5 court Michelle Sulahian. Junior 4 court Mimi Nguyen is the only other upperclassman on the roster. I can see this group of players competing for another Big Ten title next year. The immediate challenge is winning the Big Ten Tournament this weekend, and competing for a national title in the NCAAs.

Sadly, not all of our tennis matches fare as well as this one. Michigan men's tennis(MMT) played at Ohio's Varsity Tennis Courts last Sunday, and like many other teams before them, did not beat the Bobcats at home. Junior #8 Evan King defeated #6 Blas Rola convincingly on 1 court, but the rest of the match was all Bobcats.

Team and Court Score
#22 Bernstein/King 1 3—8
Buzzi/Franks 2 4—8
Zhu/Petrone 3 4—8
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#8 Evan King 1 6—3 6—3  
Alex Petrone 2 3—6 2—6  
Shaun Bernstein 3 1—6 0—6  
Michael Zhu 4 3—6 1—6  
Barrett Franks 5 4—6 1—6  
Eli Brown 6 2—6 2—6  

My eyes. Also, my thermoregulator. Some silly person in Ohio decided that this match should be held outdoors in 45-degree weather with high winds. Per NCAA rules, April matches are only required to be played outdoors when the temperature is above 65 degrees. Some players wore undershirts to keep warm. Our young freshman were apple-cheeked in the cold. The wind was fast up in the bleachers and made it even colder.

The numbers do not tell the true story of how long some points were contested, especially in doubles. Petrone and Bernstein were two players in particular who, on serve, earned multiple deuces in a long back-and-forth with their opponents. Unfortunately only one team was earning consistent breaks in singles and in doubles, and they were not the Wolverines. Regardless, Ohio's 2 court #12 Chase Buchanan is a senior and will graduate. The Wolverines may be in a position to win the conference if everyone improves, King comes back, and Bernstein gets his serve back up to speed. Bernstein used his underhanded serve in doubles, but mostly would forehand the ball into play in singles. His serving was about as effective as other Michigan players' serves. Alex Buzzi lost his cool after dropping the first doubles match and seemed dejected afterwards. Brown substituted for Buzzi on 6 court.

Ohio's players were big, strong, and aggressive with their shots. Many times they hit the ball harder and closer to the top of the net than the Michigan players and obtained the advantage of force in that manner. There were also big servers playing for the Bobcats, especially on 3 and 4 court.

It cannot be overstated how many breaks the Wolverines allowed in this match. Many times Blue managed to break back but the numbers were heavily in Ohio's favor.

Michigan has earned a 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament, and earned its most conference wins(9) since 1999. Michigan's last Big Ten title was earned in 1996.

MMT: The Hunt For A Big Ten Championship

MMT: The Hunt For A Big Ten Championship

Submitted by BlueDragon on April 21st, 2012 at 12:27 AM


The MMT* continued its hunt for a Big Ten title today, when it beat Penn State 6-1 at home. On Sunday Michigan plays Ohio for championship of the universe. Chart? Chart.

Team and Court Score
#22 King/Bernstein 1 7—9
Franks/Buzzi 2 9—8(2)
Petrone/Zhu 3 9—8(6)
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
#8 Evan King 1 6—4 6—2  
Alex Petrone 2 4—6 6—1 6—0
Shaun Bernstein 3 0—6 3—6  
Michael Zhu 4 6—3 6—2  
Barrett Franks 5 7—6(5) 6—4  
Alex Buzzi 6 6—3 6—1  


*Michigan Men's Tennis
Bernstein is back in the singles lineup, this time at 3 court. First out with an 0-6 is a nasty way to go but having Bernstein back in action is more important than dropping a point to Penn State. The million dollar question is how efficient his serve is. I was not present at the April 20th match and highlights of the match available here do not feature any Bernstein serves. Presumably he will be ready for Sunday, which at least lets Buzzi play on 6 again. It was a banner day for the rest of the singles courts. The players showed fine placement and fine footwork, at least in the highlights.

Petrone had a fine day of RAGE on 2 after dropping the first set 4-6, only yielding one point in the next two sets. That's just nasty.

I am still worried about 1 court in doubles(duh, 3 straight losses) but 7-9 isn't half bad. Ohio features the nation's #1 doubles team of #12 Chase Buchanan and #6 Blaz Rola, who play 2 and 1 courts in singles, respectively. Michigan has the #22 ranked doubles team on 1 court, but it has fallen on hard times lately, and Ohio also features the nation's #34 doubles team.

So...we need 4 singles victories. If I had to guess...King. Buzzi. Franks. Zhu. And to make it extra personal, MWT* also plays Ohio on Sunday with the Big Ten on the line at noon at VTC.

Win the Big Ten. Beat Ohio.

*Michigan Women's Tennis

Michigan Men's Tennis Update [Very Good]

Michigan Men's Tennis Update [Very Good]

Submitted by BlueDragon on April 19th, 2012 at 4:24 PM


While Michigan fans paid at least some attention to the football spring game, B10 second-place Michigan men's tennis was in a dogfight with eighth-place Nebraska on April 14. Michigan won in a close 4-3 decision. Chart? Chart.

Team and Court Score
King/Bernstein 1 4—8
Franks/Buzzi 2 9—8(9)
Petrone/Zhu 3 8—4
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Evan King 1 6—3 6—1  
Alex Petrone 2 5—7 3—6  
Michael Zhu 3 3—6 2—6  
Barrett Franks 4 6—1 6—1  
Alex Buzzi 5 7—6(4) 6—3  
Eli Brown 6 5—7 6—2 0—1(5)

Our newly promoted freshmen took some lumps on 2 and 3 court. Zhu on 3 was the first to fall, but Franks made up the difference with a commanding 6-1, 6-1 victory on 4 court. I love seeing Franks play these days, with his confidence and fine placement. King won on 1 and Buzzi won on 5, securing the dual-match victory. Unfortunately fabulous freshman Petrone lost on 2, and Brown dropped the super-tiebreaker set on 6 court. Brown has been dealing with the same issue throughout the season: his first serves do not get in! It cannot be overstated how important it is to get first serves in tennis; the psychological pressure is tenfold greater. Bernstein cannot return to the singles courts fast enough.

In doubles Nebraska pursued a fairly aggressive strategy, with hard serves down the middle of the court and lots of double net-rushes. King/Bernstein fell on 1 court but Franks/Buzzi and Petrone/Zhu held firm on 2 and 3 to secure the doubles point, which eventually clinched the match for Michigan. Nebraska stayed aggressive in singles play but did not have quite enough good shots to win against Michigan.

The match was a quick one, finished in only three hours. All singles matches were decided in straight sets except Brown's super-tiebreaker on 6 court.

On April 15 #22 Michigan welcomed last-place Iowa to the VTC and duly crushed the Hawkeyes. Chart? Chart.

Team and Court Score
King/Bernstein 1 7—8(2)
Franks/Buzzi 2 8—2
Petrone/Zhu 3 8—3
Name and Court Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Evan King 1 6—2 6—2  
Alex Petrone 2 6—1 6—4  
Michael Zhu 3 6—3 6—7(7) 1—0(6)
Barrett Franks 4 6—4 4—6 0—1(5)
Alex Buzzi 5 6—2 6—2  
Eli Brown 6 6—4 6—3  

Probably the most interesting takeaway from this match was the second straight defeat for King/Bernstein in doubles. This was an interesting matchup. Michigan had already clinched the doubles point by winning handily on 2 and 3 courts. At that time the 1 court matchup was tied 7-7 with no breaks(!) to speak of in the match so far. The players agreed to go straight to the tiebreaker, which is usually played when the game is tied 8-8. Unfortunately Bernstein's goofy underhanded doubles serve was predictable, and Iowa's players figured out the pattern and pulled out the tiebreaker. The man at the net would poach and smash Bernstein's shots, or the return man would get a great return on his serve.

Only Franks lost in singles, in the third set super-tiebreaker. Even Brown managed to win his game in straight sets! This game tells us little about what we can expect for the rest of the regular season but I will attempt to predict what the next two matches hold for Michigan. The last time we saw them in action (April 15), Penn State lost 6-1 at home to the Fighting Illini. Thus, Michigan can comfortably expect to win when they play Penn State at home on the 20th. I predict a 6-1 victory with Brown or Zhu losing in singles.

Ohio...hoo boy. By shutting out Purdue 7-0 in West Lafayette on the 18th, #3 Ohio has clinched a share of the B10 title for the eighth consecutive season. All singles matches were won in straight sets, and Ohio won all of the doubles matches. The Bobcats currently sit at 10-0 in the B10, and Michigan is at 8-1. Only by winning their last two matches, including on the road in Columbus, could Michigan share the B10 regular season title. This is a tremendous opportunity for Michigan men's tennis; they have not been in a position to win the conference since at least the 1990s. I predict Michigan will put up a fight but fall 5-2. King will win, and possibly Buzzi.

Michigan Tennis beats Illinois--twice!

Michigan Tennis beats Illinois--twice!

Submitted by BlueDragon on April 8th, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Glory, friends, sweet shining glory! Both Michigan tennis teams (men's and women's) have beaten Illinois in convincing fashion. On April 7, 2012, #15 Michigan women defeated #19 Illinois 6-1 at the Varsity Tennis Center. Michigan won the doubles point and all but court 5 of the singles court in a rout of their ranked opponents. 1 court and national #10 Emina Betkas needed three sets to win, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. Michigan courts 2-4 all won in straight sets. With this win in hand Michigan women's tennis has improved to 13-5 on the season including a 6-0 mark in the Big Ten.


Michigan men's tennis played at Illinois' Atkins Tennis Center on April 6, 2012. The match was decided by a 4-3 margin in favor of Michigan. 1 court and national #10 Evan King won the critical fourth point to break a 3-3 dual deadlock over national #4 Dennis Nevolo, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3. 2 court Shaun Bernstein had a tough day, losing to national #31 Roy Kalmanovich 6-1, 6-2. Michael Zhu fared little better on 4 court, falling 6-2, 6-1. Suprisingly in doubles Petrone/Zhu lost their match; usually Franks/Buzzi is the doubles team more likely to drop their game. With the doubles point in hand thanks to the usual diligence of King/Bernstein and victories from Petrone and Franks(!) on 3 and 5 courts Michigan wrapped up another tough road win. Michigan is now 12-5 with a 5-1 Big Ten mark. With some luck in Columbus April 22 against #3 Ohio State (24-2, 6-0 B10) Michigan could win the regular season title.


Catching Up With: Michigan Men's Tennis

Catching Up With: Michigan Men's Tennis

Submitted by BlueDragon on April 1st, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Since Michigan's glorious 7-0 rout of the false god whose name I would prefer not to mention, Michigan Men's Tennis has won three out of their past four Big Ten matches, including two road games. On March 23, 2012, Michigan at Wisconsin lost the doubles point, but won 5 out of 6 singles matches to win, 5-2. It was a truly glorious day for Michigan singles that day. Three out of five victories were decided in straight sets for King, Bernstein, and Zhu (1,2,4 courts). Only 6 court Alex Buzzi lost his match in gritty manball grrrrrrrrrrr fashion, 6-0, 3-6, 7-5.


Sadly, Michigan will not keep the Little Brown Jug in Ann Arbor this year, as Michigan's March 25, 2012 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Golden Gophers forced Michigan to give up this prized rivalry trophy. Once again the doubles point was lost, and Petrone and Zhu lost in straight sets. Still, to get 3 points in the second road match in 3 days shows composure and mental focus on the part of Michigan to perform as well as they did.


Back at VTC on March 31, 2012, Michigan beat the Boilermakers 5-2. Michigan's Bernstein, battling a shoulder injury, participated as King's doubles partner on 1 court but did not compete in singles. Bernstein served all underhanded in doubles, causing the ball to die in the opponent's service box multiple times. With Bernstein out of the singles lineup, all Wolverines below King moved up a court. Petrone performed admirably on 2 court for Michigan, winning 6-2, 7-5. Zhu also won in straight sets on 3 court, 7-5, 6-3. Backup Brown lost on 6 court, committing frequent unforced errors and giving off a DOOM aura in the general vicinity. He is not ready to start, but Buzzi was needed on 5 court. One more injury and Michigan will lose its edge in singles competition.

Barrett Franks lost in three sets on 4 court. On the one hand, everyone played up a court and he made it to three sets. Regardless, Franks needs to move his feet better and get set to the look of the ball as it approaches him. In tennis, the movement of the feet and the ease of the stroke by which the player contacts the ball with the sweet spot is paramount. Without nimble footwork it is difficult if not impossible to get good shots on the ball without straining.


Today, April 1, 2012, Michigan defeated Indiana at the VTC. Full recap from MGoBlue is not yet available yet, but results are up. Chart? Chart:


King/Bernstein 18—6


Player and CourtSet 1Set 2Set 3
Evan King 16—16—1 
Shaun Bernstein 21—61—6 
Alex Petrone 36—26—0 
Michael Zhu 46—24—61—0 (8)
Barrett Franks 51—61—4 
Alex Buzzi 66—27—5

At present, Men's 1 court King is rated #10 in the country. Women's 1 court Emina Betkas is rated #10 in the country as well. Congratulations to Michigan's fine 1 courts!

The Tradition Continues: Michigan Men's Tennis Crushes MSU 7-0

The Tradition Continues: Michigan Men's Tennis Crushes MSU 7-0

Submitted by BlueDragon on March 19th, 2012 at 7:59 PM


Truth defeating falsehood was the theme of the day as Michigan shut out the Spartans. The doubles point was fiercely contested as both schools managed to win a game. King and Bernstein prevailed on 1 court for Michigan, winning 8-3. Freshman team Petrone and Zhu struggled early on and lost their doubles match on 3 court, 6-8. Among other problems both Wolverines struggled to land their first serves and had trouble finding traction in long volleys. The third doubles match was won by Michigan in the tiebreaker. Buzzi and Franks both made fine plays for Michigan at the net and behind the baseline. MSU's players struggled at times to hit the ball over the net and to get second serves in the box, a trend that continued in singles play.

No. 10 ranked Evan King made short work of MSU's tank at Court 1, prevailing 6-0, 6-2. Up 4-0 in the second, King had two break points against his opponent but yielded the point, settling for a non-6-0-6-0 score. Buzzi won the next match at 6 court, defeating his opponent 7-5, 6-3. Buzzi is looking very solid these days and has improved to 3-3 on 6 court this season. Zhu and Franks also won their matches in straight sets. The grittiness prize goes to Petrone from the match. Down 3-0 in the third set, the fabulous freshman rallied to win the final set 6-3. Bernstein has also made strides in his game recently. His serves, particularly in doubles, were much more testing than they have been in the past, and he got them in the first time more frequently as well.

The heavy rains the night before the match delayed the start of play for almost an hour as staffers with towels and leaf blowers were deployed to help dry out the courts. The match was Michigan's first home outdoor match of the season, the road series against Hawaii also having been heavily delayed by rainfall. Fortunately the Michigan women's team was scrimmaging on adjacent outdoor courts, preparing for their Sunday match against UNC. Michigan lost 4-3 in that matchup.

With Saturday's win Michigan men's tennis has now won its last nine matches against MSU, and boasts a 1-0 Big Ten record. At 8-4 Michigan needs five more wins to match its record from last year. Wins against Wake Forest and Hawaii to round out the nonconference season help take off some of the pressure, although Ohio is as formidable as ever.