Weekly #5: Michigan to Play at No. 9 Duke Sunday at Noon
Fresh off a pair of home victories, the No. 21-ranked University of Michigan men's tennis team (4-1) will hit the road this Sunday (Feb. 10), traveling to Durham, N.C., to face No. 9 Duke (6-1) at noon inside the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
• Senior Evan King extended his winning streak to eight matches with a pair of straight-sets singles wins last weekend at the Varsity Tennis Center. On Friday night (Feb. 1), King upset No. 2-ranked Matija Pecotic of Princeton, 6-0, 6-1, at the No. 1 position. The victory over Pecotic gave King a win over the highest-ranked opponent of his collegiate career, eclipsing his three-set win against Illinois' No. 4-ranked Dennis Nevolo last April. King picked up his 62nd career dual win on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 3), posting a 6-4, 6-4 decision over Wake Forest's David Hopkins.
• Senior Evan King is 8-0 since the calendar turned to 2013 and is 11-3 overall this season. He has faced ranked opponents in eight of those 14 matches. On Jan. 9, King secured his seventh career Big Ten Conference Athlete of the Week accolade after winning the individual title at the Key Biscayne Individuals, held Jan. 6-8.
• U-M and Duke are squaring off for the third consecutive season, with the Blue Devils claiming each of the last two encounters. Duke won the 2011 match, 7-0, in Durham, and rallied to win last season's dual, 4-3, at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series, 6-5.
• Senior Evan King will look to avenge two of his seven losses from last season this weekend against the Blue Devils. Duke's top singles player, Henrique Cunha, defeated King on two occasions in 2012.
• Duke will represent the Wolverines' fourth ranked opponent in six matches.
• In the latest edition of the ITA rankings for 2013, Michigan earned a No. 21 ranking. Junior Vlad Stefan comes in at No. 48 in the first edition of the 2013 rankings, climbing 14 spots from his No. 62 fall ranking, while U-M's top doubles tandem of senior Evan King and junior Shaun Bernstein are ranked 30th. The next player rankings come out on Feb. 12.
• Senior Evan King has moved into seventh place on U-M's all-time singles win list with 96. With two more wins, he will move into a tie with William Farah (1996-98) at No. 6.
• Junior Barrett Franks is a perfect 4-0 in dual action, picking up two victories apiece at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions.
• The Wolverines have claimed the doubles point in four of five dual matches this season, combining for an 8-4 doubles record, including a 4-0 mark by senior Evan King and junior Shaun Bernstein at the No. 1 position.
• Michigan is off to a 3-0 start at the Varsity Tennis Center this season. The Wolverines have been tough to beat at the VTC since the facility opened in 1997. Michigan is 70-21 (.769) since the 2005 season and is 130-41 (.760) overall at the complex.
• Head coach Bruce Berque is in his ninth year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 131-82 overall record and 57-24 Big Ten mark over his tenure. Berque has led the Wolverines to seven consecutive NCAA Championships berths, including the 2008 Sweet 16, and has finished among the top four of the Big Ten in seven of his eight previous seasons. Mark Merklein is in his second season as Michigan's assistant coach after joining the staff prior to the 2011-12 season. A former ATP tour professional (1994-2005) and NCAA singles (1994) and doubles (1993) champion while at Florida, Merklein spent the previous six years as a national coach with the USTA Player Development Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
• Senior Evan King was recently a member of the American National Team that won the 2012 Master'U BNP Paribas Championship with a 5-2 victory against Germany on Sunday, Dec. 9. King was one of only six student-athletes selected to lead the United States in the competition. The U.S. won three matches over a five-day span to capture the title in the eight-team international competition. King finished last season with a career-best 34-7 record. He was named the 2012 Big Ten Athlete of the Year after posting a perfect 11-0 conference dual record from the No. 1 singles position.
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. Once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles match shall not be completed. No-add scoring will be implemented during doubles play only and a tie-breaker will occur if a doubles match is tied at seven-all. 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. Singles matches in progress when the dual match is clinched will be played to completion.
Saturday, Feb. 16 -- at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.), 1 p.m.