May 15, 2010

Courtesy of Michigan

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The University of Michigan men's tennis team defeated Denver, 4-1, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday (May 15) at the Stickney Tennis Center. Two of Michigan's points came from freshmen in singles -- Chris Cha (Eureka, Mo./University of Missouri H.S.) and Evan King (Chicago, Ill./Kaplan) -- both playing in their first NCAA Tournament.

Michigan jumped out to an early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. The Wolverine pair of All-Big Ten selections, the No. 31-ranked tandem of junior Jason Jung (Torrance, Calif./West Torrance) and King, clinched the point with a win at No. 1 over David Simson and Andrew Landwerlen, 8-4. The U-M senior tandem of George Navas (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Preparatory) and Mike Sroczynski (Chatham, N.J./Laurel Springs Prep) was the other victor in doubles action, defeating Yannick Weihs and Jens Vorkefeld, 8-5.

The Wolverines also got the upper hand in singles action, winning the first set on five of the six courts. Denver struck first in singles, tying the score at 1-1 when Enej Bonin knocked off Sroczynski, 6-3, 6-3. Michigan reclaimed the lead at 2-1 with a victory by King at No. 2, as the 2010 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the ITA/Midwest Region Rookie of the Year defeated Simson in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, for his first-ever win in the NCAA postseason play.

The Wolverines were staked to a 3-1 lead with a huge win by Cha at No. 6, as he defeated Landwerlen, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. It was Cha's third win in his last four matches. To cap off the afternoon, Jung fought from behind in the second set to topple Weihs, 6-3, 7-6 (6), clinching the win for the Wolverines and advancing them to tomorrow's second round.

Saturday's dual match was the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The two teams did previously meet at the Key Biscayne Individuals on Jan. 8 in a non-dual match format, and the previous experience paid off for Michigan. That day, Jung defeated Weihs in a second-set tiebreaker and King defeated Simson. Both Jung and King met those same opponents on Saturday, leaving the court with the same results.

With the win, the Wolverines advance the second round and will face either No. 4 Ohio State or Western Michigan on Sunday (May 16) at noon.

The following are match-by-match results:

No. 1 -- No. 38 Jason Jung (U-M) d. Yannick Weihs (Denver), 6-3, 7-6 (6)
No. 2 -- Evan King (U-M) d. David Simson (Denver), 6-2, 6-3
No. 3 -- Enej Bonin (Denver) d. Mike Sroczynski (U-M), 6-3, 6-3
No. 4 -- Chris Madden v. Fabio Biasion (Denver), 7-5, 4-4 (Abandoned)
No. 5 -- George Navas v. Jens Vorkefeld (Denver), 6-4, 6-7 (Abandoned)
No. 6 -- Chris Cha (U-M) d. Andrew Landwerlen (Denver), 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

No. 1 -- No. 31 Jung/King (U-M) d. Simson/Landwerlen (DEN), 8-4
No. 2 -- Navas/Sroczynski (U-M) d. Weihs/Vorkefeld (DEN), 8-5
No. 3 -- Biasion/Bonin (DEN) d. Cha/Madden (U-M), 8-6

Order of Completion: Doubles: 2-3-1, Singles: 3-2-6-1*
* Clinched match


• Matches in progress when the dual match is clinched are abandoned in postseason play. The first team to four points wins the dual match.

• Michigan won the doubles point for the 16th time in 24 dual matches. The Wolverines are 12-4 when they win the doubles point and 2-6 when they do not.

• Jung and King improve to 15-8 on the season in doubles play (14-7 in dual matches). They each also got their 21st win on the season in singles play (Jung - 21-15; King - 21-13).

• Navas and Sroczynski are 15-10 in doubles play (14-9 in dual matches).

• Cha handed Andrew Landwerlen his first loss of the season (21-1).

• If Ohio State wins against Western Michigan, it will be the second year in a row that Michigan and Ohio State have met in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes won 4-1 last season in Columbus.


Michigan Head Coach Bruce Berque
On the match against Denver ... "Our guys did a very good job. I was really trying to impress upon them that Denver was a team capable of beating us if we weren't focused and playing well on each court. And they listened. They came out ready to go from the start. Denver played well, especially in singles. That match, even though it was 4-1, was a heck of a lot closer than the score indicated."

On the freshmen ... "Both of those guys did a great job. Evan got it started in doubles and was the second player off the court in singles. He beat a good player pretty decisively there. And Chris Cha beat a player that was previously undefeated. Despite the struggles Chris had this season, he's really started to pick it up at the end of the year and has continued to work. He's learning on the job and embracing what's required of him in order to compete at the highest levels of college tennis. I'm very proud of both of those guys."

On what the turning point of the match ... "The turning point was probably the finish. We won doubles and were in control in two of those matches the whole way. I thought we got a good start in singles. Early on we were in control, but Denver worked their way back into the match slowly but surely. We were never behind but the two keys, in my mind, were Chris Cha at No. 6, which was a huge lift for our team, and Jason winning in the second set of his match."

On tomorrow's action ... "The most important thing is that we need to step on to the court from the get-go believing that we can get it done. It certainly won't be easy no matter who we play. When we have struggles, we still need to have faith and keep our composure. I trust our guys will do that. We've been talking about it all week. Our guys wanted to have another chance to play Ohio State, if that's in fact who we face. Our guys think they can do it, and compete at their highest level. The key is that we fight and compete no matter what the score."