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Sophomore King emerges in three-set match

BY ALEX STEINHOFF
Daily Sports Writer
Published February 6, 2011

In the Michigan men's tennis team's match up with Wake Forest on Saturday, sophomore Evan King found himself falling into an early hole in the first set.

At 5-0, the set seemed finished, but King broke his opponent, No. 45 Jonathan Wolff, to get on the board. But King didn't stop there, as he held serve to force Wolff to serve for the set once again. After a hard fought game involving deuce after deuce, King surrendered the set.

But King was not discouraged, as many of the fans at Varsity Tennis Center moved away from his court to watch other matches.

“I wasn’t playing near as well as I could, and he was probably playing a bit outside of himself,” King said. “I never was rattled because I knew I had to fix a couple things and the match would be mine.”

For King, those two games gave him the confidence he needed to come back and win, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. The win added to Michigan's total of 6, which allowed the Wolverines to beat Wake Forest 6-1. Though two games seem insignificant on the score sheet and through the course of a tennis match, King used the early woes to turn a match around that seemed to be in control by the No. 1 singles player from Wake Forest.

“I got a little bit of momentum at the end of the first,” King said. “I got pretty confident – I knew what I had to do to win points, and from then on I just got rolling.”

Once the second set began, King was in control. He sprang out to an early 2-0 lead, breaking Wolff’s serve and only surrendering one game as he dominated from the baseline. And as Michigan fans saw the scoreboard, they began making their way back to King's court to cheer him on.

“I got a game plan, started dictating a little bit more, started using the crowd and enjoying it and was just having a good time out there,” King said.

The raucous crowd in Ann Arbor aided King’s turnaround. Point after point, the “Maize Mob” yelled and cheered for King, and he played right along throughout the second and third sets yelling “Here we go Michigan,” to the Wolverine faithful.

The top Demon Deacon seemed flustered and bothered. At one point, he even plead to the line judge, asking him to control the Michigan crowd. After facing the stands, he put his arms in the air, and then quickly ran over to the line judge, who then asked the crowd to stay quiet and only cheer respectfully for Michigan.

Being asked to leave the opposing player alone didn’t stop the fans from cheering for King. As King finished off a 6-1 second set victory, the crowd erupted again.

“I love playing home matches,” King said. “Players feed off of it, the fans give us energy and we give them feedback.

“The players love the crowd and the away team hates it.”

As the third set began, King knew the match was his. He had all the momentum and the crowd behind him. Wolff continued to be flustered by the Wolverine faithful; King hit clutch shot after clutch shot. He hit shots from everywhere on the court, forcing Wolff to chase down balls hit to all different places on the hard court.

King completed the upset, winning the third set, 6-1, to clinch the Wolverines' fourth victory of the dual match, a victory that clinched the win over the Demon Deacons.