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Evan King, leader and best, plays his final home match

Natasha Janardan/Daily
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By Jeff Garland, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 21, 2013

Flying from sideline to sideline, executing awe-inspiring shots and rattling No. 6 Peter Kobelt, his Buckeye opponent, No. 10 Evan King closed out his record-setting home career at Michigan by playing the style of tennis that has garnered him so much acclaim and success.

Before the senior could win his much-hyped singles match Sunday, though, the Michigan men’s tennis team surrendered the match and the regular-season Big Ten championship to archrival Ohio State.

From the opening serve, the Michigan senior took control of the match, exerting his strengths and forcing Kobelt to play away from his.

“I put him in a couple awkward situations that I knew he didn’t like,” King said. “I was able to keep my composure when things weren’t going as well as I would’ve liked.”

Kobelt showed his frustration by repeatedly slamming his racquet into the hard court and blurting out expletives.

One shot from King, in particular, really rattled the Buckeye. In the second set, King chased down a fast-moving ball on the near sideline and whipped a strong backhand crosscourt, flabbergasting Kobelt. The ball flew past his outstretched arm, drawing a big cheer from the home faithful.

The match ended with King leading Kobelt, 6-4, 5-5, and primed to close it out in a matter of moments.

The home atmosphere certainly had a lot to do with the comfort King felt out on the court. After mishitting a return volley into the net, giving his opponent the advantage in the deuce in an important second-set game, King seemed unfazed, even managing to calmly joke to the crowd.

“That would have been nice,” King said on the court.

In general, though, King simply loved the atmosphere that his home fans provided for him, and he thrived in it.

As a Wolverine, King set the school record for most combined doubles and singles wins a couple of weeks ago, and with several wins since, his mark now stands at 188 wins (110 singles, 78 doubles).

Other notable achievements include being named Big Ten Athlete of the Week nine times throughout his career and being one of just five Wolverines to win 100 singles matches.

Perhaps playing in front of his friends and family has provided him with the most joy, though.

“It’s awesome,” King said. “This is the last time for a while that I’ll have this many people completely in my favor ... and it’s amazing. This is the most fun tennis has ever been for me so I’m definitely going to miss the home-court crowd.”

Personal feelings aside, King knows that his team has work to do to achieve its goals, and his success is vital to that of his team.

The Wolverines will travel to Columbus next week for the Big Ten Tournament, and perhaps another meeting with Ohio State is in the cards. King certainly thinks so.

“I’ll probably get another shot at (Kobelt) this year,” King said. “It stinks that the Big Ten Tournament is in Columbus, so we have to go to that state down there. But we’re going to go after it. We know we can compete with them. We know we can get a victory against them. We just have to go out and do it.”


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