Blue's loss to Vanderbilt spoils upset over Washington in weekend split

James Weaver/Daily
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Daily Sports Writer
Published February 13, 2011

It was a bittersweet weekend for Michigan men’s tennis fans.

The Wolverines split their dual matches this weekend, leading off with a 4-3 come-from-behind win over No. 23 Washington on Friday and ending with a Big Ten Network-televised 5-2 loss to No. 44 Vanderbilt on Sunday.

Friday’s match marked the return of two-time Michigan MVP Chris Madden with his first appearance of the season. Madden was sidelined after sustaining a wrist injury while helping a friend move in during welcome week.

Despite the hype surrounding his comeback, Madden’s back-to-back losses in doubles show that he’s still getting back in the swing of things.

“Hopefully (my game) will start to click and I’ll be a big contributor again,” Madden said after the loss to Vanderbilt. “Doubles used to be one of my strengths … I’m hoping to return to singles soon.”

Going into the Vanderbilt match, the Wolverines held a higher national ranking and had tremendous momentum after winning their last-three dual matches — including one over an undefeated Washington team. But the wheels came off early on Sunday as Michigan was, once again, unable to take the doubles point.

As for singles, Michigan’s Evan King and Jason Jung were the only players who managed to crawl away with a win.

Between the two, King’s match carried some extra weight. His opponent, Vanderbilt’s Ryan Lipman, knocked King out of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in the first round in November. The last time the two met they went to three matches and the score was tight each time.

“I knew it was going to be a battle,” Lipman said. “I had to go out there and try to execute every point. (King) just played a hell of a match.”

It was a battle indeed. Each of their hits echoed above it all: the other matches, the cheering crowd, and the Big Ten Network announcers. Their hits grew louder and more intense as the night wore on. Soon they were the last ones on the floor.

The two ended up duking it out for a total of three hours and, again, they went to three matches (7-6, 4-6, 1-0), but this time King emerged as the victor. For the time being, King will hold bragging rights in this rivalry.

Michigan coach Bruce Berque was just happy to end the weekend on a high note.

“I was pretty proud of our team the whole weekend,” Berque said after the loss to Vanderbilt. “I think both matches could have gone either way and our boys did a great job. This time we just came up short.”