From their first step onto the outdoor courts at the UM Varsity Tennis Center, the Michigan men’s tennis team exhibited a reverberating presence — and that’s to say the absolute least.
With the team twice the size of their opponent and unrelenting in their loud cheers of support for one another, it was visibly clear that not only winning, but completely controlling the match, was the only outcome possible. Such conclusions proved to be correct as the No. 24 Wolverines (11-2 overall, 11-1 Big Ten) sped to a 7-0 victory over Purdue (1-12, 1-12) Sunday.
The first test of that hypothesis came in doubles play.
Junior Andrew Fenty and senior Mattias Siimar, the No. 23 doubles team in the country, never looked back in their quick 6-2 win on court one. Junior Patrick Maloney and senior Nick Beaty soon followed on No. 2, swiftly recovering from mid-set stumbles to secure their first win as a pair, 6-3.
While Purdue’s duo of Mateo Julio and Andre Suzanne took charge against seniors Harrison Brown and Kristofer Siimar, the win would prove too little, too late for the Boilermakers to pick up their first doubles point of the season.
Michigan would go on to perfectly sweep the six singles matches, with stellar performances along the way.
Beaty struck first with a 6-3, 6-2 win, maintaining his undefeated record at No. 4, while Fenty remained all business in his defeat of Purdue singles standout Julio in the No. 1 pairing. Over at No. 2, Maloney continued his impressive campaign with his highest dual victory of the season, winning 6-3, 6-3 .
While some established records improved, newer ones entered the win column as well — fifth-year senior Connor Johnston picked up his first win in singles play this season at No. 6, and freshman Jacob Bickersteth completed a personal weekend sweep to improve to 4-0 in No. 5 singles.
“It was a good confidence booster for me coming off winning (Saturday) too,” Bickersteth said. “I played pretty well. I’m working on being a lot more aggressive, coming into the net and filling out my game. That’s just the college tennis game style, and it will help me a lot in the long run.”
Following performances among Bickersteth’s teammates, tapping further into such aggression proved a future focus beyond the individual level for Michigan.
“We still can attack more short balls and create opportunities to come forward,” Michigan coach Adam Steinberg said. “What I see in practice sometimes is a little bit different than what we see on gameday, which needs to change. Grinding it out is just not who we are, we have to play within our strengths and to me that’s taking it to the other team in both doubles and singles.”
Mattias Siimar brought the victorious day to a close at court three, with his 13th singles win of the year, 7-6 (2), 6-3.
As the Wolverines stepped off the court, the results were far from a surprise. The confidence gained from them, however, makes them no less significant.