Michigan sweeps weekend matches going into conference play

Sunday, March 12, 2017 - 6:48pm

Junior Kevin Wong plays against Columbia University at the Varsity Tennis Center in March 2016.

Junior Kevin Wong plays against Columbia University at the Varsity Tennis Center in March 2016. Buy this photo
File Photo/Daily

 

The No. 10 Michigan men’s tennis team wrapped up the last of its non-conference play with a weekend sweep at the Varsity Tennis Center. 

The Wolverines took on three opponents over the weekend, including Drake, Boise State and Dayton. They easily dispatched all of them, winning 4-0, 5-0 and 4-1, respectively.

Michigan won all three doubles points over the weekend, even though a different lineup was used in each match. 

“It’s a lot of matches,” said senior Kevin Wong. “We don’t want to wear anyone down because we have important matches next week. The coaches just wanted to give everyone a chance to play.”

Juniors Runhao Hua and Alex Knight gained experience at No. 1 doubles against Boise State, while Hua and sophomore Myles Schalet got the chance against Dayton. Not only does Michigan hope this depth will prove useful once conference play starts, but with the impending graduations of the eighth-ranked duo of Wong and senior Jathan Malik, the Wolverines will need two new leaders to fill that role.

With such domination from Michigan, it continued to shake up the lineup and proved it could be victorious with nearly anyone on the court. Many matches were abandoned before completion, but Wong was the only Wolverine to finish every match he played.

In his first match, Wong was up a break and serving for the match, but after Drake’s Callum MacGeoch forced a second-set tiebreaker, Wong had to make some adjustments.

“Tiebreakers are a part of the game,” Wong said. “It actually goes really, really fast, so you have to really focus on the first few points to get the lead and actually finish off the set.”

He won the first six points in the tiebreaker and cruised to a 7-1 win after hitting a wide shot and forcing his opponent to send the ball long. He secured the match, 6-3, 7-6.

Wong’s second match of the weekend went similarly to the first. After winning the first set handily, 6-1, Wong ran into trouble and found himself in a tiebreaker once again. It proved to be no trouble for him, though, as he captured the victory with a 7-4 win.

In Wong’s last match of the weekend against Dayton, he couldn’t continue his momentum to close out the match. With too many unforced errors, even the final point he hit unnecessarily long, Wong couldn’t salvage the match and fell, 6-4, 6-4.

Though Wong’s weekend didn’t end on a stellar note, Knight’s did. After not playing in Friday’s match against Drake, Knight tried playing at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. He came out strong against both opponents, winning the first, 6-3, 6-4, and was two points away from clinching his match against Dayton before it was abandoned.   

The Wolverines lost only three sets throughout the weekend. On paper, they appear to be commanding victories for Michigan, but the strength of opponents may not be up to the caliber as the Wolverines impending conference opponents will be, and Michigan knows it needs to correct its mistakes before next weekend.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Wong said. “We were in California for Spring Break and we played really strong teams and we lost both of them, unfortunately. But now we know what we’ve got to work on and now this match is just for us to gain more confidence going into the conference play.”