Wolverines find positives in tough loss to Tulsa

Daily Sports Writer
Published March 13, 2011

Even in an upset defeat, the Michigan men's tennis team can take away a positive.

Following a tough 4-3 loss at the hands of No. 37 Tulsa, the Wolverines can be pleased that they won the doubles point and with the play of senior Chris Madden, who showed glimpses of his old self after recently returning from a lengthy injury.

The doubles point has proven elusive this season for the 12th-ranked Wolverines (7-4 overall). Coming into the match versus the Golden Hurricane, the Wolverines were just 2-8 in doubles matchups.

The freshman-sophomore team of Shaun Bernstein and Chris Cha got Michigan off to the better start, as they won 8-5 at No. 3 doubles. But Tulsa quickly equalized with an 8-4 victory at No. 2 doubles over Madden and freshman Barrett Franks. Thus, leaving the point to be determined by the No. 1 doubles match.

The deciding match did not lack intensity, as several close calls made for a fiery contest. With the sophomore-senior pairing of Evan King and Jason Jung serving at 4-3, Tulsa’s pair made a contested call that was upheld by the chair umpire despite pleadings from both players, Michigan coach Bruce Berque and some fans. The finish to the match was routine as this juncture in the match sparked Michigan to pull away as they held serve and eventually closed out the match, 8-5.

“I think we’re on the right track in doubles,” Berque said. “But we still have to do better. I think there were times Jason and Evan could have been a little more disciplined but we have to keep on the same that we’re on in doubles. For each person it tends to be a different thing that they need to work on.”

Despite two disappointing losses against Tulsa in singles and doubles, senior Chris Madden showed glimpses of a return to peak level. The senior only recently came back from wrist injury after having missed the first half of the season. Madden is a two-time team-MVP and at times he showed why with a gutty performance in a three-set loss (6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3).

In the second set, Madden at one point was down 3-1 after losing serve. However, the senior kept fighting, eventually getting the set back on serve and then taking it in a tiebreak. Early in the third set, an injury scare changed the course of the match after it appeared that Madden had the edge after the second set.

At 1-1 in the decider Madden twisted his ankle requiring a medical timeout. After having it wrapped up and returning to action, Tulsa quickly took a commanding 5-2 lead.

Madden wasn’t done yet as he saved several match points to get the game to deuce when his opponent was overruled on a line call and after having already been overruled twice the game was given to Madden.

Madden was back in the match but ran out of steam in the next game that went to several deuces but was eventually beaten.

“I have some skills and timing issues that I’m working out,” Madden said. “This week was my first full week of practice so they’re going to come but I just fought hard to day and almost pulled it out. I’m pleased with where I am right now considering how much time I had to take off. My record is not very good right now but we’re working the kinks out and I’m getting better and I’ve seen a big improvement in my play.”