The Michigan men’s tennis team traveled to Iowa City this weekend for the Big Ten Singles Championship, which ran from Friday to Monday, and one player stole the show.
Monday, redshirt sophomore Davis Crocker took home the title in a highly talented field, and did so in dominant fashion. Crocker dropped only one set during his six-match streak to win the tournament.
According to Michigan associate head coach Sean Maymi, Crocker’s first tournament title is a testament to his hard work.
“He’s probably the hardest-working guy we have,” Maymi said. “It’s not a surprise that the results are starting to come for him.”
Crocker ran through the 64-player field in three days, first taking care of opponents from Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and Penn State. Crocker then defeated Northwestern’s Ben Vandixhorn, who took down Crocker’s teammate, junior Kevin Wong, in the quarterfinals.
That landed Crocker a spot in the final against Nebraska’s Toby Boyer. Crocker went down 3-0 in the first set, but won the next six games to take the set before dominating the second set, 6-2, to finish the job.
Crocker’s determination has led him to a good start to the year thus far, and his coaches hope the improvement can continue.
“I think the difference between last year and this year is him playing a consistent gamestyle that he’s buying into, which creates a lot of problems for his opponents,” Maymi said.
Crocker led the charge for a group of Wolverines who all had some positive moments in the tournament. Along with Crocker, Wong and freshman Lubomir Cuba made the Round of 16, but only Wong joined Crocker in the quarterfinals.
Maymi said that he saw a great deal of improvement out of Wong and Cuba this weekend, and also saw promising results from junior Tyler Gardiner, who lost a tough three-setter in the first round.
Michigan had a split squad this weekend, with the remainder of the team traveling to the USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational in Orlando, Fla., but none of those Wolverines advanced past the quarterfinals.
Going into the final week of the fall season, Crocker’s victory gives a boost to the entire team, which will compete at the Lakewood Ranch Invitational in Sarasota, Fla., this weekend.
“For him to come out and beat some of the best players in the Big Ten is a positive thing for us,” Maymi said. “The whole team gains confidence from this.”