In doubles play Friday, silence hung over the Varsity Tennis Center as the No. 16 Michigan men’s tennis team saw two of its duos in a similar scenario — a tiebreaker to set the tone for the team.
Junior Connor Johnston and sophomore Harrison Brown faced off in a tiebreaker against Washington’s Jack Davis and Piers Foley on the No. 1 court, while on the No. 2 court, sophomore Mattias Siimar and freshman Andrew Fenty sought to break the tie against the Huskies’ duo of Kawika Lam and Enzo Sommer.
Both Wolverine duos would prevail, though, lifting the team to a 5-2 victory in the meet. Johnston and Brown won their tiebreaker first, 7-4. Immediately afterward, Siimar and Fenty won, 7-5, clinching the doubles point.
“We were resilient,” Steinberg said. “I wasn’t thrilled with our energy in doubles today. … They’ve been great all year, so we’ll get back to the drawing board, but I just thought we could have finished it a little bit sooner.”
Singles play featured a dominant performance from Fenty, who dispatched Davis in a swift 6-2, 6-4 triumph in straight sets. Fellow freshman Patrick Maloney followed suit with an impressive 6-4, 6-3 win over Washington’s Ernesto Turegano.
The Wolverines’ singles dominance was thwarted by the Huskies’ Ewen Lumsden’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over Brown and Foley’s 7-5, 7-5 defeat of Johnston. These losses shifted the focus to Mattias Siimar and his twin brother Kristofer Siimar, who occupied Michigan’s No. 1 and No. 6 spots, respectively.
Mattias struck first, defeating Sommer 7-5, 6-2 in a captivating display of athleticism and skill. Spectators witnessed few mistakes from both sides, and it took a perfectly finessed strike to end many of the mesmerizingly long rallies.
Shortly thereafter, Kristofer recovered from a 7-6 defeat in his first set by cruising to a 6-3 win in the second set and closing out the day with a 10-4 victory in the match tiebreak, marked by incredible enthusiasm and support from his teammates.
While Mattias’ dominant play stands mostly as another point on a long list of impressive singles performances, Kristofer’s victory represents a call for more playing time, as Friday’s match was his first appearance of the season with the Wolverines.
“We have a lot of good players,” Steinberg said. “We have a lot of depth on our team, and I told them before the season that we would try to give everyone an opportunity … and (Kristofer) did great. He did really well in that tiebreaker, and I’m happy for him.
“Our intensity, our energy, our focus, our fight needs to be much more consistent and better.”