The No. 18 Michigan men’s tennis team finished the weekend with two road victories in conference play, routing Indiana and Purdue.
Coming off a tough loss in their most recent match — a 4-1 home defeat to No. 3 Ohio State — the Wolverines (4-1 Big Ten, 14-4 overall) rebounded in dominant fashion as they blanked the Hoosiers (1-3 Big Ten, 10-8 overall) 7-0 on Friday in Bloomington before beating the Boilermakers 6-1 on Sunday.
“It was a good win for us on the road, Purdue’s a good team,” said Michigan coach Adam Steinberg. “They’re much improved from past years. To win 7-0 and 6-1 on the road like we did this weekend is a big improvement from us.”
The Wolverines were spearheaded against Purdue (2-3 Big Ten, 13-10 overall) by their No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, senior Jathan Malik and junior Alex Knight, who each won tight matches in three sets. Malik fought back after losing the first set, 6-1, by taking the second set, 7-5, and winning the deciding tiebreaker, 10-4, over the Boilermakers’ Gergely Madarasz.
Knight also came from behind against Ricky Medinilla after losing the first set, 6-3, by winning the second set, 7-5, and then outlasting Medinilla in a close 10-8 tiebreak to hand Michigan a key early advantage.
Sophomore Myles Schalet followed this performance up with a victory at No. 3 singles, ousting Benjamin Ugarte, 6-3, 6-1. Also contributing were junior Carter Lin with a win at No. 5 singles over Renan Hanayama, 6-0, 6-2, and junior Davis Crocker with a win at No. 6 singles over Athell Bennett, 6-2, 6-4.
These victories offset the loss by junior Runhao Hua at No. 4 singles to Purdue’s Stephan Koenigsfest, 6-3, 6-4. All six of Michigan’s singles players were also victorious in their matches against Indiana on Friday.
The Wolverines notched wins in two out of three doubles matches against Purdue, with Malik and freshman Connor Johnston holding off Madarasz and Medinilla, 6-3, in the No. 1 doubles match. Michigan also won, 6-3, in the No. 3 doubles matchup between Schalet and senior Kevin Wong against Purdue’s Bennett and Koenigsfest.
That capped off an undefeated week for Michigan doubles, which stands as one of the key areas of improvement for the team this season.
“We’re playing more aggressive in doubles and getting more belief in singles,” Steinberg said. “We have such a deep team that we can withstand some injuries and other things. It gives us an air of confidence.”
The Wolverines will return home this weekend with three matches against Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Aquinas on a high note after taking care of business on the road.
“Our goals are always the same, our goal is to win a National Championship here at Michigan so that’s what we’re working towards,” said Steinberg. “Each match is another step towards that. The guys have a lot to be proud of, they’ve come a long way.”