The Michigan men”s tennis team entered its match against Western Michigan on Saturday looking for its 25th consecutive victory against the Broncos. Midway through the contest, the question wasn”t whether the Wolverines would win, but by how much.
In front of an unusually large crowd at the Varsity Tennis Center, Michigan (3-0) ended the match without dropping a set, as it posted a commanding 7-0 victory.
The Wolverines began their onslaught right off the bat, as they swept all three doubles matches to claim the point. Despite suffering an early service break, Michigan”s No. 1 team of Chris Shaya and Chris Rolf rebounded to beat Dan Grupp and Ryan Maarschalk 8-4.
“Chris and I play many different forms out there, and I think we were trying too many new things in the beginning,” Shaya said. “You have to change it up when you face strong doubles teams. But in a match like today, we just needed to play solid tennis. Once we settled down, we were fine.”
As solely doubles players, Shaya and Rolf have the advantage of putting all their energy into one match.
“It”s nice not having to worry about singles,” Shaya said. “We can focus on winning our doubles match and getting the point, hopefully setting the tone for the rest of the team.”
Against the Broncos, the doubles point certainly provided the impetus for Michigan”s singles players, as they routed their opponents in impressive fashion.
Nowhere was a match more one-sided than at No. 2 singles, where Ben Cox looked like a juggernaut against Maarschalk, winning easily 6-1, 6-1.
“My game is being aggressive,” Cox said. “I”m not the type of player who”s going to hit tons of balls out there. I like to serve well to set up my forehand, which I did well today.”
In contrast to Cox”s baseline game, No. 1 Henry Beam won most of his points at the net to emerge with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Ravi Pathanjali.
Playing only his third collegiate match, recent transfer David Anving completed the shutout at the No. 6 slot, rallying in the second set to defeat Justin Kates 6-4, 6-4.
Michigan will see much stiffer competition this Saturday, when Tulsa visits the Varsity Tennis Center.
“Tulsa is a very good team,” coach Mark Mees said. “We had a chance to see them this fall down in Florida, and they have a very deep squad. They”ll be the best team we”ve played this year by far.”