The Michigan women’s tennis team got off to a perfect start in their first dual meet of the season, shutting out Western Michigan yesterday at the Varsity Tennis Center. But the victory came as no surprise to the Wolverines. It was the 22nd consecutive time they’ve beaten the Broncos.

“I have absolutely no complaints,” coach Ronni Bernstein said.

Not only did the Wolverines win every match, but they didn’t drop a set the entire day. Among the most impressive performances was that of Michigan’s No. 1 singles player. Thirty-sixth-ranked junior Denise Muresan won 6-0, 6-0, dominating all match long. The No. 2 doubles team of juniors Whitney Taney and Rika Tatsuno also shut out their opponents, 8-0.

One of the biggest challenges facing the No. 20 Wolverines (1-0) this year has been replacing their all-time wins leader, Chisako Sugiyama, who graduated last year. But Muresan has been a solid replacement at No. 1 singles, as her win yesterday pushed her season record to 16-5.

“Replacing Sugiyama is obviously a big challenge,” Bernstein said. “But Denise is perfect for that spot. She’s so competitive and mentally tough.”

The tone for the day was set by Michigan’s doubles teams, who dropped just seven games in the first three matches of the meet.

“I’m excited about our doubles,” Bernstein said. “They’re looking great right now. I expect them to be a strong point the rest of the season.”

In addition to her excellent singles play, Muresan paired with senior Tania Mahtani to win at No. 1 doubles. Freshman Mimi Nguyen and sophomore Michelle Salahian won their fifth straight match at No. 3 doubles. Both also won their singles matches without much trouble.

“Everyone played well, but I’m especially excited about Mimi,” Bernstein said. “Being a freshman and winning her first dual-match decisively … that’s impressive. She did a really good job.”

Next week’s trip to Fayetteville, Ark. for the ITA Expansion should be a better test for these Wolverines than Western Michigan posed this weekend. Michigan will play No. 17 South Carolina and either No. 19 Arkansas or No. 24 Washington.

“Our goal and our expectation is to win both matches,” Bernstein said.

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