After putting up a strong showing at the Wolverine Invitational last weekend, the Michigan men’s tennis team enjoyed another fine week of play, this time at the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Senior Brian Hung and junior Matko Maravic both competed in the singles main draw of the tournament, but the real story came in doubles action.
Hung and Maravic teamed up to make a run to the finals of the 32-team doubles main draw. The duo came into the tournament ranked fifth in the country and its performance certainly justified its ranking.
The pair of Wolverines stormed through the tournament, winning its first four matches on the way to the finals. Hung and Maravic faced off on Sunday with the ninth-ranked team in the country, comprised of Luis Flores and John Isner. But Michigan fell by a score of 8-3.
“They proved they belong in the top level of doubles teams in the country,” assistant coach Sean Maymi said.
The team began play on Thursday. As the fourth seed, they took on Mississippi’s 22nd-ranked team of Jakob Klaeson and Robbye Poole. The Wolverines wasted no time disposing of their first-round opponents. After trading games to start the match, Hung and Maravic cruised to a decisive victory by taking seven of the next eight games, giving them an 8-2 win.
The Michigan duo came out on Friday looking to build off its convincing win in the first round and did exactly that. In their second match, Hung and Maravic easily defeated the 48th-ranked duo of Arnau Brugues and Federico Soriano from Tulsa, 8-4.
The pair continued rolling through the doubles bracket later Friday, with an 8-3 win over Virginia’s 23rd-ranked tandem of Somdev Devvarman and Treat Huey.
Hung and Maravic cruised into their semifinal match on Saturday morning, where they encountered Louisiana State’s team of James Cluskey and Ken Skupski, ranked No. 28. Cluskey and Skupski earned an early break to take the lead at two games to one. But this lead didn’t last long, as the Michigan team fought back in the very next game to earn its own break and even the score at two games a piece. Hung and Maravic picked up the intensity after the early scare and triumphed in six of the next eight games, picking up an 8-4 victory and a trip to the final match.
“They had good first serves and solid returns throughout the tournament,” Maymi said. “They stuck to the basics and stayed within their game. Too often teams come here and look to do too much. They look to hit that one big return or one big volley. (Hung and Maravic) just looked to play their game.”
Michigan’s duo was looking to capture the school’s first individual national championship in tennis since 1989, when MaliVai Washington won the singles title at the ITA National Indoor Championships.
Even with the loss in the final match, Hung and Maravic had a very good showing in Tulsa last week.
Although they are happy with their performance, there’s still room for improvement.
“They could do really well if they can work on some things in practice coming up,” Maymi said. “With hard work, they can have a lot of success this year.”