The Michigan men’s tennis team has eight players on its roster. In six victories this season, a different player has clinched the dual. On Saturday against Wake Forest, sophomore Shaun Bernstein was the seventh different player to give No. 24 Michigan (7-4) a dual victory.

Bernstein struggled to get started against Danny Kreyman of Wake Forest (8-6). Kreyman jumped in front, 3-1, after breaking the No. 2 Wolverine’s serve, before pushing his lead to 4-1. But Bernstein wouldn’t allow Kreyman to win that easily, and he mounted a furious comeback.

Bernstein broke Kreyman’s serve twice, giving him a chance to serve out the set at 6-5. The Michigan sophomore did just that, and won the first set, 7-5.

“When (Bernstein) turned it around, it was really big for us because we were down on some of the other courts,” said Michigan coach Bruce Berque. “That was when things started to turn our way, because we were really not doing well up to that point. I definitely think it was a key momentum turner for us.”

Bernstein continued his dominance of the Demon Deacon, and took a commanding 5-0 second-set lead before finishing off Kreyman 6-2 to give the Wolverines their third-straight road victory.

Bernstein’s singles success in the second set mirrored his doubles success with junior Evan King. The top Wolverine pair broke the Demon Deacons twice to go ahead 6-2 in the eight-game pro-set. Michigan only gave Amogh Prabhakar and Sam Wells one more game before closing the pro-set out 8-3.

At No. 2 doubles, sophomores Alex Buzzi and Barrett Franks went down a break at 4-2, and were broken one more time en route to an 8-4 loss.

“We didn’t play well at all at number two and number three,” Berque said. “Our effort was fine, but our execution wasn’t very good. That’s something we’re going to work at a little bit more this week.”

The defeat put the fate of the doubles point on freshmen Alex Petrone and Michael Zhu, who were down 7-5 at the time.

The duo responded, winning the next three games to take an 8-7 lead. Wake Forest was able to knot the set at eight games, sending it to a seven-point tiebreaker. Petrone and Zhu engineered a stellar 7-5 tiebreaker victory, giving the Wolverines the doubles point and the 1-0 lead in the match.

“They started being a little more consistent and made their opponents come up with more shots,” Berque said. “That was a big win for us because their opponents were serving for the match and the doubles point.”

Right out of the gate, King crushed David Hopkins 6-1, 6-2, not giving the top Demon Deacon anything. King was the first player off the court, and gave Michigan a 2-0 lead.

“(King) was very focused throughout the match and really stayed on it,” Berque said. “I thought he did a terrific job of that. He also hit the ball really well, so he was for sure the better player.”

At No. 3 singles, Petrone was the next victorious Wolverine. In the first set, the only break went to Petrone, who won 6-4. In the second set, the Michigan freshman got the first break of the set again, jumping ahead 3-1. Petrone didn’t look back, and won the final three games of the set to push Michigan in front of the dual 3-1.

Bernstein clinched the dual soon after Petrone’s victory. Following Bernstein’s match-clinching win, the Demon Deacons won the final two singles matches at No. 5 and No. 6. Franks also lost for the Wolverines at No. 4 singles in straight sets.

But the losses from the bottom of the singles lineup wouldn’t matter, because Michigan had just won its third-straight road match, winning only four matches in each dual.

“The biggest thing we’ve seen is that a variety of people have been able to step up and come through for us,” Berque said. “We’ve been able to win some close matches lately, and that’s helping our confidence that we’re capable of coming back in tricky situations, and also it’s helping our confidence in each other.”

The Wolverines will play in-state rival Michigan State in Ann Arbor next Saturday, their first home match since losing to Notre Dame in February. Michigan will look to defeat the Spartans for a third-straight season in the Big Ten opener.

“It’s the first Big Ten match and our guys are looking forward to the Big Ten season,” Berque said. “We’re confident about the fact that we know that any match can go either way and we know we need to get ready to play every time.”

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