Normally, Michigan men’s tennis coach Mark Mees would not be pleased to see his players win five of 12 matches. But considering it’s only the middle of October, Mees will let it slide.
Competing individually in the Rolex Regional Championships in Madison, only Michigan’s Michael Rubin, Dave Anving, Chris Shaya and Josef Fischer won matches this past weekend, but Mees was hardly upset.
“We talked about making improvements as a team since the beginning of September, when everyone got to school,” Mees said. “I really feel good about the way our players competed this weekend.”
Rubin, a sophomore transfer from Washington, won his first match on Saturday, taking down Minnesota’s Manuel Lievano 6-3, 6-3. But Rubin could not keep the momentum going later that afternoon, dropping a tough three-set loss to Illinois’ Mike Calkins 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
“Michael played real solid for us and I was really happy with the way he played,” Mees said. “He lost to someone that is probably the favorite to win the entire main draw.”
While Anthony Jackson, a junior competing back in his home state of Wisconsin, suffered a first-round defeat at the hands of Minnesota’s Alex Zharinov, Mees feels that Jackson is getting better by the day.
“Anthony just has to get his confidence going a bit,” Mees said. “He played an excellent match against excellent competition.”
Sophomores Anving and Fischer both won their first matches. Fischer defeated Xavier’s Ryan Potts 6-3, 6-2 and Anving beat IUPUI’s Luke Recker 6-2, 6-1 before both lost in the second round.
The final singles matches won’t be determined until tomorrow.
Fellow sophomore Vinneth Gossain lost his only match of the draw, falling to Indiana’s Julian Villiez 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Shaya, competing in the qualifiers bracket, won his first two matches before falling in the third round to Louisville’s Matt Mayer.
In the doubles bracket, the team of Rubin and Shaya fell to Illinois’ Chris Martin and Ryan DeHart 8-3 in the first round and the team of Chris Rolf and Gossain made it to the third round before falling to Northwestern’s Josh Axler and Adam Schechterly.
While the weekend’s tournament won’t be counted toward the Wolverines overall record because it wasn’t a team event, Mees was pleased that his players competed with the ferocity that they did.
“Sure, there was some pressure there for guys to keep their spots,” Mees said. “This was a very important tournament. We take pride in the way we compete and we came out well. I was looking for improvement, and we improved.”
Michigan next competes in the Rocket Invitational in Toledo next weekend.