With the top-five players in the Big Ten Singles Championship knocked out, two unlikely players took the court for the tournament’s final match.
Sixth-seeded Michigan freshman Jason Jung defeated seventh-seeded Iowa senior Bart van Monsjou, 6-4, 7-6(8-6), for the singles title.
For nearly two hours, Jung and van Monsjou battled on the court in what Michigan coach Bruce Berque called “a slugfest.”
Both extremely powerful players, the two rallied extensively baseline-to-baseline. Jung’s cross-court forehand, which his left-handed opponent couldn’t handle, was his most effective shot.
“We felt like if he could move the ball around and have some variety, either his opponent would miss or it would create some opportunities for Jason,” Berque said. “He’s very good at finishing points.”
Jung was especially good at completing points with just one shot – his serve. In many pressure situations, where he was facing break points, Jung would often pull out a big serve and blast an ace past his opponent.
As Jung fought through the second set tiebreak, the crowd got behind him. Jung’s emotions were as clear as he showed frustration when he dropped a point and pumping his fist when he got one.
“In the second set, I was just so tired,” Jung said. “I knew the crowd was behind me, so I just kept with it, kept going. I didn’t want to go three sets.”
Jung used key first serves to close out the match, including an ace at 6-6 in the tiebreak.
His path to the final went through the defending champion and fellow Wolverine, senior Matko Maravic.
Jung defeated Maravic in the tournament semifinal, 6-3, 6-2. The clash between teammates was brief and anti-climactic, but the result was a surprise. The freshman pulled off the upset, beating the No. 21 player in the nation.
“It was tough playing a teammate, tough to get fired up,” Maravic said. “And obviously, Jason played very well.”
Jung dominated the match from the start with hard, low-bouncing ground strokes, a powerful serve, and gentle touch volleys. He pressured Maravic’s serve often, earning four service breaks.
Jung achieved his goal – to be more consistent than Maravic- – in the semifinal match. The senior double faulted at break point in the second set and constantly hit volleys into the net. Jung, on the other hand, played smoothly with just occasional unforced errors.
The Big Ten Singles champion has worked hard this fall on his serve and ground-stroke consistency, which helped him cruise to the title without dropping a set.
“Jason is one of the hardest working guys on our team, so it’s nice to see him be rewarded for it,” Berque said.