On Thursday, the Michigan men’s tennis team swept its third opponent of the season. This time, the victim was Hawaii, in what was a rain-shortened match in Honolulu.

But The Wolverines’ (6-4) 4-0 sweep of the Warriors (1-5) didn’t indicate the competitive nature of this match.

Down a break in the second set, it looked like Michigan freshman Michael Zhu was going to drop the set. On courts No. 3 and No. 6, freshmen Alex Petrone and Eli Brown were playing third sets of their own. Though the Wolverines were leading the match 3-0, they were in danger of dropping the final three singles matches, which would have forced the two teams to play doubles to determine the dual.

“It was pretty tight after (those first three matches), because (Zhu) was down a break in the second set, Petrone was down in the third, and (Brown) was down 5-6 in the third,” said Michigan coach Bruce Berque.

Luckily for the Wolverines, Zhu came through at No. 4 singles. The Wolverine freshman had won a routine first set, 6-3, against Nils Schuhmann, but was down a break in the second set. Zhu responded with a break of his own to put the match back on serve.

Up 6-5, Schuhmann had a chance to send the set to a tiebreaker. But Zhu thought otherwise, and broke his opponent to secure the match for himself, and to clinch the dual for the Wolverines.

It had taken over four hours and three singles victories for Michigan to get into that position to clinch the match. Because of heavy rain in the area, the players were forced to play for about 10 minutes, get off the court, and go back on to play again for another 10 to 15 minutes before heading for shelter again.

“Every time we walked back out – about three times – after it had rained, it started again and we had to wait even more,” Berque said. “It was a lot of on and off the court.”

Half way through most of the first sets, it finally poured, keeping the teams off the court for an extended period of time. It wasn’t until two hours after the original match start time that the teams took the court again.

“Our guys did a good job of relaxing in the down time, but getting ready to go when it was time to restart the match,” Berque said. “I thought they did a really good job of handling a different and difficult circumstance.”

The Wolverines ability to adapt to the conditions is what, in large part, gave them the early 3-0 lead in the dual.

Sophomore Barrett Franks was first off the court for Michigan when he defeated Charlie Rice 6-4, 6-2, at No. 5 singles. Junior Evan King quickly followed, as he won in decisive straight sets 6-2, 6-2, over Jonathan Brooklyn.

Sophomore Shaun Bernstein was the next Wolverine finished. Despite getting off to a rocky start and dropping the first set 7-5, Bernstein took control of his match and was able to string together two 6-2 set victories, giving Michigan a 3-0 lead in the dual.

The Wolverines, who had battled the rain and the Warriors, wrapped up the dual when Zhu finished his second set comeback. Five minutes after Zhu clinched the dual for Michigan, it started raining again. This time, with the match already in hand, the final two matches at No. 3 and No.6 singles were abandoned.

Zhu’s match clinching victory made him the sixth different Wolverine to clinch a dual already this season. The win over Hawaii gave Michigan its third straight over the Warriors, who have become an annual spring break opponent.

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