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Duke Sweeps ITA Carolina Regional Championships
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 10/17/2011
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Cunha and Mengel with coaches Jonathan Stokke and Ramsey Smith
Photo Courtesy: University of North Carolina Athletics
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Duke men's tennis team swept the singles and doubles championships at the ITA Carolina Regional for the second-straight year Monday at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center in Chapel Hill.

The top-seeded tandem of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel opened the day with a thrilling victory in the doubles finals over North Carolina's Brennan Boyajian and Joey Burkhardt, the tournament's No. 2 seed. Cunha and Mengel jumped out to a 7-3 lead before the Tar Heel pair tied the match at 7-7. Boyajian and Burkhardt won the next game to go up, 8-7, but the Blue Devil duo held serve to force a tiebreaker. The score went back and forth in the tie-break set until Cunha and Mengel earned a break point and then stayed on serve to seal the 9-8 (6) win.

Cunha and Mengel improve to 6-3 on the fall season with the victory, and advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships on Nov. 3-6 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. For Cunha, the win marked his third consecutive ITA Carolina Regional doubles title after the Jaú, Brazil, native captured the past two doubles championships along with 2011 graduate Reid Carleton.

Duke also had a successful showing in the singles tournament, with three Blue Devils reaching Monday's semifinal round for the first time in program history.

In his semifinal match, Cunha downed No. 74 Yannick Maden of Clemson, winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. The morning's other semifinal match featured two Blue Devils, with Mengel and senior Torsten Wietoska squaring off for a trip to the tournament final against Cunha. Wietoska took the first set, 6-3, but Mengel came back to win the next two sets by scores of 6-2 and 6-1.

Mengel captured the singles title after Cunha was forced to withdraw due to injury with the score at 7-6 (8) in the first set. Both players also advance to the ITA National Indoor Championships in singles play, with Mengel earning a spot as the tournament champion and Cunha automatically qualifying as the fourth-ranked player on the ITA's preseason list and having reached at least the quarterfinals of the regional tournament.

The pair of regional titles in singles and doubles marked the end of an impressive showing by the Blue Devils at the five-day tournament, as six Duke players reached the round of 32 in the singles draw and three doubles pairs advanced to the round of 16. Cunha and Mengel played a combined 12 singles matches over the five days of the tournament, as well as five matches in doubles play.

"Obviously I am extremely happy with our performance as a team this weekend," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "We talked earlier in the week about how important this tournament was for our fall season, and I am proud that the guys stepped up."   

Cunha and Mengel travel to the ITA National Indoor Championships Nov. 3-5 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

ITA Carolinas Regional Results - Day Five

Doubles - Finals
#15 Henrique Cunha/Chris Mengel (Duke) def. Brennan Boyajian/Joey Burkhardt (North Carolina) 9-8 (8-6)

Singles - Semifinals
#4 Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. #74 Yannick Maden (Clemson) 6-3, 6-1
#49 Chris Mengel (Duke) def. Torsten Wietoska (Duke) 3-6, 6-2, 6-1

Singles - Finals
#49 Chris Mengel (Duke) def. #4 Henrique Cunha (Duke) 7-6 (8), ret. (inj)


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