FLUSHING, N.Y. – Senior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Raphael Hemmeler are set to begin play at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships Thursday att the USTA Billy Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
“This is the most selective event in college tennis, and I am excited for Henrique and Rafa,” said head coach Ramsey Smith. “Henrique is the first Duke player to qualify for National Indoors all four years, and it is neat for Rafa to be here as a sophomore. We are looking forward to a good weekend in New York.”
Cunha and Hemmeler, the 16th-ranked duo in the ITA preseason rankings, will receive a first round bye and will begin play against Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant of Texas A&M in the doubles round of 16 Thursday. The duo earned a trip to the prestigious event by defeating UNC Wilmington’s Kosta Blank and Chris Cooprider, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals of last month’s ITA Carolina Regional in Cary, N.C. Cunha, the first player in the history of the Carolina region to win the ITA Carolina Regional doubles title in four consecutive seasons, fell in the finals of the 2009 tournament with partner Reid Carleton. This season marks Hemmeler’s first trip to the USTA/ITA National Indoors. For the fall, the team owns an 8-1 record, including a 2-0 mark against ranked opponents.
A native of Jaú, Brazil, Cunha will also be competing against Georgia Tech’s Victor Valente Thursday in the first round of the singles competition. Cunha, the top-ranked player in the country, earned one of the two ITA Wild Card bids into the event. The senior will be competing in the singles draw of the USTA/ITA National Indoors for the third time in his four seasons at Duke and previously made the semifinals of the singles draw as a junior in 2011. Cunha owns a 9-2 record for the fall season, while playing to a 4-1 mark against ranked opponents.
Two rounds of doubles and one round of singles are scheduled to be played Thursday, beginning at 9 a.m. Fans can follow live scoring on www.itatennis.com.