The Duke duo - ranked 15th in the nation and coming off of a doubles championship at the ITA Carolinas Regional - started the day with a second-round match against No. 9 John Collins and Maros Horny of Maryland after receiving a bye in the first round. Cunha and Mengel jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the Terrapins on their way to an 8-3 victory.
The doubles win marked the first victory over a higher-ranked opponent for the Duke pair. In addition, Cunha and Mengel improved to 7-3 on the fall season. They now advance to Friday's quarterfinals, where they will meet second-seeded and third-ranked Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State.
After garnering the No. 5 seed in singles play, Cunha cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 70 Andreas Mies of Auburn in the first round on Thursday afternoon. The Jaú, Brazil, native is now 6-1 against ranked opponents and 10-3 overall this fall. On Friday, Cunha will face another ranked opponent in No. 85 Kevin King of Georgia Tech in the second round.
Mengel also earned a spot in the singles competition with his individual singles title at last month's ITA Carolinas Regional. Ranked 49th on the ITA's preseason list, the Duke sophomore drew a first-round matchup with No. 31 Christopher Aumueller of Nebraska. Aumueller took the first set, 6-1, but Mengel quickly recovered in the second frame to jump out to a 3-0 lead. However, Aumueller would come back to force a tiebreak and eventually defeat Mengel by a score of 7-6 (2) in the second set. Mengel now owns a record of 11-2 and will compete in Friday's consolation draw.
Play continues at the ITA National Indoors on Friday with the quarterfinals of the doubles competition and the second round of singles action.