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Junior Henrique Cunha
Courtesy: Duke Photography
Junior Henrique Cunha
Menís Tennis Earns No. 10 Ranking in Latest ITA Poll
Friday 01/03/2012  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C. - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association released on Tuesday its first rankings since the preseason, with Duke earning the No. 10 team ranking. In addition, four Blue Devils are ranked in the top 125 in singles and two doubles pairs are among the top 40 in the nation heading into the 2012 season.

Two Blue Devils are listed among the top 20 players in the country, with junior Henrique Cunha leading the way at No. 7. Cunha is coming off of an impressive fall season in which he notched an overall record of 12-4 and was 5-3 against ranked opponents. The Jaú, Brazil, native advanced to the round of 32 at the ITA Men's All-American Championships in October, as well as the finals of the ITA Carolina Regional. He also reached the semifinal round of the 2011 ITA National Indoor Championships in November.

Sophomore Chris Mengel is also ranked in the top 20, entering the spring at No. 17 after being listed at No. 49 during the preseason. Mengel posted a record of 12-3 during the fall while defeating five ranked opponents. He claimed the ITA Carolina Regional Championship and a singles title at the Duke Fab Four Invite. Mengel also advanced to the round of 32 at the ITA Men's All-American Championships and at the ITA National Indoors.

Fellow sophomore Fred Saba joins Cunha and Mengel in the rankings at No. 110. Saba went 9-4 in singles action this fall after reaching the section finals at the Duke Fab Four Invite and the quarterfinals at the 2011 Lakewood Ranch Clay Court Classic in Bradenton, Fla. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native also turned in a strong performance at the ITA Carolina Regional, powering his way to the tournament's quarterfinals.

Also ranked in singles is freshman Raphael Hemmeler, who is listed at No. 120 following a 4-6 showing in his first collegiate action this fall. Hemmeler earned a spot in the qualifying round at the ITA All-American Championships, advancing to the semifinals. He also recorded two wins in consolation play at the Lakewood Ranch Clay Court Classic, a tournament that featured some of the nation's premier college players.

Duke also has two doubles teams ranked to start 2012. The duo of Cunha and Mengel was tabbed No. 26 in the latest ITA rankings after teaming up for an overall record of 7-4 during the fall. Cunha and Mengel made a tremendous run in the ITA Carolina Regional, capturing the doubles title in thrilling fashion with a 9-8 (8-6) victory over North Carolina's Brennan Boyajian and Joey Burkhardt in the tournament final. The Blue Devil tandem also reached the quarterfinals at the ITA National Indoors and the round of 32 in the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships.

Meanwhile, Saba and Hemmeler also earned a national ranking as a doubles pair, coming in at No. 40 in the latest poll. The duo finished the fall slate with a mark of 5-3 and recorded one win over a ranked opponent. Saba and Hemmeler competed in the qualifying round at the ITA All-American Championships, advancing to the finals, and also won a doubles title at the Duke Fab Four Invite.

The Blue Devils are ranked No. 10 as a team after finishing the 2010-11 campaign at No. 12 overall. The team kicks off the spring season when it hosts the Duke Invite Jan. 14-16, and opens dual match play on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Michigan.

-d-u-k-e-


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