Duke (1-0) will host three teams ranked in the top 50 nationally for Saturday and Sunday's matches, as No. 26 Washington (3-0), No. 30 Louisville (3-0) and No. 47 VCU (5-0) are slated to join the Blue Devils in Durham.
The weekend of play will get underway Saturday with Louisville and Washington squaring off at 10 a.m., followed by Duke and VCU at 2 p.m. The two winners will return to the courts Sunday at 1 p.m. to compete for one of 16 spots at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va., Feb. 17-20. Meanwhile, the two losing squads from Saturday's action will face each other in the consolation match on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Six ranked singles players will be in action at this weekend's ITA Kick-Off event in Durham, including No. 7 Henrique Cunha, No. 17 Chris Mengel, No. 110 Fred Saba and No. 120 Raphael Hemmeler. Washington's Kyle McMorrow is listed at No. 15 in the ITA poll, while Andrew Carter of Louisville comes in at No. 113.
Two of Duke's doubles squads are also ranked nationally - No. 26 Cunha and Mengel and No. 40 Saba and Hemmeler - but have not competed together yet this spring. Louisville features one ranked doubles tandem in No. 24 Sebastien Stiefelmeyer and Carter.
"We're excited to play our first real dual match at home," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "A focus is going to be taking care of the doubles point. Obviously, the ultimate goal is just finding a way to win both matches. We need to start strong with VCU."
The Blue Devils opened their dual match season last weekend with a 4-3 victory over No. 32 Michigan in Ann Arbor. After dropping a hard-fought doubles point to the Wolverines, Duke rallied in singles play, led by the efforts of Cunha who closed out the win with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over sixth-ranked Evan King at No. 1 singles. Also posting wins in singles were sophomore Saba on court four, Hemmeler on court six and Mengel at the No. 2 spot.
2012 ITA Kick-Off Weekend - Schedule of Events
Saturday, Jan. 28
(2) Louisville vs. (3) Washington, 10 a.m.
(1) Duke vs. (4) VCU, 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 29
Championship Match, 1 p.m.
Consolation Match, 4 p.m.