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Chris Mengel
Courtesy: Rex Miller
Chris Mengel
Blue Devils Resume Spring Slate Against VCU
Sunday 03/02/2012  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C. - The fifth-ranked Duke men's tennis team returns to action on Saturday, March 3 when it travels to Richmond, Va. to face No. 36 Virginia Commonwealth. The dual match will be the Blue Devils' first contest since collecting a pair of victories against top-10 teams at the 2012 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men's Team Indoor Championships two weeks ago in Charlottesville, Va.

Duke (9-1) advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA Team Indoor Championships, posting a 2-1 record against three top-10 opponents. The Blue Devils collected upsets over then-No. 8 UCLA and No. 5 Florida while falling to top-ranked Southern California.

The strong showing in Charlottesville helped the squad move up five spots to No. 5 in the most recent ITA team rankings. The No. 5 ranking marks the highest for Duke since being listed at No. 4 in the March 8 poll last season.

Junior Henrique Cunha garnered his fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week honors following the tournament. Ranked second in the nation in the ITA singles poll, Cunha remains unbeaten in No. 1 singles play at 8-0 after notching straight-set victories over No. 39 Nick Meister of UCLA (6-2, 6-4) and No. 40 Bob van Overbeek of Florida (6-2, 6-0).

Sophomore Chris Mengel is also among the top 20 singles players in the country, as he was tabbed No. 19 in the latest poll. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Mengel is 7-0 on the spring from the No. 2 spot in the lineup.

Cunha also comprises one of the top-ranked doubles tandems in the nation, coming in at No. 15 along with sophomore Fred Saba. During the ITA Team Indoor Championships, the duo recorded an 8-3 upset over ninth-ranked Nassam Slilam and Billy Federhofer of Florida in consolation play to move to 5-2 this spring from the No. 1 position. Cunha and Saba have collected three wins against ranked doubles pairs in dual match play.

VCU enters Saturday's contest with a ledger of 12-3 after falling to NC State, 6-0, Wednesday in Raleigh. The Rams remain undefeated at home so far this season with a record of 10-0. Tim Johannsen leads the squad with a mark of 22-4 from the No. 1 singles position, while No. 89 Max Wennakoski is 20-5 on the year at the No. 2 slot.

Duke and VCU will square off for the 35th time in program history, with the Blue Devils leading the series, 31-3. The Blue Devils have won five consecutive meetings between the two teams, including a 6-0 victory earlier this season in ITA Kick-Off Weekend action.

Live stats will be available for Saturday's match.

-d-u-k-e-


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