Blue Devils End Season in Top 10
Duke finished the season listed eighth in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings, with the No. 8 ranking representing the highest for the program since earning a final ranking of No. 6 at the end of the 2006 season. The team started off the year listed 10th in the nation and was ranked among the top 10 all season.
Final Individual Rankings Released
The ITA released the final singles and doubles rankings of the year on June 6, with several Blue Devils finishing among the top players in the nation. Junior Henrique Cunha concluded the season ranked fourth in the nation, followed by sophomore Chris Mengel at No. 41 and senior Torsten Wietoska at No. 113. Cunha and Mengel earned a top-20 final ranking in doubles, coming in at No. 18 in the final poll, while Cunha and sophomore Fred Saba were listed at No. 21.
Blue Devils Top Regional Rankings
The final ITA Carolina Region rankings were also released on June 6, with Duke closing out the year as the top-ranked squad in the region. Cunha was tabbed the top singles player in the region, with Mengel coming in at No. 3, Wietoska at No. 9, freshman Raphael Hemmeler at No. 12 and Saba at No. 19. In doubles, Cunha and Mengel comprised the second-ranked tandem in the region, followed by Saba and senior David Holland at No. 10.
Duke Makes 22nd NCAA Championship Appearance
Duke was selected to the NCAA Team Championship field for the 21st consecutive season and 22nd time overall, receiving the No. 8 overall seed in the tournament for the program's highest seeding since the 2006 season. Head coach Ramsey Smith's squad was selected to host an NCAA Regional for the third straight year, and defeated George Washington and LSU in first and second round action to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Athens, Ga. In the Round of 16, the Blue Devils notched a 4-0 victory over Baylor to set up a quarterfinal showdown with three-time reigning national champion USC. Despite a strong effort from Duke, USC prevailed, 4-1, and went on to claim its fourth consecutive national title. Following the conclusion of this year's NCAA Championship, Duke now owns an all-time record of 41-22 in the tournament.
Cunha Earns Third All-America Honor in Singles
Cunha and Mengel were both selected to compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Athens, Ga., with Cunha earning the No. 5 overall seed in the singles tournament. Mengel suffered a tough first-round loss to Remi Boutillier of Fresno State, while Cunha reached the singles quarterfinals before falling to third-seeded Eric Quigley of Kentucky. In doubles, Cunha and Mengel reached the Round of 16 before suffering a three-set loss to fourth-seeded Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford. With his performance in the tournament, Cunha achieved All-America status in singles for the third time in as many seasons and became the first player in Duke history to advance to the singles quarterfinals on three occasions.
Squad Totals 25 Wins
With a final record of 25-6, the Blue Devils notched the program's highest win total since the 1999-2000 campaign. Duke also collected its third consecutive season with 20 or more victories and second straight with at least 22 wins.
Senior Class Leaves its Mark
The senior class of Holland, Luke Marchese and Wietoska leaves Duke with an overall record of 83-34 after guiding the Blue Devils to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Round of 16.
Cunha Continues Standout Career
Cunha continued to etch his name into the Duke men's tennis record books as a junior, becoming the fourth player in program history to join the 100-win club in both singles and doubles. After finishing the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 41-10 in singles, Cunha now owns a career ledger of 117-26 (.818), just one win shy of matching Smith for the second-most career singles victories in school history. In addition, the 41 singles victories this season broke the previous program record of 39, which Cunha set as a freshman in 2010. He also established a new school record for the most singles matches played in a season at 51, topping the 49 matches played by Andres Pedroso in 2000-01. The Jaú, Brazil native also tallied an individual record of 27-14 in doubles action this year to bring his career total to 107-27 (.799), with the 107 wins ranking him fifth on Duke's all-time charts.
ITA Regional Awards
The recipients of the 2012 ITA Carolina Region awards were announced on May 14, with Smith taking home ITA Carolina Region Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his coaching career. Wietoska became the third player in school history to be named the ITA Regional Senior Player of the Year, joining Phillip King (2004) and Reid Carleton (2011).
Freshmen Make Immediate Impact
Rookies Hemmeler and Jason Tahir both enjoyed a successful start to their collegiate careers, with each making significant contributions in singles and doubles. Hemmeler, who hails from Zurich, Switzerland, finished the year with a record of 26-11 in singles and a 30-10 ledger in doubles play after spending time at the No. 3 and 5 singles spots and the No. 2 and 3 positions in doubles. Hemmeler's 30 doubles wins rank fourth as the fourth-most among all freshmen in Duke history, and he also matched a Duke freshman record with eight victories in Atlantic Coast Conference doubles play this season. A product of Rochester, N.Y., Tahir closed his rookie campaign with a ledger of 26-8 in singles and a 7-6 record in doubles. Tahir also posted an 8-3 record in ACC singles contests, playing primarily at the No. 6 slot in the lineup, while Hemmeler went 7-2 in conference action.
Cunha and Mengel were among the 18 players selected to the 2012 All-ACC Men's Tennis Team. Cunha was honored for the third consecutive season while Mengel received the first All-ACC accolades of his career. Duke has had two or more All-ACC selections in 23 of the past 25 seasons.
ACC Tournament Run
The Blue Devils reached the finals of the ACC Tournament for the third straight season, falling to top-seeded Virginia by a 4-1 margin. The finals appearance was the 16th for the program in the past 22 years. Duke defeated No. 38 NC State in the quarterfinals and avenged a loss earlier in the season to No. 18 North Carolina in the semifinals to advance to the championship match.
Dominance in Doubles
Duke won the doubles point in 22 of 31 matches on the season and went 21-1 when claiming the point. The duo of Cunha and Mengel notched an overall record of 18-10 with six wins over ranked doubles teams. Holland and Saba went 8-4 as a duo while Wietoska and Hemmeler teamed up for four wins in NCAA Championship action and an overall ledger of 16-5.
Duke Wins Nine ACC Matches
The Blue Devils notched a record of 9-2 in regular season ACC play during the 2011-12 season, reaching the nine-wins mark for just the fourth time in program history. That total matches the school record set by the 2006, 2010 and 2011 squads.
Blue Devils Impress at ITA National Team Indoors
Following a 4-2 upset of then-No. 8 UCLA in the opening round, Duke advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 ITA Men's National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. The Blue Devils, ranked 10th in the nation at the time of the tournament, then suffered a 4-0 loss to top-ranked USC before concluding the weekend with a 4-0 sweep of No. 5 Florida.
Saba Matches Single-Season Record
Saba notched a mark of 10-1 in ACC singles play this season, joining teammates Marchese and Mengel as the only Blue Devils in program history to accomplish the feat. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native went 8-2 in his last 10 outings of the season and recorded an 11-match win streak from March 18 to Apr. 21. He ended the season with an overall record of 30-12 in singles play, including an 18-8 ledger at the No. 4 position.
Blue Devils Fare Well in Fall
The 2011 fall season saw the Blue Devils turn in strong performances at tournaments across the country, as the squad closed out the fall with three singles championships and three doubles titles. Duke started off the 2011-12 season by hosting the Duke Fab Four Invite in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. Mengel claimed a singles title while Saba and Hemmeler were impressive in their debut as a tandem, capturing one of the three doubles championships. At the ITA Carolina Regional, Duke swept the singles and doubles championships for the second consecutive year. Mengel took home the singles title after he, Cunha and Wietoska all advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament. Cunha and Mengel captured the doubles championship, defeating North Carolina's Brennan Boyajian and Joey Burkhardt, 9-8 (6) in a thrilling final. Both Cunha and Mengel earned a trip to the 2011 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, N.Y., reaching the quarterfinal round of the doubles tournament. In singles, Cunha made an impressive run to the semifinals before falling to Virginia's Mitchell Frank, while Mengel advanced to the round of 32.
Smith Signs Four to 2012-13 Class
Duke's four signees for the 2012-13 season were tabbed the No. 3 recruiting class in the country, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network's list of the top 25 recruiting classes of 2012. Headlining the Blue Devils' class is Chicago native Michael Redlicki, who is rated No. 5 overall in the Tennis RPI rankings and No. 8 nationally by TennisRecruiting.net. Duke also received a commitment from Josh Levine, a senior blue chip recruit from Syosset, N.Y., as well as Daniel McCall of San Francisco, Calif., who has been ranked in the top 10 nationally by TennisRecruiting.net for each of the past four years. San Paulo, Brazil native Bruno Semenzato rounds out the Blue Devils' class of 2012.