Cunha, the No. 5 seed in the singles tournament, advanced to the Round of 16 with a straight-set victory over No. 21 Daniel Nguyen of USC. In the first set, Cunha used an early break for a 3-1 lead before Nguyen broke back to even it up at 3-all. Cunha broke serve again at 4-all and held to take the set, 6-4. After jumping out to a 5-0 advantage in the second set, Cunha held off Nguyen for a 6-4 victory.
With his win in the second round, Cunha achieved All-America status in singles for the third-straight season. He becomes the first player in Duke history to reach the NCAA Singles Round of 16 on three occasions. Cunha also collected his 40th singles victory of the year to establish a new program record, surpassing his previous mark of 39 wins in a season set during his rookie campaign. With a career singles ledger of 116-25, Cunha is now just two wins shy of matching current head coach Ramsey Smith for the second-most career victories in school history.
Up next, the Jaú, Brazil native will face No. 40 Gonzalo Escobar of Texas Tech in Friday's Round of 16 at 10 a.m.
Thursday also marked the opening day of the doubles tournament in Athens, with Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel teaming up for a first-round victory. The 16th-ranked Blue Devil tandem faced No. 23 Chip Cox and Nick Jones of South Carolina, taking the first set by a 6-4 margin and getting a key break late in the second set for a 6-4 win.
Cunha and Mengel improved to 18-9 overall and 6-8 this season against ranked doubles teams. The duo moves on to Friday's doubles Round of 16, where they will take on fourth-seeded Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford at 4 p.m.
2012 NCAA Div. I Men's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships
May 23-28, 2012 at Athens, Ga. (Dan Magill Tennis Complex)
Singles - Second Round
#5 Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. #21 Daniel Nguyen (USC) 6-4, 6-4