URBANA, Ill. – Senior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Raphael Hemmeler of the Duke men’s tennis team advanced to the semifinals of the 2013 NCAA Individual Championships Saturday at the Atkins Tennis Center, as play was forced to move indoors due to inclement weather in the area.
Cunha and Hemmeler advanced to the semifinals with a straight-set 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 6 Andries Mies and Dan Cochrane of Auburn. In a match-up that saw the last two major ITA doubles champions go head-to-head, second-seeded Cunha and Hemmeler, the 2012 ITA National Indoors Doubles Champions, won four straight games to take a commanding 4-0 lead in the first set over No. 6 Mies and Cochrane and went on to take the set, 6-2. In the second set, Cunha and Hemmeler were able to use a late break to seal the match and the duo’s 39th win of the season.
“We feel great, we’re really confident right now,” Cunha said. “We had a really tough second round, saved some match points, now we feel loose and comfortable. We had an unbelievable quarterfinal match and now we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
With their 39 wins on the season, Cunha and Hemmeler now sit in second on Duke’s all-time charts in single season wins by a doubles tandem, two wins shy of the 41 victories Cunha and Reid Carleton posted in 2010. Cunha and Hemmeler becomes the third Blue Devil tandem to reach the semifinals, as Philip King and Michael Yani were the last Duke pair to reach the semis in 2002. Current head coach Ramsey Smith and Doug Root were the first Blue Devil tandem to reach the semifinals in 2000.
Up next, Cunha and Hemmeler will face a familiar foe in Virginia’s Jamere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger in Sunday’s semifinals. Cunha and Hemmeler posted a 2-1 ledger against Jenkins and Styslinger for the season, including a 7-5, 6-2 win in the semifinals at ITA National Indoors in November and an 8-3 victory in Charlottesville during the dual season.
In singles, Cunha’s run came to an end in three sets at the hands of No. 12 Blaz Rola of Ohio State, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Cunha concludes the season with a 34-5 singles ledger, including 17 wins over ranked opponents. Cunha ends his singles career at Duke with 151 career victories in singles, which stands as a program record.
2013 NCAA Div. I Men's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships
May 22-27, 2013 at Urbana, Ill. (Kahn Outdoor Tennis Center)
Singles – Quarterfinals
No. 12 Blaz Rola (Ohio State) def. No. 9 Henrique Cunha (Duke), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Doubles – Quarterfinals
No. 2 Cunha/Hemmeler (Duke) def. No. 6 MIes/Cochrane (Auburn), 6-2, 6-3