DURHAM, N.C. - The 2012 NCAA Div. I Men's Tennis Championship gets underway this weekend, with the eighth-seeded Blue Devils set to host one of 16 regionals at Ambler Tennis Stadium. Saturday's first-round action will feature a 9 a.m. meeting between No. 43 Northwestern and No. 23 Louisiana State, followed by George Washington and eighth-ranked Duke at 12 p.m. The winners of the two matches will square off on Sunday, May 13 at 2 p.m. to compete for a trip to the NCAA Team Championships May 18-22 in Athens, Ga.
Ticket prices for all NCAA Championship matches are $5 for adults and $3 for students/seniors, and each ticket is good for all matches each day. Tickets can be purchased outside the stadium on the day of the match. Parking for all matches will be available in the Blue Zone, which can be accessed off Duke University Road.
All six of the men's and women's NCAA Championship matches this weekend will feature live video streaming on GoDuke.com. Streaming will begin five minutes before the start of each match and last through the conclusion of the contest. Updates on start times will be provided via the official Duke Men's Tennis Twitter handle (@Duke_MTEN).
2012 NCAA Championship
The 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship will be held May 18-22 at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. The 2012 NCAA Individual Championships will also be contested in Athens, and are slated for May 23-28.
All-Time NCAA Championship Results
Duke owns an all-time record of 38-21 in 21 NCAA Championship appearances. The Blue Devils have earned a spot in the tournament for 21 consecutive seasons, winning at least one match each year. As a team, Duke has advanced as far as the quarterfinals, reaching the round of eight in 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Duke vs. the Field
The Blue Devils have notched a 15-5 record this season against teams in the field of 64 for the 2012 NCAA Championships. Duke went 5-5 against seeded teams in the tournament with wins over No. 4 UCLA, No. 12 Florida, No. 14 California, No. 15 North Carolina and No. 16 Illinois.
Previewing the First and Second Rounds
The Blue Devils will face a familiar opponent in the first round of the tournament, as Duke dispatched George Washington, 4-0, in the first round of last year's NCAA Championships. George Washington won the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship for the second consecutive year this season and heads to Durham with a record of 17-7. Duke and LSU have squared off just seven times in program history with the Blue Devils leading the series by a 4-3 margin. Duke and Northwestern last met in 1984 and the Blue Devils hold a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Wildcats.
NCAA Individual Selections
Two Blue Devils have been selected to compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, slated for May 23-28 in Athens, Ga. Junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Chris Mengel both received at-large bids to the 64-player singles field, with Cunha earning the No. 5 overall seed in his third consecutive appearance in the championships. Cunha and Mengel also garnered an at-large bid to the tournament as a doubles tandem.
Duke has notched its third consecutive season with 20 or more victories and second-straight with at least 22 wins. The last time a Blue Devil squad recorded more than 22 wins was in 2001 when the team finished 24-4 and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships.
Blue Devils in the Polls
Duke is currently ranked eighth in the nation as a team. The Blue Devils' lineup features three players ranked nationally in singles - No. 5 Cunha, No. 38 Mengel and No. 113 Torsten Wietoska. Cunha and Mengel also comprise the 16th-ranked doubles tandem in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's latest poll.
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.
Cunha Reaches Century Mark
With a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Nick Andrews of California on March 11, Cunha became the 11th player in school history to reach 100 career singles victories. He currently ranks tied for fourth in program history with 111 wins in his career, winning 30 or more each season. Cunha also has 105 career doubles wins, three shy of tying Jordan Wile for the fourth most all-time at Duke.
Strong Start for Freshman Duo
Duke's two freshmen - Raphael Hemmeler and Jason Tahir - have enjoyed a successful start to their collegiate careers. Tahir has gone 24-8 in singles play this season while Hemmeler is 23-11. In addition, the two freshmen have also been solid contributors in doubles play, with Hemmeler notching a ledger of 26-10 in doubles contests. A native of Zurich, Switzerland, Hemmeler matched a Duke freshman record with eight victories in ACC doubles play this spring.
Saba Matches Single-Season Record
Sophomore Fred Saba notched a mark of 10-1 in ACC singles play this season, joining teammates Luke Marchese and Mengel as the only Blue Devils in program history to accomplish the feat. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native is 9-1 in his last 10 outings and has compiled an overall record of 29-11 in singles play this season, including a 17-7 ledger at the No. 4 spot in the lineup.
Blue Devils Continue Doubles Success
Duke has won the doubles point in 19 of 27 matches on the season and is 18-1 when claiming the point. The 18th-ranked tandem of Cunha and Mengel owns an overall record of 16-8 while going 9-4 from the No. 1 spot. Senior David Holland and Saba teamed up for a pair of wins at the No. 2 doubles position during the ACC Tournament and are 6-3 as a duo this spring. In the No. 3 spot, Wietoska and Hemmeler have recorded a ledger of 12-5 overall and went 2-1 in ACC Tournament doubles play.
ACC Player of the Week
Cunha has been named the ACC Player of the Week seven times this season, collecting the honor on Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, March 6 and March 20. The seven weekly selections give him 15 ACC Player of the Week honors in his three seasons at Duke.