DURHAM, N.C. - Blue Devil players swept the tournament titles at the Duke Invitational Monday, with the tandem of junior Henrique Cunha and sophomore Fred Saba winning in doubles and senior Torsten Wietoska claiming the singles crown. As a team, Duke compiled an impressive ledger of 19-2 in singles and 9-1 in doubles action during the three-day tournament.
The squad - ranked No. 10 in the latest ITA poll - hosted No. 20 North Carolina on the final day of the round robin invitational, with the Blue Devils claiming victories in three out of four doubles matches to start the day. Cunha and Saba had a tournament-best eight points heading into the match, and defeated the Tar Heels' Oystein Steiro and Brennan Boyajian, 9-7, to secure the doubles title. The match was tied at seven-all before Cunha and Saba went up a break and then served out the win. The Duke tandem wrapped up the tournament with a 3-0 record at the No. 1 position and a total of 12 points in the doubles standings.
Sophomore Chris Mengel and senior David Holland also picked up their third consecutive doubles victory of the tournament, rolling to an 8-1 win over North Carolina's Zach Hunter and William Parker on court three. The Blue Devil duo concluded the tournament with six points overall, posting three impressive wins from the No. 3 spot.
Freshman Jason Tahir and sophomore Cale Hammond teamed up for an 8-4 win against Alex Rafiee and Taylor Meyer in the No. 4 matchup. On court two, Wietoska and freshman Raphael Hemmeler battled to six-all against Jose Hernandez and Esben Hess-Olesen, but it was the Tar Heels who would come out on top by a score of 8-6. However, Wietoska and Hemmeler finished the tournament with six points after notching wins on Saturday and Sunday.
"The goal of this weekend was to get a lot of matches under our belt," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "We really focused on doubles. We tried some new doubles teams ... I thought we made some big improvements from the fall."
Duke players also turned in several strong performances in singles action, as Wietoska recorded his third consecutive victory to claim the tournament title. The senior tallied a tournament-best 19 points, including six points on Monday with a three-set win over North Carolina's Oystein Steiro at the No. 3 spot. Wietoska dropped the first set, 4-6, but battled back to take the next two frames, 6-4, 6-4.
Seventh-ranked Cunha also went undefeated on the weekend in singles, edging No. 30 Jose Hernandez in their matchup at the No. 1 position, 6-2, 6-4. Despite not being in the singles lineup for Saturday's meeting with Elon, Cunha totaled 16 points with two wins from the No. 1 position, and improved to 14-4 on the season in singles tournament play.
Saba, who is listed at No. 110 in the ITA's rankings, improved to 11-4 in singles tournament play with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over No. 103 William Parker in the No. 4 match. Saba also went 2-0 on the weekend, totaling 11 points overall. Meanwhile, No. 120 Hemmeler edged the Tar Heels' Taylor Meyer on court six, 6-0, 6-1, surrendering his first and only game of the tournament to finish with 10 points.
Senior Luke Marchese and Hammond also recorded singles victories for Duke, with Hammond delivering a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win from the No. 8 position against Alex Rafiee in the tournament's final match. Marchese downed North Carolina's James Coxe, 6-1, 6-0, at the No. 7 spot to finish the weekend with nine points overall.
Mengel notched 15 points in the singles tournament with victories at the No. 1 and 2 slots before withdrawing from Monday's No. 2 matchup with Boyajian.
The Blue Devils open dual match play on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Michigan before hosting an ITA Kick-Off Weekend event Jan. 28-29 in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center.
Duke Invitational Jan. 16, 2012 - Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center
Singles Competition Pts 8 #7 Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. #30 Jose Hernandez (North Carolina) 6-2, 6-4 7 Brennan Boyajian (North Carolina) def. #17 Chris Mengel (Duke) 7-6 (7-0), retired 6 Torsten Wietoska (Duke) def. Oystein Steiro (North Carolina) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 5 #110 Fred Saba (Duke) def. #103 William Parker (North Carolina) 6-2, 7-5 4 Esben Hess-Olesen (North Carolina) def. Jason Tahir (Duke) 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) 3 #120 Raphael Hemmeler (Duke) def. Taylor Meyer (North Carolina) 6-0, 6-1 2 Luke Marchese (Duke) def. James Coxe (North Carolina) 6-1, 6-0 1 Cale Hammond (Duke) def. Alex Rafiee (North Carolina) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)