DURHAM, N.C. - The 10th-ranked Duke men's tennis team advanced to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a 4-0 victory against No. 26 Washington Sunday afternoon in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The Blue Devils did not surrender a match in singles or doubles during the weekend's four-team regional on their way to earning one of 16 bids to the ITA National Team Indoors Feb. 17-20 in Charlottesville, Va.
"We played well at all spots - singles and doubles - the whole weekend and we were able to get a pretty convincing win against a good team today," said head coach Ramsey Smith. "To advance relatively comfortably, without dropping a match, to the final 16 gives us a lot of confidence."
Duke (3-0) opened doubles play with a quick victory on court three, as the duo of senior Torsten Wietoska and freshman Raphael Hemmeler downed Washington's Marton Bots and Matt Stith, 8-2. In the No. 2 matchup, senior David Holland and sophomore Chris Mengel earned a key break over Jeffrey Hawke and Max Manthou at 7-6 on their way to an 8-6 win, securing the doubles point for the Blue Devils for the second consecutive match.
Seventh-ranked Henrique Cunha provided the early spark for Duke in singles, defeating No. 15 Kyle McMorrow of Washington, 6-3, 6-4, in a matchup of ranked players at the No. 1 position.
"I just started the match very focused on holding my serve and trying to get the early break," Cunha said. "I got the break in the second game of the first set, and that set the tone for my match."
Mengel, ranked 17th in the latest ITA poll, battled to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Emmett Egger from the No. 2 position to give the Blue Devils a 3-0 lead. Cunha and Mengel both improved to 3-0 on the year in dual match play with their wins.
No. 110 Fred Saba edged the Huskies' Viktor Farkas by a 6-2 margin in the first set of their No. 4 singles match before grinding out a 7-5 win in the second set, closing out the 4-0 victory for Duke. Saba also moved to 3-0 in singles play while clinching his first match of the season.
"This was a good step forward for us today," Smith said. "We're just trying to grow with each match and make our improvements. This week we have a couple of things we need to work on, just trying to keep getting better because we have the foundation of a really good team."
The Blue Devils improve to 3-0 on the season with the pair of victories at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Regional, including a 6-0 decision against No. 47 VCU in Saturday's first round. The squad returns to the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center next weekend when it hosts No. 15 Illinois on Friday, Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. and a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 6 with matches against No. 28 Notre Dame (12 p.m.) and NC Central (5 p.m.).
The ITA National Team Indoor Championships will be hosted by No. 2 Virginia in Charlottesville Feb. 17-20.
Tennis Match Results Washington vs Duke Jan 29, 2012 at Durham, N.C. (Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center)