ATHENS, Ga. - Junior Henrique Cunha opened the first round of play at the 2012 NCAA Singles Championship in strong fashion Wednesday afternoon, posting a straight-set victory to advance to Thursday's second round.
Cunha, seeded fifth in the singles tournament, faced No. 46 Adrien Puget of UCLA in the round of 64. The two players stayed on serve until late in the first set, when Cunha went up a break at 6-5 and held to take the set, 7-5. Cunha then cruised to a 6-0 score in the second set to improve to 39-9 overall this season and 24-8 against ranked opponents.
Cunha's first-round victory sets up a second-round meeting with No. 21 Daniel Nguyen of USC on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
Sophomore Chris Mengel was also in action during Wednesday's first round. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native, who is ranked 38th in the nation in singles, fell to No. 27 Remi Boutillier of Fresno State, 6-4, 6-4. Mengel concludes the singles portion of his season with a ledger of 31-13 and a career-best 11 wins over ranked opponents.
The 2012 NCAA Singles Doubles Championship gets underway on Thursday at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Complex, with Cunha and Mengel set to face Chip Cox and Nick Jones of South Carolina in the first round at 4:30 p.m. The 16th-ranked Duke duo is 17-9 this season with five victories against ranked doubles teams.