DURHAM, NC – The
fifth-ranked Duke men’s tennis team will serve as one of 15 national host sites
for the fifth annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which kicks off Friday, Jan. 25 at
10 a.m. in the Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. Duke (3-0) will host three teams
ranked in the top-50 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, as No.
37 Northwestern (5-0), No. 43 Virginia Tech (2-0) and No. 46 Middle Tennessee
State (2-0) will join the Blue Devils in Durham. The teams will compete for a
spot in next month’s ITA National Team Indoor Championships, held Feb. 15-18 in
“We are looking forward to this weekend,” said head coach
Ramsey Smith. “It is great to be hosting, it means we are one of the top-15
teams in the country. Three solid teams will be coming and the ultimate goal is
to win both matches and advance to Seattle.”
The weekend of play will get underway Friday, as the Blue
Devils will face Middle Tennessee State at 10 a.m. This year will mark just the
second meeting between Duke and the Blue Raiders, with Duke winning the first
matchup, 8-1, on March 20, 1976. Northwestern and Virginia Tech will follow the
Duke match at 2 p.m. The losers of the Friday matches will meet Sunday at 9
a.m. in a consolation match.
In singles, a total of 10 ranked players will be competing
in Durham this weekend, with Duke boasting six ranked players in No. 11 Henrique
Cunha, No. 14 Michael Redlicki, No. 23 Fred Saba, No. 38 Rafael Hemmeler, No. 43
Chris Mengel and No. 123 Jason Tahir. Virginia Tech boasts two ranked players
in No. 29 Andreas Bjerrehus and No. 59 Amerigo Contini, while No. 101 Ben Davis
represents Middle Tennessee State and No. 108 Raleigh Smith represents
Northwestern in the rankings.
The Blue Devils will be the only team competing in Durham
with all three of their doubles teams ranked, including the top-ranked pair of
Cunha and Hemmeler. Tahir and Redlicki come into the weekend ranked 39th, while
the junior pair of Saba and Mengel are ranked No. 37. Virginia Tech boasts one
ranked doubles tandem in No. 15 Contini and Bjerrehus.
The team opened its home dual season schedule with a pair of
9-0 victories over Elon and Charlotte last weekend. Cunha became the all-time
leader in doubles wins Sunday, after he and Hemmeler downed Jack Williams and
Forrest Edwards of Charlotte, 8-2.
All matches this weekend are free to the public. Live video
and live stats will be available on GoDuke.com.
2012 ITA Kick-Off Weekend - Schedule of Events
Friday, Jan. 25
(1) Duke vs. (4) Middle Tennessee State, 10 a.m.
(2) Northwestern vs. (3) Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.