Follow Irina Falconi in the finals TODAY at The Heartland Clinic USTA Women’s Classic – St. Joseph, Mo.
Rising sophomore and All-American Irina Falconi has agreed to blog for RamblinWreck.com this summer. She will keep Yellow Jacket fans up-to-date on her training as she prepares for her second season on the Flats.
August 1, 2009
Today couldn’t have been a better day.
It started off with Ashley having to get all her things together in the car because she was going to get on a plane right after our doubles final to go to Vancouver, Canada for a 75K. After checking out of the hotel, picking up Yasmin and Maria, and going to Starbucks for the great oatmeal, we got to the courts and found them to be a BIT on the wet side. Instead of warming up at 9 a.m., Maria and I played a little later, but it was all good.
At 10:15 a.m., we both got on court to play the semis: Maria vs. Caitlin Whoriskey, and myself against Sabrina Santamaria.
Going into the match, I knew it was going to be a tough match because Sabrina had beaten two top College Players, including Yasmin Schnack from our team. When we got on court, I analyzed the conditions: overcast, windy and cool. Perfect weather conditions for me.
I got up in the first set with an early break, and a pair of holds from my part. At 4-1, I felt like I knew exactly what to do to win the match, and I also knew that if I continued doing what I was doing, it was going to be a good day for me.
I used the wind effectively for my advantage. When I was against the wind, I hit the ball as hard as I could knowing that it would go in, and when I was with the wind, I went for a bigger target, but with a lot of force. It was a win-win combination. The first set was 6-2, and the second set (6-0) wasn’t much different from the first.
After the match, I sat and watched the rest of Maria and Caitlin’s match. The situation of today was funny because Caitlin and I were both playing in the singles semifinals, and we were also playing in the doubles finals. This meant that after Caitlin’s match, she had the option of choosing whether she wanted a full hour of rest after her singles to play doubles or just go directly into doubles with just a little rest. After her 3 hour match, she chose the well deserved hour rest.
So here’s when the fun began.
Finals. Doubles. First time for me—not for Ashley.
We both went out there with energy and fire. The first game was close, and it continued like that throughout the entire match. The first set was a matter of holding serve, and if you got lucky, breaking serve at a deuce opportunity. After taking the first set 6-4, we continued with our same game plan, which was 1. Return well, and 2. Lob whenever you had the chance.
The second set was just as tight in the first, and both teams were intense. It gets to a tiebreak. We lose the first point, but come back strong by winning the next two with a sick return and a nasty lob winner from us. After a few points going back and forth, Ashley and I come to our third match point opportunity. I call a kick serve outside with her going right.
I serve. They return middle. Ashley flicks it down the middle. Winner. Game. Set. Match.
Ahh, it felt great to win the doubles title. It all just adds to the flavor.
Some Chicken Scampi at Olive Garden later, and it was time for bed! Finals tomorrow against Caitlin Whoriskey.
Sunday: “The day champions are made…” —Coach Shelton