May 29, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia Tech sophomore Irina Falconi came up short in her bid to win the 2010 NCAA Singles Championship when she dropped a 6-2, 6-4 decision in the Quarterfinals to Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia Saturday at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
“I’m very proud of Irina,” head coach Bryan Shelton said. “She had a fantastic year, a great tournament here, and was a true winner. I know the goal was to win the tournament, and she is understandably disappointed. Still, I feel nothing but pride for her. It’s been great to work with her these past couple of years and watch here develop into a great player and a great person.”
Down 2-1 in the first set, Gullickson would go on a run and take the final five games for a 6-2 lead in the match. Falconi, who struggled on her first serve all day, was broken twice in the first frame.
On serve, Falconi opened a 3-2 advantage in the second set. After a furious game of back and forth, Falconi broke Gullickson for the first time on the day and held a 4-2 advantage. Gullickson would break right back and would go on to the win.
“Give Chelsea a lot of credit,” Falconi said. “She came out firing and was hitting the ball big. I wasn’t able to do much in response today. She was much more powerful today than the two times I faced her before, and it put me out of my comfort zone. For a while there in the second set I was able to play more aggressive and capitalize on her rare freebies. Then, she retook momentum again and started right back. I just wasn’t able to respond to her play today.”
Falconi had won 23 straight singles matches, dating back to Feb. 13 when she lost to Caitlin Whorskey in three sets. The All-American finished the season with a stellar 40-3 record and the best singles-season winning percentage (.930) in program history.
After two seasons on the Flats, Falconi has won 70 singles matches, which already ranks her 10th in the Yellow Jacket record books in career victories.
The season had come to an end for the Georgia Tech Women’s Tennis team. The 2010 squad became the lowest-seeded team in Atlantic Coast Conference history to win the ACC Women’s Tennis Tournament. The Jackets also earned their 11th straight bid into the NCAA Tournament.