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.
July 10, 2009
Greetings everyone!!! Today I played my quarterfinals match against Junri Numigata, a Japanese girl that had beaten her doubles partner just yesterday. So today my morning started off a little sad because my housing parents were leaving to Canada, so that meant I was going to stay and house-sit with their kids! So Moore, one of the kids, was nice enough to lend me his car so I was able to get to the site very early in the morning. When I arrived at the site, I went to the front desk and one of my volunteer buddies tells me that the Tournament Director needs to see me URGENTLY!! Can you say- UH OH!!! So I get to Billie and she explains to me that the first match that was prior to my match, was probably going to be canceled because one of the girls was most likely going to retire. So we end up deciding that I was going to play at 11. So once that is settled, I get on the court to warm up with my fellow USTA Collegiate Teammate, Mallory Cecil, who goes to Duke University. After I warm up, I get into my zone and just get into match mode. Listen to my tunes for a couple of minutes before getting on court, and then the battle begins.
We start warming up, I notice that she is a very good player (I mean, obviously!!!) From the warm up, you can’t really tell what someone’s weakness is, so I decide to just focus on getting loose in the first set. Once again, hit a couple of balls as hard as I can just to get my feet moving and to get my nerves out of the way. I won the coin toss before the match, so I choose to serve first. I win the first point pretty easily and then feel pretty good for the next point. I end up hitting an unforced error which is not exactly fun, but it’s not a big deal—it’s the second point of the match. A couple of points later, I am faced with a break. I had chances to hold my serve, but I wasn’t able to execute. So now, its her turn to serve, and I notice that she has a very good first serve, but a very crackable second serve so I make sure to attack it. Sooner than later, I am looking at the score—2-6. I had managed to be broken four times, and was able to sneak by with two breaks of serve. In the changeover for the second set, I knew that 1. I had to start serving better, 2. Keep more balls in play, and 3. Start attacking her forehand like crazy. So in about five minutes, I see the score is now three zip for me. She breaks and holds strong to make it 3-2. I know for a fact that I can win the set, so I just continue with my plays. I hold, and so does she. The games are getting tighter, the score is now four three with me serving. So I serve a good game, and find myself getting ready to break for the second set. And BOOM, just like that, the second set is mine!!!
Once again, the heat rule is in effect which means that there are 10 minutes between the second and third sets. So this time, I decide to go into the air conditioned training room where I can just relax for a few minutes before playing again. I had to remember not to get too cold because you still want to be warm when you get back on court. So after about seven minutes, I headed back onto the court and I’m just ready to go at it again! She starts the third set serving—double fault. Not a great way to start, don’t ya think? So I break her easily, but I know not to get too excited. Point by point. So a couple of games go by and I am faced with my first chance to serve for the match. I lose the first point with a tough shot from her side. I win the next point- one down, three to go. The next couple of points are tough and I know that she is not going to give in that easy, which means that I have to fight extra hard to get this game. So, as usual, the third time’s the charm!! There is a first time for everything my friends. For everything. Semis tomorrow. Stay tuned.