May 26, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia Tech sophomore Irina Falconi, the top seed in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship, found her rhythm in the second set and cruised to an opening-round win over Vanderbilt’s Jackie Wu, 6-4, 6-1, at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
With the scored tied 4-4 in the first set, Falconi won eight of the next nine games to win her 21st consecutive match. She has not lost since Feb. 13th.
“It was a good start, but I still have a few matches to go,” Falconi said. “I knew she (Wu) would be a tough opponent. But once I got my rhythm going I was able to be aggressive.”
Falconi will play Northwestern’s Samantha Murray, who defeated Cal’s Marina Cossou, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, in the second round of the 64-player tournament on Thursday.
“I thought she started slow but got better as the match went on,” Yellow Jacket head coach Bryan Shelton said. “And that’s what you want.”
Thursday will be a grueling day for Falconi. In addition to her second-round singles match, she will team with Sasha Krupina to play in the first round of doubles competition against Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette of NCAA team champion Stanford. The Cardinal duo is the second seed overall in doubles.
“She has focused on her fitness for the last year,” Shelton said. “She’s physically prepared for (tomorrow). That’s just a normal day on the circuit.”
The spring of 2010 has been a remarkable one for Falconi, the Most Valuable Player in the ACC Tournament. Her dramatic three-set win over North Carolina’s Sanaz Marand helped Georgia Tech win the ACC championship.
Falconi improved to 38-2 overall this season. Since a loss to Tennessee’s Caitlin Whorskey on Feb. 13, she has reeled off 21 consecutive victories.
Falconi is attempting to give Georgia Tech the individual NCAA champion in tennis for the second time in three years. Amanda McDowell, who graduated earlier this month, won the title in 2008.
For more tournament information, go here: http://www.ncaa.com/sports/c-tennis/champpage/c-tennis-div1-index.html