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USTA Florida Spotlight: Irina Falconi, Georgia Tech

August 4, 2009 07:00 AM
Irina Falconi of Jupiter, Fla., has been on a tear this summer, winning two straight $10,000 pro events and reaching the semifinals of a $50,000 event on the USTA Pro Circuit as part of the travelling USTA Summer Collegiate Team.

Falconi just completed her first year at Georgia Tech, where the 5-foot-4 freshman was named a 2009 All-American in singles, 2009 All-ACC team, and a 2008 ITA All-American Doubles Champion.

"It feels excellent," the 19-year-old Falconi told the St. Joseph News-Press after winning The Heartland Clinic (in St. Joseph, Mo.) USTA Women's Classic in singles and doubles. "It's a cherry on the top to take the doubles and singles title, too...I think it is going to be a standard I am going to have to live by now. I feel like I can always improve and get better, but now it will be expected. I am ready for it and it is all about doing well from here on out."

She recorded one of the best rookie campaigns in Georgia Tech history with 30 singles wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, and finishing 18-11 against ranked opponents, including a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over then-No. 1-ranked Maria Mosolova of Northwestern.

She earned a national ranking as high as No. 5 during the dual-match season, and pushed Georgia Tech to its fifth straight NCAA Round of 16 appearance. In doubles during the season she paired with Sasha Krupina to defeat the nation's No. 1, No. 3, No. 8, No. 17, No. 21 and No. 26-ranked teams.

Falconi also blogged from the tournament site in Missouri last week.

"The coolest thing about the Noyes Tennis Center is the scenery. It is very green. Sure, I am from Florida, but I guess the grass is much greener in the other side -- or the Midwest, rather," Falconi wrote. "From the road in front of the center, the speed limit is 30 mph, which means that we have a lot of avid drive-by fans that honk at the sight of dozens and dozens of tennis players. On the left, there is a massive track with dozens of bleachers that are all property of the biggest high school here in St. Joseph."

The Florida resident comes from athletic stock, as her father was a professional soccer player in Ecuador, where she was born. She grew up in New York City before eventually attending William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., home of the Williams sisters, finishing her education via the Florida Virtual School. At Georgia Tech she intends on concentrating in history, technology and societal studies.

 

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