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Florida Tennis Briefs(3): Pan Am, College, H.S. Winners

October 25, 2011 10:26 AM
Falconi Wins Singles, Doubles Gold at Pan American Games in Mexico
 
falconi-and-mchale
From left: Irina Falconi and Christina McHale
Former South Florida resident and No. 2 seed Irina Falconi captured the gold medal after defeating Puerto Rico's Monica Puig, 6-3, 6-2 in the women's single final at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The last American woman to win a tennis gold medal at the Pan American Games was Pam Shriver in 1991. No. 1 seed Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., won the bronze medal, defeating Argentina's Florencia Molinero, 6-1, 6-1.
 
In the women's double final, Falconi and McHale defeated Argentina's Maria Irigoyen and Florencia Molinero 6-4, 2-6, 10-6.
 
"Gold baby! GOLD!" Falconi blogged for USTA.com. "I mean, what better way to end the Pan American Games with a collection of bronze, silver AND gold?! I mean, can you say contribution to the USA medal count? Because I can definitely say that."
 
The 21-year-old Atlanta resident Falconi turned pro 18 months ago following a stellar two-year career at Georgia Tech, where she was named the 2010 College Player of the Year. The No. 77-ranked Falconi had her best result as a professional at the 2011 US Open, reaching the third round after upsetting No. 14 Dominika Cibulkova in the second round in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
 
Ormond Beach's Greg Ouellette teamed with former North Carolina All-American Nicholas Monroe to captured the bronze medal for the U.S., defeating Barbados' Darian King and Haydn Lewis 6-7(11), 6-2, 10-7 on Saturday in the men's doubles third-place match.
 
"We had set points in first set," said Ouellette, a former All-American at the University of Florida, speaking to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "We came out maybe a little too pumped up. It maybe made us a bit nervous. We threw in a couple of double faults, but once we settled down we played much better."
 
In the semifinals the pair lost to Colombia's Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, the eventual gold medal winners, 7-6, 7-6.
 
"It was a great experience," Ouellette said. "I had a fun time. I thought I fought very hard for the first time of being able to represent my country...To get on the podium and represent the U.S. was a great feeling."
 
The Pan American Games are held every four years in the year immediately prior to the Olympic Games, and tennis has been contested at the Games since the event's inception in 1951. Among the Americans who have won a gold medal in singles at the Pan American Games are Althea Gibson (1959, singles), Arthur Ashe (1967, mixed doubles), Patrick McEnroe (1987, men's doubles), Pam Shriver (1991, singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles) and Paul Goldstein (1999, singles).
 
 
UF’s Embree Runner-up at USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Tennis
 
embree-ncaa finalThe University of Florida’s Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) finished runner-up to the University of Georgia’s Chelsey Gullickson 6-2, 7-5 in the final of the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional tournament last weekend in Gainesville, Fla.
 
Gullickson quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set before Embree got on the board. In the second set Embree established a 3-0 lead, but could not hold on, losing the final two games of the set.
 
"Lauren has worked really hard. She has worked, probably, the hardest she has in the two and half years shes been here and you don’t always immediately get the payoff from all your work," head coach Roland Thornqvist said. "Coming into this week Lauren hadn’t played enough matches. I dont think she was confident like she had been in the past. She played a lot of matches this weekend and that really will help her."
 
Gullickson also teamed with Lilly Kimbell to take home the doubles championship, beating fellow Georgia Bulldogs Kate Fuller and Lauren Herring 8-2 in the final.
 
In the singles consolation final the University of North Florida’s Aline Berkenbrock defeated Florida State University’s Leyla Erkan 6-3, 6-1. 
 
The Gator women now has two singles competitors, Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Embree, and two doubles teams, Will/Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) and Embree/Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) who have qualified for the USTA/ITA Indoor Championships, set to take place Nov. 3-6, 2011, in Flushing, N.Y.
 
 
Mack, Rohrabacher Wins Tampa Bay H.S. Tennis Chp. Titles
 
After losing in the finals of last year’s inaugural Tampa Bay High School Tennis Championships, Lakeland High School senior Danny Mack said "my opponent was too good, but I’ll be back next year to try again." 

Mack was prophetic, winning the boys title this year at Harbour Island Athletic Club in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 22-23, 2011. After defeating Plant High School senior Tristan Kaye in a three-hour semifinal, Mack came back to defeat Carrollwood Day School’s Eric Fitz-Randolph 6-2, 6-1, in the finals. With the victory, Mack earned a wildcard into a men’s USTA Pro Circuit event in June 2012.
 
On the girls’ side, defending champion Jackie Fitz-Randolph came up just short against Steinbrenner freshman Rachel Rohrabacher. After going down 1-4 in the first set, Rohrabacher hammered her way back with aggressive groundstrokes, winning 6-4, 6-4. Rohrabacher earned a wildcard into the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event at Innisbrook Resort in January 2012, which will mark her professional debut.
 
In all, players from 18 Bay Area high schools competed in the tournament, which was open to all Florida high school players. For more information visit www.acesportsgroup.com.
 
 

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