Getting to Know Irina Falconi

Irina Falconi

Irina Falconi

By Alana Mitchelson

(January 15, 2014) MELBOURNE – For Ecuadorian-born American Irina Falconi, playing professional tennis only takes up so much of the 24-hour day. She has a lot on her plate but enjoys making a living from the sport that she loves while she physically can and, at the same time, keeps proactive about building strong foundations for life post-tennis.


We caught up with Irina Falconi for a one-on-one chat about her many other interests in life, what inspires her game and what she does in her down time.


Lucky loser Irina Falconi earned a place in the Australian Open 2014 main draw when fellow American Jamie Hampton was forced to withdraw due to a serious hip injury. She trounced Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues in straight sets on Monday 6-3, 6-1 but fell to the overpowering world No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the tournament on Wednesday.



Alana Mitchelson: What was your initial reaction when you received the call that Hampton was injured and that you would have the chance to play in the Australian Open after all?


Irina Falconi: Yeah, the first thing I did was just to reach out to her. I didn’t know that she was injured, first of all, and then I found out that I was in. And then I found out that I was replacing her spot. I spoke to her to let her know I was there for her if there was anything I could do. I mean, she’s actually having to undergo surgery. So it’s not just something like a sprained ankle.


AM: A bittersweet experience for you then? You’re suddenly in the main draw but your friend is injured.


IF: It’s never fun, especially when it’s another American player.


AM: And what drives you most when you’re out on court – down a break or down a set? What keeps you going, especially in this kind of heat.


IF: Just the fact that the girl on the other side of the net is going through the same thing. I think that’s the biggest drive. Alright, she’s struggling, but I’ve put in the work as well.


AM: You won gold in the Pan American Games in 2011. No doubt a special memory for you? Do you use that for inspiration?


IF: Oh absolutely. I think it’s definitely up there with my top two or three favourite moments of my life, especially my tennis career. Any time I’m doubting myself, or anything of the sort, I just go back to that for sure.


AM: So, if we take a step back a bit, how were you first introduced to the sport?


IF: When I was four years old, my parents moved to New York and they happened to find a building complex right in front of nine public tennis courts. So my dad taught himself, and then he taught my mum, my sister, and then I came along.


AM: Wow, the whole family played. So I guess you couldn’t really avoid it then?


IF: Yeah. So since I was four.


AM: Did you watch it on the TV growing up as well?


IF: Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis, that’s who I grew up with watching. So they’re, for sure, my idols.


AM: What are your thoughts on the standard of the women’s game at the moment? Obviously it’s changed quite a bit since those days.


IF: Well I think that with Serena at the top, it makes the standard much higher. It makes everyone compete that much harder. The fact that she could pretty much not play the remainder of the year and still be No. 1, and to be able to not play too many tournaments and still be No. 1 and just demolish girls. Her scoreline is very impressive. So it just goes to show, that American great’s still got it (laughs).


AM: You’ve said in a previous interview that you really enjoy reading. Can you name five of your favourites, you know, the ones with the spines that are falling apart?


IF: Oh, well I actually have an iPad just like you and I have a Kindle. Recently I’ve read ‘The Help’, I’ve read ‘Water for Elephants’, ‘Conversations with God’ was a new one that I’ve been reading. I’ve just started reading ‘The Room’ and I’m going to start ‘The Book Thief’ as well. So there’s a lot, trust me. There’s never an empty list. Like when I go to the airport and I go to a convenience store, I’ll just take a picture of all of the books they have so that I’ll know what to download later.


AM: That would be much more convenient when you’re travelling all the time, you don’t want to be lugging around all of those books!


IF: Yeah, exactly, you don’t want to have four paperbacks.


AM: In the past, you’ve said you’re a fan of techno and house music. What do you listen to before a match to get into the zone?


IF: Yeah, I’ve actually just become a big fan of Avicii. Walking out into matches, I’ve been listening to ‘Hey Brother’ by Avicii. There’s just a few of his songs that just really get you fired up. You really can’t go wrong with Avicii or Tiësto or Deadmau5. There’s just so many.


AM: Have you had a chance to hear any of their live sets?


IF: No. I’ve only been to one concert in my life. So I need to make that number much higher.


AM: Is movie-making still a little of hobby of yours while on tour?


IF: Well, yeah, it just depends on the trip. I think I might do one after this trip just because it’s more fun, especially for family members or fans who don’t get to see what you really go through. Thankfully my boyfriend is doing a good job on social media but it’s very difficult to try to keep up with all the different social media outlets. If making a short bit of my two months down in Australia helps my fan-base, then I’ll do it.


AM: For sure and you have your own blog too. How do you find the time to blog on top of everything else?


IR: I have my own blog, I’m writing my own book and I’m also finishing school as well. For me, I’m all about knowing that there’s life after tennis. I’m not completely ignorant to the point where I’m thinking I’ll play for the next 30 years of my life. So the decisions I make as I go about my career, whether it’s to be a part of the WTA council or whether it’s blogging for the New York Times, anything like that which can get my name out there and get my reputation up in a good place. I try and definitely think outside the box and do a lot of things where it’s not just about hitting the ball over the net.


AM: So do you think you could see yourself as a tennis writer then, what with all of your blogging?


IR: Umm, I don’t really know. Everyone’s so different, their stories are so different. It’s amazing what background can change a person, whether it’s their writing skills or talking skills and the language barrier is also a very intricate part of the WTA tour. So I wouldn’t mind getting into something like commentating or reporting. I definitely enjoy it. I’ve done radio commentating before. So anything along those lines, like public speaking, anything like that I would enjoy.


AM: So what is it that you’re actually studying at the moment?


IR: Business. I just want to have that degree in my pocket and then no matter what I want to do after tennis, I can do it.


AM: You have an Italian surname which kind of stood out to me since I’m actually half Italian myself. I’m interested to hear a bit more about your background.


IR: Oh, is that right? Well, I was born in Ecuador. I don’t know where the heck the Italian name comes from (laughs). I think it’s just like my great grandparents who migrated from Italy. So, yeah, a lot of people think I’m part of the mafia as well… so I just go with it. But, no, a lot of girls actually are so curious when I say I’m American and I speak Spanish. They’re just like ‘whaaat? That doesn’t add up’ and I’m like ‘I know, but we’ll make it work’.


AM: What is the funniest experience you’ve had while on tour?


IR: Well, there are a lot but the most recent was probably the fact that, had I won today, someone I know very close to me would have gotten a tattoo of a platypus. So he was hoping I did well but he was also probably just quietly soiling himself as well – to put it lightly.


AM: And how about your funniest moment on a tennis court?


IR: I played mixed doubles two years ago at the US Open and it was the first time I’d ever seen Kim Clijsters have a whiff on the court. She whiffed the tennis ball. And it’s up there, it’s definitely up there in the funniest moments! She was No. 1 in the world, and she was one of my idols, and I was just like ‘you just whiffed that’! And it was a huge court too and I was like ‘that is awesome.’


AM: I noticed on your blog, you stayed at this particularly picturesque spot near Margaret River a couple of months ago. How did you enjoy that? Can you describe the setting?


IR: That’s right, you have been reading! It’s funny, me and Irena Pavlovic were sharing our coach and I’d reached out to our tournament director to say I was coming down for a $20,000 tournament and I was thinking, I don’t want to be paying $150 bucks a night for a hotel. So I asked if there was anyone that could use two girls and provide housing. Sure enough, this lawyer who was a huge sponsor was able to provide an unbelievable house about a 10 minute walk from the beach. It was just incredible. There were two dogs and fresh fruit every single day and it was just a really good time. You know, it’s all about staying with good people who make you feel good. So I’m staying in housing here now and I’ve been there for four years. It’s really great.


AM: Have you had the chance to be a tourist around Melbourne yet?


IR: I did go to the Healesville Sanctuary. I had a quiet moment with the koala. I also have done Docklands, I’ve been to the beach, I’ve done the coast a little bit. But I actually made a bet with myself – this was in October – that if I got to the second round of main draw that I would go to Fiji. So I’m going to go to Fiji! A little incentive there.


AM: Yeah, that should be nice! Thanks so much, Irina. Best of luck with everything.


IR: No worries, thanks, nice to meet you.


Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.


US Women go 10 for 10 in First Two Days of French Open

Who says Americans can’t play on clay? In the first two days of the French Open, the ladies from the United States are a perfect 10 for 10 in wins. It’s the first time since 2003 that so many US women have gained a berth in the second round in Paris. In 2003 11 US women made the second round.

The US women can still add to their total in the second round, as two more women Serena Williams and Jamie Hampton take the court on Tuesday for their first round matches.

Monday, May 28th results

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) d. (12) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 64 63
(Q) Lauren Davis (USA) d. (30) Mona Barthel (GER) 61 61
Christina McHale (USA) d. (Q) Kiki Bertens (NED) 26 64 64
Vania King (USA) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 64 62
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) 62 67(6) 64
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 64 76(6)

Sunday, May 27th results

Venus Williams (USA) d Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 46 61 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d Edina Gallovits-Hall (ROU) 36 63 61
(Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) d Anna Tatishvili (GEO) 63 57 64
(WC) Melanie Oudin (USA) d Johanna Larsson (SWE) 63 63

In five of the past seven years, a mere four American ladies made it out of the first round in Paris.

“A couple years ago everyone was asking me the opposite questions on why American tennis was so bad, said Bethanie Mattek-Sands who upset 12th seed Sabine Lisicki on Monday.  “I told them, I think we have some great young players coming up.  It’s just the WTA right now has a lot of depth.

“It really shows that some of the Americans are coming through playing tough, grinding it out here on the clay, and it’s awesome, I think.”

“It’s exciting.” Sloane Stephens said about all of the American women coming through. “I was just talking to Christina (McHale) in the locker room.  I’m like, Who do you play?  She’s like, I play Lauren Davis.  I’m like, Oh, my God.  I play Bethanie.

“So all the Americans are playing Americans, but it’s good that we’ll have people in the third round.  So that’s always nice.”

In terms of American women on clay”I don’t think anything’s changed,” Stephens continued.  “It’s always been the same.  Maybe people got tough draws before.  I don’t know what methods people are using or what’s been different, but we’re winning.”

“Maybe it’s a little bit extra firepower or some extra come ons or some heart.  I’m not sure.

“But to everyone that got a win, that is really exciting, because everyone always says that we’re not good on clay.

“That’ll prove ‘em wrong.”


As for the US men, although Andy Roddick and Ryan Harrison crashed out in the first round, John Isner, Jessie Levine, and comeback player Bryan Baker are through to the second round. Sam Querrey, James Blake, Donald Young will face huge challenges to advance to the second round when they play their first round matches on Tuesday.


Falconi Signs with Agent Atleta Ltd

Twenty-one-year old American Irina Falconi has signed with Agent Atleta Ltd. Falconi soared over 100 spots in the WTA rankings in 2011 to finish her first full season on tour in the top 80 reaching a career high No. 73 in October.


Falconi reached the third round of the US Open by stunning No. 14 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the second round.


Falconi was a gold medalist in singles for the US at the Pan-Am games in Mexico.


Agent Atleta’s Jordan J. Butler will represent Falconi.  “Irina is a great person and a special player with an innate feel for the game and a unique ability to expose her opponent’s weaknesses.  It will be exciting to see her continued development in 2012 and beyond, and I’m elated to be representing a player of her caliber and personal character,” said Mr. Butler.


Falconi will attempt to qualify at the Auckland and Sydney WTA events before competing at the Australian Open, as one of six American women eligible for direct entry into the main draw.  She is coached by Jeff Wilson, a former assistant at Georgia Tech, where Falconi was a two-time All-American before turning pro following her sophomore year in May of 2010.


Falconi can be found on Twitter @irinafalconi.


Sony Ericsson Open – The Excitement Starts Here and Now

By Craig Hickman

Tours, draw ceremonies, and qualifying matches filled up most of the day at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open.

At 10:00 am, I toured the 34-acre site guided by tournament director Adam Barrett and Media and Public Relations Director Sam Henderson. Tracking down minor facilities issues (“Why is the Head Tent Closed?”) while walking a small group of media around the exquisitely designed and built set of facilities, it was clear that the Sony Ericsson Open has its eye on a bigger future. Adding another television court, hardwiring expanded workrooms for faster connectivity, and including a high-end VIP restaurant which will feature four celebrity chefs over the next week, the event will remain the premiere event outside of the Grand Slams.

At approximately 11:45, the women’s draw was unveiled. Samantha Stosur chose the chips with the 32 seeded players whose names were taped on a giant draw board threatening to blow off the easel. “Right now, it’s all just a bunch of names,” she said of her place in the 128-line draw. The No. 4 seed and Roland Garros finalist will face the winner of Zheng Jie and Xperia Hot Shot Sorana Cirstea in the second round.


The men’s draw followed with Jurgen Melzer doing the choosing. “The first thing I look at is where is Juan Martín del Potro in the draw,” said the No. 10 seed. “He’s in Robin Soderling‘s section so that’s going to be a nice little section. I think everybody says you play one match at a time, but we’re human so sometimes we do look ahead. If you’re confident you don’t care who you play, but if you’re not, you want to know what’s coming.” What’s coming for Melzer is his doubles partner Philipp Petzschner of Germany or Florent Serra of France.

Next, I jumped around and the grounds and darted in and out of several qualifying matches.

American wildcard and birthday girl Sloane Stephens had to rally from a set down to advance to the second round of qualifying. She beat the No. 4 seed Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. For a place in the main draw she’ll face Aussie Sophie Ferguson who upset No. 13 Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

The No. 4 seed in the men’s qualifying draw fared no better. Milwaukee native Tim Smyczek picked about Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-4. “I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said after the match. Had me fooled. Though only 5′ 9″, the 23-year-old hits a big serve, has no weakness on either wing, and plays the net with aplomb. Perhaps his best asset on the court is his positive attitude. He played every point as though it were the last and never let an error cost more than one point. Smyczek will have a tough match against Olivier Rochus of Belgium who beat Flavio Cipola of Italy 6-3, 6-2.


American Ryan Sweeting also advanced in straight sets. Even though he yelled out to his box that his backhand was the worst it’s ever been, you wouldn’t have known it. Not the way he dismantled Juan Sebastian Cabal 7-6(4), 6-2. The Colombian became so frustrated he double faulted twice to lose the match. Sweeting will play Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic for a spot in the main draw.

Coming off the biggest win of his career with an upset of Andy Murray at the BNP Paribas Open, Donald Young was back to the business of qualifying for another major event. Against the wily veteran in Arnaud Clement, Young was out of sorts out the gate, dropping the first 10 points of the match with a listless performance and cantankerous disposition. But the young American who has seemed burdened by big expectations shook off a lopsided first set and turned the match around. “I didn’t play my game in the first set. I started to keep more balls in play and kept fighting,” said Young. He took pace off his shots, forcing Clement to create his own pace, and that change in tactics forced the Frenchman to make more errors. “If I keep playing my game, the way I played in the last two sets, I can get through.” He’ll have to fight past Frank Dancevic of Canada who can produce good tennis on North American hardcourts.


Americans Lauren Davis, Irina Falconi, Jamie Hampton, Christina McHale, Robert Kendrick, Michael Russell also advanced.

Tomorrow, matches from the women’s main draw begin on the Grandstand, Court 1 and Court 2. Find the full schedule here.

Craig Hickman is founder and editor of Craig Hickman’s Tennis Blog. Follow him on twitter @CraigHickman.  Find his Sony Ericsson Open tweets on @GVTennisNews.

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Player News Highlights from the USTA Pro Circuit


Ryan Harrison won both the singles and doubles titles at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 Challenger in Honolulu on January 30, his first career singles Challenger-level title; Harrison is the first player of 2011 to win both the singles and doubles titles at a USTA Pro Circuit event—only four men completed the feat last year. Harrison competed in doubles with Andy Roddick at the ATP World Tour event in Memphis, Tenn., last week, advancing to the second round.


Three-time USTA Pro Circuit singles champion Ryan Sweeting has reached his first career ATP World Tour singles quarterfinal this week in Delray Beach, Fla., upsetting world No. 22 Sam Querrey in the second round (he faces Japan’s Kei Nishikori today). Nishikori won four USTA Pro Circuit events last season, which helped him re-enter the Top 100 after an elbow injury sidelined him for much of 2009.


Former NCAA No. 1 Irina Falconi had the best USTA Pro Circuit result of her career after advancing to the final of the $100,000 event in Midland, Mich.—the only $100,000 event on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar—on February 13; Falconi lost to Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4, in the final, but with the result, she is currently ranked a career-high No. 135; Falconi had previously never reached a final above the $25,000 level on the USTA Pro Circuit.


16-year-old Jessica Pegula, of Boca Raton, Fla., qualified for and reached the final of the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 event in Lutz, Fla., on January 23—the first career final for the young American.


Former world No. 77 Wayne Odesnik defeated qualifier Nicola Ghedin, 6-2, 6-1, in the singles final of the USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 Futures in Palm Coast, Fla., on February 6; this was Odesnik’s first title since returning to competition following a year-long suspension as dictated by the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, which is administered by the International Tennis Federation; meanwhile, 2010 US Open boys’ champion Jack Sock captured the doubles title with Dimitar Kutrovsky, defeating fellow Americans Gregory Ouellette and 2010 US Open National Playoffs champion Blake Strode.


There has been an American player in the singles final for seven of the first 11 USTA Pro Circuit events of the season; there has also been an American player in the doubles final for seven of the 11 doubles events.


Courtesy of the USTA.


Hradecka Takes Second Dow Corning Tennis Classic singles Crown

L-R Tournament Directors Ryan Boyer and Mike Woody, players Hradecka and Falconi. Exec Sponsor Dan Futter                      (Photo Bob Spears)

MIDLAND, Mich., February 13, 2011 – To all those planning on playing at the 2012 Dow Corning Tennis Classic, be forewarned: If you see Lucie Hradecka’s name on the entry list, you’re unlikely to leave Midland happy.

Blasting bazooka-sized two-handed forehands and backhands on Stadium Court, Hradecka upended American Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-4 to clinch her second title at the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit event.

She also won the 2009 Dow Corning Tennis Classic singles title, finished as the 2010 singles runner-up and shared last year’s doubles title with Laura Granville.

“I think a lot of players on the tour will say, ‘So Lucie, can you not go to Midland because, you know, maybe it starts to be boring with you in the final?” said Hradecka before breaking into laughter. “It would be a pleasure to come back and play.”

The name of Hradecka’s game is power, power and more power, but she also has the foot speed and court awareness to limit her unforced errors on the Midland Community Tennis Center’s quick indoor courts.

When she serves as she did in Sunday’s final, the 25-year-old Hradecka is much better than her WTA Tour ranking of No. 106 would indicate.

Hradecka won 82 percent of the points when she made her first serve (27 of 33) and 61 percent when she had to hit a second (14 of 23). Falconi failed to earn a single break point opportunity in any of Hradecka’s 10 service games.

“I didn’t face a break point? Okay, good to know,” Hradecka said modestly. “Today, I really concentrated on my serve. I took my serve point-by-point, which was part of my plan.”

While Falconi fought to make inroads on Hradecka’s serve, she took fairly good care of her own delivery. But one sloppy game at 2-2 cost Falconi the first set. After three errors, the unseeded American double-faulted to hand Hradecka the only break she’d need to take a one-set lead.

Hradecka held at love in the 10th game to win the first set. Falconi won back-to-back points on Hradecka’s serve only three times in the match.

In the second game of the second set, the ex-Georgia Tech star reached 30-15 by ending a well-constructed point with a swinging forehand volley. But one Hradecka service winner later, the score was 40-15.

Falconi followed a low forehand volley with a backhand volley winner to get to 40-30, but Hradecka made a run-around forehand winner look effortless on the next point to hold serve.

Such was the struggle the 5-foot-4 Falconi found herself in against an indoor-court specialist.

“For small people like me, you have to scamper more [indoors] because you’re on your heels the whole time,” said Falconi.

Hradecka hit a forehand return winner off a Falconi second serve to break for a 2-1 second-set lead. She consolidated the break with another forehand winner, handling a slice backhand from Falconi by attacking the ball and not letting the ball attack her.

“All she needed was one break in each set,” said Falconi. “When she got that, it was really hard to break… I know I’ll see her again, and hopefully I’m not playing on lightning-fast courts and I’ll have a little bit more time.”

Falconi saved two break points at 2-4, holding when she ended a 16-shot rally with an inside-out forehand out of Hradecka’s reach.

Another hold by the American forced Hradecka to serve for the title at 6-4, 5-4. The pressure point in the game came at 30-30, when Falconi tried to end an exchange with a swinging forehand volley from just inside the baseline. Hradecka reached that volley, and then another, before Falconi missed a crosscourt backhand volley wide.

After saving two match points against Sabine Lisicki in the quarterfinals, Hradecka forced a forehand error from Falconi to come full circle as the 2011 Dow Corning Tennis Classic champion.

“The match against Sabine was important because she’s such a great player,” said Hradecka, who joins Laura Granville, Jill Craybas and Helen Kelesi as a two-time Midland champion. “I told myself that I must be playing good if I beat Sabine.”

Hradecka has now won 17 ITF Women’s Circuit singles titles to go with 29 ITF doubles titles and nine WTA Tour doubles titles. But she’s yet to win a WTA singles title, break into the Top 50 or defeat a player in the Top 40.

“It’s true that I have a lot of titles at the ITFs,” said Hradecka. “On the WTA, I have reached three finals and that’s it. It’s difficult to say that those players play better. The players hit the same, but the difference is that those players have a different mind. On the WTA, if your opponent gives you chances, they give you just one or two – never more.”

Following the final, Falconi was presented with the tournament’s Larry Reed Most Promising Newcomer award. With only seven months of experience as a pro, she had never before been in the final of an event above the $25,000 level.

Falconi should rise to around No. 138 in next week’s WTA rankings, which means she has two more months to jump about 34 more places so that she receives direct entry into the French Open main draw.

“I’ve still got a ways to go,” said Falconi. “It was a great week. It’s easy to lose sight of what your goal is, but that’s the goal right now. April 11th is the big day. No. 138 could have been 132, but there’s always next week, and the week after that, for the next two months.”

Falconi and fellow American Alison Riske were scheduled to contest the doubles final against Jamie Hampton of the United States and Anna Tatishvili of the Republic of Georgia. However, Riske obtained a fever following Saturday’s semifinals and was unable to participate. Therefore, Hampton and Tatishvili were crowned the Midland doubles champions via walkover.

Article by Joshua Rey

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Sunday, February 13 – RESULTS

Singles – Final
Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) def. Irina Falconi (United States) 6-4, 6-4

Doubles – Final
Jamie Hampton (United States) and Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) def. Irina Falconi and Alison Riske (United States) walkover (Riske – fever)


Irina Falconi Reaches Singles and Doubles Finals of Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Irina Falconi (Photo by Bob Spears)

MIDLAND, Mich., February 12, 2011 – You never know how a young tennis player will react to pressure.

This week in Midland, WTA Tour rookie Irina Falconi has participated in her first press conference, spoken to sponsors at several functions and written a witty blog for USTA.com. Oh yeah, she’s been competing in singles and doubles at the most prestigious event on the USTA Pro Circuit too.

Factor in some of the fastest indoor courts in the country and that spells trouble for the smallest woman in the field.

But for the 5-foot-4 Falconi, it’s been no problema. The bilingual, college-educated 20-year-old won back-to-back matches on Saturday to reach the singles and doubles finals at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic.

“One of the most important things at a tournament like this is giving back,” said Falconi, who was born in Ecuador. “I honestly enjoy writing the blog and I have no problem doing it. I wish I could do more and I’ve gotten some really great reviews about it. It’s always nice to get reassurance, having people say that they like your writing. It’s the least I could do.”

She handled the heavy forehands and serves of 6-foot-tall Rebecca Marino with ease, upsetting the No. 2 seed 6-3, 6-2 in the first singles semifinal of the day.

Despite being outsized, Falconi dictated rallies and returned serves in an authoritative fashion.

“I stood about 30 feet behind the baseline,” Falconi said sarcastically. “That was one of the biggest things. She’s got to have one of the biggest serves in tennis. I felt like I was able to really read it today and I was able to find my rhythm on the return, which is huge when you’re playing a big server.”

In the first set, Falconi held a break point in each of Marino’s five service games. Though the Canadian escaped trouble to take a 2-1 lead, she blew two opportunities to break Falconi in the fourth game by missing her returns.

The former Georgia Tech All-American seized the momentum at 2-2, converting her fifth break point of the set by slicing Marino deep into her backhand corner. Marino tried but failed to run around for an inside-in forehand, netting the shot to give Falconi a 3-2 lead.

After the Atlanta resident held, Marino led 40-15 on her serve before Falconi hit back-to-back forehand winners. Marino double-faulted twice from deuce, perhaps feeling the pressure Falconi’s forehands had presented.

Though Marino recovered one break, Falconi clinched the first set by winning another forehand-to-forehand rally. Marino finished the set without a single forehand winner.

“It obviously worked, didn’t it?” Falconi said about her forehand exchanges with Marino. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Marino hit her first forehand winner down-the-line to hold for 1-1 in the second set, but Falconi’s shot-making remained remarkable.

In the opening game of the set, she followed a crosscourt forehand volley by bending low to the surface for a backhand volley winner into the open court. After breaking in the fourth game, Falconi held for 4-1 with a wide slice serve that pushed Marino off the court.

Marino had one more chance to make a match of it, holding two break points while trailing 2-4. But Falconi saved the first with a down-the-line forehand winner and the second when Marino dumped a forehand into the net.

Falconi saved one of her best patterns for the last game before breaking Marino at love. She set the Canadian up with two backhand slices, and then hit a well-disguised drop shot and a top-spin lob winner that brought fans to their feet.

“Rebecca is not exactly the typical girl that you want to lob over,” said Falconi. “I think that I put my head in gear in the last game. I wanted to get it right there and not let her hold and then break.”

After a 30-minute rest, Falconi returned to the court with countrywoman Alison Riske to play the Canadian/American pairing of Gabriela Dabrowski and Whitney Jones in a doubles semifinal.

Riske rewarded her partner with reflex volleys from the net and strong serving behind the baseline. She and Falconi broke Dabrowski to end each set in their 7-5, 7-5 victory.

Asked whether playing and studying at college is more difficult than playing two pro finals in one day, Falconi didn’t minx words.

“College is very, very easy compared to this,” said Falconi. “They’re very different. In college, you go to school every day and that was pretty rough – having to do homework. I have friends telling me, ‘Oh, I have a test today.’ But all these matches are tests to me everyday. I know what they’re going through and they know what I’m going through.”

Falconi will face another big hitter in the singles final when she battles the ‘Queen of Midland’ herself, Lucie Hradecka.

A fan favorite with the locals, the Czech defeated Ksenia Pervak of Russia 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to clinch her third consecutive berth in the Dow Corning Tennis Classic singles final. No other player in the tournament’s 23-year history has reached the final three straight years.

Hradecka defeated Eleni Daniilidou in 2009 before falling in three sets to Elena Baltacha last year, when she was in a similar situation as Falconi. At the 2010 Midland event, Hradecka reached both the singles and doubles finals.

Unlike Falconi, she played both of her semifinals at night, which resulted in her playing a total of four matches in a 24-hour period. She also landed in Midland later than most last year after making her Fed Cup debut for the Czech Republic.

It came as no surprise when she lost energy in the latter stages of the singles final.

“This year, I think I have a little bit more power,” said Hradecka. “Before this tournament, I was at home practicing. I came here last Thursday – not Monday night like last year.”

In Saturday’s match, Hradecka earned the only break of the first set when she pummeled four straight forehands deep into the court, pushing Pervak further and further behind the baseline until the Russian missed a down-the-line backhand.

Hradecka served out the set at love, generating pace with ease on shots from Pervak that had very little on them. She crushed a down-the-line backhand winner to take a 6-4 lead.

“I was trying to move inside the court a little bit and hit through the ball,” said Hradecka.

Returning first serves from well inside the baseline, Hradecka broke open a 4-1 second-set lead. Pervak battled back to 3-4 and led 15-30 on Hradecka’s serve when the Czech reacted to a first-serve fault by smacking her racquet on the court.

She lost that point to give Pervak two chances to even the second set at 4-4. But a clean backhand winner and an ace helped Hradecka hold. She went on to convert her second match point with a service winner.

“It’s a great feeling to be three-in-a-row in the finals here,” said Hradecka, who has never played Falconi. “I don’t know [what to expect] because I didn’t see her play or practice or anything. We will see.”

General admission tickets to the 2011 Dow Corning Tennis Classic finals cost $12 for adults and $8 for children. Play begins on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the singles title match between Hradecka and Falconi. After a short rest period, Falconi and Riske will take on Jamie Hampton and Anna Tatishvili in the women’s doubles final.

Article by Joshua Rey

Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Midland Community Tennis Center

Midland, Mich.

Purse: $100,000

Surface: Hard-Indoor

Saturday, February 12 – RESULTS

Singles – Semifinals

Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) def. [7] Ksenia Pervak (Russia) 6-4, 6-4

Irina Falconi (United States) def. [2] Rebecca Marino (Canada) 6-3, 6-2

Doubles – Semifinals

Irina Falconi and Alison Riske (United States) def. Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) and Whitney Jones (United States) 7-5, 7-5

Jamie Hampton (United States) and Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) def. Ahsha Rolle and Mashona Washington (United States) 3-6, 7-6(3), [10-6]

Sunday, February 13 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 1 p.m.

Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) vs. Irina Falconi (United States) – SINGLES FINAL

Irina Falconi and Alison Riske (United States) vs. Jamie Hampton (United States) and Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) – DOUBLES FINAL


With more than 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 32 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering more than $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Among those who have played at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic are seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin, former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and 2011 Australian Open runner-up Na Li.


Tatishvili Ousts Top Seed Lepchenko at Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Anna Tatishvili (Courtesy of Bob Spears)

MIDLAND, Mich., February 8, 2011 – The numbers were stacked against Anna Tatishvili as she opened play at the 2011 Dow Corning Tennis Classic on Stadium Court. An unheralded, unseeded player from the Republic of Georgia, Tatishvili was up against top-seeded American Varvara Lepchenko, who finished 2010 by winning 15 straight matches on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Tatishvili gave up five inches, 25 pounds and 54 spots on the WTA Tour rankings to the lefty Lepchenko. Playing on a slick indoor surface that is supposed to favor stronger players, Lepchenko entered Tuesday’s match with a 2-0 lifetime record against Tatishvili.

But matches aren’t played on paper; they’re played between the lines. Flattening her groundstrokes much deeper than her 5-foot-6 frame suggested she could, Tatishvili knocked off the No. 1 seed 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4.

“I had to play very focused, especially on the returns,” said Tatishvili, who resides and trains in Boca Raton, Fla. “She’s a lefty and her slice serve you can’t really hit back flat. I had to really look at the ball and make her play every point.”

After moving her opponent side to side with punishing returns, the Georgian broke for a 5-4 first-set lead when Lepchenko double-faulted.

But Tatishvili doubled twice in the subsequent game to concede the break back to Lepchenko, who will become an American citizen in August after migrating to the U.S. a decade ago.

“On my kick serves, I got a little tight so the ball flew on me,” said Tatishvili, who finished with seven double faults. “I need to just think about the routine I do every single day: make 2,000 serves.”

Moments after she served for a one-set lead, Tatishvili misfired long on consecutive points in the tiebreak to concede the first set to Lepchenko.

“It’s tennis and it happens,” said Tatishvili, 21. “That’s why it’s two-out-of-three. I refocused and I tried to make less errors. On the important points, I wanted to be steady.”

Lepchenko, 24, could not maintain her momentum in the second set as Tatishvili broke serve in each of the American’s first three service games. Despite service troubles of her own, Tatishvili forced a final set by holding at love.

The 129th-ranked Tatishvili opened up a 3-0 third-set lead, and then earned two match points at 5-3 after hitting the shot of the match. Lepchenko kicked a spin serve into the far corner of the Ad-court, pushing Tatishvili into the side curtains. The Georgian, however, responded with an acute angle of her own: carving a cross-court backhand return winner that crashed into the opposite curtains.

Lepchenko managed to save both match points and hold serve, forcing Tatishvili to clinch the win on her own racquet. When Tatishvili hit a second-serve about three feet long to open the 10th game, a service break appeared likely.

But Lepchenko’s comeback was not to be as Tatishvili recomposed herself, earning a third match point with a crosscourt forehand winner. She secured her first-ever win over the 75th-ranked Lepchenko when the lefty let loose on a backhand long.

“On the match points at 5-3 she played well,” said Tatishvili. “It’s not like I played bad or I choked or anything. There was nothing I could do. But in the last game of the third set, I just said, ‘You have to really focus on your serve.’”

Lepchenko’s loss marked the start of a difficult day for Americans at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic. Shelby Rogers, Christina McHale and Jamie Hampton each fell in the first round. Two-time singles finalist Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic handed Hampton a 7-5, 6-4 loss in Tuesday’s feature singles match.

Good news for the red, white and blue came in the form of USTA.com blogger Irina Falconi. The former Georgia Tech standout ensured herself two more days of writing (and competing) by breaking Katie O’Brien seven straight times in a 7-5, 6-2 singles victory. Falconi, 20, also teamed with countrywoman Alison Riske to defeat Brittany Augustine and Alexandra Mueller in doubles.

While four Americans fell in the main draw on Tuesday, four former U.S. Fed Cup team members swept the qualifying. Ahsha Rolle and Alexa Glatch joined 1998 Midland champion Alexandra Stevenson and 34-year-old Mashona Washington as the qualifying quartet.

Washington, who was born in nearby Flint, Mich., first played the Midland qualifying event in 1993. Back then, the tournament was only in its fifth year on the USTA Pro Circuit and it featured just a quarter of its present-day purse of $100,000.

Now in the Dow Corning Tennis Classic main draw for the 10th time, Washington will be wishing for a repeat performance of 2002, when she reached the singles final before falling to Australian Open runner-up Na Li.

After her mother, father and sister watched her advance through the qualifying draw, Washington was rewarded with a first-round match against a player young enough to be her daughter: 15-year-old wild card Victoria Duval.

“I’ve probably played this tournament more than anybody,” said Washington, who defeated Mueller 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final round of qualifying. “I’m very happy because this lets me know that I didn’t need a wild card. At the same time, I could have saved myself three matches and probably 100 miles on my legs (laughs).”

The first round resumes on Wednesday with 11 singles matches, highlighted by the fast-rising Riske taking on No. 7 seed Ksenia Pervak of Russia in the feature singles match at 7 p.m. on Stadium Court. Pervak won the 2009 Australian Open junior title, but should be tested against Riske, who captured three consecutive ITF titles in Europe last fall.

Following that contest, Hampton and Tatishvili will team up to take on Canadians Rebecca Marino and Marie-Eve Pelletier in the feature doubles match.

Marino will also play her first-round singles match on Wednesday against Glatch. With Lepchenko’s loss, the 20-year-old from Vancouver has emerged as a tournament favorite.

At 6-feet-tall, the second-seeded Marino is quickly becoming one of the biggest hitters in women’s tennis, smoking serves and forehands without inhibition. She arrives in Midland after a second-round appearance at the Australian Open, where she pushed French Open champion Francesca Schiavone before falling 9-7 in the third set.

Marino is one of six seeded singles players in action during Wednesday’s day session, including No. 5 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania. Still only 20 years old, Cirstea has posted wins over current Top 10 players Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Schiavone.

Cirstea will meet wild card Jessica Pegula in the fourth match on Court 5.

Admission to the Dow Corning Tennis Classic is free until the 7 p.m. feature session. General admission tickets to see Riske vs. Pervak and Hampton/Tatishvili vs. Marino/Pelletier cost $12 for adults and $8 for children.

Article by Joshua Rey

Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Midland Community Tennis Center

Midland, Mich.

Purse: $100,000

Surface: Hard-Indoor

Tuesday, February 8 – RESULTS

Singles – First round

Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) def. [1] Varvara Lepchenko (United States)  6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4

Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) def. Jamie Hampton (United States) 7-5, 6-4

Sabine Lisicki (Germany) def. [WC] Shelby Rogers (United States) 6-1, 6-3

Anastasia Pivovarova (Russia) def. Christina McHale (United States) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

Irina Falconi (United States) def. Katie O’Brien (Great Britain) 7-5, 6-2

Doubles – First round

Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) and Whitney Jones (United States) def. [WC] Kelli Close (United States) and Daniella Patton (Dominican Republic) 6-0, 6-2

Irina Falconi and Alison Riske (United States) def. Brittany Augustine and Alexandra Mueller (United States) 6-1, 3-6, [10-3]

[3] Ksenia Pervak (Russia) and Ipek Senoglu (Turkey) def. Christina Fusano and Sanaz Marand (United States) 4-6, 6-4, [10-7]

[2] Sarah Borwell (Great Britain) and Courtney Nagle (United States) def. Elizabeth Lumpkin and Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) 7-5, 6-4

Qualifying Singles – Final round

[6] Mashona Washington (United States) def. Alexandra Mueller (United States) 7-6(4), 6-3

[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) def. [7] Lena Litvak (United States) 6-4, 6-2

[5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States) def. [3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) 6-2, 6-4

[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) def. [8] Amanda Fink (United States) 6-2, 6-2

Wednesday, February 9 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.

[WC] Brittany Augustine (United States) vs. [4] Anne Keothavong (Great Britain)

[3] Evgeniya Rodina (Russia) vs. [Q] Ahsha Rolle (United States)

[Q] Mashona Washington (United States) vs. [WC] Victoria Duval (United States)

[1] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) and Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) vs. Beatrice Capra and CoCo Vandeweghe (United States)

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.

Alison Riske (United States) vs. [7] Ksenia Pervak (Russia)

Jamie Hampton (United States) and Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) vs. Rebecca Marino and Marie-Eve Pelletier (Canada)

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.

Michelle Larcher de Brito (Portugal) vs. Julie Coin (France)

Aleksandra Wozniak (Canada) vs. [6] Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia)

[Q] Alexa Glatch (United States) vs. [2] Rebecca Marino (Canada)

[5] Sorana Cirstea (Romania) vs. [WC] Jessica Pegula (United States)

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.

Stephanie Foretz-Gacon (France) vs. Heather Watson (Great Britain)

[8] CoCo Vandeweghe (United States) vs. [Q] Alexandra Stevenson (United States)

Madison Brengle (United States) vs. Olga Savchuk (Ukraine)


With more than 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 32 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering more than $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Among those who have played at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic are seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin, former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and 2011 Australian Open runner-up Na Li.


Lisicki, Falconi and Vandeweghe Talk Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Coco Vandeweghe interviewed by ESPN's Brad Golder             (Photo by Bob Spears)

MIDLAND, Mich., February 7, 2011 – The longest-running women’s tournament on the USTA Pro Circuit returns to the tennis scene on Tuesday with a field of fast-rising stars seeking their share of $100,000 in prize money.

Of the 40 women’s events on the American circuit, only the Dow Corning Tennis Classic awards its singles champion a check for $15,200 and 140 ranking points on the WTA Tour.

Now hosting the event for a 23rd time, the 2009 ‘Best Tennis Town’ of Midland is welcoming three former Top 25 players, 11 Americans and 18 players under the age of 22 this week.

Two-time singles finalist Lucie Hradecka, 2009 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Sabine Lisicki and up-and-coming Americans Irina Falconi and CoCo Vandeweghe kicked off the 2011 event by meeting with media at the Midland Community Tennis Center on Monday. They were joined by Tom Gullikson, the USTA’s lead national coach for women’s tennis.

Hradecka’s fast-and-flat playing style suits her well on the quick indoor courts of Midland. After winning the 2009 Dow Corning Tennis Classic singles title, the Czech captured the tournament’s doubles title with Laura Granville in 2010 and fell in last year’s singles final to Elena Baltacha.

With titanic serves and two-handed groundstrokes, Hradecka has already won 16 ITF singles, 29 ITF doubles and nine WTA doubles titles. Though she’s earned her fair share of trophies elsewhere, the 25-year-old Hradecka holds a special place in her heart for Midland.

“I love this tournament,” said Hradecka. “I love the people here and I stay here with a great family. Everybody here is so friendly and the tournament does its best for the players.”

If there’s one player in Midland who may be able to match Hradecka’s power, it’s Lisicki. She owns the women’s world record for the fastest serve at just over 130 miles-per-hour.

But after reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals and breaking into the Top 25 in 2009, Lisicki suffered a string of injuries. She twisted her left ankle 11 months ago in Indian Wells, Calif., leaving her in crutches for six weeks and off the tour for more than four months.

“I basically lost all the muscles in my left leg,” said the 21-year-old Lisicki. “To have the whole body working the way you want it to work is quite a big deal. It takes time. It’s not about who can play the best tennis anymore because you have to be fit, you have to be strong and you have to be fast.”

Like many of her peers in Midland this week, Lisicki’s next stop on the tennis tour is tentatively the WTA event in Memphis, where qualifying play begins on Friday. That overlaps with the Dow Corning Tennis Classic quarterfinals, making a tennis player’s life anything but easy to predict.

“A year ago, I did not have problems making my schedule because when you’re in the Top 30, you’re getting in everywhere and you can pick and choose,” said Lisicki, now ranked No. 186.

“It’s tough when you’re ranked between 100 and 200 because you don’t know where you’re going to get in. I’m in the main draw here and the qualies in Memphis so if I get far here, I cannot play there. That makes it tough for us to book our flights, which makes it more expensive. It’s like a big circle.”

Standing six inches shorter than Lisicki, the 5’4” Falconi may not appear to be the ideal indoor-court player. But with a steady mix of speed, slice and spin, she is quickly making a name for herself in women’s tennis.

As a varsity tennis player at Georgia Tech, Falconi finished the 2010 collegiate season ranked No. 1 in the nation before joining the WTA Tour last July.

“The biggest difference is that out here, you’re trying to get each other’s lunch money,” said Falconi. “In college, you knew the next day that there was another match or another practice, and your scholarship was still going to be there.”

In just seven months as a pro, Falconi has qualified at the US Open and the Australian Open and risen to No. 156 in the world. With no ranking points to defend through Wimbledon, the only direction she’ll be going anytime soon is up.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised, for sure,” said Falconi. “At the end of the year, I had to get my ranking up to guarantee a spot in Australia. It was really exciting for my coach and I to go through the steps of planning a trip like that. Being able to qualify in Australia was unbelievable. I like to think that it’s just going up from here.”

Vandeweghe is the latest athletic apple to fall from her family tree. She is following in the footsteps of her mother Tauna, a two-time Olympian, and her uncle Kiki, a former NBA All Star and the current General Manager of the Denver Nuggets.

But while few know what it’s like to live up to that kind of pressure, the 103rd-ranked Vandeweghe is happy to have company in a class of promising young American players. She is joined in Midland by three other Americans just outside the Top 100: No. 108 Christina McHale, No. 115 Alison Riske and No. 133 Jamie Hampton.

“American tennis is always going to be in the tennis world,” said Vandeweghe. “For me to be a part of the next group of Americans in the top tier is a great honor.”

Gullikson, who coaches Vandeweghe, is excited to be in town for what he believes will be an entertaining event. While the snow falls outside the tennis center, Gullikson foresees fast-paced ball-bashing inside.

“On quick courts like these, you’re going to see some big serving, some finishing at the net and girls playing defense,” said Gullikson, “because if the ball is sitting up, there girls can all rock it pretty good. I think you’re going to see an exciting brand of all-court, all-around tennis.”

Main draw play begins on Tuesday with four doubles and five singles matches, highlighted by Hradecka taking on Hampton in the feature match at 7 p.m. on Stadium Court. Following that contest, three ex-college players will take center stage when Elizabeth Lumpkin (UCLA) and Story Tweedie-Yates (Stanford) face Oregon alum Courtney Nagle and Sarah Borwell of Great Britain.

The day session is highlighted by the Midland singles debuts of Lisicki, Falconi and McHale. No. 1 seed Varvara Lepchenko will also be in action.

Dow High teammates Daniella Patton and Kelli Close are back in the doubles draw for the second straight year. They open their 2011 campaign against Gabriela Dabrowski and Whitney Jones on Stadium Court at about 4 p.m.

Before the main draw commences, the qualifying competition with conclude on Tuesday at 10 a.m. as four women try to win their way into the Dow Corning Tennis Classic. Among those in contention are 1998 Midland champion Alexandra Stevenson and U.S. Fed Cup veterans Mashona Washington, Ahsha Rolle and Alexa Glatch.

Admission to the Dow Corning Tennis Classic is free until the 7 p.m. feature session. General admission tickets to see Hradecka vs. Hampton and Lumpkin/Tweedie-Yates vs. Nagle/Borwell cost $12 for adults and $8 for children.

By Joshua Rey

Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Midland Community Tennis Center

Midland, Mich.

Purse: $100,000

Surface: Hard-Indoor

Monday, February 7 – RESULTS

Qualifying Singles – Second round

Alexandra Mueller (United States) def. [1] Beatrice Capra (United States) 7-6(3), 6-3

[6] Mashona Washington (United States) def. [WC] Diana Ospina (United States) 0-6, 6-3, 6-4

[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) def. Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) 6-2, 6-1

[7] Lena Litvak (United States) def. Anna Livadaru (Germany) 4-6, 6-0, 6-2

[3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) def. Whitney Jones (United States) 6-0, 6-0

[5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States) def. Robin Anderson (United States) 6-3, 6-2

[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) def. Katie Ruckert (United States) 7-6(3), 6-0

[8] Amanda Fink (United States) def. Jan Abaza (United States) 6-2, 6-2

Tuesday, February 8 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.

Qualifying – Alexandra Mueller (United States) vs. [6] Mashona Washington (United States)

[1] Varvara Lepchenko (United States) vs. Anna Tatishvili (Georgia)

[WC] Shelby Rogers (United States) vs. Sabine Lisicki (Germany)

Stadium Court – not before 4 p.m.

[WC] Kelli Close (United States) and Daniella Patton (Dominican Republic) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) and Whitney Jones (United States)

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.

Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) vs. Jamie Hampton (United States)

Elizabeth Lumpkin and Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) vs. [2] Sarah Borwell (Great Britain) and Courtney Nagle (United States)

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.

Qualifying – [2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) vs. [7] Lena Litvak (United States)

Irina Falconi (United States) vs. Katie O’Brien (Great Britain)

Christina McHale (United States) vs. Anastasia Pivovarova (Russia)

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.

Qualifying – [4] Alexa Glatch (United States) vs. [8] Amanda Fink (United States)

Qualifying – [3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) vs. [5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States)

Christina Fusano and Sanaz Marand (United States) vs. [3] Ksenia Pervak (Russia) and Ipek Senoglu (Turkey)

Brittany Augustine and Alexandra Mueller (United States) vs. Irina Falconi and Alison Riske (United States)


With more than 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 32 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering more than $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Among those who have played at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic are seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin, former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and 2011 Australian Open runner-up Na Li.

USTA Pro Circuit Press Release


Dow Corning Tennis Classic – Sunday Results

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Sunday, February 6 – RESULTS

Qualifying Singles – First round
[1] Beatrice Capra (United States) def. Sanaz Marand (United States) 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(8)
Alexandra Mueller (United States) def. Dominika Dieskova (Slovakia) 6-1, 6-1
[WC] Diana Ospina (United States) def. Federica Grazioso (Italy) 6-2, 6-4
[6] Mashona Washington (United States) def. Ester Goldfeld (United States) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) def. Nicole Robinson (United States) 6-1, 6-3
Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) def. Nika Kukharchuk (Russia) 6-3, 5-7, 6-1
Anna Livadaru (Germany) def. Brittany Lashway (United States) 6-2, 6-0
[7] Lena Litvak (United States) def. Brooke Austin (United States) 6-1, 6-2
[3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) def. Lauren Herring (United States) 6-1, 6-2
Whitney Jones (United States) def. [WC] Ekaterina Zhukoven (Russia) 6-2, 6-0
Robin Anderson (United States) def. Elizabeth Lumpkin (United States) 6-4, 6-0
[5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States) def. Caitlin Whoriskey (United States) 7-6(0), 6-0
[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) def. Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) 6-4, 6-4
Katie Ruckert (United States) def. Kyle McPhillips (United States) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Jan Abaza (United States) def. [WC] Daniella Patton (Dominican Republic) 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-1
[8] Amanda Fink (United States) def. Anastasia Kharchenko (Ukraine) 6-2, 6-0

Monday, February 7 – SCHEDULE

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.
[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) vs. Katie Ruckert (United States)
Robin Anderson (United States) vs. [5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States)
[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) vs. Story Tweedie-Yates (United States)

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.
Jan Abaza (United States) vs. [8] Amanda Fink (United States)
[1] Beatrice Capra (United States) vs. Alexandra Mueller (United States)
Anna Livadaru (Germany) vs. [7] Lena Litvak (United States)

Court 1 – starting at 10 a.m.
[3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) vs. Whitney Jones (United States)