Falconi pulls second upset at U.S. Open

Two days after becoming the first former Georgia Tech women’s player to win a singles match in a grand slam tournament, Irina Falconi made personal history.
Falconi, who turned professional last summer, scored the biggest win of her career Wednesday, coming from one set down to knock out world No. 15 and No. 14 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of the U.S. Open. Falconi won 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. She was down 0-3 and 1-4 in the final set before a patient rally that forced Cibulkova into repeated unforced errors gave her the match.
“That’s the one thing I just focused on, is to never give up until the last point,” Falconi said by phone as she left the USTA National Tennis Center Wednesday evening. “I just had to believe the entire time I wasn’t going to give up.”
Falconi, an All-American at Tech who left last year after her sophomore season, will move on to a third- round matchup with No. 22 seed Sabine Lisicki. She called the victory surreal. Falconi grew up in New York and as a child went to the tournament with her parents. Several childhood friends from school and tennis cheered her on.
On top of that, due to Venus Williams pulling out of the tournament, Falconi’s match was moved from Court 11 to a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium that roared when she completed her comeback. Following the match, she pulled out an American flag that she had in her bag and waved it to the crowd, soaking in the moment.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Falconi, who heard a few shouts of “Go, Jackets!” from the stands. “I needed a couple seconds to really grasp that I had just won a match at Arthur Ashe. It’s unreal.”
Falconi is just the third former Tech woman to play in a grand slam event and the second to make a main draw. Kristi Miller won a doubles match at the U.S. Open in 2005. Amanda McDowell lost in the first round of qualifiying in 2008.
Falconi’s coach, Jeff Wilson, said Falconi will move up from No. 79 in the world to inside the top 70 when the next rankings come out. Wilson, who runs a tennis academy in Alpharetta, met Falconi as a volunteer coach at Tech. They and Wilson’s wife Kim have been together since Falconi turned pro.
After a first-round doubles match with Edina Gallovits-Hall Thursday, she’ll face Lisicki probably on Friday.
Said Falconi, “We are thinking about it already.”

10 comments Add your comment


August 31st, 2011
11:57 pm

Go Jackets!!!

Whatever happened to Kristi Miller?

She’s a hard act to follow.

Go Irina!!!


September 1st, 2011
12:18 am

Very cool. Go Jackets!


September 1st, 2011
7:57 am

Enjoy nerds, because this is the only success you will experience this entire sports year.

[...] in front of a partisan hometown crowd.  Down 0-3 and 1-4 in the third and final set,the 21-year old Falconi hung tough and eventually managed to outlast the 14th ranked player in the world for her second consecutive [...]


September 1st, 2011
8:47 am

Regarding Kristi Miller – ramblinwreck.com had an update interview with her last May (http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/sports/w-tennis/spec-rel/052710aae.html) . She is attending law school at Emory. She tried pro tennis for about a year and decided it wasn’t for her. She preferred the team aspect of College tennis and missed the academics.

Kristi had some interesting comments regarding Irina that sound spot on for her second round victory, namely her opponent made 56 unforced errors.

Hope Irina has a storybook grand slam in her hometown; could become a very big story if she keeps winning.

[...] David Sims. Also, this is not football-related, but former Tech tennis player Irina Falconi won the biggest match of her career Wednesday at the U.S. Open. Monday, she became the first women’s player from Tech to ever win [...]

Jim Wright

September 1st, 2011
10:42 am

Can we get Kristi Miller North, Amanda McDowell or Irina Falconi on the front page some time? Georgia Tech (and other schools) have some fantastic people and stories. Instead the front page stories include a former player from Tech that was on campus less that 1 year and a future player for UGA that is not yet on campus. In the words of Royal Marshall, Just damn!


September 1st, 2011
11:27 am

Emerson – you are obviously a very depressed individual w/ too much time on your hands – your shift must have just ended at the QT station…

Congrats to Irina!!


September 1st, 2011
3:16 pm

My wife and I were the 2 who yelled “Go Jackets” at a critcal point in the 2nd and 3rd sets. I think it spurred her on to victory. What a great match. Hopefully she can pull off a win in the next round too!


September 1st, 2011
4:19 pm