Peach State Matchup set for Championship Singles Match at Riviera/ITA
Women's All-American Championships
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - For the first time since the inaugural
Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, a women's player hailing
from the state of Georgia will be crowned singles champion as Georgia's
Chelsey Gullickson and Georgia Tech's Irina Falconi have advanced to
tomorrow's championship match.
Falconi survived a three-hour match against Venise Chan of Washington
defeated Chan, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) to earn a spot in the singles finals.
Falconi, who teamed with senior Amanda McDowell to capture the 2008 ITA
All-American doubles title, looked like they had a shot to defend their
title by upsetting the 2009 NCAA Champions and top-seeded Cal team of
Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova before getting blanked by an upstart
freshman Florida team in yesterday's quarterfinals.
"It was a really well-played match from both of us," Falconi said. "It
took a lot of fitness and mental toughness out there. The match could
have gone either way and it was just staying in there and being
completely focused. Today's match was a good test for me to see if I
could get it done. It feels great to be in my first All-American final.
I am just excited to be in the position. I plan to take tomorrow's match
one point at a time."
It marks the third straight year Georgia Tech has individuals competing
in the finals at the event - Falconi and McDowell in 2008 and Kristi
Miller and Whitney McCray in the 2007 doubles final.
Gullickson, the tournament's highest remaining seed showed why she was
deserving of the No. 2 Campbell/ITA Preseason College Tennis Ranking by
defeating fourth-ranked Juricova, 7-6 (3), 7-5, in another
hotly-contested victory. In her road to the final, Gullickson has been
extended to three sets twice and has won in two tie-breaking straight
"Chelsey played another great match today, and this tournament has been
filled with close matches and incredible battles," said Georgia coach
Jeff Wallace. "She has found ways to win each day, and that's what it's
all about because everybody is good here."
Gullickson is the first Bulldog finalist at this event since Aarthi
Venkatesan in 2000 and is seeking the Bulldogs first title since Lisa
Spain won in 1983.
The championship doubles final will feature two SEC rivals battling for
the title as the Florida and Tennessee doubles teams coming off big
upset quarterfinal victories yesterday each advanced to tomorrow's title
Tennessee's Caitlin Whoriskey, who provided the tournament's biggest
upset with a straight-set victory over top-seeded Maria Mosolova of
Northwestern, teamed up with Natalie Pluskota, the ITA/USTA Summer
Singles Champion, to exact revenge on the No. 2-ranked Stanford team
yesterday. In today's semifinals, they showed no signs of slowing down
by cruising to a 6-4, 6-2 win over Lenka Broosova and Csilla Borsanyi of
If little was known about Florida's phenom freshmen Allie Will and
Lauren Embree prior to this week's championships, the college tennis
world has now definitely taken notice. After blanking the reigning
doubles champions of Georgia Tech, the Gator duo continued their
championship run by fighting off Sophie Grabinski and Sanaz Marand of
the fourth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels. Both frosh had to qualify
into the main draw singles, where they marched all the way to the
The tournament, hosted by the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades,
Calif. for the 25th consecutive year kicked off on Saturday, October 3
and concludes on Sunday with the championship singles match beginning at
11 am PDT, followed by the championship doubles match.
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