Irina Falconi (Left) congratulates Lucie Hradecka after their match at the Dow Corning Midland Singles Tennis Tournament. Hradecka won 6-4, 6-4.
Czech Star Hradecka Wins Dow Corning Midland Singles Title
Doubles Cancelled Due to Illness of Player Partnered with Runnerup Falconi
February 13, 2011
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By: Dave Rogers
Lucie Hradecka pronounced hrahdeschka)had a little too much experience and too much power on fast courts for rising star Irina Falconi.
The Czech pro powered her up to 135 mile per hour serves that skidded past Falconi, the Georgia Tech meteor who was No. 1 in women's college tennis last year.
"I'll be back," commented the Ecuadorian-born Falconi who fell 4-6, 4-6 to the veteran of the Midland tournament.
Lucie Hradecka blasts a forehand.
She took home the Larry Reed Most Promising Newcomer Trophy and some cash, however, and garnered much fan sentiment from "the best tennis town in the USA."
A local fan favorite, the hard-hitting Czech had 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. She was the winner in 2009 and runnerup last year.
"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 on her successful first serves (27 of 33) and 61 percent on her second serves (14 of 23). Falconi didn't have a break point opportunity in any of Hradecka's 10 service games.
"I didn't face a break point? Okay, good to know," Hradecka said. "Today, I really concentrated on my serve. I took my serve point-by-point, which was part of my plan."
The doubles ended with a rare, for Midland, walkover, when Falconi's partner, Alison Riske, came down with a high fever. The doubles had been slated to pit Jamie Hampton (United States) and Anna Tatishvili (Georgia) vs. Irina Falconi and Ms. Riske (United States).
Falconi, the 5-4 former Yellow Jacket All American, was only a few crucial shots away from evening the score in both sets. She displayed a deft touch on scrambling volleys resulting from drop shot attempts by the taller Czech player.
Falconi, 20, who qualified for both the Australian and U.S. Open tournaments, turned pro after her second year at Georgia Tech. She certainly seems poised to climb above her 156 ranking at the end of January, especially in view of her win last year over world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
The 5-10, 160 pound Hradecka, 25, won #253,000 last year and took two singles and six doubles titles. She doubtless will move up from her current 110 ranking.
Sports Article 5684
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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