Given the depressed state of U.S. tennis, it's an upset that anyone from this country made it through the women's qualifying and into the main draw of the U.S. Open. But 20-year-old Irina Falconi, who grew up playing at Inwood Park in Washington Heights, made it through late Saturday night.
The 385th-ranked Falconi indeed pulled an upset against 136th-ranked Stephanie Dubois of Canada by a 6-3, 6-1 score. The victory was her third in as many days, and made Falconi only the 10th player ever to come through the qualifying tournament as a wild-card entry to reach the main draw.
Falconi was an All-American at Georgia Tech, where she was honored as 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year. She turned pro in May. Falconi actually is a native of Ecuador, where her father, Carlos taught her how to play tennis. The family moved to the Bronx when she was three years old, and Falconi live there until she was 14, when she moved to Jupiter, Fla. with her family to train with top players and instructors.
Later this evening, Newsday will have quotes from Falconi after a scheduled interview.