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Irina Falconi, Tim Smyczek win 2011 USTA French Open Wild Card Playoffs, Earn French Open Main Draw Wild Cards

Tim Smyczek.
Irina Falconi
Irina Falconi of Atlanta and Tim Smyczek of Milwaukee won the 2011 USTA French Open Wild Card Playoffs on Friday at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla., to earn main draw wild cards into the 2011 French Open.  Falconi, 20, beat Julia Boserup of Newport Beach, Calif., 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, while Smyczek, 23, beat Donald Young of Atlanta, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, ­­­6-2, in a best-of-five set final.  The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which men’s and women’s singles main draw wild cards into the 2011 French Open and the 2011 US Open are exchanged.

Falconi, a native of Ecuador who moved to New York City at age four and now resides in Atlanta, will make her third consecutive appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam event after successfully qualifying for both the 2010 US Open and the 2011 Australian Open.  A former two-time All-American at Georgia Tech, Falconi has won three career titles on the USTA Pro Circuit, and reached the final of the $100,000 event in Midland, Mich., earlier this year.  She currently owns a career-high WTA ranking of No. 119.  

"I just started really training hard-core on clay maybe two months ago, and I really love it.  I can’t wait to get out on the red dirt," Falconi said after the match.  "I’ve dreamed about playing the French, and it’s going to be unbelievable to have the chance to play there in the main draw!"

Smyczek will make his second appearance in a Grand Slam main draw; he earned a main draw wild card into the 2010 US Open after winning a similar USTA playoff last August.  He is having the best year of his professional career, reaching the quarterfinals of the ATP World Tour event in San Jose, Calif., in February, and reaching the second round in Indian Wells, Calif., after winning two matches to qualify for the main draw.  He achieved a career-high ATP World Tour ranking of No. 158 in February and is currently ranked No. 174.

"It feels great to earn a spot in the French Open; it’s going to be a great new experience, and I’m really looking forward to it," Smyczek said following his four-set win.  "I knew it was going to be a tough match and that Donald was going to fight for it.  I was ready for a long match and I’m glad I came out on top.  It’s going to be great to get over to Paris."

Ryan Sweeting, who won his first ATP World Tour title at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships earlier this month, and Christina McHale, who recently broke into the WTA Top 100, won the 2010 playoffs to earn wild cards into the 2010 French Open.
There is a correction to the first set tiebreak score in the Smyczek and Young match.  The tiebreak was 7-2 not 7-4.
Friday, April 22 results:
Women's Final: No. 1 Irina Falconi def. No. 3 Julia Boserup 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3
Men's Final: No. 2 Timothy Smycezk def. No. 1 Donald Young 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Wednesday, April 21 results:
No. 1 Irina Falconi def. No. 4 Grace Min 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 Timothy Smyczek def. No. 3 Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-0
No. 3 Julia Boserup def. No. 2 Beatrice Capra 6-1, 7-6 (5)
No. 1 Donald Young def. No. 5 Andrea Collarini 6-0, 6-2
Tuesday, April 20 results:
No. 3 Denis Kudla def. No. 6 Alexios Halebian 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 Andrea Collarini def. No. 4 Jordan Cox 2-6, 6-4, 6-4


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