FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The Cinderella stories are over for the two young American girls who made so much noise two days ago.
Both Christina McHale and Irina Falconi lost their matches today – McHale to Maria Kirilenko, 2-6 3-6 and Falconi to Sabine Lisicki 0-6 1-6 – but there first few matches give hope for the future of American tennis.
“I had two really good wins my first two matches,” said McHale after her match today. “This one, it’s disappointing. But, yeah, I think I just kind of have to take the positives from it and keep working hard and, yeah, keep going.”
Added Falconi: “I am just going to take this week and the next week as a huge stage on my career, hopefully what can translate into a follow-up fall season. Next week I go to Quebec City for a tour event and hopefully do some damage there as well. There is nothing but positives to take out of this week.”
Both girls showed their inexperience today. Neither of them was attacking the ball like they did on Wednesday and even admitted to playing tentative.
“I was too passive today,” McHale said. “I think the other day I took my chances when I had them. But [Kirilenko] was playing well, too, so it made it difficult today.”
And then there were the bright lights of Ashe, where she admitted she was a little nervous playing under the lights in front of the sold out crowd.
“I think it didn’t really help me, my nerves, tonight,” McHale added. “I never really felt as comfortable as I wanted to feel on the court.”
Yet, it will be interesting to see how both girls handle their first success of the Open. Melanie Oudin melted under the pressure after her run two years ago and hasn’t made any noise since.
But Oudin could be considered a special situation. Both McHale and Falconi didn’t get the celebrity treatment like Ouidin did and the press didn’t start look into their personal lives.
Plus Oudin seemed to enjoy the celebrity spotlight, whereas both of these girls seems to care more about winning than stardom.
So it will be interesting to see how both do in the fall and then at the Australian Open come 2012. But it also important to remember they are both very young with McHale only 19 while Falconi can get a drink in bar…well barely. And it will take time for both players, so don’t get excited if one or both makes a quarterfinals and expect to see the second coming on Chris Everett.
Rather this is more like the baseball minor leagues where the two girls are honing their skills. Some success here will help them, but until they learn to be winning at a consistent level in high profile tournaments, they will remain prospects.
But all prospects have upside and this past week we may have just seen the future.