McHale and Falcone Will Fare Better Than Oudin

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.

Marino Stops Bartoli in Her Tracks

Montreal, September 16, 2010 – Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) achieved another milestone in her young
career on Wednesday night at the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, a $220,000 WTA Tour event.

Just two weeks removed from the playing the biggest match of her life on Arthur Ashe Stadium against Venus
Williams in the second round of the U.S. Open, Marino is making headlines again after ousting world no. 14
Marion Bartoli of France 6-1, 6-3 to reach her first WTA quarter-final. The win is also her first over a Top 20
player.

“This was one of the best matches of my life,” Marino said. “She’s the highest-ranked player I’ve ever beaten. I want to be playing at this level, competing against – and winning – against these players. I have put a lot of work in and maybe this is a reward for that.”

Marino served 10 aces and lost only 18 points on serve in the 75 minute match. The 19-year-old also broke
Bartoli’s serve four times in six attempts. She will face American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Friday’s quarterfinals.

With the victory, Marino becomes only the second Canadian to beat a Top 15 player in the last 10 years.
Aleksandra Wozniak has accomplished the feat four times in that span.

“Rebecca gave me absolutely no chance,” Bartoli remarked after the match. “If she plays like that every day she can be Top 20, Top 10 even. I felt she could put the ball wherever she wanted to and I had no chance to win the match with her playing like that. She served well; there was so much pressure for me to hold my serve.”

Marino’s compatriots Stéphanie Dubois (Laval, QC) and Valérie Tétreault (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) will
attempt to join her in the final eight when they take over Centre Court tonight at PEPS on the campus of Laval University for their second round matches. Tétreault will begin proceedings during Thursday’s evening session against American Christina McHale followed by Dubois who will take on another American in Alexa Glatch. Both Canadians upset seeded players in their opening matches.

For all of the latest news and results from the Bell Challenge, visit the tournament’s official website
www.challengebell.com.

Dubois, Marino and Tétreault will headline an impressive player field at the $50,000 Saguenay National Bank
Challenger which is set to get underway on Saturday in Saguenay with the qualifying rounds.

About Tennis Canada
Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association responsible for leading the growth, promotion and showcasing of tennis in Canada. Tennis Canada owns and operates two of the premier events on the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tours; Rogers Cup men’s and women’s events that rotate annually between Rexall Centre in Toronto and Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. In addition, Tennis Canada owns and operates six professional ITF sanctioned events and financially supports six other professional tournaments in Canada.

Tennis Canada operates national training centres at the Centre of Excellence in Toronto and at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympics Committee and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the Olympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada please visit our Web site at: www.tenniscanada.com.

A Deep Field for the Bell Challenge

Montreal, September 13, 2010 A deep field which includes three Top 30 players will battle for top honours this week at the Bell Challenge, a $220,000 WTA Tour event currently underway in Quebec City.

A pair of Frenchwomen, world no. 14 Marion Bartoli and world no. 20 Aravane Rezai, lead arguably the deepest field in tournament history, one which also bodes 2009 finalist Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic and four Canadians. In fact, Heidi El Tabakh (Oakville, ON) and Rebecca Marino (Vancouver, BC) will face off in an all-Canadian first round encounter this evening at PEPS on the campus of Laval University with the winner slated to face Bartoli in round two. Stéphanie Dubois (Laval, QC) will play seventh-seeded Olga Govortsova of Belarus in her first round match while Valérie Tétreault (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) will go up against fourth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, the same player she beat in the first round last year in Quebec City.

Visit www.challengebell.com for all of the latest news and results from the Challenge Bell.

Canada set for Davis Cup battle with the Dominican Republic this weekend

The Miele Canadian Davis Cup team of Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, ON), Daniel Nestor (Toronto, ON), Peter Polansky (Thornhill, ON) and Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON) will take on the Dominican Republic this weekend in a Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Americas Zone Group I second round play-off tie at the Rexall Centre in Toronto. The opening singles matches will be played on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. Tickets start as low as $10 and can be purchased by calling 1-877-2TENNIS. The tie will also be webcast live on www.lovemeansnothing.ca

Dubois, Tétreault and Marino head players list for Saguenay National Bank Challenger

The players list for the 2010 Saguenay National Bank Challenger to be held from September 18-26 was unveiled last week and a Canadian trio tops this year’s field which also includes a former champion and some former Top 50 players. Stéphanie Dubois, Valérie Tétreault, Heidi El Tabakh, Rebecca Marino, Eugenie Bouchard (Westmount, QC) and Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON) have all earned direct entry into the main draw. Meanwhile, Élisabeth Abanda (Montreal, QC), Katarena Paliivets (Richmond Hill, ON) and Ekaterina Shulaeva (Oakville, ON) have been awarded main draw wildcards by Tennis Canada.

This year’s players list also includes 2008 Saguenay champion Alexa Glatch of the United States, 2009 singles finalist and doubles champion Severine Beltrame of France who is also a former Top 50 player as is fellow entrant Marina Erakovic of New Zealand.

Brits dominate ITF wheelchair event in Montreal

Some of the world’s top wheelchair tennis players were at Uniprix Stadium in Montreal over the weekend to compete in the Tennis Canada International Championships, an ITF2 Series event. In the end, it was the Brits who dominated, sweeping the singles titles and exceling in doubles. World No. 16 Gordon Reid was crowned champion in men’s singles, World No. 9 Lucy Shuker won the women’s title and Jamie Burdekin claimed top honours in the quad division. The tournament’s top Canadian was Gary Luker (Stoney Creek, ON) who was a finalist in singles and doubles in the quad draws. Visit www.lovemeansnothing.ca for all of the final results.

Oudin’s Not Going Away

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Don’t worry about Melanie Oudin. Her Open may be over, after her straight sets, 2-6, 2-6, loss to Caroline Wozniacki, but her career is just beginning.

We saw a star being born in Flushing Meadows. A determined girl, who knows she has a lot to learn in her career and her sport before she can be a champion.

“I’ve never been to the quarters of a Grand Slam,” she said. “I’ve never been this far, so for me, I have to learn how to handle the grueling two weeks in a Grand Slam. And mentally, physically, I mean, my body has had a lot of matches and a lot of time on the court. Mentally, it takes a lot to fight through those matches three sets three times in a row.

“So for me, I think I’m going to need to learn how to handle that, and I need to improve. I think I need to get quicker and even stronger and I definitely can improve a lot of things in my game.”

First she’s playing in Quebec City next week in the Bell Challenge then maybe some time off. Although Oudin says her life is the same, it’s not. Her life has changed, as she’s become a national sensation. But yet, there’s still the wholesome attitude, which wowed the New York crowd as it came out so natural.

Even today, Oudin seemed overwhelmed as was almost in tears as she was peppered with questions. With time she will overcome that and with time she will take her top spot in the rankings.

“She’s only 17 years old,” said a very gracious and happy Wozniacki. “She has been playing some great tennis. I think that, you know, she had a lot of attention here, and I think the way she handled all the attention, I think she did very well. I think she has a great team around her, and I’m sure that she’ll win many, many more matches in the future, as well.”

Wozniacki came in with a game plan. Unlike the Russians Oudin took down, the Danish princess played a defense match and forced Oudin to make mistakes. Instead of taking the 17 year-old for granted, the 19 year-old forced the Georgian to make the shots, which at times came up short.

With time, though, Oudin will learn how to face an opponent like Wozniacki. She will force an opponent to play her game her game, instead of relying upon guts and guile.

“I think it’s going to be experience and working hard,” Oudin said. “I’m going to have to go back home and just keep training like I do. I’m sure that, you know, if I keep working hard, hopefully I can do this again.”

Our gut says she will, but remember next time, Oudin will be in the spotlight. After this year’s Open only a foolish opponent will take her for granted and in her next tournaments, she will be the featured match and in the spotlight.

Yet, this girl can handle it. With a good family base behind her, Oudin will stay as normal as she possibly can be. Right now, that’s pretty regular.

“I’m basically a normal 17 year-old kid,” she said. “I still go to movies and go to the mall. Like to shop. Here we’ve saw a couple of plays. I just like going back and watching TV. I have a Wii at my house. I love playing that.

“Just different things, like board games and cards with my grandma. I mean, I just love doing all of that stuff, so basically I’m just a normal kid.”

Even though, she will find out that some things will change, Oudin seems ready for the challenge. She is out of the shadows and now the girl everyone is gunning to get. Yet, as we have seen in these last two weeks, this “normal girl” from Marietta, GA can handle anything that’s tossed at her.