Tennis: Gomez, Falconi reach NICC finals

Both junior Guillermo Gomez and sophomore Irina Falconi came up short of earning national titles in singles play last weekend. Each of them fell in the finals of the ITA National Indoor Tennis Championship.

Gomez dropped his match in a well-contested three-set battle on Nov. 8 to the fifth-seeded Steve Johnson of Southern California. Johnson, who is ranked No. 16 in the nation, defeated Gomez in a third-set tiebreaker to take the match 7-5, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3). With the loss, Gomez finished the fall season with a 13-2 singles record.

Falconi put up a strong effort but lost in two sets to California’s Jana Juricova, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the finals of the women’s bracket. Falconi was the tournament’s No. 2 seed and with the loss closed out the fall season with an 11-1 record. Falconi just came short of winning her second national title this year, as she won the Riviera/ITA All-American Championship on Oct. 11.

Gomez came back from an early deficit to knock off Virginia’s Michael Shabaz 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals on Saturday.

Before the match with Shabaz, Gomez had to overtake three other opponents to go farther in the 32-person tournament. In his first match of the tournament, Auburn’s Tim Puetz forced Gomez to a third set, but Gomez eventually prevailed 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. He advanced to the round of 16, where he faced and defeated Southern California’s Robert Farah 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, he overtook Wisconsin’s Moritz Baumann 6-4, 6-1.

Falconi was able to defeat Baylor’s Lenka Broosova on Saturday in the semifinals to gain her a spot in the finals. Before her match with Broosova, Falconi had to win three other matches. In the opening round, she knocked off Auburn’s Fani Chifchieva 6-0, 7-6. In the round of 16 she was able to beat Clemson’s Josipa Bek 6-2, 6-0. In the quarterfinals she was able to overtake Washington’s Venise Chan 6-0, 6-2.

Both tennis teams have concluded play for the fall season. They will resume action in January.