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Third Time Charm for Tatishvili at ColemanVision

September 23, 2014 12:14 PM

By Geoff Grammer - Albuquerque Journal 
(This story appeared in the ABQ Journal on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014)


TatishviliThe third time was the charm for Anna Tatishvili.

After finishing as the runner-up in each of her last two visits to Albuquerque, the 24-year-old downed friend and frequent doubles partner Irina Falconi in straight sets Sunday (6-2, 6-4) to claim the singles championship of the Coleman Vision Tennis Championship at Tanoan Country Club.

“I’m so thankful,” said Tatishvili, who entered the week ranked No. 104 in the world and was the tournament’s No. 1 seed. “I think I played really solid today and just tried to come out and be very focused from the beginning.”

The combination of Tatishvili being on top of her game and Falconi certainly not being on top of hers led to a rather anticlimactic final after a week of high-level tennis at the annual $75,000 event.

Falconi, who didn’t drop a set in her run through the rest of the tournament field into her first finals at a $75,000-level event, set the tone early.

On the opening point of the match, she was called for a double fault – sending her first serve into the net before being called for the rare foot fault on her second serve. Before she seemed to realize what had happened, she was down 4-0 (she didn’t score a point in the first two games).

“Irina, she was kind of slow at the beginning,” Tatishvili acknowledged. “I think I was playing more aggressive. But the second set, especially after (Tatishvili took a lead at) 4-2 she started to play unbelievable.”

Falconi did battle back from a 4-2 hole in the second set, breaking Tatishvili’s serve in the eighth game to tie the set 4-4.

But Tatishvili, a Coleman runner-up in 2011 and 2013, was simply too much, cruising to the 11th singles title of her career.

IMG_6014-LTatishvili, a United States citizen who was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, thanked the Surviladze family, well known in Albuquerque tennis circles, for hosting her in her seven times playing in the tournament.

“They are great friends with my father from Georgia and it’s always fun to come play here to see them and to see Albuquerque,” Tatishvili said.

Tatishvili pocketed a winner’s check of $11,400 and enough ranking points to easily catapult her into the Top 100 of the world rankings this week.

DOUBLES: Where would Melanie Oudin and Jan Abaza be without Facebook?

Three days before the Coleman Vision began, the two were without partners. Sunday, they walked off the courts 6-2, 6-3 winners over Allie Will and Nicole Melichar, securing the first $75,000-level doubles titles for both players.

“I was just going to focus on singles, then last minute I decided to play (doubles) but everyone had partners already,” said Oudin. “Then Jan messaged me on Facebook and asked, and I said, ‘Sure. Why not?’”

IMG_5308-XLThe answer shocked the 19-year-old Abaza, not only three years Oudin’s junior, but a player who has far less experience on the pro circuit.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, she said yes? She doesn’t have a partner already?’” Abaza said. “I really thought I was just in a bad situation, not going to have a partner. Then look what happened. We end up winning the tournament.”

They didn’t just win, they did so in rather dominating fashion. After Will and Melichar took a 3-1 lead in the second set, the first-time doubles partners won five straight games for the tournament title and a split of the winner’s $4,180 payout.

FANS HERE AND ABROAD: The tournament drew more than 1,500 fans in person this week and, according to title sponsor Stephen Coleman, more than 55,000 people watched an online stream Tuesday alone of the Nicole Vaidisova match with Sesil Karatantcheva.

Vaidisova (pictured, right) is the former world No. 7 who returned to pro tennis this week after four and a half years off.

Photos courtesy of Sissy Kelly