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Early Winners Prepare for Double (or Triple!) Header

Oracle Challenger Series
Nov 15, 2019

With rain postponing all of Thursday’s matches to Friday, all third-round winners will have to play two singles matches – and some even have to play a third match of doubles! Fortunately, today at George R. Brown Tennis Center at Rice University is idyllic, with cool, sunny vibes permeating the site.

The first winner today was Irina Falconi, who took down fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-3. She is one of the lucky ones who is still in both singles and doubles draws and will play three matches today. Because she was the first to come off court, her recovery routine is a bit up in the air until she knows when her next match is going to be.

“I’m playing three matches today, so I’m probably not going to even change,” laughed Falconi. “It’s a matter of being smart – you don’t want to cool down but you don’t want to warm up to the point where you’re exhausted. I have to look and see when my opponent’s match is over so I have a better idea of what I should be doing, when I should be warming up. I’ve never played three matches in a day, so this will be a first!”

Another player who has a bit of time before his next match, but definitely needs a bit of time to rest and prepare, is qualifier Alexis Galarneau. The Canadian is also the only unseeded player left in the men’s draw, which means he had to play two extra matches – one in qualifying and one because he did not receive a first round bye.

“Yesterday was nice not to have any matches,” reflected Galarneau, who had played on three straight days. “I’ve been taking care of my body really well with the two athletic trainers – they’ve been helping me a lot. I still feel fresh, I’m still young.”

But, unlike Falconi, he doesn’t mind a full cool down before playing big-serving Ivo Karlovic.

“I will see the physios, get some food and probably go back to the hotel for a nap.”

Age is a factor when recovering, as noted by 33-year-old Kirsten Flipkens. The former World No.13 has played on tour for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about what she needs to do to rebound for another match.

“For me, it’s tough body-wise because I’m a little bit older than most of them,” she said. “Once I’m warm, it’s fine, but I barely practice twice a day at home. So it’s going to be different, but at least I got the win in two sets. I’ll recover, have a massage, eat something and get ready for the next one.”

Flipkens faces 17-year-old Catherine McNally in the quarterfinal later today, where fans will see if age is just a number when it comes to high-performance recovery.

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