Local product Christina McHale has ousted the number eight seed, France's Marion Bartoli, today at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. McHale, from nearby Englewood Cliffs, N.J., defeated the French Open semifinalist Bartoli in straight sets, 7-6(2), 6-2, in front of a raucous and supportive crowd at the Grandstand. McHale will advance to face the number 25 seed, Russian Maria Kirilenko, who was victorious today as well in her match against fellow countrywoman Vera Dushevina, 6-1, 6-2.
"I'm so excited right now. I've been working really hard on the practice court," said McHale in her post-match press conference. "It's exciting to have it happen here especially."
McHale could have a home field advantage over the other competitors in the women's draw at the Open as she trains year-round at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Currently ranked 55th in the WTA Rankings, McHale scored a major upset a few weeks back in Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Open when she shocked top seed and world number one-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, 6-4, 7-5.
McHale defeated Canadian qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak, 6-3, 6-7(5-7), 6-4, on Monday night to face Bartoli who defeated Russian Alexandra Panova, 7-5, 6-3 in her opening round match.
At the age of 14, McHale moved from New Jersey to train at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. McHale had been splitting time between Boca Raton and a club in New Jersey, but in early 2011, decided to move back to New Jersey to strictly train at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
"It's so nice to be able to be home," said McHale. "With all of the traveling I do, it always feels amazing to come home and be able to train at home. I get to spend more time here. It's huge for me."