Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bolivia & Mexico win doubles at 2018 IRF World Championships

Valeria Centellas and Yasmine Sabja of Bolivia are the first women racquetball World Champions from South America as they captured gold in Women’s Doubles at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica. The Bolivians defeated Mexicans Monserrat Mejia and Alexandra Herrera, 8-15, 15-14, 11-2, in the final.

While there were new champions on the women’s side, Mexican Alvaro Beltran won his 4th Men’s Doubles World Championship, as he and Daniel De La Rosa came back from a game down to defeat racquetball legends Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik of the USA, 10-15, 15-9 11-2. It marks the first time Carson is without a gold medal at Worlds since 2006, as he won gold in Men’s Singles at the last five events. Beltran has now won Men’s Doubles in three of the last four World Championships.

If you missed the finals, you can view them again via the IRF Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica


Men's Doubles - Final

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. 3) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA), 10-15, 15-9, 11-2

Women's Doubles - Final

7) Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. 1) Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico), 8-15, 15-14, 11-2

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Martinez & Montoya win singles at 2018 IRF World Championships

Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala upset the three time defending Women’s Singles World Champion Paola Longoria of Mexico to win her 1st Women’s Singles Championship Saturday at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica. With the win, Martinez, 19, becomes the youngest Women’s Singles Champion. Previously, Christie Huczek (née Van Hees) was youngest at 21. Longoria won her first title at 23. She is also the first woman from outside North America to win an IRF World Championship.

Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico won the Men’s Singles World Championship by defeating USA’s Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 15-9. Montoya is the second Mexican Men’s Singles World Champion after Alvaro Beltran, who won it in 2000.

In the Women’s Singles final, Martinez came out with her left arm wrapped, as she hurt it in the Women’s Doubles semi-finals on Friday. In fact, Guatemala forfeited that semi-final in the third game, when Martinez couldn’t continue to play. So there was some concern as to whether Martinez would be able to play in singles final.

Thus, it wasn’t a surprise when Longoria took a 6-0 lead in game one. She maintained the lead throughout that game, although Martinez got within four at 12-8 before Longoria closed it out, 15-8. But if you take the first six points at the start away, then they were pretty even.

Game two started similarly to game one, as Longoria took a 4-1 lead. But Martinez slowly built up the points from there. She got six points to lead 7-4. Longoria called a time out, and then closed the lead to 7-6. However, Martinez held Longoria at 6, as she went on to win game two, 15-6, helped by two ace serves and a couple of skips by Longoria late in the game.

They were back and forth earth in the tie-breaker, and tied at 4-4. Then Martinez scored six unanswered points, including three ace serves, to reach match point at 10-4. Longoria called her second timeout at that point, and then got the serve back with a backhand serve return winner.

She hit a service winner to make it 10-5, and it looked like the comeback was on. A Longoria forehand made it 10-6. However, Martinez snuffed out the comeback with a great backhand pinch shot.

On the first match point, Longoria had a set up off the back wall that she played with her forehand. But it skipped. With that unforced error, Martinez dethroned the three time Champion and claimed her first Women’s Singles Championship.

The Men’s Singles final went back and forth. Montoya was ahead early in the game, 8-3, and then Pratt found his stride and looked to be in control as he went ahead 11-10. However, Montoya had a resurgence, and scored four point to get to game point at 14-11.

But Pratt denied Montoya game point not once, but twice, and then proceeded to tie the game at 14-14. It looked like he won the game with an ace drive serve to the left side, but Montoya appealed that it was short and the line judges agreed, overturning the call.

Montoya then got the serve back with a forehand shot that went cross court from left to right. On his 3rd game point, the referee called a two bounce get on Pratt, but he appealed that he had got the ball before it bounced twice and the line judges agreed.

Clearly, it was going to take something special to win this game, and Montoya provided that on the next rally, as he dove to the right side in the front court and hit a roll out winner to take the first game 15-14.

Like game one, game two was streaky. Pratt went up 4-0, and then Montoya scored eight points to lead 8-4. Pratt tied it at 8-8. Again Montoya responded with four more points to lead 12-8. He was able to close it out from there, hitting a forehand pinch shot to get his first match point at 14-9. Montoya drove serve to the left side, and it looked to be a comfortable opportunity to return the ball, but Pratt skipped it with his backhand, which was a sad ending to a good match.

In the singles finals, neither Longoria or Pratt played poorly, though perhaps neither played their absolute best. However, Martinez and Montoya, respectively, were just a little bit better, and when the competition is close - as it usually is in a World Championship final - that’s all that is needed.

If you missed the matches, you can see them at the IRF Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica


Men's Singles - Semi-finals - Friday

Men's Singles - Final - Saturday

4) Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. 3) Charlie Pratt (USA), 15-14, 15-9

Women's Singles - Final - Saturday

6) Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. 1) Paola Longoria (Mexico), 8-15, 15-6, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball....

Friday, August 17, 2018

Doubles semi-finals at 2018 IRF World Championships

The top seeded Mexican teams are through to the finals in both Men’s and Women’s Doubles at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica. Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa of Mexico won their semi-final in Men’s Doubles against Bolivans Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso, 15-14, 15-8, and their team-mates Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia beat Colombians Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros, 15-8, 15-4, in their semi-final.

Beltran and De La Rosa look to have the more difficult final, as they will face racquetball legends Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik of the USA. Carson and Monchik defeated Canadians Tim Landeryou and Samuel Murray, 15-12, 15-2, in the semis. If Carson wins, he’ll become the 3rd man to win both Men’s Singles and Doubles at Worlds after fellow American Todd O’Neill and Beltran. Carson has five titles in singles. Beltran is the defending champion in doubles, which is one of his three doubles titles to go with one singles title.

Herrera and Mejia will play Bolivians Valeria Centellas and Yasmine Sabja, who are surprise finalists, as they entered the medal round as the 7th seeds. In their semi-final match against the Guatemalan team of Maria Renee Rodriguez and Gabriela Martinez, Martinez picked up a left elbow injury. She tried to continue on, but in the middle of the third game found that it was too much, so the final score line was 10-15, 15-7, 6-4, injury forfeit, in favor of Bolivia. Thus, Centellas and Sabja have a chance to become to the first South American team to win Women’s Doubles at Worlds.

Martinez’s left arm injury happened at 10-7 down in game two. She continued to play after taking an injury timeout, but then in the middle of game three, Martinez doubled over, and it was over for her. The seemed to pick up the injury after a dive, although she didn’t stay down, so it didn’t seem to be serious. Then in game three, it became more painful when she wasn’t even about to play the ball, which is a bad sign.

Martinez is in the Women’s Singles final versus Mexican Paola Longoria, and we hope that she’ll be able to play in that.

Look for both finals to be live streamed via the IRF Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica


Men's Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. 4) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia), 15-14, 15-8
3) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) d. 7) Tim Landeryou & Samuel Murray (Canada), 15-12, 15-2

Men's Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) v. 3) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) - 1 PM MDT

Women's Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) d. 4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia), 15-8, 15-4
7) Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. 3) Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 10-15, 15-7, 6-4, injury forfeit

Women's Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) v. 7) Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) - Noon MDT

Follow the bouncing ball....