Sunday, August 10, 2008

World Championships - Day 2


Sunday was the second day of competition at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Kingscourt, Ireland. The favorites have made it through so far, although there have been some close matches.

In men's play, both of the American, Mexican and Canadian players made it to the quarter finals. Rounding out the final 8 are Fernando Rios of Ecuador, who defeated Takaaki Hirose of Japan, 15-7, 15-4, and Michimune Kono of Japan who defeated Catalonia's Victor Montserrat, 15-4, 15-4 in the Round of 16.

Both Rios and Kono will be in tough on Monday as they'll play the two Americans. Rios faces top seed Rocky Carson, and Kono plays Jack Huczek.

The other quarter finals will be Mexican-Canadian match ups with Alvaro Beltran against Mike Green - the winner to face either Carson or Rios, and Polo Gutierrez Sortes against Kris Odegard - with the winner to play Huczek or Kono.

The semi-finals of men's singles will also be played on Monday, so all the quarter final winners will have to play twice Monday. The finals are set for Tuesday.

The story is similar on the women's side, as six of the eight quarter finalists hail from North America: USA, Mexico or Canada.

Toshiko Sakamoto of Japan and Angela Grisar of Chile are the non-North American quarter finalists.

Sakamoto plays top seed Rhonda Rajsich of the USA, while Grisar will match up against American Cheryl Gudinas Holmes in what promises to be one of the best matches of the day.

In another quarter finals will be Canadian Jennifer Saunders versus Susana Acosta, both of whom won in tie-breakers in the Round of 16. Saunders defeated Maria Paz Munoz of Ecuador, 14-15, 15-13, 11-2, and Acosta beat Bolivian Jenny Daza, 10-15, 15-13, 11-6.

Rounding out the quarter finals will be a battle of age versus youth, when youngster Paola Longoria of Mexico plays Josée Grand'Maître, the grand dame of Canadian racquetball. Longoria, who is reportedly playing with an injured ankle, had a close match against Yazmine Sabja of Bolivia, winning 15-14, 15-11. Grand'Maître defeated Cristina Cordova of Ecuador, 15-12, 15-6.

The women will also play two rounds on Monday to set up Tuesday's final. As Longoria is in both singles and doubles, she may have to play three times Monday. If her ankle is injured, then she could have problems before the day is over.

Longoria and Rosy Torres will play Genevieve Brodeur and Véronique Guillemette of Canada in one women's doubles semi-final, while in the other top seeds Jackie Paraiso and Aimee Ruiz (USA) face the Chilean team of Fabiola Marquez and Grisar.

On the men's doubles side, the quarter finals feature the top eight seeded teams, and few of them have been strongly challenged yet. That will change on Monday when both the quarters and semis will occur.

Play in the individual competition continues through Tuesday. The team competition begins on Thursday and runs to next Saturday, August 9 in Kingscourt, Ireland. The draws are available at R2Sports.

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