Sunday, August 10, 2008

World Championships - Finals - Singles


There are new champions in singles at the 14th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Kingscourt, Ireland. The men's and women's singles competitions mirrored each other, as the finals featured the top two ranked professional players, both Americans, facing off with one of the players trying to win a fourth World Championship.

But in both cases, there is a new champion.

Rocky Carson (USA) is the new men's World Champion, but he won by the narrowest of margins. In Tuesday's final, Carson defeated fellow American Jack Huczek, 12-15, 15-14, 11-10, stopping Huczek's bid for four consecutive World titles.

This season Carson and Huczek finished number 1 and 2, respectively, on the men's professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT). They faced each other 10 times over the 2007-08 IRT season with Carson winning six times and Huczek four.

Rhonda Rajsich (USA), the number 1 ranked Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO), defeated Cheryl Gudinas Holmes (USA), the number 2 WPRO player, 15-13, 15-8, to win her first World Championship title.

Rajsich's championship is especially remarkable, as she was in hospital one evening in early June after being attacked and beaten while walking near her home. She needed reconstructive surgery and spent several days in hospital.

Canada and Mexico split the men's and women's bronze medal matches. In the women's bronze medal match, Mexican Paola Longoria defeated Jennifer Saunders of Canada, 15-9, 15-8. In the men's bronze medal match, Alvaro Beltran of Mexico was upset by Vincent Gagnon of Canada, 15-9, 14-15, 11-9.

The players now have a day off on Wednesday before beginning the team competition on Thursday. In that, the countries will play off in best of three matches pitting their singles players against each other as well as their doubles team. There both a men's and women's team competition, and they will run through Saturday in Kingscourt, Ireland.

The draws are available at R2Sports.

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