Sunday, August 10, 2008

World Championships - Team Semi Finals


For the first time ever, Canada is in neither men's or women's team final at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships. The men's final will pit a strong USA team versus Mexico for the first time since 1998. The women's final will be the USA versus Bolivia in what will be the first women's final without Canada in racquetball history.

The Bolivian team, seeded sixth, defeated the second seeded Canadians in the semi-finals on Friday on the basis of a win in doubles by Jenny Daza and Carola Loma, who defeated Genevieve Broduer and Véronique Guillemette, 14-15, 15-12, 11-3, and Yazmine Sabja's victory over Josée Grand'Maître in singles.

The Bolivians will face the USA in the final. The Americans got there by defeating Chile in the semi-finals. Aimee Ruiz and Jackie Paraiso defeated Angela Grisar and Fabiola Marquez, 15-7, 15-3, and then Cheryl Gudinas Holmes defeated Marquez in singles, 15-14, 15-8. In the final match, Grisar defaulted to Rhonda Rajsich to make give the USA a 3-0 victory in matches played.

On the men's side, Canada came up short in their showdown with Mexico. In singles, Polo Gutierrez Sortes defeated Mike Green, 15-5, 15-6, while the Mexican doubles team of Gilberto Mejia and Javier Moreno defeated Vincent Gagnon and François Viens, 15-7, 15-12. In the final match, Alvaro Beltran defaulted to Kris Odegard, as the overall outcome was already decided.

Mexico will face the USA in the final, which should be a great match up. The American doubles team of Jason Thorener and Mitch Williams beat the Mexicans in the doubles championship earlier in the week, so the Mexicans will be wanting to avenge that loss.

If the Mexicans can win doubles, then it will fall to their singles players to finish the job. If Beltran - the 3rd seeded player on the men's professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) rankings - can upset Rocky Carson - the number 1 IRT player, who won the World title earlier in the week, or Gutierrez Sortes can defeat Jack Huczek (the IRT's number 2 player), then Mexico will win their first team competition.

A betting man likely wouldn't bet on a Mexican victory, but it is not out of the realm of possibility. At least they will have a chance at the World Team Title, unlike the Canadians.

The Racquetball World Championships conclude Saturday in Kingscourt, Ireland.

The draws are available at R2Sports.

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