Sunday, August 10, 2008

World Championships - USA Wins Team Titles


Once again, Team USA has won the men's and women's team championships at the 14th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships. The American women won all three of their matches against Boliiva, but the men's team needed victories by both its singles players to stop Mexico from winning their first men's title.

The USA has won the women's team title every year since 1984, although this is the first year that their final opposition was not Canada.

Cheryl Gudinas Holmes got the US women off to a good start by defeating Yazmine Sabja, 15-4, 15-12. Then Rhonda Rajsich followed that up with a victory over Jenny Daza, 15-4, 15-2.

They also played the doubles match, although the outcome had been decided. Aimee Ruiz and Jacqueline Paraiso, the reigning World Champions, beat Jenny Daza and Carola Loma, 15-5, 15-3, to make it a sweep.

In the men's final, Jack Huczek started things off well for the USA by beating Polo Gutierrez Sortes, 15-3, 15-5. However, the Mexican doubles team of Gilberto Mejia and Javier Moreno leveled the final by defeating Jason Thorener and Mitch Williams, 15-11, 15-3.

The doubles win was a measure of revenge for the Mexicans, as Thoerner and Williams had beaten Mejia and Moreno for the Men's Doubles World Championship earlier in the week.

Thus, the final's outcome came down to Alvaro Beltran and Rocky Carson, who had beaten Beltran in the semi-finals en route to winning the World Championship in men's singles earlier in the week.

When two closely matched players or teams play each other in a short period, they often split the matches, as was the case with the American and Mexican doubles teams. However, Carson managed to defeat Beltran for the second time in a week, although he needed a tie-breaker to do it, winning 15-9, 5-15, 11-5.

It's the third consecutive men's title for the USA, and together with the women's victory, it's the fourth consecutive time the USA has taken the overall title at the IRF World Championships.

In the third place matches, Canada took third in both women's and men's competitions. On the women's side, Canadians Genevieve Broduer and Véronique Guillemette won the decisive match against Chile, by defeating Angela Grisar and Fabiola Marquez, 15-12, 15-6, after the singles matches had been split.

Josée Grand'Maître defeated Marquez, 15-10, 15-10, and Grisar beat Jennifer Saunders, 15-4, 15-12, to set up the deciding match.

On the men's side, Mike Green got things off to a good start for Canada by defeating Bolivian Jorge Zambrana, 15-14, 15-7, but Ricardo Monroy evened the score for Bolivia by beating Kris Odegard, 15-14, 15-10.

Thus, the doubles match was again the deciding factor. François Viens and Vincent Gagnon carried the day for Canada by disposing of Roland Keller and Ricardo Monroy, 15-8, 15-8.

In 2010

The IRF announced that South Korea will be site of the 15th IRF Racquetball World Championships in 2010. It will be second time for South Korea to host Worlds. The competition was there in 2002. This is a sign racquetball is growing in South Korea, which can only be good for the game.

Draws for the 14th IRF Racquetball World Championships are available at R2Sports.

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