Saturday, October 11, 2008

WPRO - Canadian Classic Semi Final Results

Rhonda Rajsich, the #1 player on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour has successfully reached her third straight final of the WPRO season at the Canadian Racquetball Classic in Edmonton, Alberta. On Sunday, She'll have a chance to extend her tournament winning streak to seven going back to last season.

But in the semi-finals Kristen Bellows gave Rajsich all she could handle, and for two and half games looked like she would end Rajsich's streak. However, you have to win three games to win a match, so two and half isn't enough, as Rajsich came back to win 13-15, 1-11, 11-8, 11-1, 11-3.

In game one, Bellows had a big lead at 10-4. However, Rajsich worked her way back into the game, and took a lead at 11-10. They traded a few more points, and at 12-12 there was an avoidable called against Bellows giving Rajsich the serve.

Immediately after that Bellows pushed into Rajsich showing the referee that she could get to a ball, but it seemed to unsettle Rajsich. The game continued to be tight, but Bellow pulled it out 15-13.

In game two, it was all Bellows as she took an 8-0 lead and easily won 11-1. In game three, it was more of the same, as Bellows took a 7-1 lead. Then Rajsich started to come back.

She closed it to 8-6, when Bellows regained the serve but hit a three wall serve to give it right back to Rajsich. Then a long rally at 8-8 in which Rajsich drove twice to keep the ball in play and then ended it by cutting off a ceiling ball - pushing it into the front left corner - and making it 9-8.

She went on to win game three 11-8, and seemed to take all the momentum, as games four and five weren't close.

Afterwards Rajsich said that Bellows "played great," and "it seemed like everything she hit was gold." And it was for two and a half games.

But not three.

In the other semi-final, Cheryl Gudinas Holmes reached her limit of teenage opponents as she lost to Mexican teen Paola Longoria, 11-8, 11-3, 12-10. Gudinas Holmes had played Canadian Frédérique Lambert in the Round of 16, and Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador in the quarter finals.

Longoria served a combination of drive Zs and drive serves to the left rear corner - Gudinas Holmes's backhand side, while Gudinas Holmes struggled to find a serve she was comfortable with.

At the beginning of game three, Gudinas Holmes tried a backhand lob serve along the left wall that brought her some success, leading to a 8-2 lead. But Longoria dug in, and slowly crept back into the game.

Longoria fought off two game points, before tying the score at 10, and finishing it off 12-10 with a drive Z serve that Gudinas Holmes had to hit off the back wall. That led to a Longoria shot down the left line that came off the back wall. Gudinas Holmes responded with the same shot, and then Longoria hit a cross court pass that rolled out.

Gudinas Holmes said she "felt a little flat" in their late afternoon match, and "not as good as this morning."

The Rajsich/Longoria final is their second consecutive meeting in a WPRO final, as Rajsich defeated Longoria two weeks ago in the Mexico Open. But she did it by winning the tie-breaking fifth game 12-10, so Sunday's final should be a good one.

WPRO Canadian Racquetball Classic - Edmonton, Alberta

(1) Rhonda Rajsich d. (5) Kristen Bellows, 13-15, 1-11, 11-8, 11-1, 11-3
(6) Paola Longoria d. (2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes, 11-8, 11-3, 12-10


(1) Rhonda Rajsich vs. (6) Paola Longoria

Follow the bouncing ball....

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