Saturday, December 20, 2008

IRF : 20th World Juniors - Singles Champions

Paola Longoria of Mexico successfully defended her Girls 18 & under title on Saturday at the 20th World Junior Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona by defeating Jenny Daza of Bolivia in the final, 15-6, 15-4. Longoria's win was expected, as she's the third ranked player on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour having won two WPRO tournaments this season including professional racquetball's premier event, the US Open.

American Danielle Key played the role of hometown hero perfectly as she came back from a game down to win the Girls 16 & under title by defeating Yazmine Sabja of Bolivia, 2-15, 15-11, 11-8.

A third Bolivian girl was in a final Saturday, and Maria Jose Vargas made sure Bolivia was not shut out of the gold medals by defeating Courtney Chisholm of the USA, 15-7, 15-11.

Thus, one gold medal went to Mexico, the USA and Bolivia from the girls finals, as well as two silver medals to Bolivia and one to the USA.

Vargas's gold medal is the first for a Bolivian - either boy or girl - in the World Cup (14 & under to 18 & under) singles competition. Bolivians Carlos Keller and Jorge Luis Michel won Boys 14 & doubles last year, and Daza and Sabja won Girls 18 & under doubles.

The boys medals were split between Mexico and the USA. However, the Boys 14 & under final was between two Americans. Jose Diaz caused what might be called a minor upset as he defeated last year's 14 & under champion Marco Rojas, 10-15, 15-11, 11-8.

Mexican Alejandro Cardona won Boys 16 & under after a close match with American Bradley Kirch, 15-14, 11-15, 11-4. It looked like Kirch won game one, when a get by Cardona was called two bounces by the referee. However, the Mexican appealed the call, and the linemen overturned it, leading to Cardona getting the serve back and finishing the game.

Undeterred Kirch won game two with strong drive serves and some backhand errors by Cardona from the deep left corner. However, in the tie-breaker Cardona was making his shots - including a pinch roll-out for the match, and Kirch was uncomfortable returning Cardona's lob serves.

The final in Boys 18 & under went as expected, with American Jose Rojas winning confortably over Erick Sandoval of Mexico, 15-7, 15-9. Sandoval was down 9-4 and 13-6 in the second game, but made a comeback to 13-9. But that's as close as Sandoval got as Rojas finished off the match in which he drove served effectively keeping his opponent off balance.

Thus, the USA and Mexico split both the boys gold and silver medals two to one, respectively.

20th World Junior Racquetball Championships
Girls 18 & Under - Finals

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Jenny Daza (Bolivia), 15-6, 15-4

Girls 16 & Under - Finals

Danielle Key (USA) d. Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia), 2-15, 15-11, 11-8

Girls 14 & Under - Finals

Maria Jose Vargas (Bolivia) d. Courtney Chisholm (USA), 15-7, 15-11

Boys 18 & Under - Finals

Jose Rojas (USA) d. Erick Sandoval (Mexico), 15-7, 15-9

Boys 16 & Under - Finals

Alejandro Cardona (Mexico) d. Bradley Kirch (USA), 15-14, 11-15, 11-4

Boys 14 & Under - Finals

Jose Diaz (USA) d. Marco Rojas (USA), 10-15, 15-11, 11-8

Follow the bouncing ball....

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