There are two new, or nouveau, Canadian champions as Kris Odegard and Jennifer Saunders won the finals Saturday at the 2009 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Edmonton. It's Odegard's second national title and Saunders's third.
Odegard, seeded third, defeated defending champion Mike Green in two close games, 16-14, 17-15. In game one, Odegard had the early lead at 5-1, but Green came back and went ahead 8-5 and then 14-9. Usually leads like that are safe, but not Saturday, as Odegard came back and won it 16-14.
Game two was back and forth the whole way. Odegard got to 14 first, leading 14-12. He served a lob to the left that Green volleyed for a pinch winner. Back in the service box, Green went ahead 15-14, but could not close it out to force the tie-breaker.
Odegard's previous Canadian Championship was in 2007, when he also defeated Green in the final.
Saunders won her third Canadian Championship by defeating current Canadian Junior Champion Frédérique T. Lambert in the final, 15-10, 15-8. Saunders has been a finalist nine years running.
Saunders found herself down 5-1 and 6-2 in game one, but came back and took a 10-6 lead, shooting very well on both the backhand and forehand sides. It was close early on in game two as well, but after a 6-6 tie, Saunders pulled ahead and forged on to victory.
Saunders was previously Canadian Champion in 2002 and 2005. And her singles title gives her The Double, as she won the doubles title earlier this week with partner Josée Grand'Maître. Saunders also won both singles and doubles in 2005.
Canadian National Championships
Men's Singles - Finals (seeding)
(3) Kris Odegard d. (1) Michael Green, 16-14, 17-15
Women's Singles - Finals
(1) Jennifer Saunders d. (3) Frédérique T. Lambert, 15-10, 15-8
Follow the bouncing ball....