Saturday, October 24, 2009

US OPEN - WPRO Semi finals

Paola Longoria earned the right to defend her US Open crown with a win over Kerri Wachtel in the semi-finals of the 14th US Open Racquetball Championships in Memphis, Tennessee. However, Longoria, the #1 player on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour, needed five games before defeating the former champion Wachtel, 3-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5.

But early on there was doubt whether Longoria would make the final as Wachtel won the first two games. Game three was close all the way, and they were tied at 8-8. Wachtel was only three points from the match. But that's as close as she got, as Longoria went on to win 11-8.

Game four was all Longoria, as she took a 5-0 lead and won 11-5. Wachtel clawed some points back late in game four and used that momentum going into game five taking the early lead at 4-1.

But the reigning champ showed why she won last year and came back to take the lead and pushed on to victory, 11-5.

In the match, Longoria often served a drive z to the left side - Wachtel's backhand - but also mixed in drive zs to the right side - Wachtel's forehand - with success. For her part, Wachtel used a backhand z serve to the Longoria's backhand, as well as drive z serves also to Longoria's backhand.

The victory avenges Longoria's semi-final loss to Wachtel in the Texas Open last month. Longoria will face second seed Rhonda Rajsich in Sunday's final.

In a battle of former #1 players, Rajsich defeated Cheryl Gudinas in what was also a hard fought five game match, 11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5.

Rajsich took a big lead in early game one at 5-0, and held it to win comfortably, 11-5. In game two, however, Gudinas had the early lead 4-1. Rajsich closed it to one at 5-4, and they were never separated by more than two points until they were tied at 8-8. Then Gudinas ran three straight points to take game two 11-8.

In game three, Gudinas again had the early lead at 4-1, only to see Rajsich come back and tie it at 5-5 and again at 6-6. But that was as much as Rajsich would get as Gudinas pushed through to win it 11-6.

Game four began with an act of good sportsmanship as on the first serve Rajsich believed Gudinas's drive serve was short. The referee's vision was blocked so she had to call it good. The lines-people were split, which means the referee's call stands by 2-1 vote.

However, Gudinas said to replay it, so they did. Rajsich won the next rally, and worked herself into the lead at 4-0. It was Gudinas's turn to came back, and she did, tying the score at 4-4. But after 10 sideouts Rajsich went ahead again to 6-4, and held the lead to win 11-7.

In game five, it was close early with each player having two point leads before they tied at 5-5. Then Rajisch worked through a 7-5 advantage and then 9-5. Gudinas got the serve back twice, but was unable to score any more points, as Rajsich took game five 11-5, winning the match.

Gudinas was primarily drive serving through the match, while Rajsich used a variety of serves.

2009 US OPEN WPRO Semi-finals

#1 Paola Longoria d. #5 Kerri Wachtel, 3-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5
#2 Rhonda Rajsich d. #3 Cheryl Gudinas, 11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5

Final - Sunday

#1 Paola Longoria vs. #2 Rhonda Rajsich

Follow the bouncing ball....

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