Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 IRF World Championships - Team Day 2

The USA and Canada - the top two seeded teams - will meet in the finals of both the men's and women's team competition at the 15th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Seoul, South Korea on Saturday.

The American men reached the final with victories over South Korea in the quarter finals and Bolivia in the semi-finals, while the Canadian men beat Ecuador and then Costa Rica, respectively. This is likely the first time Costa Rica has been in the semis at worlds, and perhaps only the second time for Bolivia, who were also in the semis two years ago in Ireland.

The Costa Ricans got there with a victory over Team Mexico. The IRF has had troubles posting specific details of these team match ups, but we do know that Mexican Alejandro Landa defeated Costa Rican Ivan Villegas, 15-10, 15-8, so Felipe Camacho must have beaten Miguel Perea and the Costa Ricans must also have won doubles.

Costa Rica lost to Canada in the semi-finals as Kris Odegard defeated Camacho, 15-3, 15-14, and the Canadian doubles of Mike Green and Tim Landeryou defeated Camacho and Villegas, 15-9, 15-11. In that match, Landeryou was hit in the face by the ball near the eye area late in the 2nd game. He was able to finish the match, and it's hoped that Landeryou will be able to see properly for the final on Saturday.

In the USA-Bolivia semi-final, Rocky Carson had all he could handle from Bolivian Carlos Keller Vargas, who was a double gold medalist at last year's IRF World Junior Championships winning 16 & under singles and doubles, as Vargas won the first game and played Carson close in games 2 and 3, which Carson won 11-8 (unofficially).

But the USA men did advance past Bolivia to the final 3 matches to 0.

Earlier in the day in the quarters, the USA defeated South Korea with wins in doubles by Mitch Williams and Ben Croft over Min Soo Park and Dong Min-jang, 15-4, 15-7 and in singles by Jack Huczek over Daeyong Kwon, 15-2, 15-10.

In women's play, the USA defeated the Mexican team in their semi-finals 2 matches to 1. American Cheryl Gudinas beat Mexican Nancy Enriquez, 15-11, 15-9 in what was a rematch of their semi-final in the individual competition that Enriquez won, and reportedly the USA doubles team of Jackie Paraiso and Aimee Ruiz defeated the Mexican team of Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas in two straight games. The Americans conceded the third match, so Rhonda Rajsich didn't have to play Longoria.

Going back to Tuesday, Salas did need some stitches after the women's doubles final on Tuesday in which she was hit by Paraiso's racquet on a follow through, but Salas did not lose any teeth as was feared.

The Canadian women advanced to the final by defeating South Korea - also 2 matches to 1 - with wins by by Jennifer Saunders over Jung Eun Anh, 15-12, 15-14 and the doubles team of Brandi Jacobson Prentice and Frédérique Lambert over Jin Young Seok and Yunhui Yu, 15-4, 15-3.

The team competition works as a best of three. One country's #1 and #2 singles players play another's as well as the doubles teams facing off. If a country wins their first two matches, they will have won the competition, so may concede the third match, as it won't make a difference to the outcome. Similarly, if a country loses its first two matches, then they may concede the third so as to rest their players, especially if the players are playing both singles and doubles.

The team competition continues on Friday with the finals on Saturday.

15th IRF World Championships
Seoul, South Korea

Men's Team Competition

Quarter finals
USA d. South Korea, 2-1
Bolivia d. Venezuela, 2-1

Costa Rica d. Mexico, 2-1
Canada d. Ecuador, "3-1" [sic]

Semi finals
USA d. Bolivia, 3-0
Canada d. Costa Rica, 3-0

USA vs. Canada

Women's Team Competition
Semi finals
USA d. Mexico, 2-1
Canada d. South Korea, 2-1

USA vs. Canada

Follow the bouncing ball....

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