Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Carson & Longoria IRF World Champions

American Rocky Carson became the second man to win three International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships by defeating Polo Gutierrez of Mexico in the men's singles final of the 16th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships on Monday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 15-6, 15-11.

It's Carson's third consecutive title tying him with fellow American Jack Huczek, who also won three consecutive titles in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

After winning game one comfortably, Carson found himself down 5-0 in game two, as Gutierrez took the early lead. But Carson fought back and tied the game at 7-7, serving almost exclusively drive Zs to the right-handed Gutierrez's backhand.

Carson then went ahead for the first time in the game, building an 11-7 lead. Gutierrez responded with a variety of serves and great pinch shots, and he cut the lead to two at 13-11, which raised the possibility of a tie-beaker.

But Carson quashed that possibility by holding Gutierrez at 11 and getting the last two points.

Asked about his game plan, Carson said he wanted to "make it physical, because I'm confident when it's like that. I wanted a faster pace, making my opponent move, keeping it fast."

Carson said "it's an honour," when asked about tying the record with Huczek, "because playing for your country is a great honour. And it means I've been successful doing it. I'm happy to give some pride to the country" in this way.

"It's not easy to be consistent all week," Carson added. But "I came here for one reason: to win again, and I felt confident all week."

Winning for the first time was Paola Longoria of Mexico who defeated Canadian Jennifer Saunders in the women's singles final, 15-11, 15-2.

They were close early in game one, and Saunders even led 5-4. However, Longoria got the lead back and ran the score to 14-6. Saunders didn't give up, though, and did close the gap to 14-11 before Longoria won game one.

But any momentum that Saunders might have gained by the late run in game one didn't transfer to game two, as Longoria quickly went out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back.

Longoria was in her first World Championship, but at only 23 and with two US Opens on her resumé and the #1 ranking on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour, few would think this her last.

Wednesday is an off day at Worlds, which will resume on Thursday with a team competition that is a best of three matches: two singles and two doubles. That will finish on Saturday. Matches will be live streamed via the IRF website.

16th IRF World Championships
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Men's Singles - Final

Rocky Carson (USA) d. Polo Gutierrez (Mexico), 15-6, 15-11

Women's Singles - Final

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Jennifer Saunders (Canada), 15-11, 15-2

Follow the bouncing ball....

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