Friday, August 10, 2012

USA in both men's & women's team finals at 16th IRF World Championships

A couple of dramatic semi-finals between Mexico and Canada in the semi-finals of the team competition at the 16th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and they split the results. Mexico won the women's semi and Canada the men's. But in both cases, their opponent in the final will be the USA.

On the men's side, Mike Green, the current Canadian Champion came through for his country on Friday, as he won the deciding match against Mexico by defeating Polo Gutierrez 15-8, 7-15, 11-10. Kris Odegard won the first match, beating Gilberto Mejia, 15-11, 15-6, in what was a rematch of a quarter final match in the individual competition earlier in the week, which Odegard lost.

But like Green, Odegard came through for Canada on Friday.

After Odegard's win, Green and Vincent Gagnon played doubles against Alvaro Beltran and Javier Moreno. The Canadians won game one against the Mexicans, who won the doubles World Championship earlier in the week, but then couldn't finish the match, losing 10-15, 15-6, 11-5.

That set up Green's heroics.

He came out blasting his drive serve, and went up 9-0 in game one against Gutierrez, going on to win 15-8. But in game two, the roles were reversed as Gutierrez built a 11-5 lead, and won 15-7, using soft half lob serves and good pinch shots to level the match.

In the tie-breaking third game, they were close all the way. Then Green edged ahead with a 9-6 lead. But Gutierrez held him there and got to 10 first. However, Green got the serve back, tied the score, but then on his first match point opportunity, he skipped a down the line shot.

But Gutierrez couldn't convert his second match point, so Green got the serve back. He hit another powerful drive serve, and Gutierrez hit a ceiling ball return, but the ball didn't get to the front wall, giving Green the 11th point, game and match.

The Canadian men will face the USA team in the final on Saturday, as the Americans defeated Bolivia in the other semi-final Friday on wins by Jose Rojas over Kadim Carrasco, 15-5, 15-0, and the doubles team of Jansen Allen and Tony Carson over Ricardo Monroy and Roland Keller, 15-2, 15-13.

On the women's side, the Americans also won their semi in two matches, as Cheryl Gudinas defeated Carolina Gomez of Colombia, 15-7, 15-2, and the doubles team of Aimee Ruiz and Rhonda Rajsich beat Cristina Amaya and Gomez, 15-2, 15-1.

But in the other semi, Mexico and Canada split the first two matches. Jennifer Saunders got Canada off on the right foot by defeating Jessica Parrilla, 15-7, 15-10.

Then Saunders and Josée Grand'Maître won the first game against the World Championship doubles team of Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas, and the Canadians led in game two, 11-5. But they couldn't hold it as the younger Mexican team came back to win the second game and then took the tie-breaker to take the match, 14-15, 15-13, 11-4.

Thus, it came down to Longoria, who became the Women's Singles World Champion earlier this week, versus Brandi Jacobson Prentice for the right to advance to the final. But in the end it was no contest as Longoria won easily 15-2, 15-1.

That puts the Canadian women in the 3rd place match on Saturday against Colombia.

Matches will be streamed via the IRF website.

16th IRF World Championships
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Men's Team Competition


USA d. Bolivia, 2-0
- Jose Rojas (USA) d. Kadim Carrasco (Bol), 15-5, 15-0
- Jansen Allen & Tony Carson d. Ricardo Monroy & Roland Keller (Bol), 15-2, 15-13

Canada d. Mexico, 2-1
- Kris Odegard (Saskatoon, Sask.) d. Gilberto Mejia (Mexico), 15-11, 15-6
- Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno (Mexico) d. Mike Green (Burlington, Ont.) & Vincent Gagnon (Montreal), 10-15, 15-6, 11-5
- Mike Green (Burlington, Ont.) d. Polo Gutierrez (Mexico), 15-8, 7-15, 11-10


USA v. Canada

3rd Place

Mexico v. Bolivia

Women's Team Competition


USA d. Colombia
- Cheryl Gudinas (USA) d. Carolina Gomez (Col), 15-7, 15-2
- Aimee Ruiz & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Cristina Amaya & Gomez (Col), 15-2, 15-1.

Canada d. Mexico
- Jennifer Saunders (Can) d. Jessica Parrilla (Mex), 15-7, 15-10
- Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mex) d. Saunders & Josée Grand'Maître (Can), 14-15, 15-13, 11-4
- Longoria (Mex) d. Brandi Jacobson Prentice (Can), 15-2, 15-1


USA v. Mexico

3rd Place

Canada v. Colombia

Follow the bouncing ball....

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