Saturday, February 16, 2013

46th USA Racquetball Doubles Championships - Three new winners & an 8th

Three first time winners at the 46th USA Racquetball (USAR) National Doubles Championship in Tempe, Arizona, as Jansen Allen and Tony Carson won the men's title and Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger took the women's title on Saturday. Allen, Carson and Tisinger won for the first time, but it was Ruiz's 8th USAR women's doubles title.

Ruiz and Tisinger defeated sisters Danielle and Michelle Key, 15-6, 15-8, in the final. Ruiz and Tisinger had been in the finals four times previously but not on the same side, as Tisinger played with Rhonda Rajsich and Ruiz had partnered with Jackie Paraiso (three times) or Laura Fenton (once). Ruiz's side won all those previous encounters.

On the men's side, 4th seeds Jansen Allen defeated Chris Crowther and Cliff Swain in the final, 15-12, 15-11, to win their first championship in their first finals appearance. Crowther was runner-up for the third year in a row, as he was in the finals with Shane Vanderson the last two years.

Women's final

Ruiz and Tisinger and Key and Key were tied early in game one at 3-3, but then Ruiz and Tisinger ran five points to make it 8-3. Key and Key called time out at 9-4, but were only able to get a couple points back after that, as Ruiz and Tisinger won game one 15-6.

Left-handed Ruiz was using a straight lob serve tight along the left side wall that to right-handed Michelle Key, who had difficulty playing it effectively.

In game two, Ruiz and Tisinger got an early lead at 5-1 and 7-2, but after a time out the Keys closed the difference to one at 7-6. But that was as close as they got as Ruiz and Tisinger opened up the lead to 10-6 and went on to win game two 15-8 and take the match in two straight games.

The Keys seemed to be too focussed on their opponents being a lefty-righty team as early on they served wrap arounds and into the middle, while they had more success in game two when they served directly to whichever opponent was on their side.

Nonetheless, it was an excellent tournament for the sisters, who defeated two veteran teams to get to their first US women's doubles final.

Men's final

In the men's side, veterans Crowther and Swain started well, as they got out to a 9-2 lead in game one. Swain's powerful drive serves had Allen and Carson off balance and they may also have been nervous being in their first US Men's Doubles final.

But Allen and Carson called a time out down 11-5, and proceeded to turn the game around. They served into the middle against the righty-lefty team of Crowther and Swain, who often tried to short hop serve returns. The stategy worked as Allen and Carson cut the lead to 12-11.

Crowther and Swain got the serve back at that point, but they weren't able to add to their point total, as Allen and Carson finished off the game 15-13. Allen had the hot hand later in game one, although Carson won the game with a forehand kill down the left side from deep in the court.

Game two was back and forth, including four straight side outs at 6-5 Crowther and Swain leading.

Then Allen and Carson went up 9-7, only to see the veterans respond with three straight points to lead 10-9. Crowther and Swain went up 11-10, but lost the serve, and Allen and Carson called a time out.

When the match resumed, Allen and Carson finished it off. Five straight points. Match point came after Swain skipped a service return as he was trying to smash it with an overhead shot. On the next rally, Allen hit a flat pinch winner into the front right corner, which was appropriate as he shot many winners during the match.

2013 46th USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions



Jansen Allen & Tony Carson d. Chris Crowther & Cliff Swain, 15-12, 15-11

3rd Place

Andy Hawthorne & Jeff Stark d. Ben Croft & Rocky Carson, forfeit



Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger d. Danielle Key & Michelle Key, 15-6, 15-8

3rd Place

Cheryl Gudinas & Kelani Bailey d. Rhonda Rajsich & Kim Russell-Waselenchuk, 15-12, 15-7

Follow the bouncing ball....

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