Saturday, October 26, 2013

IRF 25th World Juniors - Three Mexicans in Girl's Finals

Mexicans made all three finals in the Girl's World Cup divisions Friday at the 25th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships in Sucre, Bolivia, although only one in each final, so there could be a gold medal sweep for Mexico or a gold medal shutout.

In Girl's U18, 5th seed Lucia Gonzalez of Mexico knocked off the #1 seed Masiel Rivera of Bolivia in two close games, 15-12, 15-14, and will face 2nd seed Mariana Tobon of Venezuela in the final, as Tobon beat Costa Rican Melania Sauma, 6-15, 15-12, 11-10, in the other semi.

It was the second consecutive match for Sauma that ended in an 11-10 tie-breaker, as she beat Paola Cossio of Bolivia 11-10 in the quarter-finals.

Gonzalez started strong against Rivera, going out to a 5-1 lead in game one by using drive serves to both sides, including into the left side glass wall. But Rivera began using a backhand lob Z serve to the left side - to Gonzalez's backhand and into that side glass wall.

Rivera went on a 10-1 run to take the lead at 11-6 and looked comfortable to win the first game. However, Gonzalez began to make some good returns of the lob Z and score points of her own, as she cut the score to 11-9.

They traded points to make it 12-10, and then Gonzalez scored two to level the game at 12-12. The Mexican pushed forward to win game one 15-12 seemingly against the run of play. Late in that game Rivera stopped using the lob Z as her first serve and only used it sometimes as a second serve the rest of the match.

In game two, they traded points back and forth to 3-3. Then Gonzalez scored three in a row to make it 6-3. But Rivera worked to catch up and did so at 7-7 and then led 8-7.

Gonzalez then put together a seven point run using her powerful drive serve to both sides making the score 14-8 and it looked like the upset was certain. However, the Bolivian playing in front of full stands of fans and on national television came back to tie the game at 14-14.

In her six point run, Rivera had two drive serve aces to right side: Gonzalez's forehand. In that run, Gonzalez served twice for the match, but couldn't win it.

After Rivera scored her 14th point off a backhand serve return skip by Gonzalez, Gonzalez put the next serve return away for a third match point opportunity. Again that wasn't successful for her, giving Rivera a second match point.

Both girls seemed to be tight, as they were often serving short at the end of game two. And so it was with Rivera's second match point, as she hit a short drive serve and then a lob to the right side that Gonzalez returned down the line for a winner and her 4th match point.

Gonzalez drove serve short, and then hit a lob to the left that started a long rally. After a few shots, Rivera had to scramble and did the splits as she hit the ball up to the ceiling to keep the rally going. That shot came off the back wall and Ganzalez hit a backhand winner to the left side to finally complete the upset.

It's #1 versus #2 in Girl's U16, as top seed Natalia Mendez of Bolivia and 2nd seed Diana Aguilar of Mexico will face off in the final. Mendez defeated 4th seed Luisa Santillan Lahud of Mexico, 15-6, 14-15, 11-7, in one semi-final, while Aguilar beat 3rd seed Hawira Rojas of Bolivia, 15-6, 15-3, in the other.

The Girl's U14 final should be a good one, as 1st seed Ana Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala will play 3rd seeded Mexican Erin Rivera. Both have powerful game styles. Rivera drive serves well and can drive the ball well during the rally as well, and if you can do that, then you're going to win a lot of matches.

In the semi-finals, Martinez defeated 4th seed Wanda Carvajal of Bolivia, 15-10, 15-7, and Rivera got the better of American Jordan Cooperrider, 15-11, 15-6.

There is live streaming of matches from Sucre via the IRF website.

25th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
Sucre, Bolivia

Girl's U18 (with seedings)


5. Lucia Gonzalez (Mexico) d. 1. Masiel Rivera (Bolivia), 15-12, 15-14
2. Mariana Tobon (Venezuela) d. 6. Melania Sauma (Costa Rica), 6-15, 15-12, 11-10


2. Mariana Tobon (Venezuela) v. 5. Lucia Gonzalez (Mexico)

Girl's U16


1. Natalia Mendez (Bolivia) d. 4. Luisa Santillan Lahud (Mexico), 15-6, 14-15, 11-7
2. Diana Aguilar (Mexico) d. 3. Hawira Rojas (Bolivia), 15-6, 15-3


1. Natalia Mendez (Bolivia) v. 2. Diana Aguilar (Mexico)

Girl's U14 Singles


1. Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. 4. Wanda Carvajal (Bolivia), 15-10, 15-7
3. Erin Rivera (Mexico) v. 7. Jordan Cooperrider (USA), 15-11, 15-6


1. Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) v. 3. Erin Rivera (Mexico)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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