Friday, April 18, 2014

PARC XXVII Pan Am Championships - Mexico & USA into men's doubles final

The seedings continued to hold true in the men's doubles division at the XXVII Pan American Racquetball Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, as the Mexican and American teams won their respective semi-finals. But it wasn't easy for either team.

The top seeded Mexican team of Daniel De La Rosa and Edson Martinez needed a tie-breaker to defeat the 4th seeded Bolivian team of Ricardo Monroy and Roland Keller, 9-15, 15-5, 11-4.

The Mexicans got off to a good start in the match, going up 6-0 in game one. But the Bolivians scored twelve straight points to lead 12-6, and then pushed on to win 15-9. The game point came from an encroachment call against De La Rosa, who was trying to return a lob serve from Monroy. Mexico appealed the call, but it wasn't overturned.

The teams were close in game two, but then in the middle of that game, both Mexicans began serving kiss or nick lobs to Monroy, who was playing the left (backhand) side. It was a curious strategy as Monroy is the veteran of the Bolivian team, and a two time Pan American Champion: once in singles (2010) and once in doubles (2012). But it proved to be effective, as Monroy didn't have a good return for that serve.

In the other semi, Americans Jose Rojas and David Horn defeated Daniel Maggi and Shai Manzuri of Argentina, 15-7, 15-14.

After winning the first game relatively comfortably, the American found themselves down 9-0 in game two, as Maggi - playing the right side - was hitting drive Z serves to Horn, who was having trouble returning them.

At 11-2, Rojas went over to the right side to return Maggi's serve and promptly skipped the first return to make it 12-2. But then there was a hideout and the Americans began their comeback.

The USA cut the lead to 12-6, and the Argentines called a timeout. That seemed to work as they got the serve back and scored a point to make it 13-6. However, the USA then regained serve and ran five points to make the score 13-11 prompting another Argentina timeout.

But the Americans tied the game at 13-13 before Argentina got the serve back. The South American team reached game point at 14-13 after a Maggi forehand kill shot, but they couldn't finish the game.

The lack of finishing allowed the American team back in and they won it 15-14 (no win by two rule in international events) on a Rojas backhand down the line shot.

The win gives Rojas a chance at two gold medals on Saturday, as he's in the singles final as well. Also, Horn has a chance to win gold in his first team on Team USA. The last person to do that was Ben Croft, who won men's doubles with Mitch Williams at the 2010 Pan American Championships.

If De La Rosa wins the doubles title, then he'll join Canadian Mike Green, American Bill Sell, Mexican Polo Gutierrez and Monroy as players to win Pan American Championships in both singles and doubles. De La Rosa won the Pan Am Championships singles title in 2011.

The final will be 2:30 PM Saturday and will be live via the IRF Network.

XXVII Pan American Racquetball Championships
Santa Cruz, Bolivia - April 12-19, 2014

Men's Doubles - Semi-finals

Daniel De La Rosa & Edson Martinez (Mexico) d. Ricardo Monroy & Roland Keller (Bolivia), 9-15, 15-5, 11-4
Jose Rojas & David Horn (USA) d. Daniel Maggi & Shai Mazuri (Argentina), 15-7, 15-14

Men's Doubles - Final

Daniel De La Rosa & Edson Martinez (Mexico) v. Jose Rojas & David Horn (USA)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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