Sunday, May 25, 2014

Gagnon and Saunders win Canadian Racquetball Championships

Vincent Gagnon and Jennifer Saunders are the 2014 Canadian Racquetball Champions after winning their respective finals Saturday at the 2014 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Brossard, Que. It's Gagnon's first singles championship and the eighth for Saunders, which sets the women's career record.

But both Gagnon and Saunders needed tie-breakers to win.

Gagnon, the top seed in the men's draw, defeated 2nd seed Tim Landeryou, 15-5, 13-15, 11-5, and Saunders upset the #1 women's seed Frédérique Lambert, 6-15, 15-6, 11-9.

With the win, Gagnon adds to a singles title to the four Canadian doubles titles he has, which includes a win earlier this week with partner Samuel Murray. Seven other men have won Canadian singles and doubles titles: Mike Green, Kris Odegard, Corey Osborne, Mike Ceresia, Kane Waselenchuk, Roger Harripersad and Wayne Bowes.

Asked how it felt to win, Gagnon said "I don't know yet," then added "it feels good." He also said, "it was was special to win, and even better to win it at home. The crowd was great."

After losing the second game, Gagnon was thinking "I have to return serve differently. I was only focussed on that."

Saunders was the underdog in the women's final for the first time in several years, as Lambert had won both of their previous meetings. However, Saunders "felt calm through the whole thing," and she "was confident she could win" even after losing the second game and finding herself down 5-1 in the tie-breaker.

Her match preparation was "more psychological" as "staying calm and playing my game" were plans going in.

Saunders's victory is her 8th, and sets the career women's record, which she previously held with Heather Stupp. "It's an honour to set that record," said Saunders, "because Canada's had so many great women racquetball players."

Saunders has been in every women's final since 2001, which is 14 consecutive finals, so her record in those finals is 8-6

Gagnon and Saunders will be representing Canada at the International Racquetball Federation World Championships next month in Burlington, Ont., and both are excited to be doing so.

"It's very exciting, because it's my first international competition in Canada," said Saunders, who's "looking forward to the home crowd and trying to win gold for Canada."

Gagnon said he's looking forward to Worlds also, and wants to "make it all the way" this year.

Racquetball Canada National Championships
Nautilus Plus, Brossard, Québec

Men's Open Singles


Vincent Gagnon d. Tim Landeryou, 15-5, 13-15, 11-5

3rd Place

Coby Iwaasa d. Samuel Murray, 13-15, 15-6, 11-8

5th Place

Pedro Castro d. Tanner Mattson, 12-15, 15-3, 11-5

Women's Open Singles


Jennifer Saunders d. Frédérique Lambert, 15-6, 6-15, 11-9

3rd Place

Christine Richardson d. Josée Grand'Maître, 16-14, 15-8

5th Place

Michele Morissette d. Brigitte Richard, 18-16, 17-15

Follow the bouncing ball….

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