Monday, June 23, 2014

17th IRF World Championships - Colombia and Mexico win Doubles

Colombia and Mexico made significant history in Men's and Women's Doubles, respectively, on Saturday at the 17th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, as Colombia won the first gold medal by a South American country in Men's Doubles, or any event in fact, and Mexico won their 3rd consecutive Women's Doubles title, which is the most for the same two players.

Colombians Sebastian Franco and Alejandro Herrera broke the hearts of the hometown crowd, as the defeated Canadians Mike Green and Vincent Gagnon, 15-11, 15-5, in what was the first Men's Doubles final that did not involve either the USA or Mexico.

The first game was close early, and the lead went back and forth. Colombia led 3-0 and 5-2, then they were tied at 6-6 before Canada took a 11-6 advantage. At that point the Canadians looked good to win game one, but the Colombians scored nine unanswered points to win the game.

Late in game one, they began double serving straight lobs to Gagnon, who was on the right side. He mostly hit overhead cross court returns, so the serve wasn't a problem in and of itself, but it did lead to Colombian points, which was a problem for Canada.

THe Colombians continued that strategy in game two, and after Canada scored the first two points, scored seven points before Canada got a third. And Colombia got seven more before Canada got a fourth, at which point the writing was on the wall.

Perhaps indicative of the day was when Franco hit a boast - a side wall-side wall-front wall - shot for a winner that got Canada sided out at 9-3.

Canada continued to fight hard, and held Colombia at 12 for two side outs, but they just couldn't score themselves, trying several different serves to both Franco and Herrera to no avail.

Gagnon was playing in his first World Championship final, while it was the second for Green, who lost the Men's Doubles final four years ago, when he and Tim Landeryou lost to Americans Ben Croft and Mitch Williams.

Mexicans Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas defeated Americans Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger, 15-4, 15-12, to win the Women's Doubles final for the third consecutive time. They are the first pair to win three doubles titles in a row, although Kim Russell-Waselenchuk (USA) and Jackie Paraiso (USA) both won three in a row each did so with different partners (two of Russell-Waselenchuk's were with Paraiso).

Overall, Longoria and Salas's three titles ties them with Joy MacKenzie (USA), Malia Bailey (USA), and Russell-Waslenchuk for second most Women's Doubles titles behind Paraiso, who has seven, including two with MacKenzie and Russell-Waselenchuk and one with Bailey.

After winning the first game, the Mexicans found themselves down 8-1 in game two. But a timeout led to a hideout that got back the serve for the Mexicans.

They scored a few points, but the US still kept the advantage with a 12-5 lead. But the defending champs kept pecking away, hitting most of their serves into the centre of the court between the lefty/righty American team.

The Americans called a timeout when the Mexicans got within one at 12-11. However, the Mexicans tied the score at 12-12, and though the US got the serve back twice, but they were unable to score, and more importantly prevent the Mexicans from scoring the last three points that got them their third doubles title.

17th IRF World Championships
June 14-21, 2014
Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Men's Doubles


Alejandro Herrera & Sebastian Franco (Colombia) d. Mike Green & Vincent Gagnon (Canada), 15-11, 15-5

Women's Doubles


Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger (USA), 15-4, 15-12

Follow the bouncing ball....

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