Friday, June 20, 2014

17th IRF World Championships - Doubles Semi-finals

There will be a first in Men's Doubles at the 17th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, as neither the USA or Mexico teams are in the final, so a new nation will take home the gold Saturday. But the trip home will be of considerably different lengths for the two finalists.

Canada is one finalist, and as the host nation, they are already playing at home, and one of the members of their Men's Doubles team - Mike Green - is playing in his home club. He and Vincent Gagnon will take on the Colombian team of Alejandro Herrera and Sebastian Franco in Saturday's final in what will be a rematch of a group stage match, which the Canadians won in two straight games, but only by coming back from 14-7 down in the second game to win.

The Canadians reached the final by defeating Americans Ben Croft and Tom Fuhrmann, 15-11, 15-2, in front of a very boisterous home crowd. The first game was close all the way, as Canada opened with a 4-1 lead only to see the Americans score four points to take the lead themselves at 5-4.

The Canadians when went up 11-7, and again the Americans responded with four points to tie the game at 11-11. But the Canadians called timeout at that point, and when play resumed Canada got the serve back with two hand outs, the first of which was a fault serve by Fuhrmann.

The Canadians then served out game one. But the Americans were undeterred, as the won the first two points of game two. After few sideouts, the score was tied at 2-2. Then the Canadians ran the score to 7-2, and the US called a timeout. That didn't stop the Canadian momentum, as they ran the score to 12-2.

That spurred another American timeout, and their frustration showed as Croft broke his racquet against his leg as he was coming off the court. They did get the serve back after the timeout, but the Canadians held them off the scoreboard.

When the Canadians regained serve, they finished it off, including a service winner by Green for the 14th point that was straight to Fuhrmann, who couldn't quite catch up with the ball as it came off the backwall, as it was a change from the jam serves both Green and Gagnon had been serving to him throughout the match.

It was just such a jam serve that Green used to start the rally that ended the match.

The Colombians defeated the Bolivians Conrado Moscoso and Mario Mercado in the other semi-final, 15-11, 15-2. The first game was close all the way until they were tied at 9-9. After that, Colombia took the lead, and held it to win.

The second game was not close at all, as the Colombians won it going away. They both served to Mercado on the right side, keeping the ball away from Moscoso, who's in the Men's Singles final.

The Women's Doubles final is almost a repeat of the 2010 final, except one of the players is different. That year Mexicans Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas defeated American Aimee Ruiz and Jackie Paraiso to win their first title and first title by a Mexican women's doubles team. But this year Ruiz is playing with Janel Tisinger, and the Mexicans are coming in as the two time defending World Champions.

The Mexicans had an easier time of it in the semi-finals, as the defeated Chileans Angela Grisar and Carla Muñoz, 15-1, 15-3, while the Americans needed a tie-breaker to see off Maria Paz Muñoz and Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador, 6-15, 15-4, 11-4.

There will be live streaming of the Women's and Men's Doubles finals on Saturday at 1 PM and 2:30 PM, respectively, via the IRF Network.

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

Men's Doubles


Mike Green & Vincent Gagnon (Canada) d. Ben Croft & Thomas Fuhrmann (USA), 15-11, 15-2
Alejandro Herrera & Sebastian Franco (Colombia) d. Conrado Moscoso & Mario Mercado (Bolivia), 15-11, 15-2


Mike Green & Vincent Gagnon (Canada) v. Alejandro Herrera & Sebastian Franco (Colombia) - 2:30 PM Saturday

Women's Doubles


Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Angela Grisar & Carla Muñoz (Chile), 15-1, 15-3,
Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger (USA) d. Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador), 6-15, 15-4, 11-4


Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger (USA) - 1:00 PM Saturday

Follow the bouncing ball....

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