Friday, June 20, 2014

17th IRF World Championships - Singles Semi-finals

The reigning International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champions in Men's and Women's Singles will have a chance to defend their titles on Saturday at the 17th IRF World Championships in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, as American Rocky Carson and Mexican Paola Longoria won their respective semi-final matches on Friday.

Carson defeated fellow American Jose Rojas, 15-8, 15-12, by playing his typical style of hard Z serves to the left - Rojas's backhand side, and following that up with solid shots and good shot selection.

After a slow start in game one, where Rojas was down 8-3, he had a lead late in game two at 10-7, and got there by using soft serves - a lob kiss to Carson's forehand - rather than his usual drive serve game.

But Carson called a timeout at that point, and held Rojas at 10 while scoring five unanswered points to lead 12-10. Rojas responded with two points of his own to tie the game at 12-12.

However, that's as many as Rojas could manage, as Carson got to match point, and won it with a forehand pinch shot to the left corner with Rojas trapped in the back court along the left wall at the end of a rally.

If Carson wins the final, it will be Carson's fourth consecutive title, and make him the winningest man in Men's Singles in IRF history, passing fellow American Jack Huczek, who he's now tied with at three titles each.

Conrado Moscoso of Bolivia stands in Carson's way, as he beat fellow Bolivian Carlos Keller, 15-11, 11-15, 11-3, in what was a battle of U18 Boy's World Junior Champions. Moscoso is the current U18 Boy's World Junior Champion and Keller won that title in 2011.

After winning game one, it looked like Moscoso would take the match in two straight, as he was up 10-7 in game two. However, Keller called a time-out, and scored eight of the next nine points to force a tie-breaker.

But Keller's momentum didn't carry over to the breaker, as Moscoso went up 4-0 and then 9-1, and won the third game, 11-3, to become the first South American man to reach a World Championship Men's Singles final.

Telling at the end was that Moscoso didn't celebrate, but had a long embrace with his countryman.

The top two seeds will meet in the Women's Singles final, as American Rhonda Rajsich and defending World Champion Paola Longoria of Mexico won their respective semi-final matches Friday. Rajsich defeated Samantha Salas of Mexico, 15-11, 15-9, and Longoria beat Marie Jose Vargas of Argentina, 15-5, 15-9.

Rajsich and Longoria have faced each other in several finals on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), but this is their first World Championship final, although they hold the last three titles: Longoria winning in 2012 and Rajsich in 2010 and 2008.

The Women's Singles finals will be 11 Am Saturday with the Men's Singles final to follow at noon. There will be live streaming of the finals on Saturday via the IRF Network.

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

Men's Singles


Rocky Carson (USA) d. Jose Rojas (USA), 15-8, 15-12
Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Carlos Keller (Bolivia), 15-11, 11-15, 11-3


Rocky Carson (USA) v. Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - Noon Saturday

Women's Singles


Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Samantha Salas (Mexico), 15-11, 15-9
Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 15-5, 15-9


Rhonda Rajsich (USA) v. Paola Longoria (Mexico) - 11 AM Saturday

Follow the bouncing ball....

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