Thursday, June 19, 2014

17th IRF World Championships - Singles Quarterfinals

There was much drama in Men's and Women's Singles on quarterfinal day at the 17th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, including a first for Bolivia, as a Bolivian will play in the final for first time ever at the World Championships.

That is guaranteed in Men's Singles, as both Bolivians Carlos Keller and Conrado Moscoso won their respective semi-finals. Keller defeated Canadian Tim Landeryou, 15-6, 15-12, and Moscoso defeated Polo Gutierrez, 15-14, 2-15, 11-10.

Whomever wins the Bolivian semi-final, he will face an American, as the other semi-final is an all-American affair between Rocky Carson and Jose Rojas, who both defeated Colombians in their respective quarterfinals. Carson defeated Sebastian Franco, 15-8, 15-10, and Rojas beat Alejandro Herrera, 15-7, 15-6.

There were no surprises on the women's side, as the four remaining players are the top four players on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT). However, two of the four needed tie-breakers to win their quarterfinal matches.

But not defending World Champion Paola Longoria of Mexico and Marie Jose Vargas of Argentina both won their quarterfinal matches in two straight games. Longoria defeated Jin Young Seok (South Korea), 15-4, 15-5, and Vargas beat Christine Richardson (Canada), 15-6, 15-1. Longoria and Vargas will face off in one semi-final.

Top seed and two time World Champion Rhonda Rajsich of the USA faced match points in both game two and three against Colombian Cristina Amaya before she prevailed, 12-15, 15-14, 11-10. The tie-breaker was tight all the way, as no player led by more than two points.

Amaya had two chances to win it in the tie-breaker. She'd drove serve most of game three, but late on she switched to off speed Z serves with some success, but not on match point, as Rajsich fended off the first with a forehand pinch and the second with a backhand cross court serve return.

Rajsich also primarily drove served in game three, and won it on her second match point, which began with a drive serve to the left - Amaya's backhand. Amaya returned it cross-court, but the ball only came to the right of centre, where Rajsich was able to re-kill it for the win.

An American loss would has been historic, as it would have been the first time the USA had not got a medal in Women's Singles at Worlds. But Rajsich's victory continues the American tradition of podium performances.

Samantha Salas of Mexico will be Rajsich's opponent in the semi-finals, although she also needed three games to fend off Ecuador's Veronica Sotomayor, 15-4, 9-15, 11-8.

If Salas and Longoria win their respective semis, then there would be an all-Mexico final for the first time, and first final without an American woman since 2006, when Canadian Christie Van Hees defeated Chilean Angela Grisar to win the title.

The semi-finals on Friday and finals on Saturday. There will be live streaming of the semi-finals and finals on Friday and Saturday via the IRF Network.

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

Men's Singles


Rocky Carson (USA) d. Sebastian Franco (Colombia), 15-8, 15-10
Jose Rojas (USA) d. Alejandro Herrera (Colombia), 15-7, 15-6

Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Polo Gutierrez (Mexico), 15-14, 2-15, 11-10
Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. Tim Landeryou (Canada), 15-6, 15-12


Rocky Carson (USA) v. Jose Rojas (USA) - Noon Friday
Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. Carlos Keller (Bolivia) - Noon Friday

Women's Singles


Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 12-15, 15-14, 11-10
Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador), 15-4, 9-15, 11-8

Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. Christine Richardson (Canada), 15-6, 15-1
Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Jin Young Seok (South Korea), 15-4, 15-5


Rhonda Rajsich (USA) v. Samantha Salas (Mexico) - 11 AM Friday
Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - 11 AM Friday

Follow the bouncing ball....

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