Saturday, May 23, 2015

New Men's & Women's Canadian Racquetball Champions

Coby Iwaasa and Frédérique Lambert both won their first Canadian National Championship in Men's and Women's Open Singles, respectively, at the 2015 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Burnaby, B.C. Saturday. Lambert ended the reign of six time defending champion Jennifer Saunders in two straight games, 15-7, 15-7, while a new men's champion was guaranteed as Iwaasa and Samuel Murray were each in the men's final for the first time.

Iwaasa prevailed, but needed a tie-breaker to win his first title with the final score of 15-10, 12-15, 11-7. Iwaasa won Men's Doubles earlier in the week with Mike Green, and becomes the sixth man to win both Open Singles and Open Doubles at the Canadian Championships.

The players to previously win both are Mike Ceresia, Kane Waselenchuk, Vincent Gagnon, Wayne Bowes, who did it twice, and Green, who won both five times.

Iwaasa got a good start in game one, going out to a 13-2 lead. But Murray dug in, and made it close before Iwaasa finished it off at 15-10. Murray's momentum continued in game two, as they were close all the way.

Iwaasa had a slight advantage at 10-8 late in game two, but Murray tied it at 10-10, and then went ahead 12-10. Iwaasa tied it at 12-12, but Murray held him there, scoring three points to take game two and force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Iwaasa seemed to find another gear early, as he drove serve well to score three quick points with a drive serve to the right, to the left and then a Z to the right. He extended that lead to 7-1, and looked like he might roll over Murray.

But again Murray came back using a kiss lob serve to the left side (Iwaasa's backhand), as well as lobs to the right, and a half Z lob to the right (Iwaasa's forehand). He got within one at 8-7.

Then there was a long rally that ended with Iwaasa making a touch forehand shot down the line in the front court. A timeout was called, and when play resumed Iwaasa got three straight points without giving up serve, including an drive serve ace to the left side.

The winning shot came after Iwaasa drove the ball to the right side, Murray hit a ceiling ball, and Iwaasa finished it off with a forehand pinch winner.

This is the first time since 2002 that both the Men's and Women's Canadian Open Singles Champions are winning their first titles. In 2002, Green and Saunders both won for the first time.

This was the last opportunity for players to earn points to qualify them for the Canadian National Team that will compete at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto in July. The results from this week will be used to recommend players to the Canadian Olympic Committee, who will make the final team selections. That announcement is expected in approximately a week.

Racquetball Canada National Championships
Rev's, Burnaby, British Colombia

Men's Open Singles (seedings)


4) Coby Iwaasa d. 2) Samuel Murray, 15-10, 12-15, 11-7

3rd Place

3) Vincent Gagnon d. 1) Mike Green, forfeit

5th Place

James Landeryou d. Tim Landeryou, 15-6, 15-10

7th Place

Nathaniel Husulak d. Lee Connell, 15-9, 15-6

9th Place

Pedro Castro d. Nicolas Bousquet, 15-10, 15-13

11th Place

Tanner Mattson d. Trevor Webb, 15-12, 16-14

Women's Open Singles


1) Frédérique Lambert v. 2) Jennifer Saunders

3rd Place

4) Michele Morissette d. 6) Valerie Fallu, 15-13, 9-15, 11-6

5th Place

Christine Richardson d. Linda Ellerington, 15-9, 15-8

7th Place

Alexis Iwaasa d. Brigitte Richard, forfeit

9th Place

Danielle Drury d. McKenzie Brayley, 15-7, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball…

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