Saturday, July 23, 2016

USA & Mexico split doubles titles at 18th IRF World Championships

The USA and Mexico split the doubles finals at the 18th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Cali, Colombia, as Americans Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger won the Women’s Doubles final and Alvaro Beltran and Javier Moreno won the Men’s Doubles final.

Ruiz and Tisinger’s title was the surprising one, as they upset three time defending Women’s Doubles champions Mexicans Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas. Two years ago Longoria and Salas beat Ruiz and Tisinger in the final. This year it was the Americans turn, as they won 15-11, 9-15, 11-8.

Afterwards, Tisinger said “I didn’t expect to be crying so much,” but it is her first World Championship. But it’s not Ruiz’s, as she won for the third time, although with the third different partner. The left-handed Ruiz has been on Team USA for the last six World Championships, and is now 3-3 in them, including playing in five finals.

Ruiz said she didn’t “have the words” to describe how she felt, but it was “nice to beat them.” Asked about the tie-breaker, Tisinger said there was “a bit of panic” as the Mexicans were coming back, but she tried to stay calm and was confident that they could win it.

And they did.

But it did not look like they would early in the match, as Mexico went up 7-1 in game one. But a timeout led to a sideout, and that produced five points, cutting the deficit to one at 7-6. The Americans then caught up to the Mexicans at 9-9, then went ahead 10-9. Mexico tied it at 10-10, but the USA got them out of the service box, and regained the lead, and maintained it, winning 15-11 when Longoria skipped a backhand shot.

Game two played out similarly early on, as Mexico led 5-1, and then USA again drew within one at 7-6. However, Mexico then took a timeout, and scored five straight points when play resumed to lead 12-6, and closed it out from there at 15-9.

Mexico got the first point of the breaker, but the USA led the rest of the way. Taking leads at 5-2, 7-3 and 10-4. However, it was a nervy finish, as Mexico fought off the first match point, then scored a few points to make it 10-7. USA got the serve back, but they couldn’t score, which led to another Mexico point and a 10-8 scoreline. USA called timeout.

When play resumed, the Americans got the serve back, as Salas framed a ball that was coming off the right side glass wall. It didn’t seem like a difficult shot, but it was coming into her body and she was taking it high. With the serve back, Ruiz again hit a lob to Longoria, as she had been doing all match. On the ensuing rally, Ruiz got a ball to hit in centre court and she hit a winning pass down the left side that ended a great match.

The Men’s Doubles final was not as dramatic, as Beltran and Moreno defeated Americans Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz in two straight games, 15-12, 15-9. In game one, the Mexicans took 8-1 lead only to see the Americans come back and tie it 9-9. Then the Americans took the lead at 12-9. But the veteran Mexican team, who had two World Doubles title together previously, held the young Americans at 12, as they came back to take game one 15-12 with the winning shot by Beltran that ended one of the numerous long rallies in the match.

Game two was similar, as Mexico took an early, but not large, lead, with the USA tying it at 6-6. But that was as close as the USA got, as Mexico went out to a 11-6 advantage. The Americans did get within two at 11-9, but they seemed to be just delaying the inevitable, as Beltran again hit the game winning shot.

The win is Moreno’s fourth Men’s Doubles Championship, which is the most for a men’s player. He first won back in 2000 with Luis Bustilos, which was the first non-USA team to win the title. Moreno’s other two title have been with Beltran: in 2006 and 2012.

The IRF will be posting the video of the finals, as well as earlier matches, on their YouTube channel in the coming days, so if you missed seeing them live, you can check them out there.

18th IRF World Championships
July 15-23, 2016
Cali, Colombia

Women's Doubles - Final

2) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger (USA) d. 1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico), 15-11, 9-15, 11-8

Men's Doubles - Final

2) Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno (Mexico) d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz (USA), 15-12, 15-9

Follow the bouncing ball....

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