Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quarterfinal day at 2016 IRF World Junior Championships

It’s quarterfinal day at the 28th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, so a win today puts you on the podium, as you’ll be in semi-finals no Friday. Knowing you’re playing for a medal can add pressure to a match.

Defending champion in Girl’s U16, Ana Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala may have felt some of that pressure as her opponent Brenda Laime of Bolivia was on fire in game one, and got to game point first, leading 14-13. However, Laime wasn’t able to close it out, and Martinez took advantage by scoring two straight points to game one and then cruised through game two, winning the match 15-14, 15-4.

Canadian Alexis Iwaasa, top seed in Girl’s U16, may have felt that pressure, as despite being a World Juniors veteran, she’s not won a medal in singles play. And early in her match against American Briana Jacquet it didn’t look like that would change, as Jacquet was playing well, using a variety of serves that kept Iwaasa off balance. Jacquet took game one, 15-6. But in game two, Iwaasa found a serve that Jacquet had difficulty with: a drive Z to the left - Jacquet’s backhand, and she used it to win game two, 15-9, forcing a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Iwaasa scored the first two points, but Jacquet took the next six to lead 6-2, and looked good to get the upset win. However, Iwaasa came back and tied the game at 8-8, as she continued to use the Z serve to the left, although she did hit a drive to the right side that stuck in the back corner for an ace.

At 8-8, a questionable avoidable was called on Iwaasa, which she appealed. The line-judges agreed with the referee’s avoidable call, so Jacquet got the serve back. Yet she didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, as Jacquet double faulted.

With the serve back, Iwaasa scored three answered points to win the match, 5-15, 15-9, 11-8, and assure herself her first medal in singles at the World Juniors. In the semi-finals, Iwaasa will face Monserrat Mejia of Mexico, who beat Maria Jose Muñoz of Ecuador, 15-6, 15-5, in the quarters.

As close as the Iwaasa-Jacquet match was, it wasn’t as close as the battle in Girl’s U14 between top seed Valeria Centellas of Bolivia and 8th seed Maricruz Ortiz of Costa Rica, as it took Centellas three games to win it with only two points separating then in the third game and only a single point in the first two games. Centalles won 15-14, 14-15, 11-9.

Some seismic upsets in Girl’s U18, as 6th seed Melania Sauma of Costa Rica and 7th seed Maria Jose Muñoz of Ecuador both won on the bottom half of the draw, so one of them will play for gold as they will face off in the semi-finals on Friday. Sauma, the 6th seed, defeated 3rd seed Flavia Meneses of Bolivia, 15-7, 15-9, in one quarterfinal with Muñoz beating 2nd seed Erin Rivera of Mexico, 15-8, 3-15, 11-8.

On the top half of the Girl’s U18 draw, there will be a face off between two Americans, as Erika Manilla defeated Andrea Martinez of Guatemala, 15-7, 15-6, in one quarterfinal, and Jordan Cooperrider beat Denisse Maldonado of Mexico, 15-10, 15-4.

This is the first year since 2010 that the Girl’s U18 semi-finals has not had a player from either Mexico or Bolivia.

In Boy’s U18, there were no upsets in the quarterfinals, but there were two tie-breakers. Top seed Cristian Longoria of Mexico won easily, defeating 8th seed Alexander Pirie of Costa Rica, 15-0, 15-4. Longoria will face 4th seed Wayne Antone, who an All-American match with team-mate Kevin Vazquez, 15-12, 3-15, 11-9.

On the other side of the draw, 3rd seed Cristhian Miña of Bolivia will play 10th seed Set Cubillos in the semis, as Miña beat Trevor Webb of Canada), 15-6, 15-1, and Cubillos outlasted Bolivian Noe Rivera, 15-10, 12-15, 11-3.

A significant result in Boy’s U16, as 5th seed Marco Sarmiento of Honduras upset 4th seed Fernando Ruiz of Bolivia, 15-11, 15-10. The significance is that Sarmiento’s may assure him of the first medal for Honduras in boy’s singles at World Juniors.

You can watch some of the matches live from San Luis Potosi via the IRF YouTube channel.

28th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Girl's U18 Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Erika Manilla (USA) d. 8) Andrea Martinez (Guatemala), 15-7, 15-6
4) Jordan Cooperrider (USA) d. 5) Denisse Maldonado (Mexico), 15-10, 15-4

6) Melania Sauma (Costa Rica) d. 3) Flavia Meneses (Bolivia), 15-7, 15-9
7) Maria Jose Munoz (Ecuador) d. 2) Erin Rivera (Mexico), 15-8, 3-15, 11-8

Girl's U18 Singles - Semi-finals

1) Erika Manilla (USA) v. 4) Jordan Cooperrider (USA)
6) Melania Sauma (Costa Rica) v. 7) Maria Jose Munoz (Ecuador)

Boy's U18 Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Cristian Longoria (Mexico) d. 8) Alexander Pirie (Costa Rica), 15-0, 15-4
4) Wayne Antone (USA) d. 5) Kevin Vazquez (USA), 15-12, 3-15, 11-9

3) Cristhian Miña (Bolivia) d. 11) Trevor Webb (Canada), 15-6, 15-1
10) Set Cubillos (Colombia) d. 15) Noe Rivera (Bolivia), 15-10, 12-15, 11-3

Boy's U18 Singles - Semi-finals

1) Cristian Longoria (Mexico) v. 4) Wayne Antone (USA)
3) Cristhian Miña (Bolivia) v. 10) Set Cubillos (Colombia)

Girl's U16 Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Alexis Iwaasa (Canada) d. 8) Briana Jacquet (USA), 6-15, 15-9, 11-8
4) Monserrat Mejia (Mexico) d. 12) Maria Jose Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-6, 15-5

3) Andrea Ramirez (Mexico) d. 6) Ingrid Robledo (USA), 15-4, 15-14
2) Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. 7) Brenda Laime (Bolivia), 15-14, 15-4

Girl's U16 Singles - Semi-finals

1) Alexis Iwaasa (Canada) v. 4) Monserrat Mejia (Mexico)
2) Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) v. 3) Andrea Ramirez (Mexico)

Boy's U16 Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Eduardo Portillo (Mexico) d. 9) Sergio Acuña (Costa Rica), 15-1, 15-2
5) Marco Sarmiento (Honduras) d. 4) Fernando Ruiz (Bolivia), 15-11, 15-10

3) Sebastian Fernandez (Mexico) d. 6) Andres Montero (Costa Rica), 12-15, 15-9, 11-0
2) Gerson Miranda (Bolivia) d. 10) Dane Elkins (USA), 15-9, 15-2

Boy's U16 Singles - Semi-finals

1) Eduardo Portillo (Mexico) v. 5) Marco Sarmiento (Honduras)
2) Gerson Miranda (Bolivia) v. 3) Sebastian Fernandez (Mexico)

Girl's U14 Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Valeria Centellas (Bolivia) d. 8) Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica), 15-14, 14-15, 11-9
4) Delia Aguilar (Mexico) d. 12) Elena Dent (USA), 11-15, 15-2, 11-1

3) Romina Rivero (Bolivia) d. 11) Sofia Freer (Costa Rica), 15-5, 15-2
2) Guadalupe Griffin (Mexico) d. 7) Ana Lucia Sarmiento (Ecuador), 15-7, 15-1

Girl's U14 Singles - Semi-finals

1) Valeria Centellas (Bolivia) v. 4) Delia Aguilar (Mexico)
2) Guadalupe Griffin (Mexico) v. 3) Romina Rivero (Bolivia)

Boy's U14 Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Diego Garcia (Bolivia) d. 9) Tomas Sanchez (Costa Rica), 15-10, 15-0
4) Sebastian Longoria (Mexico) d. 5) Antonio Rojas (USA), 5-15, 15-12, 11-6

14) Felipe Cardona (Colombia) v. 11) Jose Cardona (Guatemala), 15-5, 15-13
2) Jose Ramos (Mexico) d. 7) Sahil Thakur (USA), 7-15, 15-5, 11-1

Boy's U14 Singles - Semi-finals

1) Diego Garcia (Bolivia) v. 4) Sebastian Longoria (Mexico)
2) Jose Ramos (Mexico) v. 14) Felipe Cardona (Colombia)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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