Thursday, March 29, 2018

Doubles quarterfinals at 2018 Pan American Championships

Carla Muñoz and Josefa Parada got the host country of Chile on the podium at the XXXI Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile, as they defeated the USA team of Rhonda Rajsich and Janel Tisinger, 15-14, 15-2, in the quarterfinals of Women’s Doubles. The Chileans will play the top seeds Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala in the semi-finals, as the Guatemalans defeated Colombians Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros, 15-11, 15-4, in their quarterfinal match. Amaya apparently picked up a slight injury while warming up for the match, which may have impacted her performance.

The other semis will be between Bolivians Stefanny Barrios and Jenny Daza and Alexandra Herrera and Paola Longoria of Mexico. The Bolivians needed a tie-breaker to fend off the Cuban team of Yurisleidis Araujo and Maria Viera Gonzales, 13-15, 15-12, 11-7.

But the most anticipated match of the quarters was Herrera and Longoria versus Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina, which went to the Mexicans 15-14, 15-6. However, it wasn’t without controversy.

The first game was great, and Argentina was ahead in the middle of the game at 11-7. Mexico came back to tie it 11-11, and they were tied again at 12-12 and 13-13. Herrera skipped a shot to put Argentina on game point at 14-13.

That’s when the controversy happened, as on the next rally Longoria held up for a shot, and was awarded an avoidable hinder by the referee, although there seemed to be plenty of room to swing. Argentina appealed the call, but one of the line judges agreed with the referee, so the call stood.

It’s not uncommon for Longoria to do this, as she assumes she’s correct about it being an avoidable. But in The Racquetball Blog’s opinion it was a hinder at most, and frankly, hardly that. Indeed, there was a similar situation in game two, where Longoria took the shot.

But, hey, why take our word for it, when you can make up your own mind by going to the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Facebook page and looking up the match. The rally with the questionable avoidable begins about 32:40, and the rally with a similar situation, where Longoria took the shot is about 41:00 (Longoria’s shot immediately after Vargas goes to the floor to hit the ball).

We don’t believe that one call determines a match, as games are to 15, not 1, but that avoidable gave the serve back to the Mexicans, who closed out the game on the next two rallies, 15-14. Then they ran with the momentum to go up 8-0 in game two. Argentina did get on the board before it was over, but never closer than six points, as Mexico won game two by a comfortable 15-6 score line.

Hinders are always judgment calls, and line judges can help a referee get it right, but still opinions can differ about what “right” actually is.

We don’t think there was anything controversial on the men’s side, in part because only one of the matches was at all close. In that match, Juan Francisco Cueva and Jose Daniel Ugalde of Ecuador defeated Fernando Kurzbard and Daniel Maggi of Argentina, 15-11, 15-13.

Ecuador will face Bolivians Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso, who defeated Felipe Camacho and Teobaldo Fumero of Costa Rica, 15-2, 15-5. The Bolivians played very well. Sometimes spectacularly well, as Moscoso hit a diving backhand pinch winner in game two that made it 9-2, and later in that game he hit a between the legs pinch shot for a winner while facing the back wall, as the ball took an awkward bounce out of the back corner.

On the top side of the draw, it’ll be Mexico versus Canada in the other semi-final, as in the quarters Alvaro Beltran and Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico defeated Edwin Galicia and Christian Wer of Guatemala, 15-3, 15-13, and Nicolas Bousquet and Samuel Murray of Canada beat Thomas Carter and David Horn of the USA, 15-10, 15-4.

For live streaming of matches - or to watch them after the fact - check out the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Facebook page.

XXXI Pan American Racquetball Championships
Temuco, Chile - March 24-31, 2018

Women's Doubles - Quarterfinals - Thursday

1) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. 8) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia), 15-11, 15-4
4) Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile) d. 5) Rhonda Rajsich & Janel Tisinger (USA), 15-14, 15-2

6) Alexandra Herrera & Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 3) Natalia Mendez & Maria José Vargas (Argentina), 15-14, 15-6
2) Stefanny Barrios & Jenny Daza (Bolivia) d. 10) Yurisleidis Araujo & Maria Viera Gonzales (Cuba), 13-15, 15-12, 11-7

Women's Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) v. 4) Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile) - 2 PM
2) Stefanny Barrios & Jenny Daza (Bolivia) v. 6) Alexandra Herrera & Paola Longoria (Mexico) - 3 PM

Men’s Doubles - Quarterfinals - Thursday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. 9) Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala), 15-3, 15-13
4) Nicolas Bousquet & Samuel Murray (Canada) d. 5) Thomas Carter & David Horn (USA), 15-10, 15-4

6) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 3) Felipe Camacho & Teobaldo Fumero (Costa Rica), 15-2, 15-5
2) Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. 7) Fernando Kurzbard & Daniel Maggi (Argentina), 15-11, 15-13

Men’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) v. 4) Nicolas Bousquet & Samuel Murray (Canada) - 4 PM
2) Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) v. 6) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - 4 PM

* Note: Temuco is 1 hour ahead of Eastern time, so 4 PM above would be 3 PM eastern.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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