Friday, March 30, 2018

Mexico could sweep doubles at 2018 Pan American Championships

While most of the singles semi-finals were close, the doubles semi-finals weren’t so close at the XXXI Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile. In Women’s Doubles, top seeds Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala knocked off the host country’s Carla Muñoz and Josefa Parada in two straight games, 15-5, 15-2, and will face the Mexican team of Alexandra Herrera and Paola Longoria, who were straight game winners over Bolivians Stefanny Barrios and Jenny Daza, 15-8, 15-8.

On the men’s side, Alvaro Beltran and Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico will face Bolivians Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso in the final. The Mexicans defeated Canadians Nicolas Bousquet and Samuel Murray of Canada, 15-3, 15-13, in one semi-final, while Bolivia beat Juan Francisco Cueva and Jose Daniel Ugalde of Ecuador, 15-8, 15-1.

The Guatemala-Chile women’s semi was more like a game of 2 versus 1 than a doubles game, as Muñoz took most of the shots for Chile. We’re not sure you’d need more than two hands to count the number of times Parada hit the ball. They used the I formation for serve return with Muñoz returning all the serves.

In Chile’s defence, Parada is only 17 (she’ll be 18 next month), so still inexperienced, and certainly less skilled than her partner or her opponents. The big question really is how Chile beat the USA’s Rhonda Rajsich and Janel Tisinger in the quarterfinals, because we have to assume they used the same strategy in that match as they used against Guatemala.

In the other women’s semi, Bolivia was close to Mexico in the first half of each game. In fact, Bolivia led 4-0 in game one. Mexico only led by one at 9-8 in each game. But Herrera and Longoria got the last six points in both games without surrendering one. Again there were some questionable hinder calls in the match that went Mexico’s way, including on match point, when Longoria held up and got an avoidable that Bolivia didn’t appeal. But it wasn’t seven points worth of calls their way, as Bolivia made too many errors in the match to take either of the games.

On the men’s side, Canada almost took Mexico to a tie-breaker. Mexico played very well to win the first game, 15-3, and they were up 9-2 in the second. But Bousquet and Murray didn’t quit, and slowly cut into Mexico’s lead.

Down 12-6, Canada outscored Mexico 7-2 to get within one at 14-13 down. They had stopped Mexico’s first match point at 14-10, and then scored three points themselves with one winner by Bousquet and two from Murray, including a great forehand short hop kill shot.

But on the next rally, Murray skipped a shot, giving Mexico back the serve. On Mexico’s second match point, Montoya won it with a backhand pinch shot.

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

Women's Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. 4) Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-5, 15-2
6) Alexandra Herrera & Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 2) Stefanny Barrios & Jenny Daza (Bolivia), 15-8, 15-8

Women's Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) v. 6) Alexandra Herrera & Paola Longoria (Mexico) - 1 PM

Men’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. 4) Nicolas Bousquet & Samuel Murray (Canada), 15-3, 15-13
6) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 2) Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador), 15-8, 15-1

Men’s Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) v. 6) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - 2:30 PM

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

Follow the bouncing ball....

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