Saturday, May 26, 2018

Murray & Saunders win Men's & Women's Singles, respectively, at the 2018 Canadian National Racquetball Championships

Samuel Murray and Jennifer Saunders won the Men’s and Women’s, respectively, Singles Championships at the 2018 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Saturday. Murray defeated Coby Iwaasa, 15-7, 10-15, 11-2, in the men’s final, while Saunders beat Christine Richardson, 15-3, 15-13, in women’s final. The wins are the first for Murray, and the 10th for Saunders.

Saunders now has 22 titles combined in Women’s Singles and Doubles, which puts her ahead of any other player. She has one more than Mike Green, who has 11 Men’s Singles titles and 10 Men’s Doubles titles.

Murray’s win was his 4th overall, as he had won Men’s Doubles twice before this year: in 2014 with Vincent Gagnon and in 2016 with Pedro Castro, and then won Men’s Doubles earlier this week with Iwaasa.

Saunders looked to be cruising to her 10th singles title after winning game one and being up in game two, 13-2. However, Richardson dug in at that point, and started serving great, scoring nine unanswered points helped by three ace serves - two drives to the left and one to the right.

But at 11 serving 13, Saunders got the serve back with a forehand winner. Her 14th point came as Saunders hit a drive Z serve to the left that Richardson returned around the wall - side, front, side - and Saunders just set up in the middle of the court, and hit a backhand volley pinch winner to get her first match point.

However, Saunders couldn’t finish it. She skipped two match points, while Richardson scored two more points to make it 13 serve 14. Then a long rally ensued that ended when a ball came off the back wall to the left side, and Saunders hit a backhand shot that went off the top of her racquet frame and rolled into the front left corner.

On the next rally, Saunders hit a forehand down the left side to seal the victory.

In the Men’s Singles final, Murray led Iwaasa from 2-2 on in game one, winning it 15-7. But Iwaasa came out strong in game two to go up 7-1. Murray came back to lead 9-8. Then they were tied 10-10, and it was Iwaasa, who had to win the game, who scored the final five points to win it, 15-10, and force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Murray jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Iwaasa got on the board. But Murray then ran another five points to lead 10-1, and the writing was on the wall. Iwaasa did fend off three match points, but could only score one of his own before Murray ended the game at 11-2 for his first Canadian Men’s Singles title.

The National Championships is the third event that is used to select Canada’s National Team that will compete at the 2018 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in August. The doubles results will be combined with the singles results from this week, as well as the results from the two National Team Selection Events that happened earlier this season, to select the players for Worlds.

2018 Racquetball Canada National Championships
May 20-26, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Men's Open Singles


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

3rd place

3) Tim Landeryou d. 4) Pedro Castro, default

5th place

6) Nicolas Bousquet d. 5) James Landeryou, 15-17, 15-5, 13-11

7th place

7) Lee Connell d. 8) Kurtis Cullen, injury forfeit

9th place

9) Tommy Murray d. 15) Ian Frattinger, 15-4, 15-8

Women's Open Singles


1) Jennifer Saunders d. 2) Christine Richardson, 15-3, 15-13

3rd place

5) Michèle Morissette d. 6) Erin Geeraert, 15-10, 15-7

5th place

3) Alexis Iwaasa d. 4) Danielle Drury, 15-13, 15-13

7th place

9) Cassie Prentice d. 7) Murielle Boivin, 13-15, 15-12, 11-8

Follow the bouncing ball….

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