Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Doubles draws at 2018 IRF World Championships

The doubles medal rounds will begin on Thursday at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica, as there are so many singles matches to go through on Wednesday. For those unfamiliar with international doubles in recent years, know that it has become kind of a crap shoot, as there are several strong teams in both Men’s and Women’s Doubles, so while it might not be true that anyone could win, there are a few strong championship contenders.

That said, top seeds Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa of Mexico are the favorites to win Men’s Doubles. But they’ll probably have to beat Bolivians Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso in the semi-finals, which will not be easy, and then defeat whoever comes out of the bottom half of the draw.

On the bottom half is the US team of racquetball greats Rocky Carson and Sudsy Monchik, seeded 3rd. They’ll likely be challenged by Colombians Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado in the quarterfinals, although Colombia took an injury default in their last Group Stage match. If that injury is serious, it could make it easier for the US.

If Carson and Monchik get to the semi-finals, then waiting for them will likely be either Argentine veterans Fernando Kurzbard and Shai Manzuri, who upset the Colombians in the Group Stage en route to claiming the 2nd seed, or Canadians Tim Landeryou and Samuel Murray. The Argentina win over Colombia - a team of two top 10 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) players - is proof of how doubles match outcomes are uncertain.

Women’s Doubles is even more uncertain than the men’s, as the top seeds are a young Mexican team of Monserrat Mejia and Alexandra Herrera, who beat Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas in the Mexico Team qualifying event to make it to Worlds. They were also US Open doubles finalists a couple of years back, so they are a strong team, but without the proven record of Longoria and Salas, who have won three Women’s Doubles World Championships. Mexico will have to face the winner of 8th seeds Maria Paz Muñoz and Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador and 9th seeds Frédérique Lambert and Jen Saunders of Canada in the quarterfinals, and then likely 4th seeds Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros of Colombia.

But the favorites to win Women’s Doubles in San José may be the Guatemala team of Maria Renee Rodriguez and Gabriela Martinez, as they were runners up to Longoria and Herrera at this year’s Pan American Championships. Also, they were 2nd at the Central American and Caribbean Games last month after losing to Longoria and Salas in a tie-breaker.

To get to the final, Guatemala will probably have to defeat Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina and then one of Valeria Centellas and Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia), Carla Muñoz and Josefa Parada (Chile) or Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajsich (USA).

If you need to get a racquetball fix on Tuesday, watch some of the Group Stage matches you missed on the IRF Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica


Men's Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) v. 16) Rodrigo Salgado & Francisco Troncoso (Chile)
8) Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) v. 9) Luis Perez & Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic)

5) Gabriel Garcia & Alexander Pirie (Costa Rica) v. 12) Yuki Nakano & Hiroshi Shimizu (Japan)
4) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. 13) Ken Cottrell & Eoin Tynan (Ireland)

3) Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) v. 14) Daeyong Kwon & Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea)
6) Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala) v. 11) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado (Colombia)

7) Tim Landeryou & Samuel Murray (Canada) v. 10) Ricardo Gomez & Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela)
2) Fernando Kurzbard & Shai Manzuri (Argentina) v. 15) Alok Mehta & Thirumurugan Thyagarajan (India)

Women's Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) - BYE
8) Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) v. 9) Frédérique Lambert & Jen Saunders (Canada)

5) Jin Seok & Mi Ok An (South Korea) v. 12) Alejandra Jimenez & Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic)
4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia) v. 13) Majella Haventry & Katie Kenny (Ireland)

3) Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE
6) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) v. 11) Maiko Sato & Naomi Wakimoto (Japan)

7) Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) v. 10) Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile)
2) Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball....

Monday, August 13, 2018

Singles draws at 2018 IRF World Championships

The medal round in Men’s and Women’s Singles begins Wednesday at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica. Mexicans and USA players dominate the top 4 seeds in both the women’s and men’s draws.

In Men’s Singles, David Horn is the #1 seed with team-mate Charlie Pratt #3. Mexicans Daniel De La Rosa and Rodrigo Montoya are the #2 and #4 seeds, so there can’t be either all USA or all Mexico match until the final. That is the reward the players have for winning all their Group Stage matches. But there should be plenty of good matches prior to the final, including a potential rematch between Colombian Mario Mercado, seeded 8th, and Canadian Coby Iwaasa, seeded 9th, who met in the Group Stage with Mercado winning by an 11-10 tie-breaker.

In Women’s Singles, Mexican Paola Longoria - the 3 time defending champion, is the #1 seed with her team-mate Samantha Salas #3. Rhonda Rajsich of the USA is 2nd seed with Guatemalan Maria Renee Rodriguez 4th seed. Rodriguez’s seeding gets her a bye in the Round of 32, but she’ll likely have to face Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina in the Round of 16. Vargas is a former #2 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) and won an LPRT event this past season, so it's not the most favourable draw for Rodriguez.

If you need to get a racquetball fix on Tuesday, watch some of the Group Stage matches you missed on the IRF Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica

Men's Singles - Round of 64
- Wednesday

1) David Horn (USA) - BYE
32) Mark Murphy (Ireland) v. 33) Alberto Rojas (Switzerland)

17) Shai Manuzi (Argentina) - BYE
16) Edwin Galicia (Guatemala) - BYE

9) Coby Iwaasa (Canada) - BYE
24) Daeyong Kwon (South Korea) - BYE

25) Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela) - BYE
8) Mario Mercado (Colombia) - BYE

5) Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - BYE
28) Christian Wer (Guatemala) - BYE

21) Christian Chavez (Ecuador) - BYE
12) Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) - BYE

13) Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) - BYE
20) Kono Michimune (Japan) - BYE

29) Yash Doshi (India) - BYE
4) Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) - BYE

3) Charlie Pratt (USA) - BYE
30) Johan Igor (Chile) - BYE

19) Ricardo Gomez (Venezuela) - BYE
14) Fernando Kurzbard (Argentina) - BYE

11) Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) - BYE
22) Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea) - BYE

27) Aaron Booker (Puerto Rico) - BYE
6) Samuel Murray (Canada) - BYE

7) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) - BYE
26) Francisco Troncoso (Chile) - BYE

23) Ryoki Kamahara (Japan) - BYE
10) Sebastian Franco (Colombia) - BYE

15) Luis Perez (Dominican Republic) - BYE
18) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - BYE

31) Alok Mehta (India) v. 34) Johnny O’keeney (Ireland)
2) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) - BYE

Women's Singles - Round of 32 - Wednesday

1) Paola Longoria (Mexico) - BYE
16) Young Ock Lee (Korea) v. 17) Jenny Daza (Bolivia)

9) Adriana Riveros (Colombia) v. 24) Josefa Parada (Chile)
8) Cristina Amaya (Colombia) v. 25) Lilian Zea (Venezuela)

5) Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) - BYE
12) Carla Muñoz (Chile) v. 21) Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic)

13) Naomi Wakimoto (Japan) v. 20) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)
4) Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) - BYE

3) Samantha Salas (Mexico) - BYE
14) Jin Seok (South Korea) v. 19) Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic)

11) Sheryl Lotts (USA) v. 22) Jen Saunders (Canada)
6) Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE

7) Natalia Mendez (Argentina) v. 26) Donna Ryder (Ireland)
10) Frédérique Lambert (Canada) v. Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica)

15) Harumi Kajino (Japan) v. 18) Aisling Hickey (Ireland)
2) Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball....

Day 3 at the 2018 World Championships

Monday the Group Stage of play wrapped up at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica, and there were few surprises. Indeed across the whole day there was only one tie-breaker, which came in Group D of Women’s Singles, when Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala was pushed to three games by Aisling Hickey of Ireland before winning 11-15, 15-6, 11-7. They were tied at 7-7 in the breaker before Rodriguez was able to finish it off.

There will now be an off day on Tuesday, and then the medal round will be on Wednesday in all divisions. We’ll have those draws for you soon.

You can see some of the Group Stage matches on the IRF Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica

Men's Singles

Group A


David Horn (USA) d. Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea), 15-7, 15-4
Luis Perez (Dominican Republic) - BYE

Group B

Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic), 15-6, 15-1
Daeyong Kwon (South Korea) - BYE

Group C

Charlie Pratt (USA) d. Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela), 15-6, 15-13
Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) d. Johnny O’keeney (ireland), 15-7, 15-14

Group D

Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Fernando Kurzbard (Argentina), 15-1, 15-10
Ryoki Kamahara (Japan) d. Alberto Rojas (Switzerland), 15-1, 15-1

Group E

Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Ricardo Gomez (Venezuela), 15-2, 15-8
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) d. Mark Murphy (Ireland), 15-7, 15-2

Group F

Samuel Murray (Canada) d. Shai Manuzi (Argentina), 15-8, 15-2
Kono Michimune (Japan) d. Alok Mehta (India), 15-10, 15-1

Group G

Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 15-7, 15-6
Christian Chavez (Ecuador) d. Johan Igor (Chile), 15-3, 15-3

Group H

Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Yash Doshi (India), 15-1, 15-4
Coby Iwaasa (Canada) d. Aaron Booker (Puerto Rico), 15-5, 15-10

Group I

Sebastian Franco (Colombia) d. Christian Wer (Guatemala), 15-14, 15-3
Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Francisco Troncoso (Chile), 15-1, 15-8

Women's Singles

Group A


Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Jin Seok (South Korea), 15-6, 15-4
Harumi Kajino (Japan) - BYE

Group B

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Naomi Wakimoto (Japan), 15-2, 15-3
Young Ock Lee (Korea) - BYE

Group C

Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Carla Muñoz (Chile), 15-3, 15-5
Jenny Daza (Bolivia) d. Donna Ryder (Ireland), 15-4, 15-7

Group D

Sheryl Lotts (USA) d. Lilian Zea (Venezuela), 15-5, 15-3
Maria Rene Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. Aisling Hickey (Ireland), 11-15, 15-6, 11-7

Group E

Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic), 15-3, 15-5
Frédérique Lambert (Canada) d. Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-2, 15-1

Group F

Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Adriana Riveros (Colombia), 15-3, 15-7
Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica), 15-1, 15-3

Group G

Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic), 15-8, 15-1
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) d. Jen Saunders (Canada), 15-4, injury forfeit

Men's Doubles

Group A


Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Yuki Nakano & Hiroshi Shimizu (Japan), 15-3, 15-6
Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala) d. Alok Mehta & Thirumurugan Thyagarajan (India), 15-9, 15-6

Group B

Fernando Kurzbard & Shai Manzuri (Argentina) d. Rodrigo Salgado & Francisco Troncoso (Chile), 15-0, 15-0 - injury forfeit
Gabriel Garcia & Alexander Pirie (Costa Rica) d. Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado (Colombia), 15-6, 8-1 - injury forfeit

Group C

Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) d. Ricardo Gomez & Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela), 15-2, 15-2
Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Ken Cottrell & Eoin Tynan (Ireland), 15-4, 15-3

Group D

Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Luis Perez & Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic), 15-12, 15-7
Tim Landeryou & Samuel Murray (Canada) d. Daeyong Kwon & Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea), 15-5, 15-3

Women's Doubles

Group A


Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) d. Alejandra Jimenez & Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic), 15-1, 15-6
Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - BYE

Group B

Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Jin Seok & Mi Ok An (South Korea), 15-10, 8-15, 11-0
Maiko Sato & Naomi Wakimoto (Japan) - BYE

Group C

Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-7, 15-4
Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) - BYE

Group D

Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Majella Haventry & Katie Kenny (Ireland), 15-4, 15-7
Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia) d. Frédérique Lambert & Jen Saunders (Canada), 15-9, 15-12

Follow the bouncing ball....

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Day 2 at 2018 IRF World Championships

Day 2 at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San José, Costa Rica has been somewhat less dramatic than Day 1. But there have been some close matches. For example, in Group C of Women’s Singles, Chilean Carla Muñoz defeated Bolivian Jenny Daza in a tie-breaker, 15-8, 14-15, 11-5. That win gives Muñoz a chance to win the group when she plays Samantha Salas of Mexico on Monday.

Salas beat Donna Ryder of Ireland, 15-1, 15-4, Sunday, and the winner of Group C will be seeded 3rd in the playoff round, which would mean avoiding three time defending Women’s Singles Champion Paola Longoria, who is Salas’s Mexican team-mate. Longoria had a bye Sunday.

In Group G of Women’s Singles, Natalia Mendez of Argentina is in control after beating Colombian Cristina Amaya, 15-1, 15-8, Sunday. But Dominican Republic’s Merynanyelly Delgado may be able to prevent Mendez from winning the group, as they will play on Monday, and on Sunday Delgado defeated Canadian Jen Saunders, 6-15, 15-12, 11-3.

No surprising results in Men’s Singles, although there were a few tie-breakers. Bolivian Carlos Keller needed three games to beat Chilean Johan Igor, 15-8, 4-15, 11-6, and Jose Daniel Ugalde of Ecuador won a close match with Christian Wer of Guatemala, 13-15, 15-13, 11-5. Finally, Ramon De Leon of Dominican Republic defeated Daeyong Kwon of South Korea, 10-15, 15-9, 11-7.

The IRF is live streaming some of the matches from San José via their Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica

Men's Singles

Group A


Luis Perez (Dominican Republic) d. Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea), 15-5, 15-10
David Horn (USA) - BYE

Group B

Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) d. Daeyong Kwon (South Korea), 10-15, 15-9, 11-7
Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) - BYE

Group C

Charlie Pratt (USA) d. Johnny O’keeney (Ireland), 15-6, 15-1
Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) d. Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela), 15-3, 15-1

Group D

Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Alberto Rojas (Switzerland), 15-4, 15-5
Fernando Kurzbard (Argentina) d. Ryoki Kamahara (Japan), 15-7, 15-2

Group E

Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Mark Murphy (Ireland), 15-4, 15-9
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) d. Ricardo Gomez (Venezuela), 15-1, 15-3

Group F

Samuel Murray (Canada) d. Alok Mehta (India), 15-3, 15-4
Shai Manuzi (Argentina) d. Kono Michimune (Japan), 15-13, 15-11

Group G

Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. Johan Igor (Chile), 15-8, 4-15, 11-6
Edwin Galicia (Guatemala) d. Christian Chavez (Ecuador), 15-1, 15-4

Group H

Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Aaron Booker (Puerto Rico), 15-3, 15-0
Coby Iwaasa (Canada) d. Yash Doshi (India), 15-1, 15-6

Group I

Sebastian Franco (Colombia) d. Francisco Troncoso (Chile), 15-4, 15-10
Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Christian Wer (Guatemala), 13-15, 15-13, 11-5

Women's Singles

Group A


Jin Seok (South Korea) d. Harumi Kajino (Japan), injury forfeit - 15-0, 15-0
Paola Longoria (Mexico) - BYE

Group B

Naomi Wakimoto (Japan) d. Young Ock Lee (Korea), 15-2, 12-15, 11-4
Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - BYE

Group C

Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Donna Ryder (Ireland), 15-1, 15-4
Carla Muñoz (Chile) d. Jenny Daza (Bolivia), 15-8, 14-15, 11-5

Group D

Sheryl Lotts (USA) d. Aisling Hickey (Ireland), 15-11, 15-12
Maria Rene Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. Lilian Zea (Venezuela), 15-6, 15-5

Group E

Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-0, 15-0
Frédérique Lambert (Canada) d. Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic), 15-10, 15-11

Group F

Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica), 15-0, 15-0
Adriana Riveros (Colombia) d. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 15-11, 15-4

Group G

Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 15-1, 15-8
Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic) d. Jen Saunders (Canada), 6-15, 15-12, 11-3

Men's Doubles

Group A


Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Alok Mehta & Thirumurugan Thyagarajan (India), 15-2, 15-1
Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala) d. Yuki Nakano & Hiroshi Shimizu (Japan), 15-12, 11-15, 11-4

Group B

Fernando Kurzbard & Shai Manzuri (Argentina) d. Gabriel Garcia & Alexander Pirie (Costa Rica), 15-4, 15-8
Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Rodrigo Salgado & Francisco Troncoso (Chile), 15-5, 15-7

Group C

Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) d. Ken Cottrell & Eoin Tynan (Ireland), 15-5, 15-1
Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecoador) d. Ricardo Gomez & Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela), 4-15, 15-4, 11-5

Group D

Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Daeyong Kwon & Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea), 15-9, 15-0
Tim Landeryou & Samuel Murray (Canada) d. Luis Perez & Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic), 15-12, 15-7

Women's Doubles

Group A


Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. Alejandra Jimenez & Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic), 15-7, 15-9
Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) - BYE

Group B

Jin Seok & Mi Ok An (South Korea) d. Maiko Sato & Naomi Wakimoto (Japan), 15-8, 15-8
Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - BYE

Group C

Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador), 15-12, 15-6
Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile) - BYE

Group D

Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia) d. Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia), 15-9, 15-2
Frédérique Lambert & Jen Saunders (Canada) d. Majella Haventry & Katie Kenny (Ireland), 15-5, 15-7

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Day 1 at 2018 IRF World Championships

Play began at the 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships on Saturday in San José, Costa Rica, and already there have been some great matches. The best might be Colombian Mario Mercado’s comeback win over Canadian Coby Iwaasa, 11-15, 15-10, 11-10, in Men’s Singles.

One of the anticipated matches in Women’s Singles went to the silver medalist from two years ago, Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala, who defeated Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina, 15-9, 15-6. It was a strange match, as Vargas was up 7-1 in game one, and playing well. Then the tables totally switched, and Martinez won 29 of the next 37 points.

Also of significance, Martinez’s Guatemalan team-mate Maria Rene Rodriguez was a winner over the USA’s Sheryl Lotts, 8-15, 15-6, 11-4. The significance of the win is that Rodriguez can claim the #4 seeding by winning the group, and Lotts was her strongest opponent in the group.

But the Player of the Day was Yasmine Sabja of Bolivia, as she caused two upsets in women’s play. First in Women’s Singles, she defeated Canadian Frédérique Lambert, 15-9, 15-13, which was a surprise, as Lambert is the 2nd ranked player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT). Then in Women’s Doubles, Sabja and Valeria Centellas got the better of Canadians Lambert and Jen Saunders in Women’s Doubles, 12-15, 15-12, 11-8. A good day for Sabja coupled with a bad day for Lambert.

Surprise result in Group B of Men’s Doubles, as Argentine veterans Fernando Kurzbard and Shai Manzuri defeat Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado of Colombia, 15-11, 10-15, 11-7. The win gives Argentina the advantage in earning the 2nd seed for the playoff round, as that seeding will go to the winner of Group B.

The IRF is live streaming some of the matches from San José via their Facebook page.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica

Men's Singles

Group A


David Horn (USA) d. Luis Perez (Dominican Republic), 15-5, 15-7
Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea) - BYE

Group B

Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Daeyong Kwon (South Korea), 15-3, 15-7
Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) - BYE

Group C

Charlie Pratt (USA) d. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica), 15-5, 15-9
Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela) d. Johnny O’keeney (Ireland), 15-7, 15-3

Group D

Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Ryoki Kamahara (Japan), 15-4, 15-1
Fernando Kurzbard (Argentina) d. Alberto Rojas (Switzerland), 15-3, 15-4

Group E

Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Andres Acuña (Costa Rica), 15-6, 15-4
Ricardo Gomez (Venezuela) d. Mark Murphy (Ireland), 11-15, 15-10, 11-8

Group F

Samuel Murray (Canada) d. Kono Michimune (Japan), 15-2, 15-12
Shai Manuzi (Argentina) d. Alok Mehta (India), 15-6, 151-2

Group G

Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. Christian Chavez (Ecuador), 15-2, 15-9
Edwin Galicia (Guatemala) d. Johan Igor (Chile), 15-5, 15-11

Group H

Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Coby Iwaasa (Canada), 11-15, 15-10, 11-10
Aaron Booker (Puerto Rico) d. Yash Doshi (India), 15-1, 15-0

Group I

Sebastian Franco (Colombia) d. Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador), 15-9, 15-10
Francisco Troncoso (Chile) d. Christian Wer (Guatemala), 15-11, 15-3

Women's Singles

Group A


Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Harumi Kajino (Japan), 15-1, 15-3
Jin Seok (South Korea) - BYE

Group B

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Young Ock Lee (Korea), 15-2, 15-4
Naomi Wakimoto (Japan) - BYE

Group C

Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Jenny Daza (Bolivia), 15-3, 12-15, 11-1
Carla Muñoz (Chile) d. Donna Ryder (Ireland), 15-5, 15-10

Group D

Aisling Hickey (Ireland) d. Lilian Zea (Venezuela), 15-6, 15-4
Maria Rene Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. Sheryl Lotts (USA), 8-15, 15-6, 11-4

Group E

Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Frédérique Lambert (Canada), 15-9, 15-13
Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic) d. Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-2, 15-6

Group F

Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 15-9, 15-6
Adriana Riveros (Colombia) d. Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica), 15-9, 15-5

Group G

Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. Jen Saunders (Canada), 15-7, 15-3
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) d. Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic), 15-6, 15-7

Men's Doubles

Group A


Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala), 15-9, 15-7
Yuki Nakano & Hiroshi Shimizu (Japan) d. Alok Mehta & Thirumurugan Thyagarajan (India), 15-7, 15-0

Group B

Fernando Kurzbard & Shai Manzuri (Argentina) d. Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado (Colombia), 15-11, 10-15, 11-7
Gabriel Garcia & Alexander Pirie (Costa Rica) d. Rodrigo Salgado & Francisco Troncoso (Chile), 15-10, 13-15, 11-4

Group C

Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) d. Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador), 15-14, 15-2
Ricardo Gomez & Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela) d. Ken Cottrell & Eoin Tynan (Ireland), 15-4, 15-6

Group D

Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Tim Landeryou & Samuel Murray (Canada), 7-15, 15-8, 11-6
Luis Perez & Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) d. Daeyong Kwon & Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea), 15-0, 15-11

Women's Doubles

Group A


Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) d. Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 15-1, 10-15, 11-5
Alejandra Jimenez & Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic) - BYE

Group B

Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Maiko Sato & Naomi Wakimoto (Japan), 15-10, 15-4
Jin Seok & Mi Ok An (South Korea) - BYE

Group C

Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) d. Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile), 15-6, 15-4
Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE

Group D

Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia) d. Frédérique Lambert & Jen Saunders (Canada), 12-15, 15-12, 11-8
Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia) d. Majella Haventry & Katie Kenny (Ireland), 15-6, 15-1

Follow the bouncing ball....

Who will be World Champion? - 2018 IRF World Championships Preview

The 19th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships begin play on Saturday in San José, Costa Rica. Originally, this event was to be held in China, but government complications ended that possibility, so Cali, Colombia was to be host, as it was two years ago. However, the courts used for in 2016 were unexpectedly razed earlier this year, eliminating that as a venue. Thus, the players have convened in Costa Rica.

With more and more players competing on the men’s and women’s pro tours, international players are more familiar to fans, and when you see the entrants below you’ll appreciate how difficult it will to become a 2018 World Champion racquetball player.

Groups of Difficulty, but not Death

The competition begins with three days of group play with the results being used to seed players for a playoff draw. Often in international competitions that involve an initial group stage one group can be identified as a Group of Death, because the players or teams in the group are so strong and some players or teams are going to be eliminated at the group stage.

IRF competitions don’t eliminate players or teams at the group stage (though perhaps they should), but two - maybe three - groups in Women's Singles could be labeled a Group of Difficulty, if not actual Death (elimination). The most difficulty may come in Group F, where there is Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - formerly #2 on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - the silver medalist from the 2016 World Championships and Adriana Riveros (Colombia), who’s 12th on the LPRT, as well as Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica).

But Group G won’t be easy either, as there are two current LPRT top 10 players in Natalia Mendez (Argentina) and Cristina Amaya (Colombia), as well as Canadian veteran Jen Saunders, who is a former LPRT top 10 player and Merynaanyelly Delgado of the Dominican Republic, who was a bronze medalist last month at the Central American and Caribbean Games. Furthermore, Group C doesn’t have any slouches either with Mexican Samantha Salas, Chilean Carla Muñoz, Bolivian Jenny Daza and Ireland’s Donna Ryder.

Yes, it’s going to be difficult to win those groups.

Doubles but not Singles

A couple of things to note about doubles play. One partly involves singles. Rocky Carson of the USA is the 5 time defending World Champion in Men’s Singles, but he’s playing Men’s Doubles not Men’s Singles, so his streak of championships will come to an end. However, Carson is partnered with Sudsy Monchik, a 4 time US Open Champion and legend of the sport, and with a partner like that, you can understand why Carson chose doubles over singles.

Monchik will be playing for the USA for only the second time. He first did so over 20 years ago at the 1995 Pan American Games in Argentina, where he won Men’s Doubles with Tim Sweeney. If he and Carson win Men's Doubles this year, Carson will become the third man to capture both Men’s Singles and Doubles titles after Todd O’Neill (USA) and Alvaro Beltran (Mexico).

In a similarly strange move, Maria Paz Muñoz and Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador are in Women’s Doubles, but neither is playing singles. Indeed, no Ecuador woman is entered in singles, which is odd. Sotomayor, who is married to Monchik, recently had her first child, so it’s understandable she wouldn’t want to play two divisions, but why Muñoz - or any other Ecuador women - isn’t in singles is unclear.

We expect there will be live streaming of matches from San José, but it’s uncertain when that will begin, as the IRF hasn’t made any announcements about it on their Facebook page or Twitter. Check the IRF website for updates.

18th IRF World Championships
August 10-18, 2018
San José, Costa Rica

Men's Singles

Group A


David Horn (USA) v. Luis Perez (Dominican Republic)
Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea) - BYE

Group B

Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) v. Daeyong Kwon (South Korea)
Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) - BYE

Group C

Charlie Pratt (USA) v. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica)
Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela) v. Jonny O’keeney (ireland)

Group D

Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) v. Ryoki Kamahara (Japan)
Fernando Kurzbard (Argentina) v. Alberto Rojas (Switzerland)

Group E

Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. Andres Acuña (Costa Rica)
Ricardo Gomez (Venezuela) v. Mark Murphy (Ireland)

Group F

Samuel Murray (Canada) v. Kono Michimune (Japan)
Shai Manuzi (Argentina) v. Sumeet Kamat (India)

Group G

Carlos Keller (Bolivia) v. Christian Chavez (Ecuador)
Edwin Galicia (Guatemala) v. Johan Igor (Chile)

Group H

Coby Iwaasa (Canada) v. Mario Mercado (Colombia)
Aaron Booker (Puerto Rico) v. Yash Doshi (India)

Group I

Sebastian Franco (Colombia) v. Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador)
Christian Wer (Guatemala) v. Francisco Troncoso (Chile)

Women's Singles

Group A


Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. Harumi Kajino (Japan)
Jin Seok (South Korea) - BYE

Group B

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) v. Young Ock Lee (Korea)
Naomi Wakimoto (Japan) - BYE

Group C

Carla Muñoz (Chile) v. Donna Ryder (Ireland)
Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. Jenny Daza (Bolivia)

Group D

Lilian Zea (Venezuela) v. Aisling Hickey (Ireland)
Sheryl Lotts (USA) v. Maria Rene Rodriguez (Guatemala)

Group E

Frédérique Lambert (Canada) v. Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia)
Josefa Parada (Chile) v. Alejandra Jiménez (Dominican Republic)

Group F

Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) v. Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica) v. Adriana Riveros (Colombia)

Group G

Jen Saunders (Canada) v. Natalia Mendez (Argentina)
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) v. Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic)

Men's Doubles

Group A


Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) v. Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer (Guatemala)
Yuki Nakano & Hiroshi Shimizu (Japan) v. Alok Mehta & Thirumurugan Thyagarajan (India)

Group B

Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado (Colombia) v. Fernando Kurzbard & Shai Manzuri (Argentina)
Gabriel Garcia & Alexander Pirie (Costa Rica) v. Rodrigo Salgado & Francisco Troncoso (Chile)

Group C

Rocky Carson & Sudsy Monchik (USA) v. Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecoador)
Ricardo Gomez & Luis Felipe Zea (Venezuela) v. Ken Cottrell & Eoin Tynan (Ireland)

Group D

Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. Tim Landeryou & Samuel Murray (Canada)
Luis Perez & Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) v. Daeyong Kwon & Moon Gyun Kim (South Korea)

Women's Doubles

Group A


Monserrat Mejia & Alexandra Herrera (Mexico) v. Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)
Alejandra Jiménez & Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic) - BYE

Group B

Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) v. Maiko Sato & Naomi Wakimoto (Japan)
Jin Seok & Mi Ok An (South Korea) - BYE

Group C

Carla Muñoz & Josefa Parada (Chile) v. Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador)
Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE

Group D

Frédérique Lambert & Jennifer Saunders (Canada) v. Valeria Centellas & Yasmine Sabja (Bolivia)
Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (Colombia) v. Majella Haventry & Katie Kenny (Ireland)

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, August 4, 2018

USA Racquetball upheaval

There has been upheaval at USA Racquetball, (USAR) which has led to the dismissal of their Executive Director Jason Thoerner. The cause of the upheaval is unclear, as parties are unwilling to discuss the matter, but the recently created U.S. Center for SafeSport was involved, and it was reported in USA Today. What's going on?

SafeSport’s Mission “is to make athlete well-being the centerpiece of our nation’s [the USA’s] sports culture. All athletes deserve to participate in sports free from bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct or any form of emotional or physical abuse.” No one would argue against that mission, and athlete abuse is serious business. Thus, if SafeSport is involved in this USAR situation, it’s not good news.

Yet the SafeSport spokesperson quoted in the USA Today piece on this matter suggests it wasn’t an abusive situation, but rather about adopting “proactive policies that … set standards for professional boundaries, minimize the appearance of impropriety and have the effect of preventing boundary violations and prohibiting grooming tactics.” Not good, but again it’s unclear what exactly we are talking about, and why it cost Thoerner his job.

Thoerner is a racquetball lifer, so he’s well known in the sport. He was an elite player - a World Champion in Men’s Doubles - and top 10 player on the International Racquetball Tour. After retiring as a player, he worked in the industry for Head / Penn, and later became USAR President. In an unusual move, Thoerner was hired as USAR Executive Director from the President’s position.

Thus, if Thoerner had ever acted inappropriately or even if there was a suspicion of him acting inappropriately, shouldn't someone have known about it, and that knowledge prevented him from getting involved in the USAR in the first place? In our experience he has always been reasonable and helpful with The Racquetball Blog. It was good news when he became involved on the USAR Board, and although it’s unusual to go from a volunteer position to a staff position, it seemed like good decision to put someone as sensible as Thoerner appears to be in the role of Executive Director.

So, we’re left wondering whether the matter in question was really something that SafeSport should have been involved in. That is, if an abusive situation isn’t going on, and based on SafeSport’s statement it appears not to be, then should the matter have been brought to SafeSport at all? Now, SafeSport would likely say that such an omission would be an example of the behavior they are trying to quash.

But when there is conflict between two parties, it is best to solve it at that level of conflict before appealing to higher powers. If your brother has taken some of your candy, try to work it out with him before going to your parents for help. And certainly don’t call the police to report your brother for candy theft unless you are looking to escalate the consequences for him, because once the police are involved, things will get serious and you won't be able to control what happens. Of course, if your brother stole millions of dollars from you, then a call to the police could be in order sooner than later.

Thus, we wonder if this is a tempest in a teapot that once brought to SafeSport’s attention demanded that someone take the fall for it. Hence, Thoerner’s dismissal.

Although much is unclear in this matter, it does seem clear that Nick Irvine is involved somehow, as he was also dismissed following Thoerner, although Irvine has not been accused of anything by SafeSport. He is appealing for wrongful dismissal.

Also, it’s clear to us that this is not over. USAR will have to deal with its repercussions for months to come, including the hiring of a new Executive Director, the defense of their decision to dismiss Irvine - and perhaps Thoerner if he files suit against USAR - as well as generally fielding questions regarding this matter, and potential impact on USAR sponsorship. That will take considerable time and energy.

Finally, it’s also clear that USAR is not a big organization, so the resources and energy needed to deal with this situation will tax it severely. As the National Governing Body (NGB) for racquetball in the USA, where racquetball has been treading water for sometime now but wants to move forward, it won’t be helpful for USAR to be putting as much time and resources into this matter as are going to be required to see it through.

But they won’t have a choice.

Follow the bouncing ball….