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....

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