Saturday, November 10, 2018

Mejia wins Girl's U18 at 2018 IRF World Championships

Montserrat Mejia of Mexico successfully defended her Girl’s U18 title at the 2018 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Racquetball Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico Saturday, as she defeated Guatemalan Gabriela Martinez in the final, 15-14, 8-15, 11-6, in what was a re-match of last year’s final. Mejia also defeated Martinez earlier in a Group Stage match earlier in the week, which suggests Mejia is the kryptonite to the Guatemalan Supergirl.

Martinez certainly flew around the court during the match, as she dove to retrieve balls and keep rallies going. She had the early lead in game one at 4-1, but Mejia came back and tied it at 7-7. From there they were back and forth.

Martinez got to 14 first, but only with a one point lead, 14-13. After a short serve, Martinez hit a good lob serve that touched high on the left side wall and dropped down close to the back wall. Yet Mejia was able to hit a backhand pinch winner into the front left corner to get the serve back.

In game two, Martinez again had an early lead at 7-2, and this time she maintained it to win 15-8. Martinez hit a drive serve ace to the right side for the game winning point.

In game three, Mejia took the early lead at 3-0. But Martinez caught up at 3-3, and they were back and forth to 6-6. From there, Mejia got five unanswered points, holding Martinez off the board to win the breaker 11-6.

Mejia calmly hit a soft forehand to get to 10, and then a backhand cross court ended it on her first match point opportunity.

In Boy’s U18, Eduardo Portillo won an all Mexico battle with Sebastian Fernandez, 14-15, 15-4, 11-7. He had to come back from a game down to win, but after narrowly losing the first game Portillo was dominant giving up only 11 points (while scoring 26) over the next two games, as he won the title in a tie-breaker.

Fernandez took the lead early in game one, going up 6-1. But Portillo then strung together nine unanswered points to lead 10-6. Then Fernandez came back to tie the game at 12-12, but Portillo got to 14 first, when he led 14-13. A Fernandez backhand denied Portillo the game, and with the serve back, Fernandez called a time out.

He scored when play resumed, as Portillo skipped a backhand pinch shot from his knees. An avoidable against Fernandez, which he unsuccessfully appealed, switched the serve back to Portillo, who gave the serve right back by skipping a backhand shot. On his 2nd game point, Fernandez his a drive serve ace to the left side to close out the game 15-14.

Game two was all Portillo, as he won 15-4. In the middle of game two, Portillo began to use a backhand lob serve, placing the ball tight to the left wall - Fernandez's backhand side. It was an effective serve, and he used it for most of the second half of the match.

Portillo took a 4-0 lead in game three. Fernandez got within two at 5-3, but Portillo then ran the score to 10-3. Fernandez made it interesting late in game three, as he scored four points to trail by only three at 10-7.

However, Portillo regained serve with a forehand cross court winner off a jam serve to the left side by Fernandez that came around to the right side for Portillo to smash it. On his 3rd match point, Portillo hit a winning forehand pinch shot to seal the victory and the championship in his last match as a junior player.

Fernandez has one more year of junior eligibility, so look for him to be back next year.

Overall, Bolivia won four the six gold medals in singles with the other two going to Mexico. The USA won two silver medals with Costa Rica and Guatemala each picking up one silver.

If you want to see some of the action from San Luis Potosi, look to the IRF Facebook page or the IRF YouTube channel.

30th IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships
San Luis Potosi, Mexico - November 3-10, 2018

U18 Boy's Singles

Final - Saturday

4. Eduardo Portillo (Mexico) d. 2. Sebastian Fernandez (Mexico), 14-15, 15-4, 11-7

U16 Boy's Singles

Final - Saturday

2. Diego Garcia (Bolivia) d. 1. Jose Ramos (Mexico), 15-4, 15-10

U14 Boy's Singles

Final - Saturday

5. Luis Aguilar (Bolivia) d. 3. Andrew Gleason (USA), 15-6, 9-15, 11-6

U18 Girl's Singles

Final - Saturday

3. Montserrat Mejia (Mexico) d. 4. Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 15-14, 8-15, 11-6

U16 Girl's Singles

Final - Saturday

1. Valeria Centellas (Bolivia) d. 3. Maricruz Ortiz (Costa Rica), 9-15, 15-4, 11-3

U14 Girl's Singles

Final - Saturday

2. Micaela Meneses (Bolivia) d. 4. Heather Mahoney (USA), 15-7, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

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