Sunday, February 10, 2019

Carson & Rajsich win singles at 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships

Rocky Carson and Rhonda Rajsich won Men’s and Women’s Singles, respectively, at the 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. They play singles at National Doubles, because qualifying for the US Team involves singles results from three events: US Open, singles at National Doubles, and singles at the National Singles Championships in May, rather than team qualifying being dependent on one tournament.

In Sunday’s men’s final, Carson defeated Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 15-3, in what was a battle of doubles partners, as Carson and Pratt competed together in the US Team Qualifying Doubles division in Tempe, where they won the title on Saturday by defeating Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz in the final.

Rajsich won the women’s final by beating 3rd seed Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-7, 15-11. It was a remarkable performance by Rajsich, and perhaps a case of “what might have been” for Bailey Lawrence. In game one, Bailey Lawrence was up 7-3, and looked to be in control. But Rajsich scored 12 unanswered points to win 15-7. Bailey Lawrence served a few times in that stretch, but failed to score any points, and the the two timeouts she took weren’t effective in stopping Rajsich.

In game two, Rajsich took an injury timeout, leading 3-2. She seemed to injury her right knee chasing down the ball in the front court. Nothing seemed to be especially wrong, but 12 min went by before play resumed.

Bailey Lawrence scored five points to make the score 7-3, and it looked like she was going to take advantage of Rajsich’s injury. However, Rajsich is nothing if not a fighter, so there was no way she was going to go away quietly.

Rajsich came back and tied the score at 7-7, and then they were back and forth. Bailey Lawrence led twice and Rajsich once en route to an 11-11 tie. From there Rajsich scored three points to reach match point at 14-11. But she skipped a forehand shot to give the serve back to Bailey Lawrence.

However, Bailey Lawrence failed to take advantage, although she had a glorious chance with a backhand set up in the front court. She hit it cross court and left it up, so Rajsich was able to hit a forehand cross court shot for a winner. There are few times when a soft, drop shot is a good choice in racquetball, but that might have been a better option, given Rajsich’s condition.

With the serve back, Rajsich hit a backhand half lob serve to the right side as a second serve, and Bailey Lawrence stepped up to take an aggressive return, but hit it right into the floor. That was the last of too many unforced errors by Bailey Lawrence that helped Rajsich to victory.

If you missed any of the action from Tempe, check out the USA Racquetball Livestream site, where the matches are archived. The 2019 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships will be May 22-26 in Denver, Colorado.

2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men’s Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson d. 2) Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 15-3

Women's Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 3) Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-7, 15-11

Follow the bouncing ball....

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