Saturday, June 1, 2019

Bredenbeck & Bailey Lawrence win 2019 USA Racquetball National Singles

Last weekend, Jake Bredenbeck and Kelani Bailey Lawrence won the Men’s and Women’s Team Qualifying divisions, respectively, at the 2019 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Bredenbeck won for the 3rd time, while Bailey Lawrence won for the first time.

In the Men’s final, Bredenbeck crushed - there’s really no other way of putting it - David Horn, 15-1, 15-1. That didn’t seem likely at the start of the match, as they were still tied at 1-1 after nine rallies. But Bredenbeck won the next seven rallies to go up 8-1. Horn called a timeout at 6-1, but that didn’t derail his opponent. Horn called two more timeouts before the game was over, but they only delayed the end, rather than switching momentum.

In game two, Bredenbeck served first, and Horn got a sideout, and then scored first. But that point was all he would get, as Bredenbeck hit a winner between his legs while facing towards the backwall to take the serve back. It was a “you know things are going your way when” kind of moment, and things certainly went Bredenebeck’s way in the final.

Afterwards, Horn said he didn’t have much in the tank, as he’d played two tie-breakers en route to the final. In the semi-finals, Horn had to hold off a comeback by 2nd seed Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 10-15, 11-7. In the quarterfinals, Horn had to comeback to defeat Thomas Carter, 14-15, 15-12, 11-7.

Bredenbeck also played a tie-breaker in the semis, when he beat 5th seed Adam Manilla, 15-12, 7-15, 11-5, but his quarterfinal match against Robert Collins wasn’t close, as Bredenbeck won, 15-4, 15-2.

Bredenbeck’s first US Team title came in 2014, when he also beat Horn in the final. Bredenbeck successfully defended that title in 2015 by defeating Marco Rojas in the final. Horn, who was the defending US Team champion, has now been runner up four times: twice to Bredenbeck, once to Rojas (in 2013) and once to Rocky Carson (2017).

Bailey Lawrence, the 5th seed, had to comeback from a game down to defeat 3rd seed Hollie Scott, 12-15, 15-8, 11-10, in the Women’s Team final. Although in game one, it looked like Bailey Lawrence was going to run away with the match, as she went up 7-0 on Scott primarily by drive serving to the right side - Scott’s forehand - hitting three for aces.

However, Scott called a timeout at that point, and slowly came back, tying the game at 8-8. Scott then went ahead 11-8. Bailey Lawrence called a timeout, but Scott stayed ahead, winning the first game 15-12.

Game two was close early, as they weren’t separated by more than two points. Bailey Lawrence led 6-5, and from there she scored eight unanswered points to reach game point at 14-5. But Scott fought off that first game point, and scored three of her own to trail 14-8.

Bailey Lawrence got a side-out, and called a timeout. But that didn’t help, as Scott got the serve right back. However, Scott couldn’t add to her total, giving the serve right back to Bailey Lawrence, who was able to end the game on her 3rd game point, winning 15-8.

In the tie-breaker, Bailey Lawrence scored first, and although they were tied at 2-2 and 4-4, Bailey Lawrence never trailed. Until the end. Scott tied the game at 9-9 with a forehand pinch shot. She took the lead for the first time on the next rally, when the ball came big off the back wall, bouncing into the front court, where Scott hit a soft backhand drop shot to get her to match point at 10-9.

Scott served for the match with a drive jam that came off the left wall, then the back wall, and allowed Bailey Lawrence to drive a forehand winner down the right side, getting herself back in the service box. Bailey Lawrence hit a drive Z serve to the left side that Scott hit a backhand return that skipped, tying the game at 10-10.

On her first match point, Bailey Lawrence drove serve to the left side. Scott hit a backhand return that came off the back wall, and Bailey Lawrence ran around it to hit a forehand cross court shot. Scott scrambled over to hit a forehand shot down the line that Bailey Lawrence was able was able to take early, hitting a low cross court shot for a winner, as Scott could not reach it. That winner made Bailey Lawrence a champion for the 1st time, taking the tie-breaker 11-10, and winning the match in three games.

Streak ends

Bailey Lawrence’s victory ends an 8 year streak of victories by Rhonda Rajsich. She was runner up to Rajsich last year, but went one better in taking the title this year. Bailey Lawrence beat the 8 time defending champion Rajsich in the semi-finals, 15-13, 9-15, 11-4, while Scott beat Cheryl Gudinas, 15-7, 15-1, in the other semi. Gudinas was the last player to win the Women’s US Team event before Rajsich, as Gudinas beat Kerri Wachtel in the 2010 final.

Bailey Lawrence won the title despite being the lower seed in all of her matches, as she was seeded 5th. In the quarterfinals, she upset 4th seed Sheryl Lotts, 15-11, 15-1, then beat 1st seed Rajsich in the semis, and 3rd seed Scott in the final. Bailey Lawrence is the first woman to do that, since Aimee Ruiz won the title in 2009, when she was the 10th seed.

In the other quarters, Scott defeated Adrienne Haynes, 15-7, 15-10, Rajsich beat 9th seed Annie Roberts, 15-6, 15-2, and Gudinas got a forfeit win over 2nd seed Erika Manilla.

If you missed any of the action from Highlands Ranch - including the finals - you can see them via the USA Racquetball LiveStream channel.

2019 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
US National Team Divisions

Men's US Team Singles - Final

1) Jake Bredenbeck d. 3) David Horn, 15-1, 15-1

3rd place

2) Charlie Pratt d. 5) Adam Manilla, forfeit


1) Jake Bredenbeck d. 5) Adam Manilla, 15-12, 7-15, 11-5
3) David Horn d. 2) Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 10-15, 11-7


1) Jake Bredenbeck d. 8) Robert Collins, 15-4, 15-2
5) Adam Manilla d. 13) Anthony Martin, 15-3, 15-2

3) David Horn d. 6) Thomas Carter, 14-15, 15-12, 11-7
2) Charlie Pratt d. 7) Dylan Reid, 15-14, 15-5

Round of 16

1) Jake Bredenbeck d. 17) Tyler Thielen, 15-1, 15-3
8) Robert Collins d. 9) Luis Avila, 14-15, 15-9, 11-7

5) Adam Manilla d. 12) Woody Clouse, 15-2, 15-5
13) Anthony Martin d. 4) Jose Diaz, forfeit

3) David Horn d. 14) Preston Tribble, 15-12, 15-5
6) Thomas Carter d. 11) Nicholas Riffel, 15-13, 10-15, 11-5

7) Dylan Reid d. 10) Jeff Stark, 15-8, 15-7
2) Charlie Pratt d. 15) Micah Farmer, 15-3, 15-2

Women's US Team Singles - Final

5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence d. 3) Hollie Scott, 12-15, 15-8, 11-10

3rd place

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 7) Cheryl Gudinas, forfeit


5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence d. 1) Rhonda Rajsich, 15-13, 9-15, 11-4
3) Hollie Scott d. 7) Cheryl Gudinas, 15-7, 15-1


1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 9) Annie Roberts, 15-6, 15-2
5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence d. 4) Sheryl Lotts, 15-11, 15-1

3) Hollie Scott d. 6) Adrienne Haynes, 15-7, 15-10
7) Cheryl Gudinas d. 2) Erika Manilla, forfeit

Round of 16

9) Annie Roberts d. 8) Cassi Lee, 9-15, 15-15 [sic], 11-4

Follow the bouncing ball....

No comments: