Tuesday, August 6, 2019

2019 Pan American Games Semi-finals

Paola Longoria of Mexico and Maria José Vargas of Argentina will face off in finalis of Women’s Singles at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in what will be a repeat of the 2015 final in Toronto, where Longoria defeated Vargas to win her 2nd gold medal in Women’s Singles at the Pan Am Games.

In the semi-finals, Vargas - the #1 seed - beat surprise semi-finalist Adriana Riveros of Colombia, the 12th seed, 15-8, 15-9. After being close early in game one, and tied at 4-4, Vargas took a lead at 8-5, and maintained that to win the first game, 15-8. In game two, they were again close early and into the mid-game, when Riveros actually led 9-8. However, Vargas got the serve back and scored six unanswered points to win game two, 15-9, and take the match in two straight games.

The first game between Longoria, the 2nd seed, and 3rd seed Natalia Mendez of Argentina was similar to the first game of the other semi-final, as they were tied at 3-3, and then Longoria took a lead at 7-5 and maintained that to win 15-10. Longoria then jumped out to a big lead in game two at 9-1. Mendez didn’t quit, but Longoria extended her lead to 13-3. But Mendez fought off four match points, as she cue the lead to four points at 14-10. However, the fifth time was the charm for Longoria, as she won the match on her fifth match point, 15-10.

Thus, Riveros and Mendez will go home with bronze medals, which are their first Pan Am Games medals. In fact, Riveros’s medal is the first for a Colombian in Women’s Singles at the Pan Am Games. Mendez is the 2nd Argentine woman to earn a medal at the Pan Am Games after Vargas’s silver from four years ago.

In Men’s Singles, 3rd seed Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico upset 2nd seed Conrrado Moscoso of Bolivia, 15-14, 15-10, to advance to the final. Although Moscoso had small leads in both games, Montoya led for most of the match. He was up 14-7 in game one, only to see Moscoso come all the way back to tie it 14-14. However, Moscoso couldn’t get that last point to steal the game, and Montoya didn’t allow him a second chance, winning game one 15-14.

In game two, they were close early, but then Montoya took a 10-6 lead. Moscoso tied it 10-10, but he would get no more points, as Montoya closed out the game 15-10, and match in two games. Montoya is trying to be the 3rd man to be both International Racquetball Federation World Champion (IRF) and Pan Am Games Gold Medalist in Men’s Singles after the USA’s Jack Huczek (at the 2003 Pan Am Games) and Rocky Carson (2011 & 2015).

Montoya will play his Mexican team-mate Alvaro Beltran, who was the top seed, in the final, as Beltran defeated 4th seed Mario Mercado of Colombia, 15-7, 15-5. The scores weren’t close, but the match took over an hour to play, suggesting it was hotly contested. In fact, Mercado fought off three game points in the first game before Beltran ended it. But Mercado got himself in a hole right off the bat in both games, going down 8-1 in game one and 7-1 in game two. That large a deficit is difficult to make up.

Beltran will be play his 2nd consecutive Pan Am Games Men’s Singles final. He lost to Rocky Carson (USA) four years ago in Toronto. Beltran’s team-mate Montoya has reached the final for the first time. With two Mexicans in the final, it will be the first Men’s Singles final with team-mates playing off in 20 years. In 1999, the USA’s Adam Karp beat his team-mate Michael Bronfeld in Winnipeg.

The finals will be Wednesday morning from 10 AM CDT. On Wednesday afternoon a team competition will begin with each country fielding two singles players and a doubles team in a best of three matches against each other. The finals of the team competition will be Saturday.

2019 Pan American Games - Lima, Peru


Men’s Singles - Semi-finals

1) Alvaro BELTRAN (Mexico) d. 4) Mario MERCADO (Colombia), 15-7, 15-5
3) Rodrigo MONTOYA (Mexico) d. 2) Conrrado MOSCOSO (Bolivia), 15-14, 15-10

Men’s Singles - Final

1) Alvaro BELTRAN (Mexico) v. 3) Rodrigo MONTOYA (Mexico)

Women’s Singles - Semi-finals

1) Maria José VARGAS (Argentina) d. 12) Adriana RIVEROS (Colombia), 15-8, 15-9
2) Paola LONGORIA (Mexico) d. 3) Natalia MENDEZ (Argentina), 15-10, 15-10

Women’s Singles - Final

1) Maria José VARGAS (Argentina) v. 2) Paola LONGORIA (Mexico)

Follow the bouncing ball….

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