Thursday, December 2, 2021

Rajsich upsets Vargas to reach quarters at 2021 IRF World Championships

Here at The Racquetball Blog we like to talk about wily veterans. Players who have been around for awhile, and although they are likely past their peak, they are still capable pulling out a big win. American Rhonda Rajsich may be the poster player for the wily veteran category, and she showed why - yet again - at the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Thursday when the medal round began. Playing Women’s Singles, Rajsich came back from a game down to defeat 2nd seed Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina, 5-15, 15-5, 11-10, in the Round of 16 to book a place in the quarterfinals on Friday and a chance at the podium.

Rajsich is a two time World Champion in Women’s Singles, and has been on the podium two other times. Friday she’ll try to make it five podiums when she takes on Guatemalan Maria Renee Rodriguez, who was a winner over Colombian Cristina Amaya, 15-13, 15-10.

Rodriguez would surely love to get a medal on home soil, and she only had to play once Thursday, while Rajsich played twice, and both matches went to a tie-breaker. Before defeating Vargas, Rajsich played Merynanyelly Delagdo of the Dominican Republic, and had to come from a game down in that match as well, winning it 14-15, 15-3, 11-5.

So, Rajsich-Rodriguez is a toss up, and never discount a wily veteran in a toss up.

Also in Women’s Singles, top seed Paola Longoria of Mexico comfortably reached the quarters by beating Maria Jose Muñoz of Ecuador, 15-0, 15-1, in the Round of 16. She’ll play a familiar opponent in the quarterfinals Friday: Samantha Salas, who is Longoria’s doubles partner. Salas reached the quarters by defeating Canadian Michèle Morissette, 15-0, 15-2.

Also of note, American Kelani Lawrence was three points away from going out in the Round of 32, but will play in the quarterfinals Friday, as she came back to defeat Ireland’s Aisling Hickey, 7-15, 15-12, 11-5, in the 32s, and then beat Chilean Carla Muñoz in the Round of 16, 15-8, 15-13.

After winning game one, Hickey led the whole way in game two, holding leads at 8-3, 11-7 and 12-10. But Lawrence tied it at 12-12, and went on to win from there. Although Hickey got the first two points of the breaker, it was really all Lawrence, who went from 3-1 down to 10-3 up. Hickey got a couple points back before Lawrence finished it at 11-5.

Lawrence is one of three players - along with Rodriguez and Angelica Barrios of Bolivia - who are first time quarterfinalists at Worlds.

Men’s Singles

For the first time since 2008 the reigning Men’s Singles World Champion will not successfully defend his title, as current World Champion Mexican Rodrigo Montoya lost to American Jake Bredenbeck in the Round of 16, 15-10, 15-14. In the quarterfinals, Bredenbeck will take on Colombian Mario Mercado, who had to come back from a game down to defeat Juan Francisco Cueva of Ecuador, 14-15, 15-6, 11-2.

There will be mostly new men on the Men’s Singles podium, as seven of the eight quarterfinalists have not medaled in singles at Worlds before. That includes top seed Alejandro Landa of the USA, who defeated Argentina’s Shai Manzuri (another wily veteran, tho not wily enough on Thursday), 15-6, 15-9. Landa faces Juan Jose Salvatierra in the quarters, as Salvatierra won an all Guatemala match with team-mate Javier Martinez, 15-7, 12-15, 11-7, in the Round of 16.

Another team-mate battle in the 16s was won by Andres Acuña, who beat fellow Costa Rican Felipe Camacho, 15-5, 15-2. Acuña will play Ecuador’s Jose Daniel Ugalde in the quarters, as Ugalde defeated Luis Aguilar of Bolivia, 15-8, 15-9, in the 16s.

Finally, Andree Parrilla of Mexico beat Ramon De Leon of the Dominican Republic, 15-6, 15-4, and will play Bolivian Conrrado Moscoso in the quarters Friday as Moscoso defeated Diego Garcia of Argentina, 15-5, 15-3. Moscoso is the only quarterfinalist to have previously reached the podium at Worlds, doing it twice - in 2014 and 2016.

Live streaming has begun! Check out the (IRF on Facebook for the live streaming feed.

20th IRF World Championships
November 29-December 6 - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Men's Singles - Round of 32

Alejandro Landa (USA) - BYE
Shai Manzuri (Argentina) d. Francis Guillemette (Canada), 15-6, 15-2

Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) d. Rodrigo Salgado (Chile), 15-5, 15-9
Javier Martinez (Guatemala) d. Eoin Tynan (Ireland), 15-7, 15-2

Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - BYE
Diego Garcia (Argentina) d. Set Cubillos (Colombia), 15-2, 15-4

Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) d. Lee Gunhee (South Korea), 15-6, 15-7
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) - BYE

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) - BYE
Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Lee Connell (Canada), 15-2, 15-4

Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador) d. Rafael Gatica (Chile), 15-3, 15-11
Mario Mercado (Colombia) - BYE

Luis Aguilar (Bolivia) - BYE
Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Ken Cottrell (Ireland), 15-2, 15-1

Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) v. Kim Mingyu (South Korea), 15-12, 15-14
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - BYE

Men's Singles Round of 16 - Thursday

Alejandro Landa (USA) d. Shai Manzuri (Argentina), 15-6, 15-9
Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) d. Javier Martinez (Guatemala), 15-7, 12-15, 11-7

Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Diego Garcia (Argentina), 15-5, 15-3
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) d. Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic), 15-6, 15-4

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) d. Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico), 15-10, 15-14
Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador), 14-15, 15-6, 11-2

Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Luis Aguilar (Bolivia), 15-8, 15-9
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) v. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica), 15-5, 15-2

Men's Singles Quarterfinals - Friday

Alejandro Landa (USA) v. Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) - Noon
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) v. Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - Noon

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) v. Mario Mercado (Colombia) - Noon
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) v. Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) - Noon

Women's Singles Round of 32 - Thursday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) - BYE
Maria Jose Muñoz (Ecuador) d. Maria Paz Riquelme (Colombia), 15-8, 15-5

Samantha Salas (Mexico) - BYE
Michèle Morissette (Canada) - BYE

Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE
Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador) d. Majella Haverty (Ireland), 15-3, 15-5

Lee Sumin (South Korea) d. Ayako Hanashi (Japan), 15-9, 15-4
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) - BYE

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) - BYE
Miceala Meneses (Bolivia) d. Juliette Parent (Canada), 15-9, 15-1

Kelani Lawrence USA) d. Aisling Hickey (Ireland), 7-15, 15-12, 11-5
Carla Muñoz (Chile) - BYE

Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) - BYE
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) - BYE

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Merynanyelly Delagdo (Dominican Republic), 14-15, 15-3, 11-5
Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - BYE

Women's Singles Round of 16 - Thursday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Maria Jose Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-0, 15-1
Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Michèle Morissette (Canada), 15-0, 15-2

Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-1, 15-14
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. Lee Sumin (South Korea), 15-3, 15-3

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) d. Miceala Meneses (Bolivia), 13-15, 15-7, 11-3
Kelani Lawrence USA) d. Carla Muñoz (Chile), 15-8, 15-13

Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 15-13, 15-10
Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 5-15, 15-5, 11-10

Women's Singles Quarterfinals - Friday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. Samantha Salas (Mexico) - 1 PM
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) v. Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - 1 PM

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) v. Kelani Lawrence USA) - 1 PM
Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) v. Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - 1 PM

Follow the bouncing ball....

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Singles draws for the 20th IRF World Championships

There will be two rounds of singles in the medal round Thursday at the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The top two seeds in both Women’s and Men’s Singles are from four different countries, which might be a first for that. Paola Longoria of Mexico and Alejandro Landa of the USA are the top seeds in Women’s and Men’s Singles, respectively, while Argentina’s Maria Jose Vargas and Costa Rica’s Andres Acuña are the respective 2nd seeds.

They all have byes in Round of 32 of medal play Thursday. But there are some interesting matches in the 32s, including a battle of two veterans Shai Manzuri from Argentina and Canada’s Francis Guillemette with the winner to face Landa in the Round of 16.

We wrote about how Mexican Rodrigo Montoya’s loss in the group stage of play to Acuña meant that he would be in an odd spot in the draw given he’s the defending Men’s Singles World Champion. Montoya will play Canadian Lee Connell - a never say die kind of player - in the 32s Thursday with the winner of the match to face American Jake Bredenbeck in the 16s.

In Women’s Singles, Colombia Cristina Amaya will take on home country favourite Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala in the Round of 16 (they both have byes in the 32s), and that should be a good match. Other potentially good matches in the 16s are American Kelani Lawrence against Chilean Carla Muñoz as well as Rhonda Rajsich versus 2nd seed Maria Jose Vargas, although both of the Americans need to win a match in the 32s for those potential matches to happen.

Look for live streaming of medal round matches via the IRF website or their social media outlets (IRF on Facebook and @IRFRacquetball on Twitter) and YouTube.

20th IRF World Championships
November 29-December 6 - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Men's Singles

Alejandro Landa (USA) - BYE
Shai Manzuri (Argentina) v. Francis Guillemette (Canada) - 9 AM

Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) d. Rodrigo Salgado (Chile) - 9 AM
Javier Martinez (Guatemala) v. Eoin Tynan (Ireland) - 9 AM

Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - BYE
Diego Garcia (Argentina) v. Set Cubillos (Colombia) - 9 AM

Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) v. Lee Gunhee (South Korea) - 9 AM
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) - BYE

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) - BYE
Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) v. Lee Connell (Canada) - 9 AM

Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador) v. Rafael Gatica (Chile) - 9 AM
Mario Mercado (Bolivia) - BYE

Luis Aguilar (Bolivia) - BYE
Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) v. Ken Cottrell (Ireland) - 9 AM

Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) v. Kim Mingyu (South Korea) - 9 AM
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - BYR

Women's Singles 

Paola Longoria (Mexico) - BYE
Maria Jose Muñoz (Ecuador) v. Maria Paz Riquelme (Colombia) - 10 AM

Samantha Salas (Mexico) - BYE
Michèle Morissette (Canada) - BYE

Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE
Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador) v. Majella Haverty (Ireland) - 10 AM

Lee Sumin (South Korea) v. Ayako Hanashi (Japan) - 10 AM
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) - BYE

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) - BYE
Miceala Meneses (Bolivia) v. Juliette Parent (Canada) - 10 AM

Kelani Lawrence USA) v. Aisling Hickey (Ireland) - 10 AM
Carla Muñoz (Chile) - BYE

Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) - BYE
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) - BYE

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) v. Merynanyelly Delagdo (Dominican Republic) - 10 AM
Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball....

Doubles draws for the 20th IRF World Championships

The Men’s and Women’s Doubles draws are out for the medal round of the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala. It’s a bit disappointing on the men’s side, as the teams that played each other on Monday in the group stage are favoured to meet again in the quarterfinals. That’s a bit boring, and also it can be tricky to beat the same team twice, when the teams are evenly matched, and three of the four Monday matches were close - two tie-breakers and a match where the difference was five points over two games.

Of course, with a relatively small number of teams, there can be some repetition in matches from group stage to medal stage, but for the higher seeded teams their first medal round match will likely be against the team they played on Monday. Moreover, some teams may play just three matches in Guatemala with two of those matches being against the same opponent.

Two quarters in Women’s Doubles will potentially be the same as in the group stage. Argentina's Valeria Centellas and Natalia Mendez may face Canada again, although Canadians Alexis Iwaasa and Frédérique Lambert will need to defeat Colombians Cristina Amaya and Maria Paz Riquelme first to make that happen.

The top seeded Mexican team of Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas could have a replay with Chileans Carla Muñoz and Paula Mansilla in the quarters, although Chile needs to first get past Ireland’s Katie Kenny and Antonia Neary.

Look for some of the matches to be live streamed from Guatemala. Check with the IRF website or their social media outlets (IRF on Facebook and @IRFRacquetball on Twitter) for updates.

20th IRF World Championships
November 29-December 6 - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Men's Doubles - Thursday

Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) - BYE
Gabriel Garro & Felipe Segreda (Costa Rica) v. Ken Cottrell & Eoin Tynan (Ireland) - 4 PM

Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) v. Edwin Galicia & Christen Wer (Guatemala) - 4 PM
Alejandro Landa & Charlie Pratt (USA) - BYE

Coby Iwaasa & Samuel Murray (Canada) - BYE
Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. Lee Gunhee & Kim Mingyu (South Korea) - 4 PM

Set Cubillos & Mario Mercado (Colombia) v. Rafael Gatica & Rodrigo Salgado (Chile) - 4 PM
Diego Garcia & Shai Manzuri (Argentina) - BYE

Women's Doubles  - Thursday

Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) - BYE
Carla Muñoz & Paula Mansilla (Chile) v. Katie Kenny & Antonia Neary (Ireland) - 5 PM

Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE
Maria Paz Muñoz & Ana Lucia Sarmiento (Ecuador) - BYE

Angelica Barrios & Micaela Meneses (Bolivia) - BYE
Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - BYE

Frédérique Lambert & Alexis Iwaasa (Canada) v. Cristina Amaya & Maria Paz Riquelme (Colombia) - 5 PM
Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez (Argentina) - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball....