Saturday, October 25, 2008

US Open - Gudinas Holmes to meet Longoria in finals

Second seed Cheryl Gudinas Holmes and 5th seed Paola Longoria advanced to the US Open finals with decisive semi-final victories. Gudinas Holmes defeated Kristen Bellows, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8, while Longoria beat Brenda Kyzer, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.

It looked like Gudinas Holmes and Bellows would play more than three games, as Bellows had a 5-0 advantage in game three. However, Gudinas Holmes dug in, and worked her way back into the game. Gudinas Holmes generally hit drive Z serves to Bellows's backhand, while Bellows used a variety of serves - drive Z, lob to left and right sides - searching for an effective one.

Afterwards, Bellows said Gudinas Holmes "was putting a lot of pressure on me today."

"It's difficult to get to the finals," said Gudinas Holmes, and that Bellows "played a great match yesterday," which could have resulted in her being "flat" today. Yesterday, Bellows beat three time US Open Champion Christie Van Hees in the quarter finals.

Kyzer played well against Longoria, but didn't have the spring in her step or the service success that she had Friday against Rhonda Rajsich. Kyzer afterwards said she "knew it was going to be tough," because Longoria's an "awesome player."

Kyzer probably was not helped by being back on court approximately 15 hours after winning Friday. Her match with Rajsich ended around midnight, and her semi began about 3 o'clock. Longoria's quarter final match with Kerri Wachtel ended much earlier Friday night.

In their games, Longoria was generally ahead in the games, although in each Kyzer came back to make it close before Longoria closed it them out, using her usual strong drive serve to the left side.

At 46, Kyzer felt it was "awesome" to just make the semi-final of racquetball's premier event. It was her second US Open semi-final. The first was in 2006.

Regardless of who wins Sunday, it will be an especially remarkable achievement, as either Gudinas Holmes will win her 3rd title, tying her for most US Open Women's Pro titles with Van Hees, or Longoria will become the youngest player and first Mexican - woman or man - to win the US Open.

Women's Singles Pro - Semi Finals: (seeding)

(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes d. (6) Kristen Bellows, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8
(5) Paola Longoria d. (8) Brenda Kyzer, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7

Women's Singles Pro - Finals - Sunday: (seeding)

(2) Cheryl Gudinas Holmes vs. (5) Paola Longoria

Follow the bouncing ball....

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