Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hope and Canadian Singles

Apologies to all the bouncing ball followers for our infrequent posting this week. The Racquetball Blog is on the road, and the internet connection in our room has been poor. However, they can't keep a good blog down, but enough about us.

Wilson Tour of Hope

The Wilson Tour of Hope tournament in Cincinnati is following form. On the men's side, the two top seeds will meet in Sunday's final with first seed Andy Hawthorne taking on second seed Juan Herrera. Hawthorne beat Allan Crockett in one semi-final, 3-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6, while Herrera defeated Mike Dennison, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8. This is a Tier 4 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event.

It's also a satellite event on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO), and hometown veteran Kerri Wachtel, the 2nd seed, booked a place in Sunday's final by defeating Adrienne Fisher, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9. Wachtel will play the winner of top seed Cheryl Gudinas Holmes and Krystal Csuk, which goes later on Saturday.

Racquetball Canada Singles Selection Event

The top men's and women's seeds made it to the final four at Racquetball Canada's National Team Singles Selection event in Brossard, Quebec. On the men's side, it's Vincent Gagnon, Kris Odegard, Michael Burgess and Ryan Smith, as Mike Green is not in Brossard due to injury.

However, in the first round of the final four, Smith, the 4th seed, upset 1st seed Gagnon, 16-14, 4-15, 11-6, while Odegard defeated Burgess, 15-13, 15-13. Odegard had a big lead in game one, but Burgess came back only to fall short. Then in game two it was Burgess who was ahead only to have Odegard come back and take the game and match.

On the women's side, third seed Véronique Guillemette lost a close match to top seed Jennifer Saunders, 17-15, 15-9, and then beat second seed Josée Grand'Maître, 15-6, 15-5. If Guillemette wins her last match against Frédérique T. Lambert on Sunday, she'll finish second.

Saunders defeated Lambert Saturday, 15-11, 15-1, and her last match is against Grand'Maître on Sunday. Saunders will finish first even if she loses Sunday and Guillemette wins, as they would both have 2-1 records and the first tie-breaker is head to head, which Saunders won.

The format of the event is not a straight draw. Initial matches will sort players into groups of four, and then there will be a round robin within those groups. Racquetball Canada adopted this format a few years ago for selection events so that all players have to play each other. Without doing so it was felt there was some uncertainty about which players were better.

This event is the final qualifying event for the Racquetball Canada's Pan American Championships team. Results from this weekend will be combined with results from last year's Nationals to select the singles players who will represent Canada at the Pan Ams in Columbia in April.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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