Friday, January 9, 2009

Racquetball Canada's Doubles Selection Event

Racquetball Canada's National Team Doubles Selection event is going on this weekend in Burnaby, British Columbia near Vancouver. The top men's seeds are reigning Canadian Champions Vincent Gagnon and François Viens. Gagnon and Viens defeated Mike Green and Brian Istace to win the title last year, and Istace retired afterwards.

But Mike Green didn't, and he's in Burnaby with a new partner: Eric Desrochers, a former Canadian and World Junior Champion. Green won this event a few years ago with veteran Brian Valin, so you know that he and Desrochers will be a threat to win. They're seeded third.

The second seeds are brothers James and Tim Landeryou, and fourth seeds are Kris Odegard and Ryan Smith.

The format of the event is not a straight draw. Initial matches will sort the teams 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, or teams in doubles, have to play each other. Without doing so it was felt there was some uncertainty about which players were better.

On the women's side, the top seeds are Geneviève Brodeur and Véronique Guillemette, who are also the reigning Canadian Champions. Their main competition will come from Jennifer Saunders and Josée Grand'Maître, who won five consecutive Canadian doubles titles before being beaten by Brodeur and Guillemette last year. However, word is that Grand'Maître is not 100%, so she and Saunders may have a tougher time of it than usual.

The other teams are third seeds Alison Schlichemeyer and Brandi Jacobson Prentice as well as two teams of up and coming junior players: Denise Haynes and Frédérique Lambert, seeded fourth, and fifth seeds Christine Richardson and Brigitte Richard.

This event will serve as 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 doubles teams for that event.

However, word is that this will be the last season for a separate doubles selection event. Next season Racquetball Canada will only have singles selection events, and the doubles players - as well as the singles players - will be selected based on results from those events.

Racquetball Canada's National Team Singles Selection event will be in three weeks in Brossard, Quebec near Montreal.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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