Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 Pan American Games - Men's & Women's Singles Round of 16

The quarterfinals are set in Men's and Women's Singles at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, and on both sides seven of the eight top seeds are through to the quarters. The exception in Women's Singles isn't surprising, as Colombian Cristina Amaya is the 6th ranked player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), but was seeded 10th here in the elimination draw, so her win over 7th seed Adriana Riveros of Bolivia, 15-5, 15-2, is an upset by the seeding but not a surprise.

In Men's Singles, 19th seed Canadian Coby Iwaasa defeated 3rd seed Jake Bredenbeck of the USA, 15-4, 15-9, which looks like a big upset, but the two young players are evenly matched. They'd played twice before, and split those matches. So it was about who performed well on the day, and Wednesday, Iwaasa outperformed Bredenbeck.

"I felt great today," Iwaasa said afterwards. "I was killing the ball, and we were playing my game, three, four shot rallies."

Iwaasa served better today than earlier in the week, and said his "mentality" was the difference. "I came in saying I'm going to attack the ball today," Iwaasa said, while on previous days he felt he'd been too passive.

The hardest thing today was knowing "Jake's a fighter," said Iwaasa, adding Bredenbeck "will never give up."

For his part, Bredenbeck said he "wasn't there mentally," and "didn't feel comfortable moving, didn't feel comfortable shooting." He said he did feel good warming up, and had a game plan, but somehow it just didn't come together for him.

"Coby played very well, but that's no excuse. At this level you need to be able to adjust, and I just didn't play well today," said Bredenbeck.

Indicative of Bredenbeck's poor play is that he made five service errors in the first game to Iwaasa's two. He made two more in game two, and perhaps crucially hit a drive Z serve three walls at 9-14, when it looked like he might come back and force the Canadian to play a tie-breaker.

After that Bredenbeck never served again, as following two hinder rallies, Iwaasa hit an ace a drive serve left that ended the game and match.

The defending Pan Am champion, Rocky Carson, won his match in the 16s comfortably, defeating Ramon De Leon of Dominican Republic, 15-2, 15-4, in 21 min on court. Next up for Carson is the other Dominican, Luis Perez, who was a winner against Costa Rican Andres Acuña, 15-12, 9-15, 11-4.

One would not call Paola Longoria - the defending Pan Am Games champion in Women's Singles - old, but she was a decade older than her opponent today: Guatemala's Ana Gabriela Martinez, who at 15 is youngest player in the tournament. Longoria's ten year advantage in experience and skill development clearly showed, as she won 15-3, 15-6.

Longoria will face Bolivian Carola Loma in the quarters, as Loma beat Jennifer Saunders of Canada, 15-9, 15-1, using primarily a backhand drive serve that she followed up with solid shots in the rallies.

Two other matches on the men's side went to tie-breaker with the more veteran player winning one and losing the other.

Alvaro Beltran of Mexico needed three games to get by Jose Daniel Alvarez of Ecuador, 14-15, 15-2, 11-6. In the breaker, they were close early with the score tied at 3-3. But then Beltran pulled away, going up 8-3. Alvarez came back to narrow the gap to 9-6, but he couldn't get any closer as the former World Champion finished off the match.

Veteran Canadian Mike Green wasn't successful in his tie-breaker, as he fell to Bolivian Carlos Keller - almost two decades Green's junior - 11-15, 15-6, 11-0.

Green cited the court as a factor, as they played on one of the back courts rather than the main glass court, and the back courts are playing slower than the glass court. Green felt his serve was "ineffective after the first ten points of the match," and that he "served terribly."

Keller has a control game style, and that was well suited to a slower court. "He slows the game down. He's good at that. It's his style," said Green.

Green will look forward to the team event, and said he'd "feel comfortable" playing Keller again. A couple days of rest could help the veteran.

Finally, Americans Rhonda Rajsich and Michelle Key faced off in Women's Singles, with Rajsich coming out on top 15-8, 15-7, and afterwards Rajsich said "it sucks" to play a team-mate at any point prior to a final.

Despite playing singles and doubles, Rajsich said she's felt "fresh" after every match, so "physically I feel great."

Rajsich will play Canadian Frédérique Lambert in the quarters on Thursday after she defeated Mariana Tobon of Venezuela, 15-2, 15-3, on Wednesday.

The Men's and Women's Singles quarterfinals are Thursday morning with the semi-finals Thursday afternoon. The gold medal matches are Friday morning (July 24). A team competition - best of three matches, two singles singles and a doubles - will follow from Friday afternoon to Sunday (July 26).

For updates during the event - between postings on the website - follow us on Twitter: @racquetballblog.

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Women Singles

Round of 16

1) Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 16) Ana Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 15-3, 15-6
8) Carola Loma (Bolivia) d. 9) Jennifer Saunders (Canada), 15-9, 15-1

5) Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. 12) Michelle Key (USA), 15-8, 15-7
4) Frédérique Lambert (Canada) d. 13) Mariana Tobon (Venezuela), 15-2, 15-3

3) Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. 19) Carla Munoz (Chile), walkover
6) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. 11) Mariana Paredes (Venezuela), 15-1, 15-11

10) Cristina Amaya (Colombia) d. 7) Adriana Riveros (Bolivia), 15-5, 15-2
2) Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) d. 15) Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-0, 15-10


1) Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. 8) Carola Loma (Bolivia)
4) Frédérique Lambert (Canada) v. 5) Rhonda Rajsich (USA)

3) Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. 6) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)
2) Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) v. 10) Cristina Amaya (Colombia)

Men Singles

Round of 16

1) Rocky Carson (USA) d. 16) Ramon De Leon (Dominican Rep), 15-2, 15-4
8) Luis Perez (Dominican Rep) d. 9) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica), 15-12, 9-15, 11-4

5) Alejandro Herrera (Colombia) d. 12) Edwin Galicia (Guatemala), 15-11, 15-1
4) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. 13) Cesar Castillo (Venezuela), 15-13, 15-3

19) Coby Iwaasa (Canada) d. 3) Jake Bredenbeck (USA), 15-4, 15-9
6) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) d. 11) Jose Alvarez (Ecuador), 14-15, 15-2, 11-6

7) Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 10) Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica), 15-11, 15-9
2) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. 15) Mike Green (Canada), 11-14, 15-6, 11-0


1) Rocky Carson (USA) v. 8) Luis Perez (Dominican Rep)
4) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) v. 5) Alejandro Herrera (Colombia)

6) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) v. 19) Coby Iwaasa (Canada)
2) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) v. 7) Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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