Thursday, July 23, 2015

Doubles semi-finals - 2015 Pan American Games

Mexico won both Men's and Women's Doubles at the 2011 Pan American Games, but at the 2015 Pan American Games only Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas will have a chance for gold again, as they won their semi-finals against Maria Paz Muñoz and Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador, 15-10, 15-12, while their team-mates Alvaro Beltran and Javier Moreno fell to Americans Jansen Allen and Jose Rojas, 15-13, 15-14.

Longoria and Salas's match wasn't stress free, as they were down in the second game, 9-5, and tied with Ecuador 12-12, with a tie-breaker looking like a definite possibility.

But the three time World Champions held firm, helped by Longoria stabbing at a ball about to pass her on the backhand side, and somehow having it roll out. That made it 13-12. Ecuador regained serve, but couldn't score. After the Mexicans got the serve back they got two straight points. The first was off a skip by Sotomayor for 14-12, and the second was a Longoria backhand down the line at match point.

In the final Mexico will face the Argentina team of Veronique Guillemette and Maria Jose Vargas, who needed a tie-breaker to defeat Americans Rhonda Rajsich and Kim Russell-Waselenchuk, 15-7, 13-15, 11-6. It was a painful victory for Vargas, who was hit on a follow through in game two. She went down immediately, and bled onto the court.

Vargas was helped away from the court, clearly in distress, and it was uncertain whether she would continue. But about 10 minutes later, Vargas reappeared, seemingly none the worse for the incident, and play continued.

That incident happened as Argentina was down 13-9, and trying to come back to finish the match in two games. But they were unable to do so, as the Americans won the second game, 15-13.

In the tie-breaker, Argentina was never behind. They were tied at 2-2, but the Argentines scored eight unanswered points to get to match point at 10-2. The veteran American team stopped them there, and scored four straight points to make it interesting.

At that point, Argentina took a time out, and when play resumed, they won two straight rallies to regain serve. Guillemette skipped their second match point, but on match point three Vargas hit a forehand pass from left to right that Russell-Waselenchuk got her racquet on, but was unable to get to the front wall.

Late in game two, and throughout the tie-breaker, Argentina served everything to Russell-Waselenchuk. Vargas hit straight lobs tight to the right side wall, while Guillemette hit drive Z serves to the right.

In Men's Doubles semi-finals, the Canadian team of Vincent Gagnon and Tim Landeryou lost to Boliivans Roland Keller and Conrado Moscoso, 15-11, 15-9. In their earlier matches, the Canucks needed to come back to win, but in both games of their semi-final, they had the lead early.

In fact, Gagnon and Landeryou were up 9-1 in game one, but got outscored 14-2 in the rest of the game.

"I don't feel we played badly, but near the end of each game we needed to finish balls that we were just missing," said Landeryou afterwards. He felt they needed to kill balls to win, and their shots weren't quite there tonight.

Gagnon added that the Bolivians had "more power" than they did, and that was a factor in the match.

Asked whether playing their second match of the day was a factor, neither Gagnon or Landeryou thought it was, citing the fact that it was Moscoso's fourth match of the day, as he played singles as well as doubles for Bolivia. However, Moscoso's 19 (and Keller 25), while Gagnon is 33 and Landeryou 31, so that age difference makes one wonder.

The younger team also won the USA-Mexico match as Americans Allen and Rojas are 25, compared to Moreno at 39 and Beltran at 36. However, Allen will turn 26 Friday, and he'll look to give himself a golden birthday present when he and Rojas play Bolivia in the Men's Doubles final.

The Men's and Women's Doubles gold medal matches are Friday midday. A team competition follows beginning Friday afternoon and concludes Sunday.

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

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Women's Doubles


1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. 5) Maria Paz Muñoz & Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador), 15-10, 15-12
6) Veronique Guillemette & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. 2) Rhonda Rajsich & Kim Russell-Waselenchuk (USA), 15-7, 13-15, 11-6


1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. 6) Veronique Guillemette & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)

Men's Doubles


5) Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas (USA) d. 1) Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno (Mexico), 15-13, 15-14
3) Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 2) Vincent Gagnon & Tim Landeryou (Canada), 15-11, 15-9


3) Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. 5) Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas (USA)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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