Thursday, July 23, 2015

Singles Quarterfinals at 2015 Pan American Games

The defending gold medalists in Men's and Women's Singles both comfortably won their respective quarterfinals Thursday morning at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. American Rocky Carson defeated Luis Perez from the Dominican Republic, 15-8, 15-1, on the men's side while Mexican Paola Longoria beat Carola Loma, 15-1, 15-2, on the women's side.

That puts them both in the semi-finals, so assures them of a medal. However, you can be sure that they are aiming for gold and that anything less will be a disappointment. In the semis, Carson will face Daniel De La Rosa of Mexico, who defeated Alejandro Herrera of Colombia, 15-4, 15-14, in the quarters, and Longoria will be up against a familiar foe in American Rhonda Rajsich, who beat Canadian Frédérique Lambert in the quarters, 15-9, 9-15, 11-7.

Rajsich-Lambert was a battle that lasted over an hour. In game one, Rajsich took the early advantage, and maintained that throughout the game, helped early by four fault serves by Lambert. After being down 9-2, the closest Lambert got was within two at 11-9, helped by three ace serves.

In game two, Lambert was never behind after Rajsich scored the first point. They were tied at 5-5 and 9-9, but after that last tie, Lambert scored six unanswered points, during which Rajsich only served once, resulting in an immediate side out after a Lambert forehand cross court return.

In the tie-breaker, there was never more than two points between them. Rajsich took a timeout after she regained serve down 6-7, and made a strategic change that she wouldn't divulge when asked about it afterwards.

But whatever it was helped her to three straight points, the third of which came on a drive z to the right side for a service winner that made it 9-7. Lambert regained serve at that point, but Rajsich hit a backhand reverse pinch that rolled: a low percentage shot for most, but not for a great player who's feeling confident.

A Lambert serve return skip made it 10-7, and then Lambert hit a forehand winner to serve again. On that rally, a Rajsich shot came big off the back wall, and Lambert tried to drop it at the front wall, but skipped the opportunity.

It would be her last, as Rajsich hit another drive Z serve to the right side for a service winner to end the game and match.

Afterwards, Rajsich spoke of she was just "hoping to weather that storm" when Lambert got hot, as when the Canadian's hot "there's nothing I can about it," said Rajsich. Thankfully for Rajsich, Lambert didn't get too hot too often during their match on Thursday.

On the other side of the women's draw, Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina will face Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador in the other semi-final, as in the quarterfinals Vargas defeated Mexican Samantha Salas, 15-10, 15-7, and Sotomayor beat Cristina Amaya of Colombia, 15-11, 15-13.

In Men's Singles, Mexican veteran Alvaro Beltran defeated young Canadian Coby Iwaasa, 15-3, 15-7, but Beltran said afterwards that "the score is a lie. It was a tough battle."

"I knew I had to start strong, and take away the confidence from him," said Beltran, so "it was a tough mental match for me."

It was the first time he's played Iwaasa, so Beltran said he focussed on himself rather than his opponent.

"I felt I served well," said Iwaasa, but didn't follow up the serve as well as he wanted. "I thought I played well, I think I can play better, but he played really great," Iwaasa added.

Next up for Beltran in the semi-finals will be Conrrado Moscoso who won the all-Bolivian battle with Carlos Keller, 15-3, 15-5, which is a surprising scoreline as the two played last year at the IRF World Championships, where Moscoso also won, but in a tie-breaker.

Beltran will have his hands full with another young player in Moscoso when they meet later today.

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

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

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Women Singles


1) Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 8) Carola Loma (Bolivia), 15-1, 15-2
5) Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. 4) Frédérique Lambert (Canada), 15-9, 9-15, 11-7

6) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. 3) Samantha Salas (Mexico), 15-10, 15-7
2) Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) d. 10) Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 15-11, 15-13


1) Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. 5) Rhonda Rajsich (USA)
2) Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador) v. 6) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina)

Men Singles


1) Rocky Carson (USA) d. 8) Luis Perez (Dominican Rep), 15-8, 15-1
4) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico) d. 5) Alejandro Herrera (Colombia), 15-4, 15-14

6) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) d. 19) Coby Iwaasa (Canada), 15-3, 15-7
7) Conrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 2) Carlos Keller (Bolivia), 15-3, 15-5


1) Rocky Carson (USA) v. 4) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico)
6) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) v. 7) Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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