Thursday, July 23, 2015

Singles semi-finals at 2015 Pan American Games

Paola Longoria of Mexico and Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina will face off for Pan Am gold in Women's Singles Friday after winning their respective semi-finals at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Longoria, the gold medal winner four years ago in Guadalajara, defeated American Rhonda Rajsich, 15-13, 15-9, in one semi-final, while Vargas beat Veronica Sotomayor of Ecuador, 15-7, 15-1, in the other semi.

American Rocky Carson will also have a chance to win gold again, as he did four years ago, after beating Mexican Daniel De La Rosa, 15-14, 15-9. He'll face another Mexican in the final, as Alvaro Beltran beat Bolivia's Conrrado Moscoso in the other semi-final, 15-9, 15-3.

Longoria started strong against Rajsich, going up 6-0 in game one. Rajsich narrowed the gap to two at 6-4, but didn't get any closer until very late, when after fighting off four game points, Rajsich trailed 14-13. She had two chances to tie the game, but failed to do so.

On Longoria's fifth game point, she hit a backhand down the line to win game one, 15-13.

Game two was a similar story, as Longoria went up early, 3-0. Rajsich got it to 3-2, but Longoria then ran seven points to make it 10-2. Rajsich never got close after that, although as in game one, she made Longoria work for the last point. Longoria won it on her fourth match point, after taking a timeout, hitting a forehand reverse pinch, which is one of Longoria's favourite shots.

Carson was similarly put under pressure in his semi, as game one was a see-saw battle. De La Rosa went up first, 4-0. Carson then scored six points to make it 6-4. De La Rosa responded with five points to go up 11-5.

From there, Carson cut the lead to one at 11-10 for De La Rosa, who then got to 14-10. But he couldn't close the game out, despite four chances to do so. Even with Carson making two errors - skipping shots that were golden opportunities - De La Rosa couldn't take advantage.

It seemed that one of those errors - first at 10-14, then at 13-14 - would cost Carson the game, but he kept battling, and won it with a forehand cross court that De La Rosa could only get his racquet on.

Game two started slowly, and included Carson losing serve at 3-1, when the referee judged him to be taking too long to put the ball into play. Both players had previously been warned for taking too long before serving.

But Carson was undeterred by the call, and built a 9-1 advantage. After that De La Rosa never got closer than when it was 10-7. Carson won it with a forehand pinch shot.

Notable were three ace serves by Carson on straight drives to the left side. "It's a fast court, and tough to get a jump on it, when you're really cranking on it," said Carson afterwards. He also feels his drive has improved over the last year, and he's been using that serve primarily in his matches.

Asked about the refereeing during the match, as several calls were appealed, Carson said "overall I really think they're doing a good job," although he felt that the refs at this event may not be familiar with a professional level of play, especially regarding hinders.

The Men's and Women's Singles 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. 5) Rhonda Rajsich (USA), 15-13, 15-9
6) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. 2) Veronica Sotomayor (Ecuador), 15-7, 15-1


1) Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. 6) Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - 9:05 AM EDT

Men Singles


1) Rocky Carson (USA) d. 4) Daniel De La Rosa (Mexico), 15-14, 15-9
6) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) d. 7) Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia), 15-9, 15-3


1) Rocky Carson (USA) v. 6) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) - 10:05 AM EDT

Follow the bouncing ball....

No comments: