Saturday, July 25, 2015

Team quarterfinals at 2015 Pan American Games

Canada had an upset win over Argentina in the quarterfinals of the Women's Team event at the 2015 Pan American Games, winning 2-0, after Frédérique Lambert defeated Véronique Guillemette, 15-12, 15-9, and Lambert and Jennifer Saunders beat Guillemette and Maria Vargas in doubles, 15-10, 15-7. The win puts Canada into the semi-finals, where they will face the USA.

Guillemette, reportedly, came to Toronto with a pre-existing back injury, and didn't play some of her singles matches in the individual part of the competition. Early in the first game of the doubles match, Guillemette aggravated that injury. That led to Vargas playing almost all the balls.

It difficult to play against two players at the best of times. To try to do so at the highest level is not a recipe for success.

The win will get Canadian veteran Saunders her first Pan Am Games medal in her third Pan Am Games appearance. Her first Pan Am Games were 12 years ago in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It's also the first medal for Lambert in her second Games appearance.

Saunders' joy was evident as she jumped up and down immediately after the final point was scored. "We played great. Execute our plan," Saunders said afterwards, adding that's "as good as I could play."

Evidence of that were several dives that Saunders made for winners. "When I dive I don't usually kill the ball," she said. But "in doubles it's easier because you're just covering one area, looking for one shot."

Lambert added, "I finally played good. It's about time."

It almost didn't happen for the Canadians, as they went the distance with the young Guatemala team. Asked if that was a stressful match up, Saunders said "at the start it's stressful, but once you get started it's OK. I felt better at home. I had teammates and family in the crowd," which helped keep things in perspective for Saunders, and play well.

Canada will play the USA women in the semi-finals, as the Americans defeated Colombia, 2-0. Rhonda Rajsich and Kim Russell-Waselenchuk (USA) defeated Cristina Amaya and Maria Gomez (Colombia), 15-4, 15-8. Earlier Gomez had defaulted to Rajsich, so the Colombians were hoping for a win in the doubles and then for Amaya to beat Michelle Key. But that didn't happen.

On the top of the Women's Team draw, Mexico will play Ecuador, as both teams won their quarterfinal matches in two straight matches. Mexico defeated Chile, as Paola Longoria beat Angela Grisar, 15-5, 15-5, and then teamed up with Samantha Salas to defeat Grisar and Carla Muñoz in doubles, 15-4, 15-5.

Ecuador were winners over Bolivia. Maria Paz Muñoz defeated Adriana Riveros, 15-14, 15-6, and then Muñoz and Veronica Sotomayor had a walkover win in doubles against Riveros and Carola Loma.

In the Men's Team event, the top four seeds are through to the semi-finals, although two of them needed all three matches to get there. But the top seeded USA team got through in two straight matches against Venezuela. Rocky Carson defeated Cesar Castillo, 15-9, 15-4, then Jansen Allen and Jose Rojas beat Castillo and Cesar Castro in doubles, 15-4, 15-8. Jake Bredenbeck didn't have to play his singles match against Castro.

The USA will play Canada in the semis, after Canada defeated the Dominican Republic, 2-1. Coby Iwaasa won his singles match against Luis Perez, 15-11, 15-7. But then Vincent Gagnon and Tim Landeryou to Perez and Ramon De Leon in doubles, 15-11, 3-15, 11-10. The deciding match was between Mike Green and De Leon, which Green won 15-10, 15-6.

In the doubles match, Canada was up 6-2, and 10-8, but couldn't close it out, as the Dominicans made some great shots.

The USA-Canada semi could be determined by the doubles match, which will be a rematch, as Allen and Rojas lost to Gagnon and Landeryou in the group stage of the individual event. But after that loss Allen and Rojas went on a roll, and won gold in Men's Doubles. They'd surely love to beat the Canadians to show that the first match result was a fluke.

On the other side, Mexico squeaked by Costa Rica, as Daniel De La Rosa pulled out a tie-breaker win over Andres Acuña, 13-15, 15-8, 11-8, in a match necessitated by Alvaro Beltran and Javier Moreno defaulting to Felipe Camacho and Teobaldo Fumero as result of Beltran injuring his back.

It's uncertain whether Beltran will be able to play in the semi-finals. He did beat Camacho, 15-7, 14-15, 11-2, in the first match of the Mexico-Costa Rica quarterfinal.

Beltran's condition, even if he does play, could benefit Bolivia, who defeated Colombia in two matches, as Carlos Keller beat Set Cubillos 15-3, 15-3, and Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso defeated Sebastian Franco and Alejandro Herrera, 8-15, 15-14, 11-4.

The team event is a best of three matches: two singles matches and a doubles match. The team that wins two of the three matches advances.

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

2015 Pan American Games - Toronto, Canada

Women's Team


1) MEXICO (Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas) d. 9) CHILE (Angela Grisar & Carla Muñoz), 2-0
4) ECUADOR (Veronica Sotomayor & Maria Paz Muñoz) d. 5) BOLIVIA (Carola Loma & Adriana Riveros), 2-0

3) USA (Rhonda Rajsich, Michelle Key, Kim Russell-Waselenchuk) d. 6) COLOMBIA (Cristina Amaya & Carolina Gomez), 2-0
7) CANADA (Frédérique Lambert & Jennifer Saunders) d. 2) ARGENTINA (Véronique Guillemette & Maria Jose Vargas), 2-0


1) MEXICO (Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas) v. 4) ECUADOR (Veronica Sotomayor & Maria Paz Muñoz)
3) USA (Rhonda Rajsich, Michelle Key, Kim Russell-Waselenchuk) v. 7) CANADA (Frédérique Lambert & Jennifer Saunders)

Men's Team


1) USA (Rocky Carson, Jake Bredenbeck, Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas) d. 8) VENEZUELA (Cesar Castillo & Cesar Castro), 2-0
4) CANADA (Coby Iwaasa, Mike Green, Vincent Gagnon & Tim Landeryou) d. 5) DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Luis Perez & Ramon De Leon), 2-1

3) BOLIVIA (Carlos Keller, Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso) v. 6) COLOMBIA (Set Cubillos, Sebastian Franco & Alejandro Herrera), 2-0
2) MEXICO (Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno) d. 7) COSTA RICA (Andres Acuña, Felipe Camacho & Teobaldo Fumero), 2-1


1) USA (Rocky Carson, Jake Bredenbeck, Jansen Allen & Jose Rojas) v. 4) CANADA (Coby Iwaasa, Mike Green, Vincent Gagnon & Tim Landeryou)
2) MEXICO (Daniel De La Rosa, Alvaro Beltran & Javier Moreno) v. 3) BOLIVIA (Carlos Keller, Roland Keller & Conrado Moscoso)

Follow the bouncing ball....

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