Thursday, April 18, 2019

Quarterfinal craziness at 2019 Pan American Championships

Here’s how crazy things can be at an international racquetball event like the 2019 Pan American Championships now going on in Barranquilla, Colombia. Two players who lost all their group stage matches in Women’s Singles are into the semi-finals, so they’ve made the podium, despite what happened the first three days of the competition. Indeed, the Women’s Singles semi-finalists are the 3rd seed, 12th seed, 15th seed and 24th seed. Astounding.

Natalia Mendez of Argentina, the 24th seed, knocked off the top seed Mexican Monserrat Mejia, 15-13, 15-13, in the quarterfinals Thursday. Also, Maria Paz Muñoz of Ecuador, who beat the 2nd seed Cristina Amaya (Colombia) on Wednesday, followed up that win with a victory over 7th seed Merynanyelly Delgado of the Dominican Republic in the quarters on Thursday, 14-15, 15-13, 11-3. Neither Mendez or Muñoz won a match in the group stage of the event.
Rhonda Rajsich of the USA was making a bid for a three-peat in Barranquilla, as she’s the two time defending Women's Singles champion, but Argentina’s María José Vargas denied Rajsich that chance by defeating her, 15-4, 15-8, in the quarters. Vargas will play Mendez in the semis, which guarantees an Argentine woman will be in the final.

Paola Longoria of Mexico, the 7 time Pan American Women’s Singles champion, advanced to the semi-finals with a win over Valeria Centellas of Bolivia, 14-15, 15-4, 11-7. Longoria will play Muñoz in the semis Friday.

Things are just about as crazy in Men’s Singles, as the top two seeds lost in the quarterfinals Thursday. Eighth seed Andres Acuña of Costa Rica was the big dragon slayer, as he upset top seed Alejandro Landa of Mexico, 6-15, 15-14, 11-7. Landa had a chance to win the match in two straight games, but Acuña survived, and moves on to the semi-finals.

Speaking of survival, Charles Pratt of the USA barely survived his quarterfinal match with Bolivian Conrrado Moscoso, as he came back to win in three games, 3-15, 15-12, 11-10. He also had to get out of a big hole in the third game, as Moscoso was up 8-1, and 10-7. Moscoso had two chances to win it, but skipped a forehand shot on the first chance, and Pratt hit a forehand winner to deny the second chance.

With the serve back at 10-7, Pratt won four straight rallies, three of which Moscoso ended by skipping shots, including on match point. On that point, Pratt had hit a forehand from the left side of the court that went wide off the right side wall, coming off the back wall. That gave Moscoso an opportunity to hit a winner, but he’d turned around to follow the ball and maybe went for too much - tried for a kill shot rather than solid pass - which resulted in a skip.

Pratt got to match point with a great forehand volley from a center court position. He’ll play Acuña in the semi-finals Friday.

Bolivian Carlos Keller, the 7th seed, ousted 2nd seed David Horn of the USA, 15-12, 15-10. He’ll play Mexican veteran Alvaro Beltran in the semi-finals, as Beltran defeated Dominican Luis Perez, 15-9, 15-6.

It seems that Facebook is the best option for seeing some of the matches from Barranquilla. But check out the IRF Website for results, and the IRF Facebook page or the IRF YouTube channel for matches.

XXXII Pan American Racquetball Championships
Barranquilla, Colombia - April 12-20, 2019

Women's Singles - Quarterfinals - Thursday

24) Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. 1) Monserrat Mejia (Mexico), 15-13, 15-13
12) María José Vargas (Argentina) d. 13) Rhonda Rajsich (USA), 15-4, 15-8

3) Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 6) Valeria Centellas (Bolivia), 14-15, 15-4, 11-7
15) Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador) d. 7) Merynanyelly Delgado (Dominican Republic), 14-15, 15-13, 11-3

Women's Singles - Semi-finals - Friday

12) María José Vargas (Argentina) v. 24) Natalia Mendez (Argentina) - 10 AM
3) Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. 15) Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador) - Noon

Men's Singles - Quarterfinals - Thursday

8) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) d. 1) Alejandro Landa (Mexico), 6-15, 15-14, 11-7
4) Charles Pratt (USA) d. 5) Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia), 3-15, 15-12, 11-10

3) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) d. 6) Luis Perez (Dominican Republic), 15-9, 15-6
7) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. 2) David Horn (USA), 15-12, 15-10

Men's Singles - Semi-finals - Friday

4) Charles Pratt (USA) v. 8) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - 11 AM
3) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico) v. 7) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) - 1 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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