Friday, April 19, 2019

Semi-final results from 2019 Pan American Championships

Mexican Paola Longoria will have a chance to win her 8th Pan American Championship in Women’s Singles Saturday when she plays Argentina’s Maria Jose Vargas in the final at the 2019 Pan American Championships in Barranquilla, Colombia. Longoria ended the run of Ecuador’s Maria Paz Muñoz, 15-5, 15-3, in one semi-final, while Vargas needed a tie-breaker to defeat her team-mate Natalia Mendez (Argentina), 15-9, 14-15, 11-7. If Vargas wins Saturday, it will be her 2nd Pan Am title in Women’s Singles, as she won it in 2014.

Carlos Keller of Bolivia has a chance to defend his Men’s Singles title, as he defeated Mexican Alvaro Beltran in the semi-finals, 15-13, 15-8. In the final, Keller will face the USA’s Charlie Pratt, as Pratt came back from a game down to defeat Andres Acuña of Costa Rica, 13-15, 15-11, 11-7, in the other semi.

Vargas and Mendez were close through the midway point of game one in their match, as they were tied at 8-8. But Vargas was able to push at the end, scoring seven points to Mendez’s one to win it 15-9.

Game two was similar, in that they were tied at 5-5, and Vargas pushed ahead to lead 9-6, and 13-8. Cue the comeback. They exchanged seven sideouts, and then Mendez called a timeout prior to serving. She hit two great pinch shots - a forehand and a backhand - to get within three at 13-10, and Vargas called a timeout.

Another sideout exchange followed. Then Vargas got to 14 when Mendez skipped a backhand return of a drive serve to the left side. However, Vargas was called for an avoidable, denying her first match point. But she got the serve back with a great backhand winner.

Mendez denied Vargas’s second match point with a winning backhand return off another drive serve to the left. Mendez followed that up with a four more winners to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at 15-14.

In the tie-breaker, Vargas took the early lead at 5-0, but Mendez came back to tie it at 7-7. However, she could score no more, as Vargas pushed on to win 11-7.

Acuña had a big lead on Pratt in game one of their semi-final, as he led 8-0 and 10-1. But Pratt’s not one to give up, and he came back to within one at 11-10, and then 14-13, but he never tied the game. Eventually Acuña was able to finish it off, 15-13.

Acuña got off to another good start in game two, as he was up 6-0. However, Pratt started his comeback sooner, and tied the score at 8-8. They were back and forth from there with ties at 10-10 and 11-11. Then Pratt pulled ahead, and led 14-11, when Acuña called a time out.

When play resumed, Acuña got the serve back with a backhand shot that cracked off the left side wall. But he couldn’t follow that up, as Pratt got the serve right back. With his second game point, Pratt hit drive serve to the left that cracked out for an ace to win the game 15-11.

The breaker had three streaks. Pratt had the first one, and led 4-0. Acuña got the second, and led 6-4. The third streak was Pratt’s as he got six points to lead 10-6. Late in the game, Acuña seemed to be feeling the pressure, as he made three bad skips. The first two gave Pratt his 9th and 10th points. The third denied Acuña a point after he’d fought off Pratt’s first match point.

However, Acuña fought off Pratt’s second match point with a great forehand pinch shot, and got a point with a great reverse pinch shot, which was a shot he tried for on one of those bad skips. With back to back great shots, the match was clearly not over. Pratt wisely called a time out with the score 10-7.

On the ensuing rally, Pratt hit a solid forehand shot to get the serve back. He ended the match in style by hitting a drive serve that stuck in the back left corner for an ace. Thus, Pratt will have a chance to win his first gold medal in the final on Saturday.

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 - Semi-finals - Friday

12) María José Vargas (Argentina) d. 24) Natalia Mendez (Argentina), 15-9, 14-15, 11-7
3) Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 15) Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-5, 15-3

Women's Singles - Final - Saturday

3) Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. 12) María José Vargas (Argentina) - 11 AM

Men's Singles - Semi-finals - Friday

4) Charles Pratt (USA) d. 8) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica), 13-15, 15-11, 11-7
7) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) d. 3) Alvaro Beltran (Mexico), 15-13, 15-8

Men's Singles - Final - Saturday

4) Charles Pratt (USA) v. 7) Carlos Keller (Bolivia) - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: