Monday, December 2, 2019

Canadian National Team Selection Event

Samuel Murray and Frédérique Lambert won the Men's and Women's divisions, respectively, at the first Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event of the season on the weekend in Edmonton, Alberta. In their respective finals, Murray beat Coby Iwaasa, 15-5, 15-8, and Lambert went to a tie-breaker to defeat Christine Richardson, 14-16, 15-12, 11-2. Their victories will help Murray and Lambert qualify for the 2020 World Championships to be held next year in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Murray, the #1 ranked men’s player in Canada and currently 8th on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), dominated the final with 2nd seed Iwaasa.

But Lambert’s route to victory was more difficult, as Richardson came back from 14-10 down in game one to win 16-14. Then in game two they were tied at 12-12, so Richardson was three points away from pulling off the upset.

However, Lambert was able to get the final three points to win game two, 15-12, and force a tie-breaker. In the breaker - as often happens after two close games - one player ran away with it, and in this case, that was Lambert, who won it going away at 11-2.

This is the first event in the qualification process for the 2020 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships to be held next summer in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The next National Team Selection Event will be February 7-9, 2020 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Saunders retires

Jennifer Saunders announced her retirement from competitive racquetball, and the Canadian National Team, on Monday. She retires as the winningest Canadian at the National Championships with 24 combined Canadian National titles: 11 in Women’s Singles and 13 in Women’s Doubles.

It’s a record unlikely to be surpassed, although Lambert at 27 actually has one more Canadian Championship than Saunders did at 27. Lambert has two singles titles and two doubles titles, while Saunders had two in singles and one in doubles at the same age. However, to match Saunders’s 24, Lambert would have to win both singles and doubles each year for the next decade. As good as Lambert is, that still seems unlikely.

Saunders also represented Canada on many occasions, winning numerous medals, highlighted by silver in Women’s Singles at the IRF World Championships in 2002 and 2012. No other woman has been a finalist in Women’s Singles at Worlds ten years apart. Most recently, Saunders was a bronze medalist at the 2019 Pan American Championships with Danielle Drury.

Although Saunders is retiring from playing competitive racquetball, she will remain involved in competitive racquetball, as Racquetball Canada has hired Saunders to be its new Administrator of High Performance and Sport Development. So, Saunders will continue to be involved in Canadian racquetball, only not on court.

2019 Racquetball Canada Selection Event
November 29–December 1, Edmonton, Alberta

Men's Open


1) Samuel Murray d. 2) Coby Iwaasa, 15-5, 15-8

3rd Place

3) Tim Landeryou d. 4) Trevor Webb, 15-9, 4-1, injury forfeit


1) Samuel Murray d. 4) Trevor Webb, 15-8, 15-8
2) Coby Iwaasa d. 3) Tim Landeryou, 15-11, 15-10


1) Samuel Murray d. 9) Mitch Brayley, 15-6, 15-1
4) Trevor Webb d. 5) Lee Connell, 15-11, 15-11

3) Tim Landeryou d. 6) Tanner Prentice, 15-5, 15-10
2) Coby Iwaasa d. 7) Ian Frattinger, 15-3, 15-6

Women's Open


1) Frédérique Lambert d. 2) Christine Richardson, 14-16, 15-12, 11-2

3rd place

3) Michèle Morissette d. 5) Juliette Parent, 15-7, 9-15, 11-9

5th place

4) Alexis Iwaasa d. 6) Cassie Prentice, 15-7, 9-15, 11-5

Follow the bouncing ball….

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