Monday, December 6, 2021

Longoria has chance to become winningest player in IRF World Championships history

Mexican Paola Longoria has a chance to win both Women’s Singles and Doubles on Monday at the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala after winning in both semifinals Sunday. She’s the only player to win both in the same year at Worlds, doing so twice before in 2012 and 2014. If she wins one, she’ll tie American Jackie Paraiso as the winningest player in IRF Worlds history with seven career titles. If she wins both, she’ll pass Paraiso. Currently, Longoria has six titles - three each in singles and doubles, while Paraiso has seven in doubles.

Longoria beat Argentine Natalia Mendez, 15-10, 15-1, in the semifinals of Women’s Singles, and will face American Kelani Lawrence in the final, as Lawrence beat teammate Rhonda Rajsich, 15-12, 15-7, in the other semi.

Despite that loss in singles, Rajsich will have a chance to join Longoria as the only women to win both singles and doubles at Worlds, as she and Erika Manilla came back from a game down to defeat Mendez and Valeria Centellas, 6-15, 15-9, 11-8, in the Women's Doubles semifinals. It’s a chance that seemed unlikely when Rajsich went down on the court late in game two of her singles match with Lawrence, as she aggravated an injury to her left ankle. Nonetheless, Rajsich was able to finish that semifinal and show up for her doubles match.

Longoria and Samantha Salas beat Guatemalans Maria Renee Rodriguez and Gabriela Martinez, 15-9, 15-4, in the other semi.

There will be a new champion in Men's Singles, and perhaps a new country winning the title, as a Costa Rican is in the final for the first time. Andres Acuña is that Costa Rican, and he squeaked out a win over Colombian Mario Mercado, 12-15, 15-12, 11-9, in the semifinals.

Acuña will face American Alejandro Landa in the final. Landa also came back from a game down in his semifinal match with Bolivian Conrrado Moscoso, winning 3-15, 15-8, 11-5. Landa would be the eighth American man to win Men’s Singles at Worlds with a win on Monday.

In Men’s Doubles, Mexico and Bolivia will play for the title. Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico defeated Landa and Charlie Pratt, 15-2, 15-13, in one semifinal, while Moscoso and Roland Keller beat Mercado and Andres Gomez in the other.

Mar and Montoya are seeking Mexico’s seventh Men’s Doubles title, but the first one for either of them. In contrast, Moscoso and Keller are the first Bolivians to be in a Worlds Men’s Doubles final.

Monday’s finals will be live streamed from Guatemala. Check with the IRF on Facebook for the stream schedule, and for replays of previous matches, including most of the semi-final matches from Sunday.

20th IRF World Championships
November 29-December 6 - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Men's Singles Semi-finals - Sunday

Alejandro Landa (USA) d. Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia), 3-15, 15-8, 11-5
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) d. Mario Mercado (Colombia), 12-15, 15-12, 11-9

Men's Singles Final - Monday

Alejandro Landa (USA) v. Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - 11 AM

Women's Singles Semi-finals - Sunday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Natalia Mendez (Argentina), 15-10, 15-1
Kelani Lawrence (USA) d. Rhonda Rajsich (USA), 15-12, 15-7

Women's Singles Final - Monday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. Kelani Lawrence (USA) - Noon

Men's Doubles Semi-finals - Sunday

Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Alejandro Landa & Charlie Pratt (USA), 15-2, 15-13
Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Andres Gomez & Mario Mercado (Colombia)

Men's Doubles Final - Monday

Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) v. Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - 2 PM

Women's Doubles Semi-finals - Sunday

Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Maria Renee Rodriguez & Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 15-9, 15-4
Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez (Argentina), 6-15, 15-9, 11-8

Women's Doubles Semi-finals - Monday

Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - 4 PM

Follow the bouncing ball....

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