Thursday, December 2, 2021

Rajsich upsets Vargas to reach quarters at 2021 IRF World Championships

Here at The Racquetball Blog we like to talk about wily veterans. Players who have been around for awhile, and although they are likely past their peak, they are still capable pulling out a big win. American Rhonda Rajsich may be the poster player for the wily veteran category, and she showed why - yet again - at the 20th International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Thursday when the medal round began. Playing Women’s Singles, Rajsich came back from a game down to defeat 2nd seed Maria Jose Vargas of Argentina, 5-15, 15-5, 11-10, in the Round of 16 to book a place in the quarterfinals on Friday and a chance at the podium.

Rajsich is a two time World Champion in Women’s Singles, and has been on the podium two other times. Friday she’ll try to make it five podiums when she takes on Guatemalan Maria Renee Rodriguez, who was a winner over Colombian Cristina Amaya, 15-13, 15-10.

Rodriguez would surely love to get a medal on home soil, and she only had to play once Thursday, while Rajsich played twice, and both matches went to a tie-breaker. Before defeating Vargas, Rajsich played Merynanyelly Delagdo of the Dominican Republic, and had to come from a game down in that match as well, winning it 14-15, 15-3, 11-5.

So, Rajsich-Rodriguez is a toss up, and never discount a wily veteran in a toss up.

Also in Women’s Singles, top seed Paola Longoria of Mexico comfortably reached the quarters by beating Maria Jose Muñoz of Ecuador, 15-0, 15-1, in the Round of 16. She’ll play a familiar opponent in the quarterfinals Friday: Samantha Salas, who is Longoria’s doubles partner. Salas reached the quarters by defeating Canadian Michèle Morissette, 15-0, 15-2.

Also of note, American Kelani Lawrence was three points away from going out in the Round of 32, but will play in the quarterfinals Friday, as she came back to defeat Ireland’s Aisling Hickey, 7-15, 15-12, 11-5, in the 32s, and then beat Chilean Carla Muñoz in the Round of 16, 15-8, 15-13.

After winning game one, Hickey led the whole way in game two, holding leads at 8-3, 11-7 and 12-10. But Lawrence tied it at 12-12, and went on to win from there. Although Hickey got the first two points of the breaker, it was really all Lawrence, who went from 3-1 down to 10-3 up. Hickey got a couple points back before Lawrence finished it at 11-5.

Lawrence is one of three players - along with Rodriguez and Angelica Barrios of Bolivia - who are first time quarterfinalists at Worlds.

Men’s Singles

For the first time since 2008 the reigning Men’s Singles World Champion will not successfully defend his title, as current World Champion Mexican Rodrigo Montoya lost to American Jake Bredenbeck in the Round of 16, 15-10, 15-14. In the quarterfinals, Bredenbeck will take on Colombian Mario Mercado, who had to come back from a game down to defeat Juan Francisco Cueva of Ecuador, 14-15, 15-6, 11-2.

There will be mostly new men on the Men’s Singles podium, as seven of the eight quarterfinalists have not medaled in singles at Worlds before. That includes top seed Alejandro Landa of the USA, who defeated Argentina’s Shai Manzuri (another wily veteran, tho not wily enough on Thursday), 15-6, 15-9. Landa faces Juan Jose Salvatierra in the quarters, as Salvatierra won an all Guatemala match with team-mate Javier Martinez, 15-7, 12-15, 11-7, in the Round of 16.

Another team-mate battle in the 16s was won by Andres Acuña, who beat fellow Costa Rican Felipe Camacho, 15-5, 15-2. Acuña will play Ecuador’s Jose Daniel Ugalde in the quarters, as Ugalde defeated Luis Aguilar of Bolivia, 15-8, 15-9, in the 16s.

Finally, Andree Parrilla of Mexico beat Ramon De Leon of the Dominican Republic, 15-6, 15-4, and will play Bolivian Conrrado Moscoso in the quarters Friday as Moscoso defeated Diego Garcia of Argentina, 15-5, 15-3. Moscoso is the only quarterfinalist to have previously reached the podium at Worlds, doing it twice - in 2014 and 2016.

Live streaming has begun! Check out the (IRF on Facebook for the live streaming feed.

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

Men's Singles - Round of 32

Alejandro Landa (USA) - BYE
Shai Manzuri (Argentina) d. Francis Guillemette (Canada), 15-6, 15-2

Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) d. Rodrigo Salgado (Chile), 15-5, 15-9
Javier Martinez (Guatemala) d. Eoin Tynan (Ireland), 15-7, 15-2

Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - BYE
Diego Garcia (Argentina) d. Set Cubillos (Colombia), 15-2, 15-4

Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic) d. Lee Gunhee (South Korea), 15-6, 15-7
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) - BYE

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) - BYE
Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Lee Connell (Canada), 15-2, 15-4

Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador) d. Rafael Gatica (Chile), 15-3, 15-11
Mario Mercado (Colombia) - BYE

Luis Aguilar (Bolivia) - BYE
Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Ken Cottrell (Ireland), 15-2, 15-1

Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) v. Kim Mingyu (South Korea), 15-12, 15-14
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - BYE

Men's Singles Round of 16 - Thursday

Alejandro Landa (USA) d. Shai Manzuri (Argentina), 15-6, 15-9
Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) d. Javier Martinez (Guatemala), 15-7, 12-15, 11-7

Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. Diego Garcia (Argentina), 15-5, 15-3
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) d. Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic), 15-6, 15-4

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) d. Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico), 15-10, 15-14
Mario Mercado (Colombia) d. Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador), 14-15, 15-6, 11-2

Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. Luis Aguilar (Bolivia), 15-8, 15-9
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) v. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica), 15-5, 15-2

Men's Singles Quarterfinals - Friday

Alejandro Landa (USA) v. Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) - Noon
Andree Parrilla (Mexico) v. Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) - Noon

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) v. Mario Mercado (Colombia) - Noon
Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) v. Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) - Noon

Women's Singles Round of 32 - Thursday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) - BYE
Maria Jose Muñoz (Ecuador) d. Maria Paz Riquelme (Colombia), 15-8, 15-5

Samantha Salas (Mexico) - BYE
Michèle Morissette (Canada) - BYE

Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - BYE
Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador) d. Majella Haverty (Ireland), 15-3, 15-5

Lee Sumin (South Korea) d. Ayako Hanashi (Japan), 15-9, 15-4
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) - BYE

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) - BYE
Miceala Meneses (Bolivia) d. Juliette Parent (Canada), 15-9, 15-1

Kelani Lawrence USA) d. Aisling Hickey (Ireland), 7-15, 15-12, 11-5
Carla Muñoz (Chile) - BYE

Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) - BYE
Cristina Amaya (Colombia) - BYE

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Merynanyelly Delagdo (Dominican Republic), 14-15, 15-3, 11-5
Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - BYE

Women's Singles Round of 16 - Thursday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. Maria Jose Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-0, 15-1
Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. Michèle Morissette (Canada), 15-0, 15-2

Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) d. Maria Paz Muñoz (Ecuador), 15-1, 15-14
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. Lee Sumin (South Korea), 15-3, 15-3

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) d. Miceala Meneses (Bolivia), 13-15, 15-7, 11-3
Kelani Lawrence USA) d. Carla Muñoz (Chile), 15-8, 15-13

Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) d. Cristina Amaya (Colombia), 15-13, 15-10
Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina), 5-15, 15-5, 11-10

Women's Singles Quarterfinals - Friday

Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. Samantha Salas (Mexico) - 1 PM
Natalia Mendez (Argentina) v. Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) - 1 PM

Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) v. Kelani Lawrence USA) - 1 PM
Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala) v. Rhonda Rajsich (USA) - 1 PM

Follow the bouncing ball....

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