Saturday, December 11, 2021

Two singles sweeps as play wraps up at 2021 IRF World Junior Championships

Bolivians swept the girls singles divisions while Mexicans swept the boys singles divisions in the finals of the 32nd International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Saturday. In Girls U18 Singles, Micaela Meneses of Bolivia beat Martina Katz of Argentina, 15-5, 15-2, and her teammate Kristin Salinas defeated Mexican Cynthia Gutierrez, 15-3, 15-5, the closest singles final of the day was in Girls U14 as Natalia Mendez of Bolivia eked out a victory over Mexican Maria Fernanda Trujillo, 15-14, 15-12.

In the boys divisions, Erick Trujillo won the all-Mexico final in U18, but it wasn’t easy, as Sebastian Longoria was on fire in game one of the match. He took an 11-2 lead, but Trujillo slowly worked his way back, and passed Longoria at 13-12, getting to game point first at 14-12.

Trujillo made an unforced error - skipping a backhand shot - on his first match point opportunity. Longoria took advantage of the error and scored two points to tie the match at 14-14. On the ensuing rally, Trujillo hit a backhand pinch shot from the backwall that rolled out, putting him back in the service box. He hit a forehand pass to win it on the next rally.

In game two, Trujillo went up 7-1. Longoria did fight back to get within four at 7-3, 8-4 and 11-7, he couldn’t get any closer, as Trujillo closed it out at 15-7.

In the other boys finals, Jorge Gutierrez of Mexico won a battle of two power players in Boys U16, as he defeated Bolivian Ezequiel Subieta, 15-13, 15-9. Finally, there was another all-Mexico final in Boys U14 with Eder Renteria beating Sebastian Ruelas, 15-0, 15-12.

Meneses had a chance to win two gold medals Saturday, as she and Florencio Villazon (Bolivia) were in the Girls U18 Doubles final, but they lost to Mexicans Ximena Martinez and Daniela Rico, 15-9, 15-12. The Bolivians used a front-back strategy with Villazon up front and Meneses at the back, and it looked like they might get it to a tie-breaker when they were up 7-3 in game two, and then tied at 12-12. But it wasn’t to be, as the Mexicans power wore out the Bolivian side.

The Girls U16 Doubles final was won by the hometown favourites Andrea Reyes and Anna Salvatierra (Guatemala) who hung to defeat Cynthia Gutierrez and Angela Ortega and Mexico, 15-10, 7-15, 11-7.

The Girls U14 Doubles final was played between Mexico and Costa Rica - the only sides entered in the division - but Ashly Arce got hurt early in the tournament, so they substituted another girl in her play so that they could have one match at least. That match was won by Mexicans Yanna Salazar and Maria Fernanda Trujillo over Costa Ricans Ared Arce and Jessie Vargas.

The Boys U18 Doubles final was one of only two finals that didn’t involve at least one Mexican player. In it Jhoel Acha and Nestor Zenteno of Bolivia defeated Felipe Guillen and Andres Matamoros of Costa Rica, 15-6, 15-4.

Although Meneses didn’t win two gold medals, Mexican Jorge Gutierrez did. He won Boys U16 Doubles Saturday by defeating Jose Caceres and Hector Sierra of Guatemala, 15-2, 15-10, which followed up his win in Boys U16 singles. Finally, Eder Renteria and Sebastian Ruelas of Mexico beat Marco Mamani and Marco Vedia of Bolivia, 15-4, 15-12.

Overall, Mexico won seven of the twelve gold medals in the World Cup divisions - Boys and Girls U14, U16, U18 - five in boys and two in girls. Bolivia won four (three in girls) and Guatemala won one.

If you missed the action from Guatemala, they did stream matches, including several of Saturday’s finals, and you can check them out via the (IRF page on Facebook.

32nd IRF World Championships
December 2-December 11 - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Girls U18 Singles - Final - Saturday

Micaela Meneses (Bolivia) d. Martina Katz (Argentina), 15-5, 15-2

Girls U16 Singles - Final - Saturday

Kristin Salinas (Bolivia) d. Cynthia Gutierrez (Mexico), 15-3, 15-5

Girls U14 Singles - Final - Saturday

Natalia Mendez (Bolivia) d. Maria Fernanda Trujillo (Mexico), 15-14, 15-12

Boys U18 Singles - Final - Saturday

Erick Trujillo (Mexico) d. Sebastian Longoria (Mexico), 15-14, 15-7

Boys U16 Singles - Final - Saturday

Jorge Gutierrez (Mexico) d. Ezequiel Subieta (Bolivia), 15-13, 15-9

Boys U14 Singles - Final - Saturday

Eder Renteria (Mexico) d. Sebastian Ruelas (Mexico), 15-0, 15-12

Girls U18 Doubles - Final - Saturday

Ximena Martinez & Daniela Rico (Mexico) d. Micaela Meneses & Florencio Villazon (Bolivia), 15-9, 15-12

Girls U16 Doubles - Final - Saturday

Andrea Reyes & Anna Salvatierra (Guatemala) d. Cynthia Gutierrez & Angela Ortega (Mexico), 15-10, 7-15, 11-7

Girls U14 Doubles - Final - Saturday

Yanna Salazar & Maria Fernanda Trujillo (Mexico) d. Ared Arce & Ashly Arce (Costa Rica)

Boys U18 Doubles - Final - Saturday

Jhoel Acha & Nestor Zenteno (Bolivia) d. Felipe Guillen & Andres Matamoros (Costa Rica), 15-6, 15-4

Boys U16 Doubles - Final - Saturday

Christian Sanchez & Jorge Gutierrez (Mexico) d. Jose Caceres & Hector Sierra (Guatemala), 15-2, 15-10

Boys U14 Doubles - Final - Saturday

Eder Renteria & Sebastian Ruelas (Mexico) d. Marco Mamani & Marco Vedia (Bolivia), 15-4, 15-12

Follow the bouncing ball....

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