Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Semi-final day results from 2022 Pan American Championships

Bolivia maybe the most racquetball mad country in the world. Seriously. So, you know they had high hopes for their players competing at home in the 2022 Pan American Racquetball Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia this week, and some of those hopes have been realized as two Bolivians - Conrrado Moscoso and Angelica Barrios - will play for gold in Men’s and Women’s Singles, respectively, on Thursday. However, their paths to the final have been different. Moscoso was the top seed in Men’s Singles, while Barrios was the 10th seed - the highest seed in the Women’s Singles playoff.

That’s not to say Moscoso’s had easy matches. In the semi-finals Wednesday he had to play former International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico, winning in three close games, 15-14, 15-10, 15-13. He’ll play Costa Rica’s Andres Acuña, who upset 2nd seed Alejandro Landa of the USA, 15-14, 14-15, 15-12, 15-14, in what was a rematch of last year’s IRF Men’s Singles World Championship final, won by Landa.

In her semi-final, Barrios also played a former IRF World Champion in 6th seed Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala, and won in four games, 15-10, 9-15, 15-7, 15-11. The win puts her into an international final for the first time, where she’ll play top seed María José Vargas of Argentina, who came back from a game down to defeat 4th seed Carla Muñoz of Chile, 11-15, 15-11, 15-7, 15-13.

Both results in the Men’s Doubles semi-finals were upsets, giving more evidence to our theory that men’s dubs can be a crap shoot, because there are several good teams around. The biggest upset is maybe not a real upset, as Canadians Coby Iwaasa and Samuel Murray, who were seeded 4th, were silver medalists at the last Pan Am Championships in 2019. Wednesday they knocked off the top seeded American brothers Jake Bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck, 15-13, 15-13, 15-12.

In the other semi, 3rd seeds Juan Francisco Cueva and Jose Daniel Ugalde of Ecuador defeated 2nd seeds Andres Acuña and Gabriel Garcia of Costa Rica, 15-14, 15-8, 15-14. Ecuador hasn’t won gold at the Pan Am Championships, although Ugalde and Fernando Rios were in the Men’s Doubles final in 2016, losing to Mexicans Javier Moreno and Alejandro Landa (then playing for Mexico).

In contrast to the Men’s Doubles semi-finals, the Women’s Doubles semis were both won by the two top seeded teams. Number one seeds Alejandra Herrera and Samantha Salas of Mexico defeated Bolivians Micaela Meneses and Yazmine Sabja in one semi, 15-13, 7-15, 15-14, 15-12.

In the other semi, the 2nd seeded Argentine team of Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas eked out a victory over the 3rd seeded USA team of Erika Manilla and Rhonda Rajsich, 15-11, 12-15, 15-14, 15-14. They came back from 11-14 down in game three to pull out that game, which helped them get the W. Argentina will be in their 3rd Pan Am Championship final Thursday with the first two coming in 2015 and 2016, when Vargas and Véronique Guillemette were silver medalists.

In Mixed Doubles, top seeds Micaela Meneses and Conrrado Moscoso of Bolivia comfortably defeated 5th seeds Valeria Centellas and Diego Garcia of Argentina, 15-5, 15-4, 15-5, and they’ll play Mexicans Rodrigo Montoya and Samantha Salas in the final Thursday. Montoya and Salas defeated the USA team of Alejandro Landa and Erika Manilla, who seemed to have lost as a result of getting three technical calls against them after being down 2-1 games. The scoreline is posted as “15-13, 12-15, 15-8, 15-0. 3 Technical.”

That match wasn’t streamed, so we’re not sure what went down. International referees do have a lower threshold for assessing technicals to players than is seen in pro racquetball matches or USA Racquetball events, so it wouldn’t necessarily have been very extreme actions that led to the technicals. Still it’s an unfortunate way to lose a match.

There will be 5 finals on Thursday, and six countries are represented in those finals: Bolivia three times, Argentina and Mexico twice each, and once for each of Canada, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Champions have to come from somewhere, and they’re coming from more places now than from even 10 years ago.

Matches have been streamed by the International Racquetball Federation (IRF), so check out the IRF Facebook page or the IRF YouTube channel.

XXXIII Pan American Racquetball Championships
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia - April 9-16, 2022

Note: the times below are Bolivian time, which is the same as Eastern Daylight Time in North America.

Women's Singles

Semi-finals - Wednesday

1) María José Vargas (Argentina) d. 4) Carla Muñoz (Chile), 11-15, 15-11, 15-7, 15-13
10) Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) d. 6) Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala), 15-10, 9-15, 15-7, 15-11

Final - Thursday

1) María José Vargas (Argentina) v. 10) Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) - 9:45 AM

Men's Singles

Semi-finals - Wednesday

1) Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 5) Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico), 15-14, 15-10, 15-13
11) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) d. 2) Alejandro Landa (USA), 15-14, 14-15, 15-12, 15-14

Final - Thursday

1) Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. 11) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) - 10:30 AM

Women's Doubles

Semi-finals - Wednesday

1) Alejandra Herrera & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. 5) Micaela Meneses & Yazmine Sabja (Bolivia), 15-13, 7-15, 15-14, 15-12
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) d. 3) Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich (USA), 15-11, 12-15, 15-14, 15-14

Final - Thursday

1) Alejandra Herrera & Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. 2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina) - 11:15 PM

Men's Doubles

Semi-finals - Wednesday

4) Coby Iwaasa & Samuel Murray (Canada) d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck (USA), 15-13, 15-13, 15-12
3) Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) d. 2) Andres Acuña & Gabriel Garcia (Costa Rica), 15-14, 15-8, 15-14

Final - Thursday

3) Juan Francisco Cueva & Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) v. 4) Coby Iwaasa & Samuel Murray (Canada) - Noon

Mixed Doubles

Semi-finals - Wednesday

1) Micaela Meneses & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) d. 5) Valeria Centellas & Diego Garcia (Argentina), 15-5, 15-4, 15-5
6) Rodrigo Montoya & Samantha Salas (Mexico) d. 2) Alejandro Landa & Erika Manilla (USA), 15-13, 12-15, 15-8, 15-0 “3 Technical”

Final - Thursday

1) Micaela Meneses & Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia) v. 6) Rodrigo Montoya & Samantha Salas (Mexico) - 12:45 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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