Sunday, July 10, 2022

Day 1 at The World Games 2022

Mexican Paola Longoria’s quest for a 3rd consecutive gold medal at The World Games got off to a successful start Sunday at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, where she beat Ayako Hanashi of Japan in three straight games, 15-1, 15-5, 15-6. She hit 15 ace serves in the match, which helped Longoria close it out in straight games. Longoria will play 9th seed Carla Muñoz of Chile on Tuesday in the quarterfinals, as Muñoz came from a game down to defeat 8th seed Maria Renee Rodriguez of Guatemala, 14-15, 15-7, 15-8, 15-13, in the Round of 16.

Muñoz and Rodriguez were close the entire way in game one of their match with the biggest difference being 3 points, when Rodriguez was up 11-8. Muñoz got to 14 first with a great forehand pinch shot, but didn’t convert her game point opportunity as she made an unforced error by skipping a backhand shot that put Rodriguez on 14. The Guatemalan didn’t make an error on her game point opportunity winning game one with a backhand pinch shot.

Muñoz was undeterred though, as she controlled games two and three, winning them comfortably. Game four was like game one, as they were neck and neck, although Rodriguez had a small lead most of the way. She got her biggest leads at 12-9 and 13-10.

But Muñoz won the next two rallies to get within one at 13-12. Rodriguez called a timeout, yet that didn’t help her, as Muñoz won the next three rallies with winning shots: two forehand pinch shots and then a backhand cross court on match point.

Perhaps the highlight match of the day was the Men’s 8/9 match between former International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico - the 8th seed - and 9th seed Diego Garcia of Argentina. After two games, only two points separated them with Montoya ahead by two, winning both games by the same 15-14 score.

Garcia had three game points in the first two games, and didn’t convert them. In game three, he failed to convert two more, but then did get it done to win game two, 15-12.

Game four was the same as the first three games, as they were close early, and tied at 3-3, 4-4 and 6-6. But from 6-6, Montoya got the next eight rallies to reach match point at 14-6. Garcia fended off two match points - the first when the ball cracked out at the back wall. However, Montoya won it with the next rally, as he hit a great backhand serve return, pinching the ball into the front left corner for a 15-8 win.

Montoya will play top seed Alejandro Landa of the USA in the quarterfinals Tuesday, as Landa beat 16th seed Eoin Tynan of Ireland, 15-8, 15-9, 15-4, Sunday. The Landa-Montoya match should be great, as it will be a battle of the current IRF Men’s Singles World Champion versus the former IRF Men’s Singles World Champion, respectively.

Also on the men’s side, 4th seed Jake Bredenbeck defeated Canadian Lee Connell, 15-14, 15-5, 15-12. Connell had a 14-12 lead in game one but he couldn’t get that last point. Then in game two, Bredenbeck jumped out to a 9-0 lead, helping go up 2-0 in the match. They were close again in game three, and Connell led 9-7. But Bredenbeck tied it at 9-9, and never trailed after that.

Mexican Andree Parrilla will play Bredenbeck in the quarterfinals Tuesday, as Parrilla beat Ramon De Leon from the Dominican Republic on Sunday, 15-6, 15-7, 15-13.

You can watch the action from Birmingham via the IRF YouTube channel. It's the next best thing to being here.

2022 World Games - Birmingham, Alabama

Men’s Singles - Round of 16 - Sunday & Monday July 10 & 11

1) Alejandro Landa (USA) d. 16) Eoin Tynan (Ireland), 15-8, 15-9, 15-4
8) Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. 9) Diego Garcia (Argentina), 15-14, 15-14, 12-15, 15-8

5) Andree Parrilla (Mexico) d. 12) Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic), 15-6, 15-7, 15-13
4) Jake Bredenbeck (USA) d. 13) Lee Connell (Canada), 15-14, 15-5, 15-12

3) Mario Mercado (Colombia) v. 14) Ken Cottrell (Ireland) - Monday 4 PM
6) Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) v. 11) Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador) - Monday 3 PM

7) Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) v. 10) Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) - Monday Noon
2) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) v. 15) Lee Gunhee (South Korea) - Monday 11 AM

Men’s Singles - Quarterfinals - Tuesday July 12

1) Alejandro Landa (USA) v. 8) Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) - 11 AM
5) Andree Parrilla (Mexico) v. 4) Jake Bredenbeck (USA) - 5 PM

3) Mario Mercado (Colombia) or 14) Ken Cottrell (Ireland) v. 6) Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador) or 11) Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador) - 9 AM
7) Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala) or 10) Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica) v. 2) Andres Acuña (Costa Rica) or 15) Lee Gunhee (South Korea) - 3 PM

Women’s Singles - Round of 16 - Sunday & Monday July 10 & 11

1. Paola Longoria (Mexico) d. 16) Ayako Hanashi (Japan), 15-1, 15-5, 15-6
9) Carla Muñoz (Chile) d. 8) Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala), 14-15, 15-7, 15-8, 15-13

5. Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) d. 12. Micaela Meneses (Bolivia), 15-9, 15-13, 15-11
4) Natalia Mendez (Argentina) d. 13) Sumin Lee (South Korea), 15-8, 15-4, 15-2

3) Rhonda Rajsich (USA) v. 14) Aisling Hickey (Ireland) - Monday 6 PM
6) Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) v. 11) Michèle Morissette (Canada) - Monday 5 PM

7) Samantha Salas (Mexico) v. 10) Cristina Amaya (Colombia) - Monday 10 AM
2) Kelani Lawrence (USA) v. 15) Majella Haverty (Ireland) - Monday 9 AM

Women’s Singles - Quarterfinals - Tuesday July 12

1. Paola Longoria (Mexico) v. 9) Carla Muñoz (Chile) - Noon
4) Natalia Mendez (Argentina) v. 5. Angelica Barrios (Bolivia) - 10 AM

3) Rhonda Rajsich (USA) or 14) Aisling Hickey (Ireland) v. 6) Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala) or 11) Michèle Morissette (Canada) - 4 PM
7) Samantha Salas (Mexico) or 10) Cristina Amaya (Colombia) v. 2) Kelani Lawrence (USA) or 15) Majella Haverty (Ireland) - 6 PM

 Follow the bouncing ball….

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