Monday, August 22, 2022

Some surprises as group play wraps up at the 2022 IRF World Championships

The group stage for singles has concluded at the 2022 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. There were some interesting results on the final day, although once again the defending champions were winners, and won their respective groups. Alejandro Landa of the USA - the defending Men’s Singles Champion - won Group 3 with a win over Edwin Galicia of Guatemala, 11-6, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, and Mexican Paola Longoria won Group 5 by defeating Jazmin Elizabeth Aguilar Salvatierra of Guatemalan, 11-2, 11-2, 11-5, to begin her defence of her Women’s Singles title.

The big upset was in Group 2 of Men’s Singles, as Jose Daniel Ugalde of Ecuador eked out a win over Costa Rica’s Andres Acuña, 6-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11. Acuña won gold at the World Games last month in Birmingham, Alabama, but might find himself in a tough draw for the medal round this week.

Ugalde led for much of the breaker, including at 7-4. Then Acuña tied it at 8-8, and they were lock step from there: 9-9, 10-10, 11-11, and then Acuña skipped a forehand shot to the front right corner to put Ugalde on match point at 12-11. Ugalde hit a drive serve down the right side, and Acuña’s forehand return skipped giving the Ecuadoran the victory.

The men’s “heavyweight” tussle Monday was between Mexican Rodrigo Montoya, a former IRF World Champion in Men’s Singles - and for a few days still one of the current World Champions in Men’s Doubles (with Javier Mar), against Bolivian Carlos Keller, a two time Pan American Champion in Men’s Singles. Keller took game one of the match, but Montoya won the next three to take the match, 9-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-9.

We told you that Group 4 of Men’s Singles was a three way battle between Japan’s Michimune Kono, Costa Rican Sergio Acuña, and Canadian Kurtis Cullen. Cullen and Kono will advance to the medal round with Cullen finishing 1st and Kono 2nd. Cullen only needed one game against Acuña Monday to seal the outcome after Kono defeated Cuban Yandy Espinosa, 11-6, 11-3, 11-5, and Cullen got it, but only after losing the first two games to Acuña, who then forfeited, so that he could save some energy for doubles, which made the final scoreling 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, forfeit. Cullen is playing in his first international event, and he’s very pleased to be advancing to the medal round, especially as the group winner.

There were two close tie-breakers in women’s play, as Argentina’s Valeria Centellas held off Bolivia’s Angelica Barrios, who is the current Pan American Champion, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, and Gutatemala’s Gabriela Martinez - a former IRF World Champion - came back from a game down to defeat Mexican Alexandra Herrera, 2-11, 11-7, 13-11, 3-11, 11-6. With those wins Centellas wins Group 4 and Martinez Group 6.

The Close Match That Only Lasted Three Games Award goes to Japan’s Harumi Kajino and Chile’s Paula Mansilla, who played extra points in each of their three games with Kajino coming out on top, 13-11, 14-12, 13-11.

The other big news in women’s play is that the Cuban women - Yurisleidis Araujo and Maria Regla - did not show up for their matches, as they have both defected from Cuba. We understand Araujo did so yesterday, which explains the Cuban losses yesterday in both Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles, and Regla did so today.

They are streaming matches San Luis Potosí, so check the IRF Facebook page or the IRF YouTube channel. Matches will begin at 10 AM CDT most of the tournament (Tuesday will be the exception with some matches at 9 AM), and run through until late afternoon.

XXI International Racquetball Federation World Championships
San Luis Potosi, Mexico - August 19-27

Men’s Singles - Saturday

Group 1

Rocky Carson (USA) d. Diego Garcia (ARG), 11-3, 11-8, 11-6
Juan Francisco Cueva (ECU) - BYE

Group 2

Jose Daniel Ugalde (ECU) d. Andres Acuña (CRC), 6-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11
Tomas Oyhanart (ARG) - BYE

Group 3

Alejandro Landa (USA) d. Edwin Galicia (GUA), 11-6, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8
Ramon De Leon (DOM) d. Fabian Balmori (ESP), 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8

Group 4

Kurtis Cullen (CAN) d. Sergio Acuña (CRC), 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, forfeit
Michimune Kono (JAP) d. Yandy Espinosa (CUB), 11-2, 11-2, 11-5

Group 5

Daniel De La Rosa (MEX) d. Juan Salvatierra (GUA), 11-1, 11-3, 11-5
Jaime Mansilla (CHI) d. Arun Bhaskaran (IND), 11-2, 11-2, 11-5

Group 6

Conrrado Moscoso (BOL) d. Lee Connell (CAN), 11-2, 11-6, 11-6
Markell Moyet (CUB) d. Ryoki Kamahara (JAP), 11-4, 11-5, 11-7

Group 7

Rodrigo Montoya (MEX) d. Carlos Keller (BOL), 9-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-9
Rafael Gatica (CHI) d. Vineet Singh (IND), 9-11, 11-7, 11-1, 13-11

Women’s Singles - Saturday

Group 1

Erika Manilla (USA) d. Maria Paz Riquelme (COL), 11-8, 11-4, 11-3
Maria Paz Muñoz (ECU) - BYE

Group 2

Natalia Mendez (ARG) d. Jenny Daza (BOL), 11-5, 13-11, 11-5
Danielle Drury (CAN) - BYE

Group 3

Rhonda Rajsich (USA) d. Cristina Amaya (COL), 11-8, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9
Ana Lucia Sarmiento (ECU) d. Yurisleidis Araujo (CUB), forfeit


Valeria Centellas (ARG) d. Angelica Barrios (BOL), 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9
Juliette Parent (CAN) d. Maria Regla (CUB), forfeit

Group 5

Paola Longoria (MEX) d. Jazmin Elizabeth Aguilar Salvatierra (GUA), 11-2, 11-2, 11-5
Carla Muñoz (CHI) d. Ayako Hanashi (JAP), 11-2, 11-6, 11-6

Group 6

Gabriela Martinez (GUA) d. Alexandra Herrera (MEX), 2-11, 11-7, 13-11, 3-11, 11-6
Harumi Kajino (JAP) d. Paula Mansilla (CHI), 13-11, 14-12, 13-11

Follow the bouncing ball…..

No comments: