Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2016 USA Racquetball Doubles Championships - Preview

The USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships begin this week at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and there is a bit of twist to the event this season, as USA Racquetball has changed its process for US Team qualifying. There are now three events involved in qualifying in singles for the US Team: the US Open, National Singles and a singles division at National Doubles. Thus, some of the top players are playing both singles and doubles in Tempe.

The result is a stronger field at the USA National Doubles Championship than has generally been seen in the last few years, so there should be a lot great racquetball going on this week. The doubles finals are on Saturday, and the singles finals are Sunday.

Jansen Allen won Men’s Doubles last year Jose Rojas, and they went on to win gold at the 2015 Pan American Games, but they have parted ways, as Rojas is playing with his brother Marco, and Allen is playing with Rocky Carson. Allen and Carson are the #1 seeds with the Rojas brothers #2.

Tony Carson - no relation to Rocky - also won National Doubles in the past with Allen, and this year he’s playing with Charlie Pratt. They are seeded 4th, and will play 5th seeds Anthony Herrera and David Horn in the quarterfinals.

Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz are the other team with a serious shot at the title, as they were runners up at the 2015 US Open.

On the women’s side, the top seeds are last year’s runners up Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger, as only half of the defending champions are participating this year. Rhonda Rajsich and Kim Waselenchuk won last year, but only Rajsich is in the field this year. won the women's title. Rajsich is playing with Sheryl Lotts and they are seeded 2nd.

Other threats for the title are the Key sisters - Danielle and Michelle, who were runners up 2013 and finished 3rd last year, as well as 4th seeds Cheryl Gudinas and Sharon Jackson, 5th seeds Da’monique Davis and Jacqueline Paraiso, and 6th seeds Kelani Bailey and Adrienne Haynes.

Singles Play

Doubles partners may be playing each other in singles, as the Rojas brothers are both on the top half of the draw with Allen and Carson on the bottom half. Carson is the 2nd seed and his first match will be against Jake Bredenbeck, which won’t be an easy one, but if he wins he’ll play the winner of 3rd seeded Allen and Jose Diaz. If Bredenebck and Diaz upset the 2nd and 3rd seeds there will also be a doubles partners showdown.

One partners showdown is assured as David Horn and Anthony Herrera play each other first with the winner to face top seed Jose Rojas in the quarterfinals.

Rhonda Rajsich is the top seed in Women’s Singles, and will play the winner of 8th seed Kelani Bailey and 9th seed Briana Jacquet. The other first round matches could be good ones also, as 6th seed Sheryl Lotts faces 11th seed Janel Tisinger, and 7th seed Adrienne Haynes will be up against 10th seed Jacqueline Paraiso.

Sharon Jackson is the 2nd seed, so she’ll play the winner of Haynes and Paraiso with 3rd seed Michelle Key taking on the winner of Lotts and Tisinger.

You can watch some of the action live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball website.

2016 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles

Quarter finals - Thursday

1) Jansen Allen & Rocky Carson - BYE
4) Charlie Pratt & Tony Carson v. 5) Anthony Herrera & David Horn

3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz v. 6) Tom Durham & Brian Pineda
2) Marco Rojas & Jose Rojas v. 7) Carlos Bravo & Joe Young

Women's Doubles

Quarterfinals - Thursday

1) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger - BYE
4) Cheryl Gudinas & Sharon Jackson v. 5) Da’monique Davis & Jacqueline Paraiso

3) Danielle Key & Michelle Key v. 6) Kelani Bailey & Adrienne Haynes
2) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts v. 7) Miriam McCloskey & Fran Transfiguracion

Men’s Singles

Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Jose Rojas - BYE
8) David Horn v. 9) Anthony Herrera

5) Marco Rojas - BYE
4) Mauricio Zelada - BYE

3) Jansen Allen - BYE
6) Jose Diaz - BYE

7) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE
2) Rocky Carson - BYE

Women's Singles

Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
8) Kelani Bailey v. 9) Briana Jacquet

5) Da’monique Davis - BYE
4) Cheryl Gudinas - BYE

3) Michelle Key - BYE
6) Sheryl Lotts v. 11) Janel Tisinger

7) Adrienne Haynes v. 10) Jacqueline Paraiso
2) Sharon Jackson - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball....

Monday, February 8, 2016

Landeryou & Saunders win Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event

Tim Landeryou was a surprise winner Sunday at the second Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event of the season in Grande Prairie, Alberta, as he upset Canadian #1 Mike Green, 12-15, 15-10, 11-5. In the semi-finals, Landeryou defeated Canadian #2 Samuel Murray, so he will move ahead of Murray in the rankings.

Green's now lost to both Landeryou and Murray, who won the first selection event in November by defeating Green in the final. If either player defeats Green at the Canadian National Championships, they would take the #1 ranking from Green, who has held it since 2011.

Saunders defeated Michèle Morissette, 15-7, 15-9, to win the Women's title. They were close early in both games, and Morissette held the lead early in game two. But after being tied at 5-5 in each game, Saunders took over, scoring five unanswered points to lead 10-5.

In game one after 10-5, Morissette never got closer than five points, although they were stuck on 12-7 for nine rallies before Saunders broke the deadlock and made it 13-7 by forcing Morissette into a forehand skip shot.

In game two, Morissette got within three at 11-8, and within four at 13-9, but not closer. Saunders got her first match point by rolling out a backhand, and then won it when Morissette skipped her backhand serve return pinch shot.

In the men's final, Green started well, leading 4-0 and 9-4 in game one. But Landeryou kept working, and tied the game at 10-10. Green re-took the lead at 13-10, and held on to win 15-12.

Landeryou had beaten Green previously - back in 2013, but it's never good to let the favourite get a lead, because coming back will be that much more difficult. Early in game two, it didn't seem like Landeryou would comeback, as Green took a 6-1 advantage.

But Landeryou took a timeout, and when play resumed he got the serve back with a backhand return and proceeded to score eight unanswered points to lead 9-6. Green came back to tie it at 9-9, but after four backhand winners by Landeryou the score was 13-10. The game ended with Green making two unforced errors on his backhand, forcing a tie-breaker.

In game three, they were close early, and Green led at 4-2. From there Landeryou scored eight points, six on pinch shots, to lead 10-4. Landeryou skipped a backhand pinch shot on his first match point, but he won it with a forehand pinch shot on his second match point.

With their wins, Landeryou and Saunders solidified the likelihood that they will be selected for Team Canada to compete at the 2016 Pan American Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, March 18-26.

Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event
February 5-7, 2016 - Grande Prairie, Albert

Men's Final

Tim Landeryou d. Mike Green, 12-15, 15-10, 11-5

3rd Place

Samuel Murray d. Pedro Castro, 15-6, 15-1

5th Place

Tommy Murray d. Nathaniel Husulak, 5-15, 15-5, 11-7

7th Place

Lee Connell d. Trevor Webb, 15-4, 15-1

9th Place

Nicolas Bousquet d. Mitch Brayley, 15-11, 15-11

Women's Final

Jennifer Saunders d. Michèle Morissette, 15-7, 15-9

3rd place

Valerie Fallu d. Christine Richardson, 15-5, 15-7

5th place

Alexis Iwaasa d. Danielle Drury, 13-15, 15-9, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event - Semi-finals

They are down to the finals at the second Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event of the season in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Mike Green and Tim Landeryou will playoff for the Men's title with Jennifer Saunders and Michèle Morissette vying or the Women's title.

Frédérique Lambert, the #1 ranked Canadian woman, is not in Grande Prairie, as she will likely qualify for the team because of her ranking on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT). She's currently #4, and needs to finish in the top 8 to qualify for Team Canada.

Saunders is Canada's #2 player, and was expected to be in the final. But Morissette, the current Canadian U18 Junior Girl's Champion, reached the final with narrow victories over Christine Richardson, 15-13, 15-13, and Danielle Drury, 15-11, 13-15, 12-10.

In Men's Singles, Canadian #1 Mike Green defeated 4th seed Pedro Castro, 15-0, 15-12, and Green was perhaps trying to make a statement in game one, as he and Castro went tie-breaker in November at the first National Team Selection Event of the season. Green likely felt it shouldn't have been that close, and wanted to prove that this time around.

In November, Green lost in the final to Samuel Murray, but he won't have a chance to avenge that loss Sunday, as Murray lost in a tie-breaker to veteran Tim Landeryou, 10-15, 15-12, 11-9. Landeryou won the tie-breaker with perhaps the shot of the tournament, as he dove forward and hit a backhand pinch shot that rolled out of the front left corner.

The results of this tournament will be used as part of the selection process for Team Canada that will compete at the 2016 Pan American Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Players are also working towards being selected to represent Canada at the 2016 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Cali, Colombia in July.

Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event
February 5-7, 2016 - Grande Prairie, Albert

Men's Final

Mike Green v. Tim Landeryou


Mike Green d. Pedro Castro, 15-0, 15-12
Tim Landeryou d. Samuel Murray, 10-15, 15-12, 11-9


Mike Green d. Tommy Murray, 15-2, 15-0
Pedro Castro d. Trevor Webb, 15-8, 15-0

Tim Landeryou d. Nathaniel Husulak, 16-14, 15-12
Samuel Murray d. Lee Connell, 15-7, 15-1

Round of 16

Mike Green d. Jeff Buller, 15-6, 15-0
Tommy Murray d. Nicolas Bousquet, 15-5, 15-12

Trevor Webb d. James Landeryou, 15-5, 15-8
Pedro Castro d. Tanner Prentice, 15-7, 15-11

Tim Landeryou d. Mitch Brayley, 15-9, 15-11
Nathaniel Husulak d. Michael Leduc, 15-8, 15-4

Lee Connell d. Tanner Mattson, 15-4, 15-4
Samuel Murray d. Barret Husulak, 15-7, 15-5

First Round

Jeff Buller d. Graham Frattinger, 15-5, 15-9
Mitch Brayley d. Devin Halko, 15-0, 15-5
Barret Husulak d. Paul Albert, 15-11, 15-6

Women's Final

Jennifer Saunders v. Michèle Morissette

3rd place

Christine Richardson v. Valerie Fallu

5th place

Danielle Drury v. Alexis Iwaasa

Group play

Group 1

Jennifer Saunders d. Valerie Fallu, 16-14, 15-1
Valerie Fallu d. Alexis Iwaasa, 15-8, 15-10
Jennifer Saunders d. Alexis Iwaasa, 15-3, 15-9

Group 2

Michèle Morissette d. Christine Richardson, 15-13, 15-13
Danielle Drury d. Cassie Prentice, 15-5, 15-2

Michèle Morissette d. Cassie Prentice, 15-1, 15-5
Christine Richardson d. Danielle Drury, 15-8, 15-10

Christine Richardson d. Cassie Prentice, 15-1, 15-2
Michèle Morissette d. Danielle Drury, 15-11, 13-15, 12-10

Follow the bouncing ball….