Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bredenbeck & Rajsich defend successfully at US Singles Championships

Jake Brendenbeck and Rhonda Rajsich successfully defended their titles in the US Team Qualifying Men's and Women's divisions, respectively, at the USA Racquetball (USAR) Nationals in Denver, Colorado. Bredenbeck defeated Marco Rojas, 15-8, 15-11, to win his 2nd title, while Rajsich won for an 8th time by defeating Cheryl Gudinas in the final, 15-7, 15-5.

Rajsich's win is also her fifth consecutive win, tying her with Gudinas and Michelle Gould for most consecutive titles. The three - Rajsich, Gudinas and Gould - now are also tied with most titles overall with eight.

USAR National Singles Championship
May 20-24, 2015, Denver, Colorado

Men's US Team Qualifying

Final


Jake Bredenbeck d. Marco Rojas, 15-8, 15-11

3rd Place

David Horn d. Adam Manilla, 15-7, 14-15, 11-8

Women's US Team Qualifying

Final


Rhonda Rajsich d. Cheryl Gudinas, 15-7, 15-5

3rd Place

Kimberly Thomas d. T. J. Baumbaugh, 15-9, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

New Men's & Women's Canadian Racquetball Champions

Coby Iwaasa and Frédérique Lambert both won their first Canadian National Championship in Men's and Women's Open Singles, respectively, at the 2015 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Burnaby, B.C. Saturday. Lambert ended the reign of six time defending champion Jennifer Saunders in two straight games, 15-7, 15-7, while a new men's champion was guaranteed as Iwaasa and Samuel Murray were each in the men's final for the first time.

Iwaasa prevailed, but needed a tie-breaker to win his first title with the final score of 15-10, 12-15, 11-7. Iwaasa won Men's Doubles earlier in the week with Mike Green, and becomes the sixth man to win both Open Singles and Open Doubles at the Canadian Championships.

The players to previously win both are Mike Ceresia, Kane Waselenchuk, Vincent Gagnon, Wayne Bowes, who did it twice, and Green, who won both five times.

Iwaasa got a good start in game one, going out to a 13-2 lead. But Murray dug in, and made it close before Iwaasa finished it off at 15-10. Murray's momentum continued in game two, as they were close all the way.

Iwaasa had a slight advantage at 10-8 late in game two, but Murray tied it at 10-10, and then went ahead 12-10. Iwaasa tied it at 12-12, but Murray held him there, scoring three points to take game two and force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Iwaasa seemed to find another gear early, as he drove serve well to score three quick points with a drive serve to the right, to the left and then a Z to the right. He extended that lead to 7-1, and looked like he might roll over Murray.

But again Murray came back using a kiss lob serve to the left side (Iwaasa's backhand), as well as lobs to the right, and a half Z lob to the right (Iwaasa's forehand). He got within one at 8-7.

Then there was a long rally that ended with Iwaasa making a touch forehand shot down the line in the front court. A timeout was called, and when play resumed Iwaasa got three straight points without giving up serve, including an drive serve ace to the left side.

The winning shot came after Iwaasa drove the ball to the right side, Murray hit a ceiling ball, and Iwaasa finished it off with a forehand pinch winner.

This is the first time since 2002 that both the Men's and Women's Canadian Open Singles Champions are winning their first titles. In 2002, Green and Saunders both won for the first time.

This was the last opportunity for players to earn points to qualify them for the Canadian National Team that will compete at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto in July. The results from this week will be used to recommend players to the Canadian Olympic Committee, who will make the final team selections. That announcement is expected in approximately a week.

Racquetball Canada National Championships
Rev's, Burnaby, British Colombia

Men's Open Singles (seedings)

Final


4) Coby Iwaasa d. 2) Samuel Murray, 15-10, 12-15, 11-7

3rd Place

3) Vincent Gagnon d. 1) Mike Green, forfeit

5th Place

James Landeryou d. Tim Landeryou, 15-6, 15-10

7th Place

Nathaniel Husulak d. Lee Connell, 15-9, 15-6

9th Place

Pedro Castro d. Nicolas Bousquet, 15-10, 15-13

11th Place

Tanner Mattson d. Trevor Webb, 15-12, 16-14

Women's Open Singles

Final


1) Frédérique Lambert v. 2) Jennifer Saunders

3rd Place

4) Michele Morissette d. 6) Valerie Fallu, 15-13, 9-15, 11-6

5th Place

Christine Richardson d. Linda Ellerington, 15-9, 15-8

7th Place

Alexis Iwaasa d. Brigitte Richard, forfeit

9th Place

Danielle Drury d. McKenzie Brayley, 15-7, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball…

Friday, May 22, 2015

Change & consistency at Canadian Racquetball Championships

Friday's semi-final results in Men's Open at the 2015 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Burnaby, B.C. could be the signal of a changing of the guard in Canada, as the veterans Mike Green and Vincent Gagnon were defeated by players more than 10 years their junior.

Green, 41 and the top seed, lost to 18 year old Coby Iwaasa, 15-11, 15-12, while Gagnon, 33, lost to 21 year old Samuel Murray, 15-10, 15-10. It's the first time Iwaasa's defeated Green, but the third time Murray's beaten Gagnon in the last seven months.

Both Green and Gagnon had significant leads during their matches. Green was ahead 7-2 in game one, and 11-7 in games two, and Gagnon was up 8-1 in game one, but neither could not capitalize on those advantages.

Thus, Murray and Iwaasa will face off in the first Canadian Men's Open final without either Green or Gagnon since 2005, when Corey Osborne defeated Kris Odegard.

As much as the men's side is about change, the women's side is about consistency, as Jennifer Saunders and Frédérique Lambert - the top two seeds - will face off for the second consecutive year, and fifth time in the last seven years. In fact, Saunders has been in the final every year since 2000, when the tournament was also in Burnaby and Christie Van Hees defeated Lori-Jane Powell in the final.

Saunders has won eight of the fifteen finals she has been in, including the last six consecutive finals, five of which have been against Lambert. Lambert has yet to win a Canadian singles championship, although she did win doubles with Brandi Jacobson Prentice in 2010.

On Friday, Lambert defeated Michèle Morissette, 15-2, 15-12, in one semi-final, and Saunders beat Valerie Fallu, 15-6, 15-12, in the other.

The singles finals are Saturday. This is the last opportunity for players to earn points that will qualify them to be on the Canadian National Team that will compete at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto in July.

You can watch the action live via Sports Canada.tv on Saturday. The women's final is at noon PDT and the men's final is at 1 PM PDT.

Racquetball Canada National Championships
Rev's, Burnaby, British Colombia

Men's Open Singles (seedings)

Semi-finals - Friday


4) Coby Iwaasa d. 1) Mike Green, 15-11, 15-12
2) Samuel Murray d. 3) Vincent Gagnon, 15-10, 15-10

Final - Saturday

2) Samuel Murray v. 4) Coby Iwaasa - 1 PM PDT

Women's Open Singles

Semi-finals - Friday


1) Frédérique Lambert v. 4) Michele Morissette, 15-2, 15-12
2) Jennifer Saunders v. 6) Valerie Fallu, 15-6, 15-12

Final - Saturday

1) Frédérique Lambert v. 2) Jennifer Saunders - Noon PDT

Follow the bouncing ball…