Friday, 21 October 2011

Elimination Day 2

Well the 2nd day of elimination rounds didn't go any better than the first for the Canadian Team unfortunately...

In women's doubles, Brandi and Josee won their first round match against Venezuela before falling to the 1st seeded Mexican team of Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas in the quarter finals.

In women's singles both Jen Saunders and Frederique Lambert were thwarted in their attempts wrestle former (and I suppose still current) demons. Jen fell to Chilean Angela Grisar, once ranked in the top 5 on the WPRO (now ranked #9), and always present opponent at international events. Grisar is on the winning end of their match history and is always a threat to upset in the women's draw due to her perennially low seeding (players are seeded by team and Chile overall has a weaker team). Fred suffered defeat at the hands of her Junior World Championship final opponent from Bolivia, Maria Vargas. Maria got the better of Fred in the preliminary round in that tournament but the pair met again in the final with Fred stepping up to be the better player that day. The Pan Am Games first round was not Fred's day however, thus Jen and Fred became the first Canadian Racquetball Team members eliminated from the individual competition.

In men's singles, everyone was rapt with anticipation over the 2nd round matchup between Canadian National Champion Mike Green and recurrent Mexican singles team member Gilberto Mejia. The first game saw Gil jump out to a 4 point lead. Green trying to get his cruise missile drive serve going without success. At 5-9 in the first, Green switched to a lob serve and found more success and closed the point gap. Both players seemed to turn things up another notch but found themselves very evenly matched, Green's impeccable shot making neutralized by Mejia's exquisite court coverage. Still, Green took the lead at 13-12 and looked poised to take the first game until Mejia stole the momentum back and finished off a nail-bitingly close opening game 15-13. The second game saw Green control things much more firmly. Switching to a kiss lob, he took advantage of Mejia's unwillingness (or inability) to be aggressive on the serve return and took a large lead to start. At 5-12, Mejia seemed to find an inner fire that spurred him on to more aggressive and thus more successful play. Green showed his champion spirit however, and pushed back, thwarting what looked like the beginning of a zealous comeback effort by the mettlesome Mexican. It seemed though, that the effort at the end of game 2 had indeed turned the tides on the momentum of the match and Gil was able to keep it going his way, winning the tiebreaker 11-2.

Fortunately for Team Canada both Vincent Gagnon and our doubles team claimed victories so there are still competitors vying for medals. I will write a more detailed post about our doubles match specifically (because it was a gooder!) but for now I'm off to do a light workout before relaxing and preparing for our semifinal match against Venezuela tonight!


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