Thursday, 20 October 2011

Prelims over, Elimination Rounds here we come!

It was a very up and down day for racquetball's Team Canada yesterday... let's start with the bad news...

In women's doubles Josee Grand-Maitre and Brandi Jacobsen-Prentice lost their second preliminary match to Bolivia. This places them 3rd in their pool and gives them a tough spot in the elimination draw as they will face Mexico in the quarter finals, assuming they improve their play and make it by Venezuela in the first round. Let us hope fortitude and tenacity turn the tides for the Montreal pair.

 Women's doubles team in action against Bolivia.

In men's singles both Canadian players lost. Mike Green to Bolivian Carlos Keller and Vincent Gagnon to Columbian Alejandro Herrera and while losses are never easy and they will now end up on the same half of the elimination draw, there are some silver linings to point out. The first and most obvious is Vince's loss was somewhat meaningless, as Alejandro lost his other preliminary match to Venezuelan Cesar Castro who was then injured in a subsequent doubles match and is unable to continue. This means that Vince still finished first in the pool and will go into the main draw as the second seed. The potential positive of Green's 2nd pool loss and consequent 3rd place finish in his pool is that he will be on the opposite side of the draw from both Rocky Carson and Alvaro Beltran; the two highest ranked IRT players in the draw and in my opinion the two strongest players as well. While he will have a tougher second round match (against 3rd seeded Mexican Gilberto Mejia) it provides an opportunity to have two Canadian players in the semi finals, with a guaranteed player in the final! Needless to say Mike's match with Gil today is of monumental importance for both Mexico and Canada, as having 2 players in the semi finals would provide whichever team that accomplishes the feat a huge point advantage when determining the team standings.

The rest of the team won their matches without any real surprises other than Frederique Lambert's impressive upset win over Samantha Salas of Mexico. The win not only puts Fred in as 3rd seed with a solid draw to the semi finals but puts both Mexican women on the top of the draw and slated to meet in the quarter finals! Jen Saunders also scored an "upset" (Read: not really an upset at all...) win against 5th seeded Jenny Daza of Bolivia and thus takes her spot on the top of the draw. She will face American Cheryl Gudinas in the quarter finals and also have a good chance to make the semis.

Dani and I before the match.
The last match of the day for Team Canada was our men's doubles match against the Argentinian pairing of Daniel Maggi and Shai Manzuri which we won in a fairly straightforward fashion. We solidly controlled play in both games and held the lead for the entire match, with only a slight hiccup midway through the first game which allowed them to close within striking distance. The door on their comeback hopes was ungraciously and expeditiously closed though and we rolled on to win the second game easily. Final score: 15-10, 15-5.

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