Friday, 1 February 2013

Selection Event Day 1

Well the first day of the National Team Selection Event in 2013 is in the books and man was it a doozie... With 4 tiebreakers, 2 upsets, and the quarter final match ups all set let's get to the details!

Bottom Half:
While none of the upsets on Day 1 occurred in the bottom half of the draw, 2 of the tiebreakers did. The first of which was Patrick Jauvin's nail-bitingly close first round 12-10 victory over up and comer Mitch Brayley. A very disappointing loss for the youngster but he is improving rapidly and I'm sure will exact revenge the next time these 2 face each other. Both the other first round matches went according to seeding with Tommy Murray, Nicolas Bousquet, and Corey Osbourne moving into the second round. Since I already gave away that no upsets occurred you should already know who made it through to the quarter finals. There was some interesting racquetball though, as Patrick injured himself during our match and had to default, and Pedro seemed to demoralize Nicolas on his way to a steamroll style win. Nathaniel survived a scare in the second game, coming back from 13-7 down to take the second game and the match from wily veteran and former national champion Corey Osbourne. Finally Lee Connell had all he could handle from talented local Tommy Murray, he dug deep though, and narrowly scraped out an 11-8 tiebreaker win.

This sets up a quarter final match between Nathaniel and Pedro in what should be an interesting rematch from Kelowna. In that match Nate was fairly dominant but here, where the courts are slower (and thus drive serving is less effective) and where Pedro has home court advantage, the odds definitely swing in Pedro's favour. Whether this will be enough for Pedro to take the match is debatable but one thing is certain, the match should definitely be more interesting than their contest earlier this season. The second quarter final on the bottom half is between myself and Lee. On the basis of our play today, I'd say I was confident in my ability to impose my will and take the match but Lee showed a lot of grit today against Tommy. If he can bring that level of intensity and focus for our match tomorrow I will have my work cut out for me. If I was a betting man though, I would put money on having a rematch with Nate tomorrow evening.

Top Half:
There were no upsets in the first round as Quebec natives Sebastien Juteau, Samuel Murray, and Francis Guillemette advanced past their lower seeded opponents, although Juteau did have a tougher time with 17th seeded Sami Harb than any of the others. The 2 upsets both occurred on the top half of the draw though so let's get to those... The first was one I alluded to in my earlier post as 9th seeded Hugo Laprise upset 8th seeded Troy Brooks in a thrilling 12-10 tiebreaker finish! The second was another thriller as former junior national team mates Samuel Murray and Kurtis Cullen faced off. Kullen took the first game on the back of some blistering drive serves but Murray was able to come back to take the second and another 2 point tiebreaker 11-9. He will face another of his former junior national team mates in the quarter finals as Coby Iwasaa bested Quebec local and former national team member Francis Guillemette in 2 games. The last quarter final will be between Hugo Laprise and #1 seed and current national champion Mike Green.

I don't think Mike will have too much trouble with Hugo to take his spot in the semi finals, but the match between Samuel and Coby definitely has the potential to be tight. Samuel now has some experience with blistering drive serves under his belt at this tournament, and played mentally tough down the stretch against Kurtis. Of all the quarter finals that will be the match to watch. Look for an update tomorrow afternoon with the semi final match ups and predictions!

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