Our fourth day in Santa Cruz marked the first day of competition for Team Canada, and the first day of competition for Team Canada went pretty well. The day began with women’s singles at 11 and 12, mens singles at 1 and 2, then the doubles at 430 and 530. Because we had the last match of the day we didn’t go over for any of the early matches and elected to stay back and relax in the room. For those just looking for the match results, I’ve summarized them at the bottom of this post.
We decided to head to the club on the 2pm shuttle, as there was food being offered at the venue. We figured we could eat and enjoy some racquetball before going on the court ourselves. Unfortunately for us, the day had other plans…
We arrived in the lobby at 1:50pm and while there was no shuttle waiting this wasn’t a surprise, as I’ve mentioned previously, in latin America things rarely run on time. By 2:10pm though, we were beginning to worry. This worry turned out to be justified when a shuttle showed up at 2:15pm, only to tell us that he wouldn’t be departing until 3pm. While waiting another 45 minutes wasn’t what we had planned, it also was really our only choice other than taking a cab, and since we didn’t’ think that we were in a rush, we stayed in the lobby.
3pm rolled around and another shuttle returned from the club carrying with it some of our teammates who had played in the morning. They carried with them, the unfortunate news that food was only being served at the venue until 3pm. Wonderful. With the opportunity to eat at the venue lost, we made the hasty decision to eat at the hotel and catch the next shuttle at 4pm. While not ideal, this would still get us to the club an hour before our match was scheduled to begin.
Our third attempt to take the shuttle was finally a success, and we arrived at the club around 4:15pm. We were surprised to find, upon our arrival, that one of our singles players, Vincent Gagnon, still hadn’t played! Apparently the two show courts were still incomplete and at some point in the morning, one of the glass panes on another court had come loose. Repairs were being made, but this put the facility down to 5 courts from the original 8 and had drastically pushed back the match schedule. When Vince and his Argentinian opponent finally took the court, it was 5pm. This meant the courts were 3 hours behind and we weren’t in any danger of playing soon. I suppose the silver lining was that we were still able to watch one of our teammates play.
As the match began, it was obvious that the Argentinian, Fernando Kurzbard, was fired up. He came out with reckless abandon, ripping the ball hard and finding the front corners often. Vince was able to steady the ship and begin to find his rhythm but still found himself in a hole midway through the game 5-11. It was hard to tell the exact moment it happened, but you could tell Vince shifted his strategy, realizing that the pace Kurzbard had set for himself could not be maintained, and made the decision to try and prolong the rallies, using passes to move the Argentinian around the court rather than hit outright winners. The strategy worked and Vince was able to claw back into the game. Kurzbard would miss several shots as the game became tight and mentally unraveled. Vince would take the game 15-12 and steamrolled through the second 15-4.
While the repairs had now been finished on the broken court, the schedule was still over 3 hours behind and so we decided to go back to the hotel for an hour instead of staying at the club where there was nothing to do. We estimated that we would get on court between 8 and 830pm so we took a cab back to the courts at 730pm. Due to some feat of South American temporal wizardry, the court repairs had not helped the schedule at all and they were in fact even further behind. We ended up not getting on court until 9pm. After all the drama of the day, I was half expecting our match to contain some as well but it was fairly straightforward. There were a few team hiccups but overall we played well, winning 15-5, 15-3.
Full results for Team Canada are below. Stay tuned for Day 2 results later today!
Team Canada Results: Day 1
Jennifer Saunders d. 15-0, 15-1
Frederique Lambert d. Mary Diaz 15-10, 15-6
Vincent Gagnon d. Fernando Kurzbard 15-12, 15-4
Coby Iwasaa d. Gustavo Farrel 15-0, 15-9
Lambert/Grand Maitre d. Perez/Martin 15-2, 15-1
Landeryou/Castro d. Troncoso/Suarez 15-5, 15-3