Wednesday, 16 April 2014

2014 Pan American Racquetball Championships: Day 5 & 6

Three days into the tournament and I’m already dropping the ball on posts. This one is gonna be a little more to the point so hopefully we can get caught up in time for the elimination draws to begin. Speaking of which the draws are now up so I'll put them up at the bottom of this post as well.

Day 2 of competition for Team Canada went very well, as all members won their matches and did so convincingly. The results and scores will be summarized at the bottom of this post.

Day 3 was slightly more interesting as it was the final day of the round robin play and thus for all Team Canada members, was the day for the most contentious matches. I’m going to focus on two in particular, Coby Iwasaa’s men’s singles match, and our men’s doubles match.

I knew that Coby’s singles match had the potential to be close. I’ve seen Camacho play many times over the years and he has a very unique style that can get under a player’s skin. Pair that with his ability to cover the court and he has the potential to be a very tough opponent. That being said, I gave Coby the advantage because of his serve and shot making; as long as he played fairly well, he should come out with the win.

To his credit, Coby started well and had built a lead of 9-4 by the time we arrived to the court from eating lunch. He kept building this lead and served for the first game at 14-6. It looked like at this point he got a little bit tight mentally because he faltered a bit, missing a few shots and allowing Camacho to begin creeping back into the game. He would finally take the first after several attempts, 15-10.

The second game started in a similar fashion, with Coby building a lead early on 7-3. He tightened up much earlier in this game though, and after several very tentative misses on rally ending attempts, the Costa Rican had leveled the game. Things didn’t get better for Coby as the game wore on technically, although the score remained tight until 10-10, when Camacho went ahead by a few points. There were a few changes of serve here, as Iwasaa again appeared to tighten up when given the opportunity to win the rally. Ultimately the Costa Rican was able to finish the game and take the match to tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker didn’t contain the drama the previous two games did, but it was entertaining nonetheless. Coby recovered from his late-game lapse in the previous game and built an early lead that he never relinquished. He took the tiebreaker 11-5.

Our doubles match was set to be our first real test of the tournament. Coming in we were seeded second in our pool, sixth overall, with our Argentinian opponents seeded first in the pool and third overall. Even with this knowledge though, we felt like the favourites going into the match. We even played like it, for the first little while…

We built an early lead to 7-4, but both sides played extremely inconsistently. They began to play better as the game wore on though, and unfortunately we didn’t. The Argentinians chipped away at our lead until they had one of their own and eventually took the game 15-7. We were able to recover in the second and play smarter, if not better, while the Argentinians seemed to come out flat. We took the second easily 15-2. I’m not sure if we came out overconfident or whether our opponents just played better in the tiebreaker but even though the first half was tight, we found ourselves on the right side of a 3-point lead at 7-4. With the end in sight, I played slightly more aggressive than perhaps I should have. The reality is I can usually rely on my shooting ability, especially on my backhand, but for whatever reason that day just wasn’t my day. Not only did I miss the first two setups I had for points on our serve, but I skipped two out of three setups to get our serve back once we lost it. At 7-7 we got the serve back but again were unable to score. I would skip another two balls on our way to giving up the next four points to lose the tiebreaker 11-7 and the match.

This unfortunately means that we will have a tougher draw to the semi-finals than if we had won, but both Pedro and I agreed that the adversity we faced would be good for us later on and that there weren’t going to be any easy matches for us in the elimination draw anyway. We’ll have the Dominicans first and most likely Bolivia in the quarterfinals. They’re both good teams but we’re better, and we’re ready to go and represent Canada!

Day 2 Results:

Frederique Lambert d. Sofia Soley 15-13, 15-5
Jennifer Saunders d. Melania Sauma 15-4, 15-7

Vincent Gagnon – Bye
Coby Iwasaa d. Pablo Kurzbard 15-7, 15-6

Lambert/Grand-Maitre d. Vargas/Guillemette 15-8, 15-4
Landeryou/Castro d. Santiago/Jordan 15-4, 15-4

Day 3 Results:

Frederique Lambert d. Carla Munoz 15-11, 12-15, 11-3
Jennifer Saunders d. Maria Paz Riquelme 15-4, 15-2

Vincent Gagnon d. Andres Solera 15-4, 15-13
Coby Iwasaa d. Felipe Camacho 15-10, 10-15, 11-5

Lambert/Grand-Maitre d. Munoz/Riquelme 15-5, 15-11

Manzuri/Maggi (ARG) d. Landeryou/Castro 15-7, 2-15, 11-7

Elimination Draws:

Women's Singles
Men's Singles
Men's Doubles
Women's Doubles

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