Sunday, 21 May 2017

2017 Nationals - Doubles Preview

As I’ve had a serious hiatus from this blog, I thought I’d change up the format slightly. Look for a preview of the singes action I’ll post Tuesday, but for now we’ll take a quick peek at what’s set to happen on the doubles court over the next couple of days.

On the Men’s side, top seeds Castro/Murray (1) and Murray/Bousquet (2) should move through to the semi-finals without much trouble. Husulak/Connell (3) could have some difficulties with Guillemette/Leduc (6), but should ultimately move through as well. The most intriguing match of the quarter finals will be the Landeryou brothers (4) vs Green/Webb (5). The singles skill of both these teams should have resulted in higher seedings, but due to the seeding process used by Racquetball Canada for these events, the top 4 seeds retain their positions based on the previous national championships. Thus, these two highly skilled teams go head to head in the quarter finals. This is a great match on paper, with veteran national team members partnering up with younger, athletic, and talented individuals to assemble highly-skilled and well-matched teams. While Green is an extremely adept doubles player, the more well-rounded Landeryou team should have the edge in overall offense and take this close contest.

The semi-finals offer some intriguing match ups as well. On the bottom half, Murray/Bousquet had an extremely tight tiebreaker victory over Husulak/Connell in their last encounter, and it will likely be no different this time around. The young Quebec team has more experience under their belt now, which should give them a slight edge in this match, but expect a tight tiebreaker again either way. On the top side, the Landeryou brothers will have a tough time against defending national champions Castro/Murray. The Quebec team had difficulty with Landeryou and partner Eric Desrochers last year, and brotherly chemistry should make the Landeryou brothers a stronger team. Still, Castro/Murray have chemistry as well, and playing on their home court gives them the slight statistical edge in this contest.

Thus, the final has a high probability of being an all-Quebec affair, with the Landeryou brothers taking on Husulak/Connell for bronze. The Landeryous grew up playing with Husulak/Connell and have the historical edge in that contest. The final will likely be a similar result, as Castro/Murray have played Murray/Bousquet several times over the last couple of years and haven’t had much difficulty. The more experienced Quebec pair emerge as the favourites to secure another national title.

In the women’s draw, things have potential for more complicated finishes with the round robin format, so the predictions here will focus on overall results starting at the bottom. Local team Dechene/Boivin are clearly the outsiders and low seeds within the open event, but it gets tougher to call after that. Likely 4th place finishers are Prentice/Fallu, who are seeded third but will be in tough against the other three teams. With Fallu coming off an injury and Prentice relatively inexperienced on the doubles scene, it is unlikely they will be able to overcome the skill or experience of the top three teams. My third-place pick is a tough one, as I see all three of the top teams having good matches. Ultimately, the deciding factor for me is experience, so I have Geeraert/Iwaasa finishing third. Both these players can generate dangerous offense and could take out one or both of the top two teams, but lack the consistency and experience of the top two. Finishing second I have defending national champions Richardson/Morissette, who certainly have the skill and experience to repeat, but will be in tough against Drury/Saunders, who have had more reps on the court together since their last encounter. Drury has also been training hard and it’s showing in her court coverage and consistency. While this will be a tight match to call, the slight edge goes to Drury/Saunders for the women’s national title.

That's it for now. Hope you enjoyed this doubles preview and check back for results and singles predictions on Tuesday!

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