2000 International Racquetball Federation
X World Championships

San Luis Potosi, Mexico: August 4-12


Preview | DAILIES | Drawsheets | Rosters | Finals & Finishers

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USA & Canada reach World Cup Finals

Both the U.S. and Canadian team squads reached the finals of the World Cup playoffs, after Team USA logged wins over Mexico for the women, and Japan for the men. On the other side of the bracket, Canada's women advanced past Chile, and Team Canada's doubles pair pulled out a deciding tiebreaker win over Mexico.

In the only playoff to go to all three sets, Team Canada's advance hinged on the doubles match between Ontario's Mike Ceresia and Mike Green and recently-crowned world doubles champions Luis Bustillos and Javier Moreno. After a close 15-13 first game, Ceresia and Green had trailed 9-12 in the second when Mexico's lefty/righty pair switched sides on the serve and lost momentum with the strategy. Ceresia and Green took advantage of the slip-up to pressure their opponents and bring the match to 14-12, where Moreno skipped a forehand for match point.

Earlier in the day, Canada's #1 and #2 players had split wins against their head-to-head Mexican opponents, with Kane Waselenchuk (Canada #1) defeating Gilberto Meija, 15-13, 15-7 and Brian Istace (Canada, #2) falling to new world singles champion Alvaro Beltran in a tiebreaker, 15-12, 8-15, 11-2.

U.S. men advanced past Japanese challengers in both singles matches, with wins by #1 Rocky Carson over Shoichi Sakai, 15-18, 15-2 and by #2 Doug Eagle over Higashi Yoshihiko, 15-6, 15-12. And while the U.S. doubles team of Ruben Gonzalez and Mike Guidry was not required to play for the team to advance, they did stage an "exhibition" against Hiroshi Shimizu and Bunya Hasegawa to prepare for tomorrow's team round.

In the women's team advances, both U.S. and Canadian squads took straight match wins against Mexico and Chile, respectively. For the U.S., #2 singles player Jackie Paraiso defeated Susy Acosta, 15-4, 15-8, while the doubles team of Kersten Hallander and Kim Russell won over Tania Anguiano and Johana Rivera, 15-1, 15-6. Newly crowned world singles champion Cheryl Gudinas opted to sit out today's #1 position match, using the time to tend to a slightly inflamed right knee.

Top-ranked Canadian women Christie Van Hees and Lori-Jane Powell took each of the matches in straight games, over Chile's Angela Grisar, 15-12, 15-8, and Loreto Barriga, 15-10, 15-13 to earn a spot in the team final. The doubles team of Amanda Macdonald and Karina Odegard earned a reprieve and will rest up - in case they're needed - tomorrow.

USA #1 Cheryl Gudinas vs. CAN #1 Christie Van Hees
USA #2 Jackie Paraiso vs. CAN #2 Lori-Jane Powell
USA Kersten Hallander/Kim Russell vs.
CAN Amanda MacDonald/Karina Odegard

USA #1 Rocky Carson vs. CAN #1 Kane Waselenchuk
USA #2 Doug Eagle vs. CAN #2 Brian Istace
USA Ruben Gonzalez/Mike Guidry vs.
CAN Mike Ceresia/Mike Green

World Cup Team Play Opens

In the second half of competition at the IRF 10th World Championships, entire team rosters will square off against each other for head-to-head playoffs. Using this format, the #1 and #2 singles players will play one another, as will each doubles team. Teams that win two out of three of these "teamed" matches will advance to face the next national squad. And once two matches are won, the third scheduled match is not required.

So, advances will be scored by team only (not individual names and match scores), using a best of three citation ... a 2-1 score will indicate that any one match was lost; a 3-0 score will indicate that the first two matches were won by the advancing team.

World Congress

In it's bi-annual World Congress, held in conjunction with the 10th World Championships, the International Racquetball Federation and the Pan American Racquetball Confederations each elected a new slate of officers for terms to begin immediately.

Long-time USRA board member and friend to the sport Keith Calkins of Mission Viejo, California, was tapped for the IRF presidency, replacing Han Van der Heijden. The Netherlands Van der Heijden was appointed "honorary president" in recognition of his service to the international administrative body.

The remaining elected IRF positions were filled by:
Erik Meyer (Belgium) -- Executive Vice President
Young-Sang Hong (Korea) -- Vice President/Asia
Philippe Lecompte (France) -- Vice President/Europe
Manuel Medina (Venezuela) -- VP/South America
Enrique Villagran (Mexico) -- VP/Central America-Caribbean
Usher Barnoff (Canada) -- VP/North American
Rosy Torres (Mexico) -- VP/Women's Development
Angela Grisar (Chile) -- VP/Women's Development
Oswaldo Maggi (Argentina) -- Treasurer
Luke St. Onge (USA) -- Secretary General
Han Van der Heijden (Netherlands) -- Honorary President (outgoing)

Two new IRF and PARC vice-presidential slots were created for the purpose of advancing women's development in the sport, and filled by Rosy Torres of Mexico, and Angela Grisar of Chile.

The Pan American Racquetball Confederation [PARC] officers include:
Oswaldo Maggi (Argentina) -- President
Manuel Medina (Venezuela) -- Executive Vice President
Pablo Fajre (Chile)-- VP/South America
Pending appointment -- VP/Central America-Caribbean
Usher Barnoff (Canada) -- VP/North American
Rosy Torres (Mexico) -- VP/Women's Development
Angela Grisar (Chile) -- VP/Women's Development
Pending appointment -- Treasurer
Luke St. Onge (USA) -- Secretary General
Keith Calkins (USA) -- Honorary President (outgoing)

Event Venues Named
The IRF also named the host countries for the coming 2002 and 2004 World Championships. In the year 2002, the event will be held in Paris, France, and in 2004 it will be hosted by Korea.

The PARC also named the host countries for its annual Tournament of the Americas, which -- in 2002 -- will also serve as a qualifier for the 2004 Pan American Games. The events will be held in Honduras in 2001; Bolivia in 2002; and in the Dominican Republic in 2003.

Upsets for the Men in the Medal Rounds, World Champion De-throned

Team Mexico made racquetball history today, by defeating long-time U.S. opponents in both the men's singles and doubles, with conviction. Silver medalists from 1998, Luis Bustillos and Javier Moreno, moved into the top spot with a straight game win over current U.S. National Doubles champions Ruben Gonzalez and Mike Guidry, 15-13, 15-11.

Recently induced Hall of Famer Ruben Gonzalez held his own in the fast-paced match against a pair of younsters whose combined age did not equal his own. The 49-year old Gonzalez dove right along with his sprightly left-handed partner, Guidry, but the Mexican pair were just too primed for victory. That, plus an avoidable hinder call by referee Jim Hiser for match point, lead the Mexicans to their first world doubles title.

In singles, Alvaro Beltran also upset the U.S.' top player and current national champ, Rocky Carson, in an exciting tiebreaker which ended in victory for the hometown favorite, 15-11, 12-15, 11-6. Beltran's fast hands and accuracy on the run earned him his first world singles crown, over what seemed to be a slightly over-anxious Carson who made a series of costly, and uncharacteristic errors on serve and in rallies.

For the women, another chapter was written in the long-time rivalry between the U.S.' Cheryl Gudinas and defending world champion and top Canadian player, Christie Van Hees. After losing the first 15-7, Gudinas narrowly avoided a straight game defeat by pulling out a 15-14 win to force the tiebreaker.

There, it seemed as though Van Hees would hold on to her title, as she moved to a 9-3 lead before Gudinas chipped her way back into contention. One point at at time, with long periods of non-scoring rallies in between, Gudinas brought the score even at 10 all, then caught her opponent wrong-footed with a forehand cross-court pass to end the match and earn her first world singles crown.

In the first gold medal final of the day, Team USA's Kersten Hallander (San Diego, Calif.) and Kim Russell (Austin, Texas) pulled out a tiebreaker win against Canadian juniors Amanda McDonald and Karina Odegard of Saskatchwan.

After a disappointing 15-11 first game loss for Hallander and Russell, the newly-formed team re-grouped to pull out the second 15-5, then the tiebreaker 11-7. And the final point of the tiebreaker had been a barnburner, as both teams sustained the longest rally of the match until a ball hit by Karina caromed off the backwall and nicked Amanda on the fly, ending the rally with the game-winning error in favor of the U.S.

Mexico breaks into World Final

USA makes all four playoffs ... First-time titles on the line for most

In front of packed stands, Team Mexico's top player, Alvaro Beltran of Tijuana, defeated U.S. #2 Doug Eagle of Dallas, Texas in straight games to become the first Mexican native to reach a gold medal singles final in the history of the IRF World Championships. Later in the evening, his teammates, Luis Bustillos and Javier Moreno also advanced into the doubles final with a win over Canadians Mike Green and Mike Ceresia. Bustillos and Moreno made it to the World Championship doubles final in 1998 and brought home a silver.

Beltran took a commanding 8-2 lead in the first game before Eagle was able to bring himself into range at 12-12, but stalled there. Eagle remained unable to gain momentum in the second, which went to the day's "national hero" 15-8. Earlier, Beltran had eliminated Canada's national champion as well, with a quarterfinal advance over Kane Waselenchuk.

In the top half of the draw, U.S. National Singles champion Rocky Carson made equally quick work of Canadian #2 Brian Istace in straight games of 15-12, 15-8.

For the women, current national champion and top-seeded Cheryl Gudinas survived a close call against Canada's #2 roster player, Lori-Jane Powell, who stretched their match to a tiebreaker after taking the first game 15-11, and losing the second 15-13. In the deciding third, Powell even held a multi-point lead before Gudinas pulled out the win to earn her first World title bid.

According to Racquetball Canada Executive Director Usher Barnoff, Powell is playing her career best. "Since she moved [to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan] she's been training against a better field, and the biggest change in her game has been that she's become so much more aggressive." Gudinas agreed.

"She stuck with her game plan, and I've never seen her step up so quickly to short hop a splat, and then roll it out."

In the remaining women's semi-final, defending World Champion Christie Van Hees avenged her 1999 U.S. OPEN loss to Jackie Paraiso in another tiebreaker. Paraiso had come out strong with a first game win, then struggled through the second and ended on a low note, at 11-2 in the third.

"I don't know what happened, exactly," mused Paraiso afterward, "but I know I lost my focus, that's for sure."

In doubles, the recently paired U.S. team of Kersten Hallander and Kim Russell had not dropped a game in their advance, until their semi-final against Bolivia's Maria Fernanda and Paola Nunez. Fernanda and Nunez won the second game of their match 15-13, before rousing Hallander and Russell into a 10-0 rout in the deciding third game. They will face Canada's up-and-coming junior pair of Amanda McDonald and Karina Odegard, who have yet to lose a game in their bid for the gold.

For the men, current U.S. national doubles champs Ruben Gonzalez and southpaw partner Mike Guidry have dominated their half of the bracket, and will go up against Mexico's Luis Bustillos and Javier Moreno.

    Individual World Championship Title Playoffs
  • Rocky Carson (USA) vs. Alvaro Beltran (MEX)
  • Cheryl Gudinas (USA) vs. Christie Van Hees (CAN)*
  • Kersten Hallander/Kim Russell (USA) vs. Amanda McDonald/Karina Odegard (CAN)
  • Ruben Gonzalez/Mike Guidry (USA) vs. Luis Bustillos/Javier Moreno (MEX)

*Van Hees is the only finalist to be in the position to defend a title [she is the reigning 1998 World Champion] -- all remaining contenders will be seeking first world titles with a win in the gold medal round.

Heading to the Break

The International Racquetball Federation World Championships are held in two parts, with separate events used to determine individual title wins, and an overall "World Cup" victory to a single country. With the exception of a shared win in 1986 with Canada, the United States has retained the World Cup since the event's debut in 1981.

The individual title rounds are played in a satellite "Olympic" format, in which players continue to compete in re-formed draws once they have lost in a gold medal round. Top-seeded competitors from traditionally strong national teams based in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan have all advanced, at least through the quarterfinals, in the singles and doubles playoffs.

Following award ceremonies to crown the individual world champions on Tuesday, and a day off for the players on Wednesday, new playoffs will begin to determine the overall World Cup team champion.

In this format, entire squads will be placed against one another for "head to head" playoffs against opposing teams. Here, roster position will be crucial, as the #1 and #2 singles players, plus doubles pairs, from one team face their counterparts on another. Advances in this format will earn team points for each national squad, through the finals, when the totals will name men's, women's and overall team champions for the year 2000.

The IRF World Championships are held bi-annually, along with a World Congress of nations which meet to administer rule and policy changes, set future sites and elect officers. The 2000 World Congress will be held during the off-day on Wednesday.

Canada's Waselenchuk Upset in Quarterfinals

Canada's number-one player and second-seed Kane Waselenchuk suffered a major quarterfinal upset in front of a packed house at the hands of Mexico's Alvaro Beltran, falling in a tiebreaker, 15-11; 1-15; 11-8.

"He hurt his arm a bit in the first game, and couldn't do everything he normally does" said Canadian Team Coach Ron Brown, "but he's 18 and gets better each tournament. The experience is great for him and he's got a great future."

Waselenchuk had previously knocked off 1999 Pan Am Games bronze medalist Rob DeJesus (Phoenix, Ariz.), 15-10, 15-7, in a grudge match from last summers Pan Am Games, where DeJesus had topped Waselenchuk in his home country. Beltran will meet the USA's Doug Eagle (Houston, Texas), who defeated Venezuela's Jorge Hirsekorn, 15-8, 15-5, to advance to the semifinals.

World Championships Open this Weekend

The International Racquetball Federation's 10th World Championships kicked off this weekend with the top seeds easily advancing through the first round. The women's singles top seed from the USA, Cheryl Gudinas (Lisle, Ill.), easily knocked off Bouaphet Phanvonqsa, 15-3, 15-1, to advance to the next round, where she shut out Korea's Yuni Cobb in a perfect 15-0, 15-0 match.

Second-seed Christie Van Hees (British Columbia, Canada) also breezed through her first two rounds, opening with a 15-3, 15-8 win over Vietnam's Bessie Le. She then breezed through her second match of the championships, scoring a 15-0, 15-0 win over Puerto Rico's Linda Mojer (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Van Hees advanced once more with an impressive 15-5, 15-1 win over Chile's Angela Grisar, a bronze medalist at last summer's Pan American Games in women's doubles.

Van Hees will face off against the USA's Jackie Paraiso (El Cajon, Calif.) in Monday's semifinals. Paraiso scored victories over the Dominican Republic's Claudine Garcia, Korea's Lee Young-Mi and Chile's Lupita Torres.

In the men's singles play, the USA's Rocky Carson (Santa Maria, Calif.) cruised to the semifinals as the top seed by ousting Honduras' Franklin Rauduals, 15-6, 15-7, Argentina's Shai Manzuri, 15-9, 15-10, and Belize's Matthew Anderson, 15-8, 15-8. Carson will face off against Canada's Brian Istace in Monday's semifinal match.

The USA's top-seeded men's doubles team of Mike Guidry (Dallas, Texas) and Ruben Gonzalez (Staten Island, N.Y.) toppled Belgium's Niklaas Beboute and Paul De Vos, 15-5, 15-9, after a first-round bye. Canada's second-seeded duo of Mike Ceresia and Mike Green advanced to semifinals with a quarterfinal victory over Puerto Rico's Perry Lopez and Wally Ruiz, 15-3, 15-13.

Kersten Hallander (San Diego, Calif.) and Kim Russell (Austin, Texas), the top-seeded pair representing the USA, have cruised to the semifinals with easy wins over duos from Vietnam and Korea.

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