Canada Advances to Finals, Eyeing Gold in Three Events at Pan Am Championships

WINNIPEG, March 27, 2024 – Canada has advanced to the finals in three events at the 2024 Pan American Championships being held in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The tournament runs from March 23 to 30.

Samuel Murray (Baie-Comeau) will play in the men’s singles final. Murray and partner Coby Iwaasa (Lethbridge) also earned a spot in the men’s doubles final. Iwaasa teamed up with Juliette Parent (Saint-Jacques) to advance to the final in mixed doubles.

Murray, who has been playing an outstanding tournament, moved on to Thursday’s final with a decisive win over USA’s Jake Bredenbeck. Murray came out strong in the first game and never looked back, winning in three straight games with scores of 11-3, 11-0, 11-3.

In men’s doubles, Murray and Iwaasa won against USA’s Jake Bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck in the semi-final. It was a very close match, with Canada able to stave off several game points in the first game to come out on top. The second game was equally as close, but USA ended up the winner. Canada had more breathing room in the last two games and won the match with scores of 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9.

In the mixed doubles semi-final, Iwaasa and Parent faced Argentina’s Gerson Miranda Martinez and Natalia Mendez, the top seeded team. Canada won the first two games but lost their momentum giving Argentina the chance to force a tiebreaker. Iwaasa and Parent went up quickly in the final game, but Argentina fought their way back. Ultimately the Canadians prevailed, winning the match with scores of 11-9, 13-11, 7-11, 7-11,11-7.

Murray will face Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico in the final. He has only come up against Montoya in singles once in international play. At the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, Montoya defeated Murray in the quarterfinal and eventually went on to win gold. Their head-to-head record on the pro-tour stands at an even 3 wins and 3 losses, but Murray recently defeated Montoya in the final of the International Racquetball Tour Sioux Falls Pro-Am to win his second pro-tour title.

Murray and Iwaasa will play Gabriel Garcia and Andres Acuna of Costa Rica in the men’s doubles final. Iwaasa and Parent will play USA’s Sam Bredenbeck and Michelle Key in the mixed doubles final. Although Canada has match experience against some of their opponents, they have never faced these teams previously.

After a full day of competition, Sam Murray had a chance to reflect. “I’m feeling really good on the court.” said Murray. “In singles today I knew I had to be ready to bring my best game because Jake is a great player. In doubles it was a tough match. I’m happy we found a way to win the close games. I’m excited to play another final with Coby.”

All final matches will be streamed live on the International Racquetball Federation’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel, as well as on the Panam Sports Channel. You’ll find times and links on the Racquetball Canada’s social pages which are linked to the icons at the bottom of this release.

Following Thursday’s finals, the Team Event will get underway. Canada’s results will help with favourable seeding when it comes to the draws for the team event.

The Pam American Championships are the first international tournament in the cycle of competition that leads to the Lima 2027 Pan American Games. Results of this tournament will impact seeding at future events so Canada’s strong results at these championships will benefit the team as they continue along the path to qualifying for the Games.

Click here for complete draws and results.