Photo credit : Darren Calabrese / COC
Canada’s Sam Murray is celebrating his win at the International Racquetball Tour Lewis Drug Pro/Am event held this past weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Murray (Baie-Comeau, QC), who was seeded seventh in the tournament, worked his way through a field of the best players in the world with a gritty performance to end up on the top of the podium.
This is Murray’s second International Racquetball Tour win. He also won the Grand Slam title at the Suivant Consulting Pro/Am in January of 2021. In addition, Murray has several podium finishes at the World Championships, Pan American Games and Pan American Championships.
Murray faced third seed, Rodrigo Montoya of Mexico in Sunday’s final. The two have played each other in singles before in International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and International Racquetball Federation (IRF) competition with Montoya having an edge on head-to-head play.
In Sunday’s final Montoya was in control at the beginning of the first game and was up 7-2 before Murray started to chip away at the lead. After tying the match at 8, Murray took over to win 15-12. Montoya went up quickly in the second game, and although Murray fought back, the Mexican player ended up winning 15-9. The tiebreaker did not disappoint. It looked like Murray was cruising to an easy win up 6-0 shortly into the match. However, it was Montoya’s turn to mount a comeback. He staved off four match points and was in the service box with the game tied at 10 but Murray won the side out and the next point for the win.
“I was just trying to stay focused and stay tough each rally,” said Murray after his win. “I came to the tournament to play doubles with Coby (Iwaasa) to get ready for the Pan American Championships so was not expecting this result in singles. Maybe I put less pressure on myself and that helped me.”
Murray added, “I have had a rough year with a lot of injuries so I’m just glad I’m still able to play at this level. I was questioning my future on the pro-tour and I hope that these results will motivate me.”
To advance to Sunday’s final, Murray defeated third seed Conrrado Moscoso of Bolivia in an incredible come from behind win. Moscoso is the reigning World Champion and recent Tarija 2023 Pan Am Games singles gold medalist. Montoya had an easier path to the final after Kane Waselenchuk was unable to play their semi-final match due injury. Montoya also has a history of international success, most recently winning gold in men’s doubles at the Tarija 2023 Pan American Games.
Next up for Murray is the Racquetball Canada National Team Selection Event being held in Sherwood Park, AB from February 9 to 11 and the Pan American Championships being held in Guatemala City, Guatemala in late March.
For complete results click here.
To watch the recorded matches click here.