IRT Shamrock Shootout Preview

Sudsy returns to the court, playing doubles with Kane. Photo unk


Professional racquetball is Back! The IRT heads to Chicago for one of its longer-running pro tournaments, the “36.5th annual” KWM Gutterman (fall) Shamrock shootout. Hosted by the legendary Geoff Peters and sponsored by long-time racquetball benefactor Keith Minor (the “KWM” in KWM Gutterman Inc.), this is the 36th iteration of this event.


R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37339
There are a ton of international players here; 7 countries are represented and includes what looks like the entire Guatemalan national team, most of the Bolivian national team, and a good chunk of the Colombian national team in addition to the regulars from the big 3. Its one of the last big events prior to IRF events and players want to get more tournament experience.


Who is missing? #1 Kane Waselenchuk is here, but only playing doubles (more on that later). #6 Conrrado Moscoso is also missing despite a bunch of his fellow countrymen being present. The only other top 20 ranked player missing is #20 Sebastian Fernandez.

Despite not playing an IRT event since Mar 2020, Kane still maintains the #1 overall ranking on tour, but that ranking (and his seeding at the US open in two weeks) is in jeopardy here. If #2 Landa advances to the final, he’ll take over the #1 spot on tour and push Kane into the bottom half of the pro draw in Minneapolis. Read on to see my prediction on whether that happens or not…


Lets preview the singles draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 128:

  • #40 seed Bolivian 18U junior Hector Barrios, younger sibling to current LPRT top 10 player Angelica Barrios, is in the draw after making his pro debut in Denver in August. He gets an interesting matchup against Erick Cuevas, seeded 25th here.
  • Bolivian touring regular #21 Kadim Carrasco is matched up with Californian Patrick Allin, who is much better known for his outdoor racquetball exploits.
  • #36 seed Colombian 18U junior Juan Pablo Rodriguez, part of team Zurek in Florida, gets a winnable international match against Guatemalan #29 Edwin Galicia.
  • Former IRT regular John Wolfe returns to the tour for the first time since Oct 2019 and faces off against Mexican vet Abraham Peña.
  • Former top Mexican junior Rodrigo Rodriguez plays in a top-level event for the first time since 2018 and faces off against Formulaflow’s MoMo Zelada, seeded #23.
  • top Mexican junior Erick Trujillo gets a tough test against Guatemalan veteran Javier Martinez.

In the round of 64, here’s some projected fun matches to watch for:

  • #20 seed Colombian vet Set Cubillos Ruiz is set to face the winner of Rodriguez/Galicia in another all-international qualifier.
  • #19 Alan Natera Chavez projects to face countryman Pena for a spot in the 32s. On paper this is an easy one to call, but Pena could make things difficult for his younger rival.
  • If #38 Jordy Alonso can get past Arteaga in the opener, he stands a good chance of moving into the 32s. He’s been playing well as of late, going deep into a local SLP event last weekend.
  • #18 Robert Collins faces a tough one in the winner of Trujillo/Martinez. I don’t necessarily expect an upset, but look out.

Projecting the 32s: here’s some possible matchups as the #9-#16 seeds enter into play:

  • In a bit of deja vu, the #16/#17 matchup is, again, Adam Manilla versus Acuna. They met in Denver, a 12,5 win for Acuna, and I see no reason for the result to change here … ensuring another juicy re-match that we’ll talk about in the next section.
  • #9 Mario Mercado projects to play #24 Charlie Pratt Racquetball, a tough match-up for Mercado. Pratt has never lost to Mercado, and in their most recent meeting (2020 Lewis drug) won in two straight-forward games. Mercado is playing well … but so is Pratt and I think we get an upset here.
  • #14 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez is set to face #19 Natera; Garay keeps creeping up the rankings and is edging closer to a breakthrough win; he should advance past the mercurial Natera here.
  • #11 Carlos Keller Vargas projects to play Alonso, which could be a closer match than Keller anticipates. The Bolivian will look to build on his career best showing in Denver and moves on.
  • #23 Zelada runs into his personal kryptonite, frequent playing partner #10 Sebastian Franco, who moves on here.
  • #15 Javier Mar gets a winnable play-in against #18 Collins.

So, i’m calling for a few minor upsets in the round of 32, but nothing major.


round of 16:

  • #1 Alex Landa gets a rematch of his opener from Denver against Acuna, a match that featured some … hostilities shall we say, as the players took turns whacking each other with the ball and then had to be separated on the court. So, look out for more fireworks here. Landa is firey on the court and seems to play better when agitated, so don’t be surprised if an innocuous play turns into another spat here.
  • #8 Jake Bredenbeck projects to play his doubles partner (both here and for Team USA) in Pratt at this juncture. Jake has not lost to Charlie in an event I track in the DB, but the matches are often close, since Pratt is a technician on the court and strategizes his way to wins. Look for jake in a tiebreaker.
  • #5 Andree Parrilla gets perhaps the one person he doesn’t want to see in a round of 16 in his long-time Mexican rival #12 Rodrigo Montoya Solis. These two have been playing each other since they were 8yr olds, and they’ve gone back and forth often. Montoya generally has the upper hand in national team events, but Parrilla is better suited in pro events. Last time they played, Parrilla ran away with the match after a close game one with Montoya falling apart mentally, and I suspect something similar happens here. Parrilla to move on.
  • #4 Rocky Carson gets a winnable opponent in #13 Thomas Carter for a chance to move into the quarters.
  • #3 Samuel Murray, fresh off a win at Canadian Nationals, runs into a buzz saw in #14 Garay. Murray was beaten badly in the 16s in Denver and faces a similar fate here against Garay, who has the benefit of training in Florida with a number of top players regularly. Big upset here but Garay makes just his second pro quarter.
  • #6 Alvaro Beltran faces off against #11 Keller, hot off his semis appearance in Denver. Beltran and Keller have played internationally twice, both times in PARC, both times Keller wins. As much as Alvi will complain that i’m picking against him again … i’m going with Keller here in an upset.
  • #7 Eduardo Portillo Rendon takes on #10 Franco, who he defeated in the finals of the lower-tier IRT event in Severna Park earlier this summer. Lalo should advance here as well, as he continues to improve.
  • #2 Daniel De La Rosa probably gets the one qualifier he doesn’t want to play, facing off against fellow country-man #15 Mar. But, these two also faced off in the 16s in Denver (when i probably wrote the same thing), and DLR took care of business en route to his title. DLR is playing with confidence and probably expects to win this tournament, and he’s not losing here.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Landa over #8 Jake: they’ve played 11 times across IRT, WRT and USA national events. Alex is 11-0. He makes it 12-0 here.
  • #5 Parrilla over #4 Carson. There’s something about Chicago that Parrilla loves. He got his sole IRT win here in 2018. He made his first final in 2017. And, the last two times he’s played Rocky here … he’s gotten wins. I predict he wins again here.
  • #11 Keller over #14 Garay: in the upset special, one double digit seed advances to the semis. I have it being Keller, en fuego after a semis finish in Denver and who has topped Garay in the past.
  • #2 De La Rosa handles the youngster #7 Portillo again, as he did in the semis in Denver. Lalo pushed him to a breaker a few weeks ago and might do it again here, but DLR still has the upper hand in this rivalry … for now.
    Semis:
  • #5 Parrilla over #1 Landa. Parrilla’s Chicago streak continues. Parrilla beat Landa in Chicago in 2019 en route to the semis, has beaten him a number of times in the past, and moves onto the final here.
  • #2 DLR tops the upset-minded Keller. DLR is a step too far for Keller.

    Finals;
  • DLR wins over Parrilla. Andree has just one career win over DLR (guess where? Chicago in 2017), but DLR has taken his game to a new level, winning impressively in Denver (which included a quarters win over Parrilla) and I predict he wins here again.

Doubles review
A great doubles draw is set for Chicago, with 14 teams and a ton of talent. Included in this draw is the fun partnership of Kane and IRT legend Sudsy Monchik, who are partners off the court and now are giving it a go on the court. They present an intriguing lefty-righty pair, each covering their forehand side with lethal consequences..
Unfortunately for Sudsy/Kane, a lack of ranking points lands them in the 9th seed, meaning they project to play the top seeds in the quarters. Much ink has been spilled in social media on this seeding, but for the neutrals what it does mean is a fantastic (if early) projected quarter final in the prime-time 8:30 friday night slot. I guess there could be worse things.
The top-half of this draw is stacked: #1 seeds Beltran/DLR, #9 seeds Kane/Sudsy, #4 seeds Montoya/Mar (the reigning Mexican National champs) and hard-hitting #5 seeds Garay/Franco are all worth finalists, and it may be tough to separate them on any given sunday. I’m going to predict a win by Kane/Sudsy in the quarters, then a win over the Mexican duo in the semis.
The bottom half features the #2 seeded team of Murray/Landa, a very strong team that plays together regularly, plus the #7 USA national team of Pratt/Jake the #3 up-and-coming team of younger Mexican players Lalo/Parrilla and the newly crowned Bolivian national champs Keller/Carasco. From this group, I like Landa/Murray to advance.

Hard to pick against the King and Sudsy in the final.


Fun stuff: if you’re a better person, hit up Matthew Ivar Majxner on facebook for a $10 winner takes all prediction piece for the IRT singles draw. My picks are public … but not always right. I think i came in 2nd or 3rd in the previous competition, but i’m in it to win it this weekend.

Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live. Look for Dean DeAngelo Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
Tags
International Racquetball Tour
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
@federacion mexicana de raquetbol
@Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
@Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
@Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
@Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
@ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Reaching Your Dream Foundation Foundation
Beastmade Apparel
Zurek Construction, LLC
Francisco Fajardo-Raquetball
Kwm Gutterman/Keith Minor
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Canadian Nationals Wrap-up

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Sam Murray over Coby Iwaasa
  • Men’s Doubles; Samuel Murray/Tommy Murray
  • Women’s Singles: Frederique Lambert over Christine Keay
  • Women’s Doubles: Christine Keay/Cassie Prentice

    All singles finalists and the doubles champions now qualify to represent Canada at upcoming IRF events, including 2021 Worlds in Guatemala in December and 2022 PARC in April 2022 in Bolivia.

    See https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/ for PRS’ master list of upcoming major events.

    Trackie home page for the draws: https://www.trackie.com/…/entr…/matches/471131/4639/0/F/

Here’s recaps of the four draws:


Men’s Singles
Match report in PRS database: http://rball.pro/1C8AAC
The Men’s singles draw went nearly chalk to the final, with the top two seeds Murray and Coby Iwaasa advancing to sunday’s final and qualifying to represent Canada in IRF events coming up.
In the final…Murray made quick work of his frequent finals rival Iwaasa, topping him 8,4 to take the title. This is Murray’s third National title, and third in a row.

Click here for all Canadian men’s champs: http://rball.pro/372371


Women’s Singles:
Match Report in PRS database: http://rball.pro/2F3B62
There were a couple of upsets by seed in the early rounds, with #5 seed Alexis Iwaasa topping #4 Brigite Richard, and #6 Juliette Parent topping #3 Michèle Morissette in the quarters, but the semis featured the top two seeds in #1 Frederique Lambert and #2 Christine Keay advancing to the final and making the Canadian National team.
In the final..Lambert topped Keay 13,2 to return to the throne of Canadian racquetball for the first time since 2017. This is her third overall title.

Click here for all Canadian Women’s champs: http://rball.pro/AA5A24


Men’s Doubles:
Match Report in PRS database: http://rball.pro/D207F5

#1 Seeded brother team Sam and Tommy Murray cruised to the title in a draw that mostly went chalk. In the final they defeated the #2 seeded team of Iwaasa and Trevor Webb in two quick games 4,7.

This is Sam’s 5th national doubles title and Tommy’s second. They defend their 2019 national title. Sam is now halfway to catching the all-time leader in Men’s national titles for Canada ( Mike Green ), who had 10 titles and another 7 finals in his long career.

See here for a list of all Canadian Men’s dbls champs: http://rball.pro/EF2A7C


Women’s Doubles:
Match Report in PRS database: http://rball.pro/9DD6F3
Big upset in the semis, as the Parent sisters Marjolaine and Juliette Parent defeated the top seeded team of Lambert and Michele Morissete in a tiebreaker. They could not seal the deal though, losing in the final to #2 Christine Keay and Cassie Prentice in two tough games.
This is Christine’s 3rd national doubles title, but her first since 2017. This is Prentice’s first adult national title.

Click here for a list of all Canadian Women’s dbls champs: http://rball.pro/1DC54F

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from Racquetball Canada.

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it since you don’t follow this page.

Next up?

IRT’s Shamrock Shootout is next weekend, then we have a week’s break until the big one; the 25th US Open .

tags
Racquetball Canada
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC

2021 Canadian Nationals Preview

Lambert is back in action this weekend at Canadian Nationals. Photo unk

After a year-plus delay in hosting national events that saw the 2020 Nationals cancelled as well as the two normally held Selection events, Racquetball Canada is back this weekend with its National championships event, being held in Brossard, Quebec.
Both singles and Doubles champions are being crowned this weekend, and the tournament sees a pretty full slate of top Canadian players competing for the title.
Online tournament site: https://www.trackie.com/…/racquetball-canada…/471131/…
(Note: Canada has transitioned away from r2sports to use trackie.com due to Canadian data privacy concerns going forward).

Here’s a quick run through of what to expect this weekend

Men’s Singles draw:

1 seed Samuel Murray is the odds-on favorite to repeat; he has not lost a National or a selection event qualifier in Canada since May of 2017 (see http://rball.pro/0AC39E for a list of all Canadian National events historically). Murray has met the #2 seed Coby Iwaasa in the final of the last six such events, each time taking the win. Iwaasa does have a win over Murray, but it was more than six years ago at the 2015 nationals.

Trevor Webb and Lee Connell round out the top four seeds. Former national champ Corey Osborne is playing and could make for an interesting quarter final match if he advances to face Murray. The draw is missing a number of regulars, including both Landeryou brothers Tim Landeryou and James Landeryou and 2019 quarter finalist Ian Frattinger.

Look for Murray over Iwaasa in the final and for Sam (currently ranked #4 on the IRT) to continue his dominance in Canadian Men’s racquetball.


Women’s Singles draw:

1 seed Frederique Lambert has had spotty attendance at Canadian national events lately and has stopped touring full time on the LPRT (for good reason as she finished Medical school and began her residency). But she’s still the player to beat in Canada. She has not been beaten in a Canadian national event since 2014 (see http://rball.pro/71FEBE for Canadian Women’s national results historically).

Challenging her this weekend will be #2 seed Christine Keay (nee Richardson), #3 @michele morissette, and #4 Alexis Iwaasa, all of whom have made finals of Canadian national events in the past few seasons as Jen Saunders has retired from active play and Lambert has missed events.

Look for Lambert to take the title and for some tough semis matches to determine who faces her in the final.


Men’s Doubles Draw

1 seeds Sam and his brother Tommy Murray (who curiously is only playing doubles here) are the favorites in this 7-team draw. The #2 seeded team of Iwaasa and Webb should put up a challenge.

Look for the Murrays to prevail and defend their 2019 title won together.

click here for a look at Canadian Men’s national doubles results historically: http://rball.pro/F3CA5B


Women’s Doubles Draw

1 seeds Lambert and Morissette have not played together at Canada Nationals since 2015, when they lost in the finals. But Morissette has two titles and two finals appearances since, and will look to return to the throne with Lambert.

They’ll be challenged by the #2 seeded team of Keay and Prentice. Keay has made the doubles final four years running and has two prior titles.
In the end though, look for Lambert to win the double on the weekend.

click here for a look at Canadian Women’s national doubles results historically: http://rball.pro/7C6CBB

Streaming: follow Racquetball Canada on Facebook for live streaming notifications.


Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.


Tags
@International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
@international racquetball federation

3rd Annual Alex Landa Wrap-up

Landa’s annual namesake event featured some great play. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Hot on the heels of the big World Singles & Doubles event last weekend was a talent-laden tournament in Juarez hosted in honor of current IRT #2 Alex Landa. A solid set of the top Mexican players were joined by a big chunk of the Guatemalan national team, who stopped in Juarez on their way back from Denver, to have a nice tournament. Here’s a recap of some of the top events.

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Pro Exhibition: Rodrigo Montoya Solis
  • Men’s Open; Jaime Martel
  • Men’s Open Doubles: Landa/Montoya
  • Women’s Open: Cristina Amaya

R2 Sports App home page for event:https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=37803

Here’s a recap of the Men’s Pro exhibition:
22 players played the Pro “exhibition” event, headlined by the tournament’s namesake Landa as the #1 seed. Its great to see two guys in the draw in Polo Gutiérrez and Alex Cardona who don’t really tour anymore but who are forces on the court. Most of the top 10 players are regular IRT touring vets, and the rest of the draw is filled with Guatemalan nationals, Mexican rising juniors and top local players.
The 16s saw a couple of upsets and tough matches as a result:

  • Chihuahua’s Roldofo Esparza upset #5 seed Alan Natera Chavez in a tie-breaker.
  • #4 Polo was stretched to a breaker against Mexican 18U player Sebastián Longoria before advancing.
  • #3 Rodrigo Montoya Solis needed a breaker to get past Guatemalan Juan Salvatierra.
  • Guatemalan #1 Edwin Galicia took out #6 Javier Estrada 11-9 in a big upset.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 Alex Landa handled the talented but rarely seen Jaime Martell Racquetball 12,8. Hope to see Martell at the US Open.
  • #4 Polo Gutiérrez and #3 Montoya each cruised past upset-minded opponents Esparza and Galicia
  • #7 Lalo Portillo got a statement win, dominating the #2 Alex Cardona 9,4 to move on and setup a great semi.
    In the semis:
  • Landa needed a tiebreaker to get past his long-time Juarez-based playing partner and friend Gutierrez.
  • Montoya held off his young Mexican rival Lalo in two.

In the final, Landa and Montoya played a bit less intensive a match, ending up trading match point attempts at 10-10 before Montoya got the last rally.


The Men’s Open Draw was headlined by #1 Jaime Martell Neri, but also featured a couple of top LPRT women’s players in the draw competing against the men. This included Lucia Gonzalez and Ana Gabriela Martinez, fresh off her first ever professional win last weekend; she opted to just play the Men’s open here and not the women’s draws.

Both ladies in the draw won their openers to force matches against the #1 and #2 seeds (@sebastian longoria), but neither moved on from there. In the final, Martell took out Mexican junior Hernandez in a tie-breaker for the win.


The Men’s Open Doubles draw was stacked, with most of the top pros teamed up to provide some tantalizing later round matches. The Guatemalan pairing of Christian Wer and Edwin Galicia played great all weekend, taking out the #3 seeded teams of Javier Estrada/Alan Natera and then the #2 seeded team of Cardona/Polo to make the final.

However, the #1 team of top doubles players Landa/Montoya topped the Guatemalans for the title.


The Women’s Open featured 9 players, nearly all of which who have featured on the LPRT at some point. #1 seed Amaya Cris and #2 seed Lucia Gonzalez headlined the draw, but Gonzalez was upset in the semis by fellow up-and-coming player Delia. Aguilar. In the final, Amaya took a close 11-9 tie-breaker to win the title.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from various sources, including some players and some RKT. Make sure you follow the players and RKT on facebook and signup for live stream notifications to stay in the loop.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors RKT and Salvador Rentería for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.

Next up?

Breaking news; PARC 2021 in Bolivia has been cancelled due to covid-19 issues. The next major events on the schedule happen towards the end of September, when Canadian Nationals and the rescheduled Chicago IRT pro stop occur.

tags

World Singles & Doubles Wrap-up Part 2: Doubles draws

Montoya a double winner on the weekend, solidifying his status as a top doubles player. Photo Gearbox promotional


Part 1 focused on the two pro singles draws; this one covers the three main doubles draws.
Congrats to your winners on the weekend:Mixed Pro Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya Solis / Samantha Salas Solis

Men’s Open Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya & Javier Mar

Women’s Open Doubles: Jessica Parrilla & Montserrat Pérez

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=30515


Quick commentary on the divisions…
In Mixed Pro, the #7 seeded Montoya/Salas blitzed through the draw, dominating every one of their matches save for their match against my pre-tournament favorite Alvaro Beltran & Montse Mejia. I think its safe to say that the pairing of Montoya and Salas, which comprises the reigning World and Pan Am Games doubles champion in Montoya and a woman in Salas who has won no less than 33 pro doubles titles should have been seeded higher.

They topped the #8 seeded team of Sebastian Fernandez and Alexandra Herrera in the final. Patata and Alexandra also similarly blitzed their way through the draw, not dropping a game until the final and including a dominant 8,10 win over the #1 seeds and defending champs Daniel De La Rosa and Michelle De La Rosa.


Men’s Open Doubles PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/4CDCD8

In Men’s Open Doubles, Montoya & Mar (again, the reigning World, Pan Am Games and Mexican champions) were somehow only seeded 3rd and faced a gauntlet of matches to make the final. In the quarters they downed the top Bolivian team of Conrrado Moscoso and Roland Keller, a rematch of the 2019 Pan Am games gold medal match. In the semis they dominated the #2 seeded Colombian team of Eduardo Garay Rodriguez and Sebastian Franco, then got an unfortunate walk-over win in the final against the newly crowned Bolivian national champs Carlos Keller Vargas and Kadim Carrasco (reason unknown, maybe an early flight?). Nonetheless, Montoya & Mar proved once again that they’re in the conversation for best doubles team in the world.


Women’s Open Doubles PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/FE4165

In Women’s Open doubles, the very solid lefty-righty team of Parrilla and Perez cruised through the bottom side of the draw to the finals. There, they met the newly crowned USA national champs Rhonda Rajsich and Erika Manilla, who had to win a rematch of the USA championships in their quarters, then down a tough #1 seeded team of Nancy Enriquez / Carla Muñoz Montesinos to make the final. There, a battle ensued, going down to the wire, with the Mexican pair saving match point against to win 11-10 and claim the crown.

Next up?
we have a busy upcoming weekend:

  • the 3rd annual Alex Landa tournament is in Juarez: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=37803
  • The annual New Smyrna Beach WOR event is in Florida: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37823
  • – the 4th Annual Rocky Carson clinic is in Indiana: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=37829

Once again, thanks to all the streamers and to Jim Hiser for making this event happen.
Sponsor links
@international racquetball
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Ferac Racquet
Federación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERAC
India racquetball
Reaching Your Dream Foundation
FormulaFlow
Splathead
onewallball/Ruben Pagan
3wallball
Beastmade Apparel
Wear Rollout
Racquetball Warehouse
Splatit
Zurek Construction/Francisco Fajardo
AGE Solutions/Andy Gomer
team root/Randy Root
KWM Gutterman/Keith Minor
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

World Singles & Doubles Wrap-Up Part 1: Pro Singles draws

Ana Gabriela Martinez wins her first pro title. Photo via Gaby


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • IRT pro Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
  • LPRT pro singles; Ana Gabriela Martinez

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=30515

Lets review the notable matches in the Men’s Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/C05199

In the 128s and 64s:

  • Kadim Carrasco got a solid tiebreaker win over Mexican vet Abraham Peña to earn a spot in the main draw.
  • We were robbed of a potentially awesome round of 32 projection when #20 seed Javier Estrada no showed; this paved the way for little-known Bolivian Miguel A. Arteaga Guzman to earn a spot in the main draw with two good wins.
  • – #23 seed MoMo Zelada got two solid wins over veteran internationals Set Cubillos Ruiz and Javier Martinez to earn a round of 32 main draw spot.

In the 32s:

  • #17 Andres Acuña cooled the home-town favorite #16 Adam Manilla and advanced 12,5. Manilla had a great tournament in Austin in January 2020, making the semis and nearly making the final, but more and more its looking like a one-off as he hasn’t been able to replicate that success since.
  • #19 Carlos Keller Vargas eked out game one against #14 Thomas Carter, then raced to a two game win 14,1 for one of the only two upsets by seeding in the round.
  • #11 Mario Mercado took a really tight match against #22 Alan Natera Chavez to move on 14,12. Two really evenly matched players and Mercado got a good win.
  • #10 Sebastian Franco played really solid ball to beat his former Baltimore neighbor Zelada 5,4 to move on.
  • – The only tiebreaker of the round, fittingly, was in the 15/18 match, where Eduardo Garay Rodriguez got a really solid win over Sebastian Fernandez 11-9 in the breaker. Might have been 11-10; i heard it one way but R2 has it another. Two really solid up and coming players and the crowd got a great match as a result.

In the 16s, a slew of upsets and really big surprises.

  • #1 Alex Landa and #17 Acuna played quite a contentious match, building one some previous “history” between the two players, which resulted at one point having to have the players separated on the court. The antics seemed to fire up Landa, who bounced back after dropping game one to dominate the second game and eventually advance in the breaker. No Love lost here.
  • #8 Lalo Portillo came back from a game one defeat to dominate the breaker 11-1 to move past #9 Jake Bredenbeck.
  • #5 Andree Parrilla turned the tide on recent matches against his long-time rival #12 Rodrigo Montoya Solis and advanced 14,3. Parrilla has really turned it around since going on a slide of form in early 2020 and this was a great win, avenging a loss to Montoya in the Mexican National finals earlier this year.
  • In the biggest upset of the round, Carlos Keller Vargas absolutely destroyed #3 Samuel Murray 6,4 to advance to just his second ever IRT pro quarterfinal. Murray was the champion of the previous IRT event and a favorite to advance deep, but is a one and done in the pro draw here.
  • #11 Mercado got another solid win, this time downing #6 Alvaro Beltran in two solid games 12,6.
  • #7 Conrrado Moscoso nearly got pushed to a breaker by #10 Franco, but finished the match off to win in two games.
  • – #2 Rocky Carson handled Garay’s pop and moved on in two games 11,10 to setup a juicy quarter final.

In the Quarters, some seriously unexpected results.

  • #1 Landa tweaked something in his back early in his match against youngster #8 Portillo and fell with little resistance 3,4. Landa asked for an injury time out but was denied, and basically went through the motions for the entirety of the match. Portillo advances to just his 4th ever pro semi.
  • #4 DLR handled #5 Parrilla 10,10, continuing his relative dominance over his younger country-man.
  • #19 Keller continued his career-best performance, building on just his second ever quarter final by winning a close match against his former country-man Mercado to advance to his first ever pro semi. Bravo to Keller for this great run.
  • – For the fourth time in four tries, #7 Moscoso downed #2 Carson on the pro tour. This time Carson bounced back from a blow out first game loss to make it a match, and Moscoso had to dig down to take the 11-9 breaker.

In the Semis

  • DLR took advantage of Landa’s upset loss by taking out Lalo in a breaker to move into the final.
  • Moscoso downed his countryman Keller, in a rematch of the Bolivian national singles final two weeks ago 10,14 to move into the final. Moscoso makes the finals for the 4th time in his 11 pro appearances.
    In the Finals, a meeting between two players who are 2-2 lifetime in pro and international events turned into a relatively one-sided affair. DLR took a commanding lead in the first game and threatened to donut Moscoso before Conrrado pulled back a handful of points to make it respectable. Everyone anticipated a rebound game in the 2nd, but DLR’s veteran, calm approach to the match was the story. Daniel did not panic, stuck to his game plan and wore down the flashy but inconsistent Bolivian to take the title 7,13.

With this win, DLR earns his 5th pro title and takes back over the title for most titles by a Mexican player from Landa.

Lets review the notable matches in the Women’s Singles draw.
Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/9F93A8
In the 32s:

  • We were robbed of a fun all-USA match when Hollie Scott no-showed, giving Lotts a walkover.
  • #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein was pushed to the absolute distance by USA’s Erika Manilla, the home-town favorite, but she saved match point against in a back-and-forth tiebreaker to win 11-10. Manilla crushed Mendez in game 2, but Mendez gritted out the win.
  • #19 Micaela Meneses Cuellar dominated #14 Maria Renee Rodríguez 10,2 to get a statement win on tour. The 18U junior is getting some really great international experience this year and could be one to watch for, the latest in a continuing line of top Bolivian juniors.
  • #11 Nancy Enriquez dominated #22 Lucia Gonzalez to advance 4,12. The last time they faced off, Gonzalez shocked Enriquez (and Herrera) to advance to the 2020 Mexican National semis … but Enriquez showed little weakness in this match.
  • 15 Brenda Laime Jalil cruised past her frequent DC-area rival Masiel Rivera Oporto 9,4. I thought this would be a lot closer.

In the 16s, one monumental upset and a couple of good matches.

  • #8 Valeria Centellas moved past #9 Rhonda Rajsich 9,4.
  • Bolivian junior Meneses took a game off of #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada before Vargas took the match in a breaker. Great showing by Meneses, who has quickly been improving her game this year.
  • #11 Nancy Enriquez took a really tough match against #6 Jessica Parrilla, continuing her recent excellent run of form. The two traded blows and games to 14 before Enriquez blanked Leoni in the breaker.
  • #10 Ana Gabriela Martinez took a very nice close game against her long-time international rival #7 Angelica Barrios 11,14. These two go back well into Junior racquetball, and played a quality match here.
  • In the shocker of the tournament, #15 Laime took out #2 Montse Mejia in a tie-breaker. Mejia is the winner of the most recent tournament and was my odds-on favorite to blow through this draw; instead she’s out in the quarters in a shocking result. Kudos to Laime, who advances to her third career pro quarter.
    In the Quarters:
  • #1 Alexandra Herrera took care of business and downed #8 Centellas in two 9,9. I had predicted an upset here, but the lefty #1 seed played well and took out a dangerous opponent.
  • #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein got a really good win over #4 Samantha Salas Solis to get into the semis of another major. These two have met in each of the last three LPRT events, and Mendez now has won two of those three meetings.
  • #3 Vargas showed that she’s back in full, advancing past the in-form Enriquez in two games.
  • #10 Martinez took advantage of Laime’s earlier round exploits and blasted the young Colombian 3,7 to move into the semis. Gaby is the new favorite to win this event.


    In the Semis:
  • Herrera topped Mendez for the 9th time in 10 tries on pro and IRF events, needing a tiebreaker to do it.
  • Martinez went two full games to top #3 Vargas 13,10 to move into the final.

In the final:…two good friends who just had a practice session in Guatemala a few weeks ago battled it out to determine which of the two would be a first-time pro winner. In the end, Gaby outlasted Alexandra in a tiebreaker, racing to a commanding lead and holding on as both players gave everything on the court. Gaby wins (12),9,4 to become the 30th known winner in the history of the Ladies pro tour.

Points Implications of results
On the IRT side, assuming the policy of not expiring old points, the rankings won’t move too much. But there are some moves:

  • DLR moves from #5 to #3.
  • Moscoso and Beltran switch places at 7/8.
  • Mercado and Franco switch places at 11/12
  • Keller the big mover; improving from 21 to 16 with his semis win.
  • The other big mover is Miguel Angel Arteaga, who takes advantage of a surprise withdrawal to make the 32s and jump from #71 to #47.


    On the LPRT side…. some big moves.
  • Martinez jumps from #11 to #4 with her win, rightfully taking her spot among the tour’s elite.
  • Despite missing the event, Longoria retains her #1 ranking by a sizeable margin. She could probably miss another 4 events without losing the top spot.
  • Mejia drops from 3 to 5, and Salas drops from 5 to 7 with their upsets.
  • – Lastly, a landmark bit of history on the professional tour. Rhonda’s finish likely means she’s dropping out of the top 10, which means that personally she drops out of the top 10 for the first time since 1999. However it also means that for the first time ever, no USA-born player is in the ladies top 10. The highest ranked USA player projects to be Sheryl Lotts at #16.

Open Singles and other significant draws:

  • Men’s Open Singles final was won impressively by Mexican junior Erick Trujillo, who topped Colombian veteran Set Cubillos Ruiz in the final. Cubillos advanced past a rich international draw, defeating players from Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico. Trujillo’s more impressive win was in the semis, taking out top Mexican touring vet Alan Natera in the semis.
  • Trujillo also took the 18U title on the weekend, beating a number of players he’s likely to face in Junior Worlds later this fall. He topped Bolivian 18U champ Hector Barrios (Angelica’s brother) in that final.
  • Women’s Open was taken by Angelica Barrios – Raquetbolista, who topped American Sheryl Lotts in the final.
  • – Micaela Meneses took the Girls 18U title over American 18U champ Annie Roberts in a possible World Juniors final preview.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from both the IRT and LPRT crews, Thankyou Dean DeAngelo Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre, Timothy Baghurst and Tj Baumbaugh for all your hard work on the mike.
Thanks to the Tourney Director Jim Hiser for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.

Next up?Part 2 of the wrap-up covering the doubles draws.

tags/Sponsor links
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Ferac Racquet
Federación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERAC
India racquetball
Reaching Your Dream Foundation
FormulaFlow
Splathead
onewallball/Ruben Pagan
3wallball
Beastmade Apparel
Wear Rollout
Racquetball Warehouse
Splatit
Zurek Construction/Francisco Fajardo
AGE Solutions/Andy Gomer
team root/Randy Root
KWM Gutterman/Keith Minor
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

World Singles & Doubles Open – Doubles Draws Preview

Michelle De La Rosa is part of the #1 ranked Mixed doubles team; can they prevail in Denver? Photo Mike Augustin Vegas 2019

Part 2 of our preview; the Doubles draws. This event is special because it is one of the few times a Mixed Pro doubles draw is offered and promoted heavily, and thanks to the prize money many of the pros are playing singles and mixed instead of gender doubles in Denver.
Once again, shout out to Tournament Director and primary sponsor Jim Hiser for making this event happen, with tons of sponsorship dollars and dealing with local covid related ordinances.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=30515

First, lets preview the Mixed Doubles draw, which is huge and which is a priority this weekend over the Gender-specific doubles draws.
20 teams are here. The seeding of Mixed pro doubles is tough since we have so few events to go by. By my count there’s only been two relatively full strength mixed doubles tournaments in the last 5 years, so we don’t have a ton to go on. The seeding of this draw may be debatable, but what’s for certain is that we’re going to get a ton of great matches.
Here’s a preview of the matches that i’ll be interested in watching:


In the 32s:

  • an all – Ecuadorian team of Juan Francisco Cueva and Maria Paz Munoz is here to compete, and they take on the all-american duo of veterans Charlie Pratt Racquetball and Rhonda Rajsich. I like the USA team to move on; Pratt is a highly decorated doubles player and Rajsich owns dozens of doubles titles in her career.
  • A heavy Bolivian presence in the 14/19 match, featuring Bolivian doubles specialist Roland Keller with junior phenom Micaela Meneses Cuellar taking on MoMo Zelada teamed with Brenda Laime Jalil . Laime represents Colombia now, but is Bolivian born.
    In the 16s:
  • #1 seeded husband/wife team of Daniel De La Rosa and Michelle De La Rosa get their tourney started, likely against a tough team of hard hitters in Erik Garcia and Masiel Rivera Oporto . This is going to be a tough tournament to win, and the DLRs have a tough opener.
  • The dark-horse team of Mario Mercado and Valeria Centellas is seeded 9th here. They have a really tough opener against LPRT #2 Alexandra Herrera playing with Sebastian Fernandez. Herrera is part of what is easily the 2nd best ladies doubles pairing in the world and arguably could be the best; this is a tough #8 seed and a tougher 8/9 matchup.
  • Samuel Murray is playing with Ana Gabriele Martinez, and they face off against the husband-wife pairing of Alan Natera Chavez and Carla Muñoz Montesinos. Natera is a frequent doubles competitor; how will he fare on the court with his wife?
  • The brother/sister team of Andree Parrilla and Jessica Parrilla is seeded 4th here and should be a threat to win. They’ll have their hands full though in their opener against Pratt/Rajsich. Both Parrillas can out hit the veteran Americans, but doubles is about tactics as well. I like the USA vets to upset here.
  • The hard-hitting #3 seeds of Conrrado Moscoso and Maria Jose Vargas Parada should be interesting to watch: they will be tested early by the all-Bolivian winners (likely Keller and Meneses)
  • Angelica Barrios and Lalo Portillo are you 6th seeds; they are set to face two excellent doubles players in Javier Mar and Amaya Cris. Upset watch here over the young 6th seeded team.
  • The 7th seed team of Rodrigo Montoya Solis and Samantha Salas Solis seems painfully under-seeded: Salas has won dozens of doubles titles with Longoria, and Montoya is the reigning Pan Am Games doubles champ with Mar. They will be tested by two excellent doubles players here in Natalia Mendez Erlwein and Andres Acuña but should move on.
  • The all-Manilla team of Adam Manilla and sister Erika Manilla will face off against the #2 seeds Alvaro Beltran and Montse Mejia; despite the lefty-righty combination I sense the excellent Mexican pair will advance.
    In the Quarters, my projections:
  • #1 DLR/DLR will have their hands full with the Mercado/Centellas team; Mercado is a sneaky good doubles player and Centellas is a rising star on the LPRT. But there’s no finer doubles player in the world than Daniel De La Rosa; tiebreaker win for the top seeded husband/wife pair.
  • Murray and Martinez advance past the American Vet team Pratt/Rajsich.
  • Moscoso/Vargas make quick work of the Mar/Amaya team by dominating the right-side of the court.
  • In a phenomenal All-Mexican battle, Beltran/Mejia somehow eke it out over Montoya/Salas in a bruising tiebreaker win.
    Semis projection:
  • I think the run of the DLRs ends here: Murray and Martinez are both just too good for the DLRs to overcome, especially with right on right side battles.
  • Beltran and Mejia use their wits and outlast the firepower of Moscoso/Vargas in the other semi.

In the final: I like the Mexican pair to vanquish the upstart Murray/Martinez pair.


Men’s Open Draw
21 teams entered here, including some of the top teams in the world. Lets do a quick preview
In the top half, i see an easy pathway for #1 seeds Murray and Jake Bredenbeck to cruise into the semis. But the 4/5 match-up looks great: recently crowned Bolivian national champs Carlos Keller Vargas and Kadim Carrasco are set to take on one-half of the team they beat in that final two weekends ago in MoMo Zelada, only this weekend Zelada is playing with fellow Formulaflow entreprenuer Mario Mercado . Zelada/Mercado is one tough team, and I think they’ll take out the Bolivian national champs.
In the bottom half, three excellent teams are set to compete. They include the reigning Pan Am games champions in Montoya/Mar, the 2018 PARC champs in Moscoso/Keller and the #2 seeded team of Eduardo Garay Rodriguez and Sebastian Franco . Garay/Franco has a pathway to the semis, but the other two teams must compete in the quarters to get there. Look for Montoya/Mar to vanquish Moscoso/Keller, a rematch of the 2019 Pan Am Games final, so as to reach the semis.
In the semis, I see #1 Murray/Bredenbeck moving into the final over Zelada/Mercado, while in the bottom half I expect the Mexican pair Montoya/Mar to take out #2 Garay/Franco to make the final.

In that final, expect Montoya & Mar to take the title.


Women’s Open Draw
There’s 9 teams here and some intriguing matchups.
In the top half, an all-American match-up of the current USA title-holders Rajsich and Manilla as they take on mDLR and Lotts; this wasn’t quite settled on the court in Des Moines a few weeks back, but the current champs advance nonetheless to face off against the #1 seeds Enriquez/Munoz.
In the bottom half, I see an intriguing semi between Lefty/Righty pairs Parrilla/ Montserrat Pérez and Rivera/Laime. I feel like Rivera & Laime will pull this out.

In the final, Enriquez & Munoz are the favorites.


Can’t wait for the matches this weekend!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
Sponsor links
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Ferac Racquet
Federación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERAC
India racquetball
Reaching Your Dream Foundation
FormulaFlow
Splathead
onewallball/Ruben Pagan
3wallball
Beastmade Apparel
Wear Rollout
Racquetball Warehouse
Splatit
Zurek Construction/Francisco Fajardo
AGE Solutions/Andy Gomer
team root/Randy Root
KWM Gutterman/Keith Minor
Hashtags #racquetball

World Singles & Doubles Preview Pt 1

Moscoso is a player to watch this weekend. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


Hello all. We are back, and this week coming up we have a massive tournament that has been months in the making in the World Singles & Doubles championships in Denver. More than 300 players are here, and the tournament includes an absolutely massive Men’s IRT draw, and equally huge women’s LPRT pro singles draw, plus the namesake Doubles events that have quickly made this one of the biggest events on the annual racquetball calendar.
Tournament Director and primary sponsor Jim Hiser first put on this event in May of 2018. After a year hiatus, Covid forced the cancellation of the 2020 iteration and months of delays in the 2021 event. But we’re here now, and fans are going to be better for it.
Today we will preview the Men’s and Women’s Pro singles draws, with Doubles previews coming later this week.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=30515

First, lets preview the Men’s IRT Pro Singles draw.

There are no less than 53 players competing in this draw, the largest non US Open draw we’ve seen in more than a decade on the Men’s tour. 18 of the top 20 players are present, with #20 Gerardo Franco Gonzalez missing (he is rumored to be stepping away from the sport). The other glaring omission here is #1 Kane Waselenchuk, who also missed the Atlanta pro event earlier this year. His absence here will cause additional speculation as to his future in the sport; he continues to play and do clinics with Sudsy Monchik but has not played competitively in an IRT event since March of 2020. But the writing seems to be on the wall; we’ll have to see what happens when the US Open rolls around.

Lets preview the draw. Because of the size of the draw, there are several rounds of qualifying to get into the main round of 32. We even have a handful of round of 256 matches, mostly between players making their IRT debuts.
We’ll start in the round of 128: Here’s some interesting 128 matches to look for:

  • #25 Andres Acuña is the highest seeded player to miss out on a bye into the main draw and gets two extra matches for his troubles; he starts out with an international-flavored match between the winner of Ecuador’s Juan Francisco Cueva and Bolivia’s Hector Barrios.
  • Former Mexican National team member Abraham Peña faces off against Scott McClellan, a tough opener for the IRT’s primary referee and one that could end his tournament quite early.
  • #27 Carlos Keller Vargas, fresh off a double-qualifying Bolivian Nationals tournament, seems set to face Bolivian Junior Adrian Jaldin in his opener. Fly all the way to the USA, play the guy from down the street.
  • #30 Alan Natera Chavez faces a very tricky opener against Texan Ruben Baez, who beat Jake Bredenbeck and nearly topped Bobby Horn in the PAC shootout in Mar 2019. Upset watch here.
  • #34 MoMo Zelada faces a really tough opener in Guatemala’s #1 Javier Martinez.

In the round of 64, some great potential matches:

  • Acuna versus Colombia’s Andres Gomez could be full of fireworks. Gomez is no slouch and Acuna is going to have to work to get into the main draw.
  • Kadim Carrasco projects to face off against Pena, and I think Pena can advance into the main draw. Fatigue may work against the veteran Mexican, but he’s a workout-fiend and should have the fitness to advance.
  • Vargas potentially faces off against former IRT touring pro Nick Riffel in an interesting tactical battle.
  • An interesting all South American battle between Zelada and long-time Colombian national team member Set Cubillos Ruiz could be in play depending on earlier rounds.

Interestingly, I think by and large the 128s are all tougher for these players than their projected 64s to get into the main draw.

Projecting the 32s: here’s some possible matchups, though the depth of this draw could make for some upsets and make these predictions moot:

  • #17 Acuna vs #16 Adam Manilla; an interesting one; Manilla had some breakthrough wins just before the tours had to stop, but so did Acuna. I favor Acuna in my world talent rankings, and i’ll take him here in the upset.
  • #9 Jake Bredenbeck projects to face qualifier Pena in the 32s. Both players hit with a ton of pace, but I don’t believe Pena’s acrobatics will take him past the stronger and younger Jake here.
  • #13 Javier Mar, who always seems to run into tough players during qualifying, projects to take on fellow Mexican qualifier Javier Estrada at this juncture if results hold. And this spells bad news for Mar, because Estrada has beaten him multiple times in the past couple of years. Estrada doesn’t always travel well, but has wins over Mar on home soil plus in two RKT events in the latter part of 2019. I think Estrada wins again here.
  • #14 Thomas Carter projects to face off against Bolivian #2 Vargas at this juncture, and I think Vargas moves past the veteran lefty.
  • #11 Mario Mercado projects to face Natera coming out of the qualifiers, a potential barn burner of a match. Mercado has topped Natera twice in top-level meetings in the past, but I have Natera ranked higher personally. Natera can be hit or miss, with great wins and curious losses … but the same can be said for Mario. I’ll go with the seeded player here.
  • #10 Sebastian Franco set to face qualifier Zelada here … two players who are quite familiar with each other from years of both living near each other in the Baltimore suburbs. Franco is the better player and will be fresher and will move on.
  • #15 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez set to take on #18 Sebastian Fernandez, a potentially awesome match to watch. Fernandez has been stuck right in this 16-18 range for quite a while, and tournament after tournament it seems to bite him with tough match-ups. This time is no different, with Garay coming in hot. A contrast in styles here; Patata plays casual and tactical, while Garay plays balls-out 110% power. Look for Garay to move on here.

Round of 16: I project plenty of upsets in the play-in, so here’s my projected 16s.

  • #1 Alejandro Landa over #17 Acuna: While Acuna topped Landa at PARC a couple years back (a result that led to Landa’s removal from the Pan Am games team and his subsequent defection to the USA…) Landa dominates Acuna when “it counts” on tour. Landa moves on quickly here.
  • #8 Lalo Portillo over #9 Bredenbeck: Lalo has beaten Jake a couple times in the past relatively easily, and should again here.
  • #5 Andree Parrilla vs #12 Montoya: these two have played so many times in the past (they’re the exact same age and traded off Mexican Junior National and World titles for years). Montoya has had the slight upper hand lately at the Mexican Adult and Pro level, including a win over Andree in the Mexican Nationals final earlier this summer. Advantage Rodrigo.
  • #4 Daniel De La Rosa vs Estrada. DLR probably would rather face Estrada versus Mar, but Estrada’s amazing 2019 Black Gold cup win included a h2h win over Daniel. So the history is there, but DLR has turned around his pro career lately and should advance here.
  • #3 Samuel Murray, the champion of the most recent IRT event, should not be troubled by Keller and should move on.
  • #6 Alvaro Beltran projects to face Mercado, a player who he’s faced a number of times both internationally and professionally and should have no trouble advancing past here.
  • #7 Conrrado Moscoso, fresh off another Bolivian national title, set to face #10 Franco. Power versus … more power, and Moscoso should move on here.
  • #2 Rocky Carson, fresh off his 8th US national title, set to face the hard hitting Garay. This is not the match-up Carson would have wanted here; the last time these two played it was an 11-7 gutted out win for Carson, and that was in Mar 2020. Carson is a year older, Garay is a year more experienced. Upset watch here.

Projected Qtrs:

  • Landa over Portillo: Lalo has been playing well, but not well enough to top landa.
  • DLR over Montoya: this could be fantastic match. DLR has two successive pro wins over Rodrigo, but Montoya has some dominant wins over DLR in the past as well. Any given sunday, but for me DLR on the day.
  • Beltran over Murray: yes Murray won the last event and is the #3 seed, but Beltran has never lost to Murray professionally, and most of his wins have been lopsided. Plus, I always pick against Alvaro and its time he gets his due.
  • Moscoso over Carson. Moscoso has played a grand total of 10 IRT tournaments in his life .. and in three of those, he’s taken out Rocky. Well, he’ll make it 4-4 here, as he’ll be on a mission in a Kane-less field to win the title.
    Semis:
  • Landa over DLR: Landa has DLR’s number lately, beating him the last 7 times they’ve played in top level matches that I track. But these matches are often close. There’s little between these guys, but without Kane in the field Landa will be looking to pad his title count.
  • Moscoso over Beltran: Conrrado has topped Alvaro both times they’ve met professionally, but Alvaro the crafty veteran can hang with the hard-hitting Bolivian and make him earn it.

    Finals; Moscoso over Landa: they met in the Bolivian Grand Slam and a streaky Moscoso blanked Landa in the breaker for the win. I think that Conrrado, day in and day out, is the 2nd best talent on the planet and is always a favorite against anyone not named Kane, and i’ll take him here.

LPRT Pro Singles Review


As with the Men, there’s a robust draw of 34 ladies pros this weekend, right in line with the last handful of major events.
Thanks to her duties covering the Olympics for a sport channel in her home country, #1 Paola Longoria is not in Denver. This means a first-even #1 seed for Alexandra Herrera. Other top 20 pros missing include #15 Kelani Lawrence and #16 Adriana Riveros for a pretty solid 17 of top 20 present.
No qualifying here; a straight draw from the 64s onward. Here’s some early round matches to look for:
In the 64s…

  • top Ecuadorian vet Maria Paz Munoz is here (at least, I think that’s who is here), playing in the round of 64 because of having zero points. Its unfortunate she plays into the #1 seed Herrera, because she could have done some damage with the right seeding.
  • Also, welcome back to Ladies pro racquetball Aisling Hickey, who has represented Ireland on the international stage previously.
  • #16/#17 features two top Americans pitted against each other early in Sheryl Lotts and Hollie Scott. Look for Scott to move on.
  • #13 Amaya Cris takes on #20 Susy Acosta in an interesting battle between long-time LPRT touring veterans.
  • #19 Micaela Meneses Cuellar, fresh off her double qualification weekend at the Bolivian Nationals, faces #14 Maria Renee Rodríguez in a really tough opener for both. Meneses can win this match, thought MRR has been steadily improving.
  • #22 Lucia Gonzalez matches up with #11 Nancy Enriquez in a brutal first rounder for both. The last time they met, Gonzalez blasted Enriquez in the 2020 Mexican Nationals. But Enriquez has been playing very strongly since. I have Lucia as one of the top 7-8 players in the world … but she keeps running into top players early in pro draws; can she get a couple of signature wins here?
  • – #15 Brenda Laime Jalil taking on #18 Masiel Rivera Oporto; two players who play frequently and who match up pretty well meet, fittingly, in the 15/18 matchup. I have Rivera slightly ahead of Laime in my personal rankings, but to me this is a tossup.

Some great projected round of 16s here:

  • #1 Herrera should move past #17 Scott, but it might be close.
  • #8 Valeria Centellas should top veteran #9 Rhonda Rajsich, who is in danger of dropping out of the top 10 for the first time in 20 years.
  • #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein should top #12 Carla Muñoz Montesinos; they’ve met 5 times previously in top-level events and Mendez is 5-0 over the Chilean.
  • #4 Samantha Salas Solis should dominate whoever comes out of the Amaya/Acosta match.
  • #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada should move past the Bolivian junior Meneses, still playing 18U despite finishing runner-up at their Nationals.
  • #6 Jessica Parrilla ended Gonzalez’ 2020 Mexican Nationals run, and will do so again here. I think Parrilla has a bit too much power and game flexibility for Lucia to handle.
  • #10 Ana Gabriela Martínez over #7 Angelica Barrios – Raquetbolista; an upset by seed, but probably not by talent. last time these two met was at Junior worlds in 2017, a win for Martinez in the RR stage. It is good to see two young players making such inroads to the sport and these two project to be at the top of the sport for years.
  • #2 Montse Mejia should cruise past the winner of the Laime/Rivera match.
    Quarters:
  • I think #8 Centellas can take out #1 Herrera. They’ve never met in a top level event, but i’ve got Valeria slightly ahead of Alexandra in my personal rankings. We’ll see; this is a great test for Herrera, who has managed to avoid frequent match-ups with the young starlets on tour such as Barrios, Centellas and Mejia.
  • #4 Salas just topped #5 Mendez in Kansas City and will do so again.
  • #3 Vargas versus #6 Parrilla; tough one. On paper normally this is Vargas all the way, but she’s still working back from time-off for childbirth. I think Parrilla can take this one.
  • #2 Mejia versus #10 Gaby; for me, the top two players in the world not named Paola, meeting in the quarters. That being said, Mejia has dominated their recent meetings and hasn’t lost to Gaby since 2016 16U worlds. They met in KC a few months back and Mejia dominated in winning 8.6. Mejia tops again.
    Semis:
  • #8 Centellas over #4 Salas; they’ve only met once, a Salas win a few years back, but that was before Salas hit her rough patch of form. Centellas has ascended since and is in a prime spot to make the final.
  • #2 Mejia over Parrilla; the two Mexican rivals have met several times in the past, with Leoni winning all of them, including a big upset at the 2020 Mexican Nationals, but that was before Mejia found her current gear. She topped four of the world’s best in order in straight games to win in KC, and she won’t be stopped here.

Finals: a rematch of the KC round of 16 that Mejia won handily 9,8 happens in the final, and Mejia takes her second straight LPRT title.


Who is Streaming this weekend? The IRT crew Dean DeAngelo Baer and Pablo Fajre are heading to Denver to stream this weekend, so stay tuned to the IRT feed for all your streaming options.


Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
Tags/Sponsor links
@International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
@Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
@Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
@Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
@ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Ferac Racquet
@Federación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERAC
@Reaching Your Dream Foundation
Formulaflow
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

USA Junior Nationals Wrap-Up

Annie Roberts finishes off her Junior career with an 18U singles title. Photo Kevin Savory at 2019Jr Nationals.

Congrats to your Junior National Champion winners on the weekend! After a year away, where we saw an entire class of juniors matriculate without being able to defend titles or compete one last time, it was great to see the nation’s top juniors playing this weekend in Des Moines.


R2 Sports App home page for event:https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=37673

Lets review the draws and call out the finalists. Both Singles finalists qualify for Worlds. We’ll go singles then doubles, Boys then Girls, then Mixed. In each singles section, i’ll give the link to the Champions Matrix Report, which has all the champions of all junior divisions going back in history.


Boys Junior Singles Champions:
PRS Champions Matrix Report: http://rball.pro/68C60E

  • In 18U, #1 Timmy Hansen survived a strong push from the upset-minded #6 seed Julius Ellis, who had topped both the #2 and #3 seeds to get to the final. Hansen wins the battle of the sons of two former US National team members and captures his 2nd junior national title.
  • in 16U, #1 Nikhil Prasad captures his 6th junior national title over #3 Josh Shea in a tiebreaker.
  • in 14U, #2 Eshan Ali upset #1 seeded Joseph Marshall to win his 4th junior national title.
  • In 12U, #1 Nathan Rykhus dominated the field and took his 2nd junior national title over fellow NorCal #2 Vaishant Mangalampalli.
  • in 10U, #1 Alejandro Robles Picon won his 3rd junior national title in dominant fashion, winning all 5 RR matches and never giving up more than 5 points in a game. Nebraskan Lucas Frost-Biskup came in 2nd.
  • in 8U, Beckett Hansen took out his fellow 8U RR competitor Chris Nelson for the title, and beat several 10U players along the way.

10U Double bounce, 8U multi bounce and 6U multi bounce divisions were not competed this year.


Girls Junior Singles Champions:
PRS Champions Matrix Report: http://rball.pro/6D7917

  • In 18U, #1 Annie Roberts saved off match points to take the title over #2 Erin Slutzky. Roberts secures her 4th junior national title in her final year competing.
  • In 16U, a big upset as #5 Texan Naomi Ros took out 8-time junior national champ #1 seed Heather Mahoney with ease, then cruised to her first Junior national title in the final over Ava Kaiser. A dominant showing from Ros, who is a former Mexican and World Junior champ but has now moved to the US and is competing here.
  • in 14U, #1 Sonya Shetty wins her 3rd junior national title over #2 Andrea Perez-Picon, a 12U player playing up and who double qualified on the weekend.
  • in 12U, Perez-PIcon secured her 5th junior national title with ease, cruising to a win over #2 Aanshi Thakur in the final.
  • in 10U, Stockton’s Natalia Canchola was the sole entrant and wins the title by default; she competed against the 12U

10UDB, 8U, 8Umb and 6Umb divisions were not competed this year.


Boys Junior Doubles Champs
A reminder: just the doubles champs qualify to represent team USA.

  • 18U: Josh Shea repeats as champ (he also won 18U doubles in 2019 with Dylan Pruitt) with Vedant Chauhan; they topped the #1 seeded team of Gleason/Hansen. This is Shea’s 3rd junior double national title and Chauhan’s 2nd.
  • 16U: Gatlin Sutherland & Nikhil Prasad surprised the #1 seeded team of Shea & Chauhan and took the 16U title in the RR draw. This is Sutherland’s 3rd junior national title and Prasad’s 3rd as well.
  • 14U: Eshan Ali & Alexander Pappas took the RR title over 2nd place finishers Axel Lopez & Juan Herrera II. This is Ali’s 2nd junior national doubles title and Pappas’ first.
  • 12U: Vaishant Mangalampalli & Nathan_Rykhus took the small RR draw over fellow 12U competitors Alejandro Robles Picon & Aarush Sudamalla to take the title. This is Mangalampalli’s first title and Rykhus’ second.
  • 10U: The Texan brother team of Chris & Adrian Nelson were the sole 10U entrants; they competed against the 12U but take the title uncontested.

(we generally don’t compete younger than 10U doubles)


Girls Junior Doubles Champs

  • 18U #2 Heather Mahoney & Julia Stein topped #1 Estefania Perez & Erin Slutzky in an 11-9 thriller to take the title. This is Mahoney’s 9th junior national doubles title and Stein’s 9th as well (most of their titles have been together as they’ve grown up).
  • 16U: #1 Karina Mathew & Ava Kaiser cruised to a title over #2 sister team of Arya & Esha Cyril. This is their third junior national doubles title together.
  • 14U: The Shetty sisters Aarya & Sonya won the RR competition, with the Stockton duo of Jordan Ellis & Camila Canchola coming in 2nd. This is Sonya’s 5th doubles title and Aarya’s first.
  • 12U: Andrea Perez-Picon & Zara Ximena Barraza took the RR draw, with Aarya Shetty & Elizabeth Denler coming in 2nd place.

No 10U doubles competitors this year.


Mixed Junior Doubles Champs

  • 18U Mixed: Iain Dunn / Estefania Perez topped Hannah Werk / William Sherman in the final.
  • 16U: Esha Cyril & Nikhil Prasad were the top ranked 16U team in the combined 16/14 RR group.
  • 14U: Nathan Rykhus & Jordan Ellis were the top ranked 14U team in the combined group.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Leo Ray Vasquez and Dean DeAngelo Baer. And thanks to all the players and parents who hopped on the mike to help out, including the likes of Michelle De La Rosa, Tim Hansen and John Ellis. You all made the broadcasts fantastic.

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.

Next up?

Your two singles finalists per division plus the doubles winners all qualify to represent the USA at the 2021 World Juniors championships, to be held the first weekend in December in San Jose, Costa Rica.

tags/Sponsor links
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

US National Team Qualifying 2021 Wrap-Up

Carson had a great weekend at US Nationals. Photo Portland 2019 via Kevin Savory

(Note: we’ll wrap up the Juniors in a separate post tomorrow).

Congrats to your National Team Qualifiers on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson over Alex Landa
  • Women’s Singles: Rhonda Rajsich over Kelani Lawrence
  • Men’s Doubles; Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt
  • Women’s Doubles: Rhonda Rajsich & Erika Manilla

The US National team is comprised of the two singles finalists plus the doubles winners, so all the names above are now on the team for 2021 and into 2022. They will represent the USA at the Pan American Racquetball Championships in Santa Cruz, Bolivia in early September and at the World Championships in Guatemala City at the end of October. They may very well also represent the USA a third time at PARC in the spring of 2022, assuming the world goes back to normal post Covid.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=37673

Lets review the draws.


Men’s Singles:

Match report in PRS: http://rball.pro/120468

12 men entered the draw. There was one consequential early match: Minnesotan John Goth faced off against #5 seed Charlie Pratt in a tough opener for both; Pratt advanced 8,8 to move into the quarters.

In the quarters

  • #1 Carson blitzed Blake Hansen 0,1 to move on.
  • #5 Pratt upset #4 Thomas Carter​ 11,9 in a sometimes choppy match, but the veteran Pratt did what he needed to move on.
  • #3 Jake Bredenbeck outlasted a fierce challenge from #6 Miller 2,(10),6
  • #2 Alex Landa ​had little trouble moving past Sam Bredenbeck 1,5.

In the semis, chalk:

  • #1 Carson downed his doubles partner Pratt in a close, tactical match 13,9
  • #2 Landa continued his career unbeaten streak against #3 Bredenbeck, winning 3,11 and guaranteeing his spot on the US National team for the 2nd year in a row since “defecting” from Mexico.

In the final, Carson reversed the course of their latest matchups and topped Landa 12,13 to take the title. This is his 8th national title; his first came in 2000, meaning he’s had titles 21 years apart. Amazing. See here: http://rball.pro/E7F463 for a list of all Men’s US national amateur champions dating to 1968.


Women’s Singles

Match Report: http://rball.pro/AABC55

10 women entered the draw. In the play ins, two younger players advanced into the main draw, with 18U competitor Annie Roberts getting a nice win over Jessica Chen and Graci Wargo getting a walkover into the qtrs.

In the quarters, chalk:

  • #1 Erika Manilla cruised past the junior Roberts 7,2
  • #4 Kelani Lawrence got a walkover against Texan Linda Tyler
  • #3 Hollie Scott make quick work of Lexi York​ 1,7
  • #2 Rhonda Rajsich cruised past Wargo 5,1

In the semis, a couple of interesting results to me:

  • #4 Lawrence took out the #1 seed Manilla 13,6. Though an upset by seed, Lawrence is the defending US national champ and was a favorite to advance to the final again.
  • #2 Rajsich took out the winner of the most recently held US national qualifier in #3 Scott in a tie-breaker. This result surprised me, as Scott has been on fire lately in pro and outdoor events, while Rhonda has scuffled a bit.

In the final, another surprise to me as Rajsich avenged her 2019 loss to Lawrence at Nationals and claimed the title 7,14. This win is Rhonda’s 12th US National title, which is the most of any American women and breaks the record for most ever national titles held by Jen Saunders in Canada (thought I will say, our Mexican records are a little spotty and it is likely Paola Longoria​ has more for Mexico). See this link for all Women’s US National title holders, dating back to the first ever Women’s championship held in 1970. http://rball.pro/CE3A9F


Men’s Doubles

Match Report: http://rball.pro/8AC9C1

The Covid-forced withdrawal of Landa/ Sudsy Monchik forced a last minute re-drafting of the draw, and some pre-tournament complaints about seeding were resolved on the court. The #2 seeded brother team of Jake Bredenbeck and Sam Bredenbeck withstood a test from the #3 seeded team of Troy Warigon and Maurice Miller to advance to the final There, they met the 2019 champs and new #1 seeds of Rocky Carson and Charlie Pratt Racquetball​, who had advanced past John Goth​ and Blake Hansen​ in the semis.

In the final, Rocky/Pratt came back from a close game 1 defeat to cruise in game two, then outlast the Bredenbecks in the final to take the championship.

This win is Rocky’s 12th national doubles title and Pratt’s 2nd, and it returns Rocky to the National team for (I believe) the 16th time.


Women’s Doubles

Match Report: http://rball.pro/D93186

An interesting draw and interesting results to this pundit.

1 seeds Rhonda Rajsich teamed up with a new partner in Erika Manilla for this event, and the partnership paid off. They advanced past #4 seed Lexi York and Linda Tyler in the top semi. The bottom semi featured a very tense match that featured what had to be dozens of appeals and the need for line judges before it was all over. The #3 seeded team of Michelle De La Rosa and Sheryl Lotts outlasted and upset the #2 seeded team of Kelani Lawrence​ and Hollie Scott​ 11-9 in the breaker. De La Rosa and Lotts made the interesting decision to travel to Des Moines and only play doubles, and it seemed like it paid off with their shot at the title.

However, it was not to be; the #1 seeds won the first game in the finals with comfort and then staved off an attempt to push through to the tiebreaker. Rajsich and Manilla win 8,14 to take the National doubles crown.

It is the 3rd National doubles title for Rajsich, and the 2nd in a row for Manilla. It returns Rajsich to the national team for (I believe) the 12th time.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Leo Ray Vasquez and Dean DeAngelo Baer and Pablo Fajre, who flew in the IRT crew to help with production.

Thanks to the Tourney Director Connor Shane putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.


Next up?

The next major event on the schedule is Mid August’ World Singles & Doubles, put on by Jim Hiser in Denver, Colorado. There’s an IRT tier 5 scheduled in Atlanta the first weekend in august and MRF Nationals in the interim. We’re hearing rumors of Mexican national events being shoehorned in at some point this fall, but no word yet.


tags/Sponsor links

LPRT​
International Racquetball Tour​
International Racquetball Federation – IRF​
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC​
USA Racquetball​

Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor