Mexico Campeonato Nacional Preview

Sebastian Fernandez is the #1 seed at Mexican Nationals 2021; can he capitalize? Photo unk

This week and coming weekend features the Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol (FMR)’s Campeonato Nacional (National Championships), being played in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

This tournament was one of the few to get in before Covid shut down the sport in 2020; it is normally competed in February, and is one of my favorite tournaments to cover, usually filled with amazing upsets and names not well known to the global rball fanbase making big runs (though, more and more these players are becoming household names).

This year will be a bit different for FMR Nationals: they have comparable draw sizes in both the Men’s and Women’s draws to last year, but the men’s draw in particular is missing a TON of big-time names this year. The two finalists from last year are not present ( Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa ). Also missing are top names like Alan Natera Chavez and @Gerardo Gerardo Franco Gonzalez and Alex Cardona. No @Eduardo Eduardo Garay Rodriguez, who is I hear is returning to the Mexican fold. No Javier Estrada to make a deep run. No Eduardo Ochoa or Jaime Martell Neri to get big time wins. Lastly, no Alejandro Landa, who is entered into USA’s nationals in a month’s time after leaving the Mexican federation over some rather short-sighted decisions related to the Pan Am Games roster selection.

So that’s too bad …. but it also illustrates just how deep the Mexican player pool is, because the top 8-10 players who are here are solid.

R2 Sports App link:https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=36616

Lets preview the Men’s Open draw first:

The 32s kick off the event on Tuesday; there shouldn’t be too many surprises in the 32s, and most of the top seeds are getting byes. However, some of the below predictions may already be obsolete if we see round of 32 upsets played before you read this…

Matches to look for in the round of 16:

  • I like 8/9s and I like Daniel Diaz to take out #8 Erick Cuevas in a slight upset. Diaz has been playing a ton of Texas tourneys and should have the chops to take out Cuevas.
  • #4 Christian Longoria may have his hands full with an under-seeded #20 Jordy Alonso, who I expect to advance here. Alonso beat Lalo Portillo in a local tournament in April, a pretty significant win, and i predict him to build on that victory here.

– #2 Javier Mar versus #15 Jose Ramos, recently graduated out of the juniors. Ramos made the semis of 2019 World Junior 18U, losing a heartbreaker 11-10 to close out his junior career; now he’s gotta compete with the pros.

Projected Qtrs: here’s where the rubber meets the road.

  • #1 Sebastian Fernandez, who gets the #1 seed by virtue of being the highest finisher actually present from the Feb 2020 event, projects to face #9 Diaz. Patata has stepped back from racquetball a bit, but still is a major player and should advance here.
  • #5 @Rodrigo Rodrigo Montoya Solis vs #20 Alonso: how is reigning World champ and reigning Pan Am games champ only seeded 5th? Well, he got beat early last year (by Portillo) and they re-seed every year based on last year’s finish. Agree or disagree, it always lends itself to some fun early matchups. Montoya moves on here.
  • #3 Lalo Portillo projecting against #6 Erick Trujillo; Portillo has been on a big-time roll lately, kickstarted at this event last year with his run to the semis. He moves on here.
  • #7 Andree Parrilla vs #2 Mar; two of the best seven or eight players in the world right now face off way too early in the quarters here. These two have generally split their matchups, but Mar took their most recent pro meeting at the 2020 Lewis Drug pro-am. I like Mar here.
    Semis:
  • I think #5 Montoya takes out Patata here; just too much firepower for Fernandez to handle.
  • #3 Portillo over #2 Mar: this is an upset by seeding, and an upset by my personal rankings, but Portillo is trending well right now. He just finished off an event where he topped multiple touring pros to win the IRT Tier 5 in Severna Park, and the last time these two played in a top-level event was in 2017. Lots has changed since. Lalo to move on.
    Finals;

– i’m going with Lalo over Montoya (just as he beat Rodrigo in last year’s Mexican Nationals) to climb to the top of Mexican racquetball. Mar beats Fernandez for 3rd.

Women’s Open preview:
15 women entered, headlined by the top 6-7 Mexican touring pros and then a slew of younger players. Most of the expected names are present, but we are missing a couple of names that usually shake the draw up ( Lucia Gonzalez in particular, but also Ana Laura Flores, Erin Nocamroves Rivera, etc.
Round of 16 matches to watch for: I see no jeopardy of any upsets in the opening round, with maybe the 8/9 being a toss-up.
Projected Quarters:

  • #1 Paola Longoria vs the winner of Rico/Ortega: should be quick work for the GOAT.
  • #4 Montse Mejia should make quick work of #5 Susy Acosta, who continues to compete at a high level after more than 20 years of playing professionally.
  • #6 Alexandra Herrera should start to get her Mexican rankings back in line with where her pro rankings are by taking out #3 Samantha Salas Solis
  • #2 Jessica Parrilla has a suddenly harder-than-it-looks match against #7 Nancy Enriquez. I think Enriquez looked awesome at the last LPRT tournament and is favored to beat Parrilla.
    Semis:
  • Longoria over Mejia: once again, seedings betray the two best players in Mexico and force them to play one or two rounds early. This should be the final, and was the final a couple years ago when Mejia stunned Longoria to take the 2019 Mexican title. But that’s the only time Montse has really threatened Paola, who should win and advance here.
  • Herrera over Enriquez: there’s a reason Alexandra has moved to #2 on tour, and its because she’s been getting wins in situations like this; tough wins against fellow top players over and again. She’s been consistently in the semis or finals on tour, and will be here as well.

Finals: Longoria over Herrera.

There’s only singles this weekend; Mexican doubles either doesn’t happen this year (with a FMR-named team) or is yet to be announced. The Juniors are playing … but as far as I know this is NOT junior nationals for Mexico 2021.

Streaming: i’m sure we’ll have personal streaming; follow FMR, RKT and the players all week and 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.
Tags
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
@Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Capital City WOR Classic Recap

Hall of Famer Sostre dominates in DC. Photo 3WB 2020 by Steven Fitzsimons

Congrats to everyone who played in DC this past weekend!

It was a sunny and hot weekend, with the music blaring all day on the Stratton Woods courts. One-wall, 3-wall long wall and one-wall paddleball on display for the duration. Here’s a look at how the big draws played out.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37467


Here’s a quick recap of the notable matches in the top-level draws.

Three-Wall Doubles Draws:

  • Three-Wall Men’s Pro: the stacked draw full of visiting pros from NY and Fla all were vanquished by two home-grown teams who met in the final. There, the #6 seeded team of Dylan Pruitt​ / Thomas Gerhardt topped MoMo Zelada​ and Sergio Rivera in the final.
  • Three-Wall Men’s 75+: #1 seeded Robert Sostre​ and Benny Goldenberg took out two experienced players in Greg Lewerenz​ and Rob Mijares​ in final.
  • Three-Wall Women’s Pro Doubles: Abril Prado​ and Masiel Rivera Oporto​ took the 3-team RR Pro doubles draw in a Bolivia-heavy final against @Veronica Veronica Nogales Tellez​ and Paola Nunez​.
  • Three-Wall Mixed Pro Doubles: Carrie Handfinger Hoeft​ and Roy Hernandez​ held serve as the top seeds and took out #7 seeds Joe Young​ and Kathy Guinan in the final.

One-Wall doubles divisions:

  • One-Wall Men’s Pro doubles: It was a very New York final, and there top seeds Sostre/ Benny Goldenberg​ made it a double on the weekend, topping #3 seeds Rolon/Young in the final.
  • One-Wall Women’s Pro doubles: The two group winners were Masiel Rivera / Aimee Roehler Ruiz​ in Group A, and Nogales/Nunez in Group B. The two teams met in the final with unknown results.
  • One-Wall Mixed Pro doubles: #2 seeds Goldenberg and Delia Silva took out the #4 team of Rolon/Guinan in an all New York final.

Singles Draws:

  • One-Wall Men’s Pro Singles: Pruitt earned his outdoor creds this weekend, taking the 3-wall pro title by defeating top Florida outdoor pro Alejandro Barcelo in the semis then his doubles partner Gerhardt in the final. Gerhardt had taken out NYC top one-wall player William Rolon​ in the semis to make the final as the #2 seed.

Paddleball Exhibition

With so many New Yorkers onsite, the TDs added an impromptu Mixed Pro Paddleball division. In the final Jasmine India Suarez and her partner took out the two pro tour commissioners (and two USAR board members) Mike Grisz​ and Tj Baumbaugh​ in the final.


Thanks for all those who streamed live on the weekend. This is probably not a canonical list but I saw streams from Thao Le, Joey Logan​ (who i didn’t even know was flying into town!), Amie LeBrun Brewer​, Maddie Melendez, Ruben Pagan​ & OneWallBall, and others.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Amie Brewer, Carrie Handfinger Hoeft, Maddie Melendez and Thao Le 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?

Mexican Nationals is next weekend, in Monterrey. This is always one of my favorite events to cover, since the draws are so full of talent. The weekend after that is the LPRT Team Root supermax in Kansas City, a grand slam that should draw all the top women from around the globe.


tags

International Racquetball Tour​
LPRT​
3WallBall Outdoor World Championships​
Mid-Atlantic World Outdoor Racquetball​
USA Racquetball​
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball​
Reaching Your Dream Foundation​
Formulaflow​
Splathead Sportsgear​
onewallball.com​

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

Capital City WOR Championships Preview

One of the bigger non-major outdoor events on the schedule is happening this weekend, more than 90 players descending on the Nation’s capital from all over the eastern seaboard and states far and wide to compete in the annual Capital City WOR championships at the Stratton Woods park in Herndon, VA.

Stratton Woods is great example of the opportunity out there for outdoor racquetball, an example of new construction (it was built and dedicated in May 2015) that has created a community of players where there was really none before. It features four 3-wall/long-wall courts on one side of the structure and then three 1-wall courts on the other, thus attracting two unique sets of players to its tournaments from far and wide (in addition to the great local interest from the DC area community). The plans and effort was spearheaded by long-time dc area player Bill Bouie, and the plans (if you’re thinking of building your own outdoor courts) are available from USA Racquetball.

As a result of the unique facility construction, we have a ton of top one-wall players from both New York and from Florida who have made the trip to compete, plus we have a set of long-wall specialists from Michigan who have traveled in. The one-wall brackets in particular are stacked with some of the best talent out there, and the 3-wall brackets feature a great combination of local players, traveling pros and IRT touring pros who will hold their own.
It should be a great event all weekend.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37467

Here’s a quick preview of all the top-level pro draws, with some observations and predictions.


Three-Wall Doubles Draws:

  • Three-Wall Men’s Pro: 9 teams, and all nine of them have deep tournament quals. Even the 8/9 play-in will be tough, with an IRT touring pro in each team. I like the top seeds to hold to the semis, with #1 Gravier/Hernandez versus #4 Greg Lewerenz/ Nathan Tucker and #2 Sostre/Goldberg vs #3 Tommy Medina /Young. From there, i’m going with two upsets and for the Medina/Young team to take the final over the Michigan long-wall specialists.
  • Three-Wall Men’s 75+: nearly as stacked as the 3-wall pros draw, I’m projecting Sostre/Goldenberg versus Lewerenz/Mijares in the final, with the long-wall specialist Lewerenz’s team winning.
  • Three-Wall Women’s Pro Doubles: three teams of locals to battle it out; I’m liking the two tourney directors Brewer/Hoeft to take the title.
  • Three-Wall Mixed Pro Doubles: Hernandez teams with Carrie Handfinger Hoeft as the #1 seed, but they’ll have their hands full to make the final. From the bottom half I like the #2 seeds Aime Brewer and Gerhardt to make a finals run and take the draw.

One-Wall doubles divisions:

  • One-Wall Men’s Pro doubles: 13 teams entered, headlined by the all-world one-wall team at #1 from NYC, Hall of Famer Robert Sostre teamed with one of the best one-wall players out there in Benny Goldberg. If seeds hold and they can get past a tough possible quarter that could include Sebastian Franco, they project to face top Florida team Marcos Gravier/ Roy Hernandez in the top semis.
    The bottom half is stacked. #2 seeds Dylan Pruitt/ Thomas Gerhardt likely face a very tough quarter final against MoMo Zelada playing with Sergio Rivera . Meanwhile, the #3/#6 projected quarter features two of the best one-wall teams in William Rolon / Joe Young taking on Alejandro Barcelo teamed with Mario Mercado . I have no idea who’s coming out of this group, but I like the Barcelo/Mercado team.
    In the final i’ll go with Sostre/Goldberg over Barcelo/Mercado.
  • One-Wall Men’s Elite Doubles: the top two seeds are out-of-towners, the Michigan-based duo of Cyrus Chinoy/Luis Romero are top seeds and seem like a good bet to make the final. In the bottom half, #2 seeded Floridians Seran Ramkissoon/ Michael Medina may ahve t heir hands full with a pair of New Yorkers in the opener and possibly the sneaky solid #3 seeded team of Angel Rosa / Craig Powell . I like the Michigan duo over Rosa/Powell in the final, but upsets could abound here.
  • One-Wall Women’s Pro doubles: Eight teams competing with a great collection of NYC and DC area talent. It’s hard not to like the two top seeded teams ( Masiel Rivera Oporto and Ruiz from one bracket, and NYC’s Jasmine India Suarez and Delia Silva in the other) to advance out of the RR stage and meet in the final. I like Suarez/Silva as one-wall specialists to prevail.

– One-Wall Mixed Pro doubles: Eight teams here, with some fun teams that don’t normally play outdoor. The #1 team of Ruben Pagan and HoFamer Aimee Roehler Ruiz seems like a good bet, but they likely face two tough NYC one-wall specialists in Rolon and @kathy Guinan in the semis. In the bottom half i like Goldberg and Delia Silva to advance to the final and take the title.

Singles Draws:

– One-Wall Men’s Pro Singles: local Pruitt is the #1 seed, but this draw features multiple players who have taken one-wall majors in the past. I like Pruitt vs Barcelo in one semi, Rolon vs Gerhardt in the other, and Gerhardt taking out Barcelo in the final.

Streaming: no official streaming that I know of, but follow the Mid-Atlantic Outdoor racquetball group and i’m sure all individual streamers will share their feeds there.

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Amie LeBrun Brewer, Carrie Handfinger Hoeft, Maddie Melendez and Thao Le 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.


Tags
Sponsor links
3WallBall Outdoor World Championships
Mid-Atlantic World Outdoor Racquetball
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
Formulaflow
Splathead Sportsgear
onewallball.com
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor