IRT Shamrock Shootout Wrap-Up

Bredenbeck makes his first IRT tier 1 pro final. Photo Kevin Savory 2020 USAR national doubles

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
  • Doubles; Daniel De La Rosa & Alvaro Beltran

    Daniel wins his second in a row, and now has 6 titles for his career, tying him with Drew Kachtik and Ruben Gonzalez for 16th all time. Quite heady company, now tied with two pro tour winners. Meanwhile, DLR and Beltran win their 8th IRT pro doubles title since 2017 and continue to claim the title of the best doubles team in the world.

    R2 Sports App home page for event:

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database:

In the 128s and 64s:

  • Bolivian 18U junior Adrian Jaldin got a solid win over Guatemalan vet Juan Salvatierra, but couldn’t follow it up and lost to his countryman Kadim Carrasco in the 64s.
  • Guatemalan vet Edwin Galicia won two qualifiers, including a nice upset win over long-time Colombian rep Set Cubillos Ruiz to earn a spot in the 32s.
  • Alan Natera Chavez held serve against countryman Abraham Peña to advance 13,9.
  • Jordy Alonso blasted two higher-seeded players, giving up just 14 points in four games across two qualifiers to earn a round of 32 spot.
  • The biggest qualifier upset was clearly though by Mexican junior Erick Trujillo, who upset top Guatemalan player Javier Martinez in the 128s, then took out IRT touring vet and #18 seed Robert Collins in a tie-breaker to earn a spot in the 32s. Trujillo, who is in his age 18U season and made the Mexican adult open quarter finals earlier this year, has been playing great lately and will be a force at Junior Worlds later this year.

In the 32s, the 9th-16th seeds get going, but faced some stiff challenges from the early round qualifiers.

  • For the second tourney running, the 16/17 seed featured the Costa Rican #1 Andres Acuña taking out up-and-coming American Adam Manilla.
  • #9 Mario Mercado got a very solid win over long-time touring pro Charlie Pratt Racquetball.
  • #19 Alan Natera got a great win over #14 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez, who I predicted to the quarters, to make his way into the main draw.
  • #38 seed Jordy Alonso nearly made the main draw, taking the first game off of #11 Carlos Keller Vargas before the Bolivian turned the game around and eked out the tie-breaker 11-8. Great showing by Alonso this event; he’s definitely slimmed down since the last time I saw him on tour and he’s playing really well.
  • However, the result of the round was a shocking win by Mexican 18U star Trujillo, who continued his run by topping #15 Javier Mar with authority 8,7. Fantastic tournament for Trujillo.

In the 16s:

  • #1 Alex Landa was really stretched by #17 Acuna in a rematch of their tense round of 16 from a few weeks ago. No fireworks this time, but Andre made him work for it 10,14.
  • #8 Jake Bredenbeck won a close one against #9 Mercado to move on. This is a solid, professional win for Jake.
  • #5 Andree Parrilla took a very solid win over his long-time junior Mexican rival Rodrigo Montoya Solis 13,10. This is the kind of match-up that can give Parrilla fits, with two players who know each other’s game so well, but he held on for a solid win.
  • #4 Rocky Carson cruised past fellow American Thomas Carter to move into the quarters for the 228th time in 262 career tournaments. Just an amazing record for the veteran.
  • #3 Samuel Murray held off a challenge from Mexican Natera to move on. He resisted the post-Canadian nationals hang-over and moves on.
  • #11 Keller continues his hot streak, taking out #6 Alvaro Beltran with relative ease to move into the quarters. Keller looking to repeat his feat from Denver.
  • #7 Lalo Portillo won a close first game, then ran away from #10 Sebastian Franco 13,1. Portillo has really settled down into the top 8; when he first broached the lofty rankings on tour he struggled with round of 16 match-ups, but not lately, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s pushed his way into the top 4.
  • #2 Daniel De La Rosa began his quest towards a second successive title against his junior country rival Trujillo … and Trujillo came to play. DLR was nearly stretched to a tiebreaker and Trujillo really has made a statement lately. Final score 5,14, and nobody wants to see this kid in qualifying at the US Open.

In the Quarters, some big-time upsets

  • #8 Bredenbeck defeated #1 Landa for the first time in his career 10,12. Landa just seemed off all night and Jake capitalized. This loss removes any chance of Landa overtaking Kane Waselenchuk for #1 on tour and the #1 seed in the US Open, and gives Jake just his 3rd career IRT semifinal.
  • #5 Parrilla played flawless racquetball and dominated #4 Carson 6,5 to move into the semis. Parrilla loves this court, loves this town, and continues to dominate every time the tour comes to Chicago.
  • #3 Murray destroyed #11 Keller 8,5 and removed any doubt about his playing form as of late.
  • #2 DLR played a straightforward game against #7 Lalo, winning 6,13 to move business-man like into the semis once again.

In the Semis:

  • #8 Jake continued his run, taking out a player in #5 Parrilla who he had never beaten on the IRT. Jake kept the pressure on Andree through a tight tiebreaker, and Andree seemed to run out of ideas against Jake’s relentless pressure. Jake moves onto his first ever IRT final.
  • #2 DLR played solid ball once again, topping fellow vet #3 Murray 10,12 to move into the final. Murray didn’t play badly necessarily, just DLR was able to put balls away when he needed to.

In the Finals, Jake pushed DLR to a breaker but ran out of gas, and DLR raced to an 11-1 breaker finish to take the title.

Points Implications of results;

If my records are correct, the results on the weekend and Daniel’s win has massive implications for the tour rankings heading into the US Open. Assuming that the tour expires all the Sept 2019 points … DLR’s win pushes him to the #1 spot on tour. Kane drops to #2, with Landa getting pushed to #3.

Moscoso seems set to ascend to #4 thanks to having zero Sept 2019 points expiring, while Murray gets pushed to #5. Portillo’s run of form has him jumped up to #7. But the huge news is the precipitous drop of Rocky Carson, projected to be seeded 9th in the new rankings. He had 700 points to defend from Sept2019 and has struggled to make the semis for some time now, and is now in jeopardy of dropping out of the top 10.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database:

Well, after much social media consternation, the racquetball community was treated to a fantastic quarter final match involving four of the best doubles players to ever play the game on friday night, and they were not disappointed. GOAT Waselenchuk, playing only doubles here with his traveling clinic partner Sudsy Monchik, faced off against the #1 seeds and clearly the best doubles team in the world in De La Rosa and Beltran. The match featured some serious tactical play as the players tried to keep the ball away from the shooters in Kane and DLR, and much of the play came down to whether or not those players in particular were able to set their feet and put balls away. The second game featured one of those amazing rallies that pro racquetball is known for, a 17-shot rally that we’ve already submitted to ESPN. At the end of the night though, the #1 seeds advanced 14,14, with very little between the two teams on the night.

Elsewhere in the draw, the top four seeds went chalk into the semis. There, DLR/Beltran avenged a recent Mexican Nationals loss by topping #4 Montoya/Mar 12,11, while the #3 seeded youngster team of Portillo/Parrilla moved into their first final together (and first ever pro doubles final for Lalo), with an excellent win over #2 Landa/Murray.

In the all Mexican final, the #1 seeds cruised over their overmatched younger rivals 8,8 to take the title.

Men’s Open
The Men’s Open draw went nearly chalk to the quarters, and exactly chalk to the semis with the top 4 seeds advancing. This is quite shocking for a Men’s Open draw at a pro event, which usually features withdrawals and drastically poor seeding as compared to the IRT draws. Nonetheless, four tough IRT veterans made it to the semis in Acuna, Natera, Manilla and Mercado.

In the semis, Acuna took out Natera in two close games, while Mercado cruised over Manilla. Acuna wins the final 11,6.

Women’s Open
There was a small but talented Women’s Open draw filled with LPRT touring players. Here’s a quick recap:

  • In the quarters, Maria Renee Rodríguez took out Sheryl Lotts in a tie-breaker. These two are neck and neck in the LPRT rankings in the teens and this felt like a typical LPRT round of 32 match. Erika Manilla took out local open player Kristin Coulter in two. Lastly, Colombian Brenda Laime Jalil upset #2 seeded Bolivian junior phenom Micaela Meneses Cuellar 9,5, a match probably an upset by seed but not by talent levels.
  • In the semis, Top8 LPRT Bolivian Angelica Barrios took out MRR 1,10 to move into the finals. At the bottom, Manilla got a very solid win over Laime in a tie-breaker to also move to the finals.
  • In the final, Barrios was made to work for it by the American Manilla, but wins the breaker 11-8 to take the title.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean DeAngelo Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew
Thanks to the Tourney Director Geoff Peters for putting this event on, and congratulations on having the court dedicated in your name after such a long career of supporting the sport.

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Next up? The big one! The US Open in Minneapolis!

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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:
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.
  • #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.

  • 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!
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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…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/ for PRS’ master list of upcoming major events.

    Trackie home page for the draws:…/entr…/matches/471131/4639/0/F/

Here’s recaps of the four draws:

Men’s Singles
Match report in PRS database:
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:

Women’s Singles:
Match Report in PRS database:
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:

Men’s Doubles:
Match Report in PRS database:

#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:

Women’s Doubles:
Match Report in PRS database:
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:

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

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Next up?

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

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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:…/racquetball-canada…/471131/…
(Note: Canada has transitioned away from r2sports to use 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 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 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:

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:

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

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