Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
- Men’s Singles: Alex Landa
- Men’s Doubles; Rodrigo Montoya/Javier Mar
- Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
- Women’s Doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas
- Team: USA
All four draws have been loaded to the database (the official Team results are pending). Here’s those links:
Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/5E56AA
Men’s Doubles; http://rball.pro/6A670B
Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/F31645
Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/8F6654
Home page for the event: https://www.internationalracquetball.com/xx-world…/
Here’s some commentary and observations on the four draws.
Alex Landa wins his second “major” IRF event (he previously won the 2017 PARC event in San Jose, Costa Rica) by cruising through the group stage as the #1 seed entering the event. In the knockouts, he overcame a first game 15-3 blow-out loss to my pre-tournament favorite Conrrado Moscoso to win that semi with relative ease the rest of the way (3),8,6. A great adjustment by Landa to get to the final form the top-half. Moscoso had taken a close quarter final against #4 seed Andree Parrilla to get to the semis.
From the bottom half, Andres Acuña entered the event as the #13 seed in the round robins before blowing out pre-tournament #2 seed Rodrigo Montoya Solis 5,4 to seize hold of the #2 seed in the knockout stages. But the bottom half was stacked with talent and the touring pros all beat each other up to make the final. USA’s Jake Bredenbeck got a great win over Montoya to vanquish him in the 16s, but then Jake fell to Colombia’s #6 Mario Mercado in the quarters. Mercado and Acuna played an absolutely fantastic match in the semis, a back and forth excellent display of shot making and cliff hangers before Acuna put Mario away to earn a spot in the final.
The final was anticlimactic, especially given all the “history” between Landa and Acuna. This is a frequent matchup as of late; the two have met in the 16s four times in the last five IRT pro events, with Acuna finally taking a match from Alex in Sarasota in the last event prior to Worlds. But the final turned into a route, as Landa played like the Landa we know from 2019-20, the one who took over the #1 spot in the world. Landa wins 6,6 to take the title and make his country switch all the more meaningful.
1 Paola Longoria blew through the draw, never dropping a game and only getting stretched to double digits twice, in winning the singles title. This title is her 21st international singles title overall; 4 Worlds, 3 Pan American Games, 8 PARCs, 2 World Games, and the rest regional titles.
The gulf between Paola and the rest of the professionals playing continues to be large. The current #2, #4, #5, #6, #8 and #10 ranked players on tour were all in Guatemala … and none of them even made the final to challenge Paola. That challenger was the surprising Kelani Lawrence, who got a couple of really solid wins over fellow touring pros Carla Muñoz Montesinos, Angelica Barrios and then against her fellow teammate Rhonda Rajsich in the semis to earn her spot in the finals. There, Paola cruised 6,1 to win the title.
Rajsich had a great tourney, rebounding from a 3rd place finish in the RRs and a #15 seeding in the group stage to oust #2 overall seed Maria Jose Vargas Parada in the 16s, then crush home-town favorite Maria Renee Rodríguez in the quarters to make the semis.
The Mexican pairing of Montoya & Mar has now won three straight Mexican national doubles titles, twice beating the presumed #1 doubles team of Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran in the final. And now they’ve won the last two IRF competitions together, both times vanquishing the top Bolivian pair of Moscoso and Roland Keller in the final. They’re a young pairing, but they clearly are making their mark on international racquetball.
Longoria and Samantha Salas Solis continue to add to their amazing collection of titles by cruising through the draw and topping team USA in the final 14,6. This 2021 Worlds title is their 15th international title together as a team (4 worlds, 3 Pan Am games, 7 PARCs, and one regional title), to go along with 35 pro doubles titles since 2014 and somewhere in the range of 14-15 Mexican National doubles titles. Just amazing.
Despite taking 3 of the 4 titles, team Mexico was pipped at the top of the team rankings on the strength of Landa’s singles win, two finals appearances and the early round upsets by two Mexican men’s singles players. Bolivia was a distant third.
This is the first time team USA has taken a combined team win since the 2014 Worlds, breaking a streak of 7 straight team wins by Mexico.
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from the IRTlive broadcasting team Dean DeAngelo Baer, !Gary Ga Mazaroff, and Pablo Fajre.
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.
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
- IRF World Juniors has already started and overlapped with the end of Worlds in Guatemala City; that tournament will run through the weekend.
- Next weekend, the LPRT heads to my old stomping grounds in Severna Park for the last pro event of the season.
- There’s also a lower-tier IRT event in Atlanta the weekend of the 12th.
- then, two fun events for the 12/19 weekend: one is the return of racquetball to the outdoor courts in Hollywood Florida, the other is Court Wars, hosted by the Manillas and featuring a number of compelling matches, including a rematch of the World men’s singles final.