NRT 2022 Kickoff IRT Tier 4 Re-cap

Manilla was a double winner this weekend. Photo 2019 Us National singles, Photographer Kevin Savory

There was a smaller IRT Tier 4 this past weekend, held in Omaha, Nebraska, who were visited by the Manilla brother/sister crew. Here’s a quick recap of the results.

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In the IRT Pro division, current #14 ranked Adam Manilla cruised to the singles title without dropping a game. Along the way he vanquished Iowan Alex Midkiff in the quarters, Kansas Lefty Derek Izzi in the semis, and then under-rated Minnesota top amateur @John Goth (who made the US National team in 2012) in the final. Goth had advanced to the final by topping Adam’s sister @Erika Manilla in the quarters and US Junior national team member Andrew Gleason in the semis.

In the Pro Doubles division, #1 seeds Gleason and Kansas’ @John Hudson swept through the 4-team round robin to take the title. Coming in 2nd was the surprise team of Aaron Kurowski and Gabrielle Shnurman.

In the Mixed Doubles division, the Manillas teamed up to win the division topping the Kurowski/Shnurman team in the first place game.

Congrats to Tourney Director Caroline Reitmeyer for bringing some pro racquetball to Nebraska!

We’re entering a bit of a lull in the racquetball calendar; the next major event is not until the 2/20/22 weekend, when the LPRT heads to the Florida coast where host @sudsySudsy Monchik is holding the 2022 Vero Beach Open. Maybe i’ll do a Pro Racquetball Stats Ask Me Anything session on facebook live one night in the next couple of weeks.Racquetball Tournament in Omaha, NE USA. Dates: 1/28/2022 – 1/30/2022.R2SPORTS.COMNRT 2022 Kick Off TournamentRacquetball Tournament in Omaha, NE USA. Dates: 1/28/2022 – 1/30/2022.

Match Tracking Statistical Deep-Dive Into Andree v Kane

Parrilla vs Kane stat breakdown was illuminating. Photo unk

I think we all found the tiebreaker of the International Racquetball Tour 2022 Suivant Consulting Grand Slam final between Kane Waselenchuk and Andree Parrilla pretty compelling racquetball. So, i spent a bit of time doing detailed match tracking to get some statistics of interest. The match itself is at this facebook video link: and the tiebreaker starts at 51:51 in the video.

I’ve uploaded the match tracker data for just the Tiebreaker here for your perusal:…/1CIWVYxCzCMWRRTtEZTwY1kRGMA…/edit…

Here’s some interesting statistics from the tiebreaker;

Game time: 28minutes, which included 1 tiebreaker and one appeal
Average clock time per rally: 34 seconds (We’ll comeback to this later when we talk about rally scoring what-if scenario)

Total Rallies: 49
– AP Rallies won: 23 of 49
– KW Rallies won: 22 of 49
– Replays: 4 of 49
– Points: 21 of 49
– Side-Outs: 24 of 49

So, no surprise here in an 11-10 game; the number of rallies won was one more for Andree than Kane.

Serving Details:
– AP service attempts: 23
– KW service attempts: 26. Kane had more service attempts b/c of replays more often occurring on his serve.

First Serve Percentage:
– AP: 14 of 23 60.87%
– KW: 13 of 26 50.00%

Neither player really served well, but a 50% first serve percentage by Kane is really bad at the pro level. By way of comparison, when I tracked this data in the one-serve era for Cliff, he made more than 90% of his first serves, all of which were drives.

First Serve direction (Forehand or Backhand)
– AP hit 19/23 first serves to Kane’s forehand, and 9/9 second serves.
– KW Evenly split his first serves; 13 drives to AP’s forehand, 13 to his backhand. All 13 of Kane’s 2nd serves were lobs to AP’s backhand.

Its pretty amazing how much AP picked on Kane’s forehand in this match.

First Serve selection:
– AP hit 10/23 first serves: Hard Z-Serve to Forehand
– AP hit 8/23 first serves: Drive to Forehand
– KW hit exactly 13 Drive to Backhand first serves and 13 Drive to Forehand first serves.

Second serve selection:
– AP hit the exact same 2nd serve the entire match: Nick-Lob to Forehand. 9/9 times
– KW hit the exact same 2nd serve 12 of 13 times: Nick-Lob to Backhand. The one time he didn’t, he tried a lob Z that Andree cut off and killed easily.

Winners and Errors: here’s some fun stuff:
– AP Rally Winners: 12. 6 on the forehand, 6 on the backhand. 5 were passes, 7 were pinches. Pretty even distribution.
– KW Rally Winners: 16. 13 on the forehand, 3 on the backhand. 10 were passes, 6 were pinches.

So, this may just tell us what we already knew from the serving stats, but Kane spent most of his match hitting forehands.

– AP Rally ending Errors: just 3 the entire breaker. all three on the backhand
– KW Rally Ending Errors; 10. 10 skips! 8 on the forehand, 2 on the backhand.

Now I do not have career stats on how many skips Kane averages per game. But i’m pretty sure it isn’t 10.

AP 12/3 ratio of Winners/Errors
KW 16/10 ratio of Winners/Errors

Pretty interesting ratios here. Given these stats, its kind of amazing the game was 11-10.

Average # of shots per rally data (none of these figures include the serve):

Average # of shots per rally , entire game 2.249
Average # shots in AP-won rallys 1.91
Average # of shots in KW-won rallys: 2.89
Average # of shots in replay rallies 3.25
longest Rally of game 7 shots (three times; all three AP serves and KW side-outs)

Miscellaneous Stats
# of Aces in game 4 total: 3 for KW, 1 for AP
# of Dives in game 6 total: 2 for KW, 4 for AP
# of Rollouts in game 12 total: 8 for KW, 4 for AP

Note: my “rollout” stat is an opinion based stat; was the shot a complete rollout/kill shot that would have been a point even if the opponent was standing right there? This is less important in singles than it is in doubles, where oftentimes yes there is an opponent standing there and you really have to roll balls out to get winners. This game featured a ton of “winners” and you could probably argue that many/most were “rollouts” … so maybe in the future I avoid this stat.

Game start in Video 51:51:00
Game end 1:19:00
Game duration 28 mins
Avg time per rally (including Tos) 34 secs

IRF Rally scoring scenario:
Game end if rally 1:03:44
Game duration if rally 12mins 45secs

Lastly, since the IRF is going to Rally scoring, I have a column that tracks the score as if we were using rally scoring. Kane wins this game 15-10 if using rally scoring at a point in the game where the actual score was 6-3. The game would have
been over in 12mins 45seconds.

I’m pretty clearly on record disagreeing with the rally scoring decision by the IRF, and this match is a great example. Why do we need to change the scoring method that’s been in place for more than 50 years so as to neuter a fantastic game and force it into a premature end at 12minutes? What value does that serve?

Anyway, hope you enjoy this analysis.

2022 Suivant Consulting IRT Grand Slam Recap

Parrilla does the impossible, topping Kane in the final for his 2nd ever tier 1 win. Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
– Pro Singles: Andree Parrilla
– Pro Doubles; Conrrado Moscoso & Roland Keller

Parrilla does the impossible and vanquishes the King, and gets a second career IRT win. Moscoso & Keller edge past a familiar rival team, one they’ve played 6 times in the last 2 years.

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 64s:
– Mexican Jordy Alonso got a solid win against former IRT touring pro David Horn 14,7.
– Mexican 18U junior @Mauricio Delgadillo had a great pro debut, topping IRT regular Sam Bredenbeck 13,13 to move into the 32s.
– Mexican Rodrigo Rodriguez struggled with Guatemalan veteran @Christian Wer, going to a tiebreaker before moving on (11),10,4.
– Mexican @Jaime Martel had a slow start this week, dropping the first game to Guatemalan Geovani Mendoza before moving on in the breaker (11),6,0.
– Mexican veteran @Abraham Pena played a solid game and dispatched Maryland’s @DyDylan Pruitt 10,4 to move into the main draw.

In the 32s, we saw some interesting results and some upsets.
– In the always-competitive #16/#17, we got a barn burner. #16 @SeSebastian Fernandez was pushed to the very edge, advancing over #17 @AlaAAlan Natera in an 11-10 tiebreaker thriller.
– #8 Rocky Carson and #25 @CharCharlie Pratt Racquetball played a predictable match, each trying to out-think the other and stretching each other to a tie-breaker before Carson prevailed 11-5 to move on.
– #22 Erick Trujillo was the beneficiary of an injury to veteran @AlAlvaro Beltran , who lost the first game 15-1 then retired. Trujillo thus earned the magic ticket to face the King in the next round.
– #6 @Kane Waselenchuk started off his return to the tour with a straightforward 2,3 win over Mexican youngster @Elias Nieto . Kane shook off a bit of rust but was not really threatened by his round of 32 match.
– #7 @CoConrrado Mosco was the unlucky top 8 seed to get the dangerous Martell in this tournament; he advanced but it was pretty close 14,11. This is two IRT events in a row for Martell, who as a full time player on tour probably gets into the teens relatively quickly; we’ll see if he sticks to the tour full time in 2022.
– In the always-close #15/#18 slot, @ThThomas Carter got a solid win over Bolivian @Kadim Carrasco 11-8 in the breaker to force a meeting with Landa.

In the 16s, we started to see some major developments in this tournament, as the challenges and part-timers were mostly vanquished and the veterans started to meet up.

– #1 Daniel de la Rosa was set for his expected stiff challenge from Patata, having faced him in the 16s in the last two events as well. But eight points in, Fernandez retired due to injury. Fernandez had tweaked his back in the round of 32 win, played about 5 minutes into his round of 16 and called it off. An unfortunate development for Sebastian, but DLR moves on with little fanfare.
– In the #8/#9, a battle of two team USA players turned into a close encounter, eventually won by the veteran Carson, who took out #9 Jake Bredenbeck 14,11 to setup a rematch against long-time rival DLR in the quarters.
– #5 Eduardo Portillo ‘s day came to a quick halt; at 1-4 in the first game he was also forced to retire due an unspecified injury against Sebastian Franco . Franco was definitely the underdog to Portillo here, who has been on a run and was a favorite to make the semis in this event. This definitely opens up the top half of the draw for all parties.
-#4 Andree Parrilla frustrated #13 @AAndres Acuña on the court and grinded his way to an 5,12 win Parrilla used an effective Z serve most of the match, which Acuna struggled to attack, often attempting to jump the Z-serve but then jamming himself and making for easy points for the Mexican. Parrilla moves on.
– #14 Rodrigo Montoya got his best win on tour in nearly two years by taking out #3 @Samuel Murray in a tiebreaker (12),9,6. Montoya may have World titles and Pan Am gold medals on his resume, but his pro results have been inconsistent. But this is a great win for the young Mexican, and one of his best ever wins on tour. Murray won this event last year but exits early. Murray eventually forfeited his doubles match later in the evening, with some implying he picked up an unspecified injury in this match that helped him to the door, so its an early exit all around. For the neutrals, we now get a Montoya-Kane match that could have some fireworks.
– Whatever rust there was on Kane’s game in the round of 32 was completely gone by his round of 16, as he obliterated Mexican junior phenom @Erick Trujillo 1,1. Kane’s serving was crisp, as was his shot making. There was the familiar booming sound of his kill shots, and the excellent shotmaking from the back court. Look out; he’s back and he doesn’t seem like he’s lost a step.
– #7 Moscoso advanced past a potentially tricky @Mario Mercado 8,13. Mercado has been playing really great ball lately, with a ton of “upsets” on his resume leading up to his first tier 1 win last November in Arizona. So far, the sometimes mercurial Moscoso has held serve and not taken the surprise loss; he now gets a shot at #2 Landa to move on.
– #2 Landa moved past #15 Carter with relative ease 8,12 to setup what projects to be a challenging quarter final for the Mexican.

In the Quarters…

– #1 DLR cruised past his long-time rival Rocky 8,8 to move into the semis. This was the 30th time they’ve met professionally, with DLR having taken their last three meetings
– #4 Parrilla held serve against the surprise quarterfinalist Franco 10,11 to quietly move into the semis. Parrilla has two solid wins on his belt and has yet to really be troubled, and now gets a shot at #1 DLR in the semis.
– #6 Waselenchuk played a fireworks-filled match against fellow power-player Rodrigo Montoya , who hung with him for most of the first game and was ahead 9-6 before Kane characteristically “turned it on” and ran away with the game and the match. From 6-9 down Kane scored 24 of the next 28 points to win 15-9, 15-4. Early in game one, Montoya’s serve and power seemed to nettle Kane, who gave up points here and there, but he played himself into more consistent power form by the middle of game one and completely ran away with game two. Montoya could do little to stem the flow of points from Kane, and was in danger of taking a twinkie before netting a few points at the end. For any who think Kane’s lost a step or a tick off his fastball, this match showed he can still out power one of the best power players on tour.
– #2 Landa outclassed #7 Moscoso 9,6 in a match that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Moscoso spent most of the match taking ill-advised shots and giving away points left and right on lob serves and defensive returns from Landa. He essentially gave up mid-way through game two and just went through the motions to even get it to 15-6. It was a real disappointment, in that I legitimately thought the Bolivian would be “up” for the challenge and the thought of a Kane matchup in the semis.

– #6 Kane absolutely demolished #2 Landa 1,5 in a match that barely took 30 minutes end to end. Landa had zero answers for Kane early, as he ran out to an 8-0 lead with little effort in game one. I texted a colleague and literally said at that point, “double donut is in play.” Landa’s mobility looked lacking, perhaps another remnant of months-long issues with his back bothering him, combined with Kane’s lethal attacks made for a quick game one. Kane began lob serving at some point, easing off as it became apparent he was going to be able to win this contest without exerting max effort.
– #4 Parrilla came from a game down to shock the #1 player DLR 11-7 in the breaker. The game was played in spurts, as Parrilla ran out to a quick game one lead only to have DLR run off 10 straight points to take it. In game two, Parrilla ran out to an insurmountable 11-2 lead, but DLR pulled way back and for a short moment looked as if he could take the match in two. A couple of arguable points ended game two with some argument, and there was a tense feeling between the players (and with the referee) the rest of the way. The Tiebreaker was excellent, back and forth action up till around 9-7, when a very light hinder claim went uncalled for DLR and he literally stopped playing in the middle of the point. This immature action was more reminiscent of a C player, not the #1 player in the world, and he lost that point and eventually the match 11-7 in the breaker. Thus Parrilla advances to just his fourth career pro final (in 55 career Tier 1 events) and gets the top half’s shot at the King.

In the Finals, a pretty amazing match. Many thought we’d see a continuation of the steamrolling Kane has done through this draw. But Andree has a history of playing Kane tight and had something to say about the flow of the game. It was neck and neck for the entire first game, and Parrilla had first crack at a game point when he inexplicably held up on a very borderline avoidable claim, which seemed to get into his head and cost him game one 15-14. Instead of letting that call get to him and losing focus mentally, Andree hunkered down and gave Kane a beat-down like he hasn’t seen since the early 2000s, taking game two 15-2.

In the breaker, Kane took control and it looked like game two was just an aberration, jumping ahead 7-3. Parrilla fought back though, and lessened the gap. Parrilla was using a Z-serve with great effect, getting service winners and uncharacteristic weak returns. Meanwhile, Kane’s first serve percentage plummeted in the breaker, and Parrilla made a ton of shots. For me, this was all evidence of a gassed Waselenchuk just trying to get to the finish line. Despite his fatigue, Kane worked his way to match point at 10-7 for, but Parrilla calmly waited out a ball off the back wall and buried the return. From there, Andre never left the box again, serving out the match and scoring 4 straight in a flash to take the title 11-10. One of the best matches we’ve seen on tour in quite a while ended with a possibly transformative result for the tour.

Points Implications of results

Assuming that the tour continues to expire points on the same cadence as before, this event should replace the two Jan 2020 events in Austin and Sioux Falls in the rolling calendar. Parrilla should thus move from #4 to #2 on tour, as he’s replacing two round of 16 losses in early 2020 with a massive 600-point grand slam win. The rest of the top 10 remains the same, just pushed down one slot (meaning Kane still sits at #6).

Other interesting moves:
– Beltran drops from #11 to #13 and he seemingly gets closer to possible singles retirement.
– Acuna rises from #16 to #14, which continues to put himself in place to face winnable round of 16s.
– Carrasco enters the top 20.
– Trujillo makes a big jump up to #23; he’ll be closing in on a 9-16 protected seed soon.
– Martell makes a big jump up as well with this and last week’s results: I’ve got him projected as #33 now; lets hope he continues to feature on tour.
– Rodrigo Rodriguez jumps from the 50s to the mid 30s.
– Jordy Alonso jumps from the mid 70s to the mid 40s.

Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database:

In the 16s:
Injuries suffered by players playing singles earlier in the day Friday led to the withdrawing of two top teams and the hampering of two more, gutting the Pro doubles draw of some of its favorites but keeping in tact some stellar matchups. The #2 seeds Murray/Landa and #5 Portillo/Carson withdrew before playing, giving first round wins to Alonso/Rodriguez and @juaJuan Jose Salvatierra and @Javier Martinez respectively. Fernandez, who dropped out of his singles match with an injury, recovered enough to gut out a win with Parrilla in his opener. Beltran, who withdrew from singles after a heavy first round loss, came back to participate in an easy first round win as the #1 seed. The biggest upset went to the #9 team of Acuna/Natera, who took out the Bredenbeck brothers in a tiebreaker.

In the quarters:
– #1 DLR/Beltran held off the upstart Acuna/Natera team in the first, then cruised to a 14,6 win.
– #4 Moscoso and doubles specialist Roland Keller blasted the Guatemalan pair of Salvatierra & Martinez 5,8.
– #3 Montoya and @Javier Mar faced tough opposition from the Bolivian pairing of Mercado & Carrasco, advancing in two closely fought games 11,12.
– #7 Parrilla/Fernandez shook off ailments and took advantage of the #2 seeds withdrawal to advance to the semis over the young Mexicans Alonso & Rodriguez 12,6.

Doubles Semis:
– The reigning Bolivian national champs upset the #1 seeds DLR/Beltran 11-7 in a breaker to move into the final.
– Montoya & Mar cruised past #7 Parrilla/Patata to setup an excellent final.

In the final, we get a fun matchup. This is the sixth time these teams have met since mid 2019; they met at 2019 PARC, the finals of the 2019 Pan Am Games, the 2019 US Open, the 2021 World Doubles in Denver, and most recently in the finals of 2021 Worlds in Guatemala. Ahead of this match, they’re split 3-2 in favor of the Mexicans.

And on the court, we got a treat. The Bolivians evened the recent score of results by taking a two game match 14 and 14. In both games, the Mexican pair got to 14 first and served for the game, but in both cases the Bolivians saved game point against, got back in the box, and served it out. Great showing by both teams.

Other Draws

In the 25-man Men’s Open Singles, the quarters went essentially chalk (with just small upsets at the 8/9 and 7/10). From there, the semis were nearly chalk as well, with #1 Mercado topping #9 Cuevas, #5 Trujillo upsetting #4 Natera, #3 Martell cruising past #6 @Sam Bredenbeck , and #2 Acuna defeating local Georgian Austin Cunningham
In the semis, it was #1 and #2 prevailing; Mercado took a 14,14 win over the up and coming Trujillo, while Acuna labored to get past the always-tough Martell. In the Open singles final, Mercado grinded his way to an 11-7 breaker win over Acuna.

The men’s Open Doubles also went chalk to the semis, where the reigning world champion team of Montoya/Mar (the #3 seeds in the pro doubles draw) destroyed the #4 seeds Cunningham/Pruitt to make the final. From the bottom side, double specialist @Roland Keller teamed with Carrasco to top the all-American Pratt/@Robbie Collins pairing. Mar/Montoya got a walkover win in the final.

In the 3-team Mixed Open draw, Carrasco teamed with @Kelani Bailey to defeat her fellow team-USA teammate @Hollie Scott (playing with Sebastian Fernandez) 11-8 in their RR group final to take the crown.

In the 6-player Women’s Open, the two LPRT touring players Lawrence and Scott each topped their small RR group to advance to a winner-take-all final. There, Lawrence continued her recent dominance over Scott, winning in two 9,9

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew

Thanks again to the Tourney Directors Rob Lyons and @Chad Bailey for putting this event on! Thanks for all the sponsors as well; without you we have no pro racquetball.

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?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar ……/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9S…/

There’s a Tier 5 in Nebraska that is drawing a bunch of top players from the mid-west. The 53rd annual Florida State Singles is being held in Sarasota, always a solid event featuring a bunch of top players. Kane & Sudsy are hosting another iteration of their Experience, this time in Vero Beach, Florida. The next pro event is in mid Feb when Sudsy also serves as a pro tour host, having the LPRT come visit his new home town in Vero Beach.


International Racquetball Tour

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IRT Suivant Consulting Grand Slam preview

Kane has re-appeared; will he make a run to the podium? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

The IRT returns to Atlanta for its first big tourney of the new season, and its a Grand Slam thanks to the continued patronage of Donald Williams and his firm @Suivant Consulting .

Its time for the 2022 Suivant Consulting Grand Slam.

In the early days of the sport, Atlanta was a frequent host on the men’s pro tour, hosting a Catalina event in 1980 and then hosting the DP/Leach Nationals in 1983 and 1984. The city returned to hosting in the mid 1990s, being the main host of the VCI named events. But then there was a hosting gap from 1997 to 2015, when pro racquetball returned to the city and has been an continued presence ever since. Recreation ATL is the host club in Lilburn, a north-east suburb of Atlanta proper, host to a very active racquetball community that hosts tournaments all year long.

This year’s tournament, as is now well known to the racquetball community, marks the return of 14-time Pro tour champion Kane Waselenchuk to the court. Kane’s been an infrequent presence on tour ever since Covid shut things down in March 2020; he’s played in just two of the six IRT tier 1 events hosted since, and only played singles in last year’s US Open. Despite not having taken an on the court loss since April 2019 (when he was hampered by a hand injury), he has slid to #6 on tour based on points and faces an interesting gauntlet of matches to get to a prospective final.

R2 Sports App link:

There’s a big draw for this event: 46 pros are entered, making for an excellent and deep tournament. Despite it being a grand slam, we are missing a couple of the more regular IRT touring pros at this event: #12 Carlos Keller Vargas , #14 @Adam Manilla, #15 Eduardo Garay , and #20 @Javier Mar are missing out of the singles draw. Mar is at the event, but only playing doubles (he did the same at the US Open, an interesting trend for a player who I still rate as one of the top players in the world).

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that I’m looking forward to. Because this is a grand slam, the main draw starts in the 32s so there’s just one qualifying round on Thursday; the round of 64.

– #32/#33 NY up-and-coming junior @Josh Shea gets an interesting matchup against IRF veteran Guatemalan @Javier Martinez. Martinez has shown himself to be a tough opponent, taking top-20 IRT pros to breakers on tour recently. Shea had a great showing in his first IRT event last November, taking out Canadian team member @Pedro Castro before falling 11-9 to @Sam Bredenbeck . I like Shea to take the next step and make the main draw here.
– #21 @Erick Cuevas versus #44 @Alejandro Bear: two Mexicans facing off; Bear is relatively new to the scene while Cuevas has been a tour regular for some time. Can the newcomer force the issue against Cuevas?
– #28 @Bobby Horn vs #29 @Jordy Alonso: perhaps the best match of the round, you have a former top 10 player in Horn who has stepped back a bit in the past two years versus a player in Alonso who is not a frequent IRT player, but who has a number of big wins on the old WRT and took Keller to an 11-8 breaker loss in his last IRT appearance. I’m looking forward to this match.
– #29 Atlanta native @Austin Cunningham has an interesting match-up against Argentine veteran #36 @Shai Manzuri. I’d expect the younger player to outlast Shai, who has been playing for Argentina at IRF events since 1998, but there’s a reason Manzuri continues to be selected to represent his home country.
– Look for #35 @Rodrigo Rodriguez to upset #30 Guatemalan vet @Christian Wer in the opener; the lefty Rodriguez has splashed onto the scene lately with big wins.
– One more fun matchup for Thursday is #31 @Dylan Pruitt versus #34 @Abraham Pena. Pruitt is a frequent tour player, having just matriculated out of US Juniors, while Pena is a veteran Mexican player of the previous generation, representing Mexico at IRF events in the mid 2000s before the likes of De la Rosa and Beltran started taking all the Team Mexico slots. Pena plays an athletic, powerful game but Pruitt is excellent at playing controlled racquetball on the court, making for a great contrast in styles.

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

– #16/#17: once again Patata gets stuck into the #16/#17 match. This time, @Sebastian Fernandez takes on @Alan Natera Chavez at this juncture. I like Fernandez here; he topped Natera at the same juncture last November in Arizona.
– #9 @Rocky Carson projects to play his USA teammate and frequent doubles partner @Charlie Pratt in the 32s. Pratt has shown he can take out Rocky in the past, but I sense Rocky is the favorite here.
– #5 @Lalo Portillo projects to play the winner of Horn/Alonso. That should be a great round of 32 irrespective of the 64-winner.
– #3 @Samuel Murray projects to play the lefty Rodriguez in his opener. Rodriguez will score points here; probably not enough to win, but enough to press Big Canada.
– #11 @Alvaro Beltran projects to play his young countrymate @Erick Trujillo in the 32s. Probably not the player Beltran wanted to see; Trujillo already has significant wins over solid IRT players and just finished blowing through world juniors. Upset watch here.
– #26 Jaime Martell faces a stiff challenge, going up against the winner of last November’s Sarasota IRT event in #7 @Conrrado Moscoso. Martell pushed DLR in last week’s Wintergreen and should hang with Moscoso but I sense the Bolivian has too much firepower here.
– #15/#18 @Thomas Carter versus @Kadim Carrasco; these two met at this exact juncture in this event one year ago, a slim 11-8 win for Carter. This match will come down to form; who is sharper? They’re evenly matched and i give Carter the slight edge.

Round of 16 predictions
– #1 @Daniel De La Rosa is set to face Fernandez for the third straight tournament at this juncture. Look for a close match as Patata uses his athleticism to stay in the game, but for DLR to pull away in two games.
– #9 @Jake Bredenbeck is set to face Carson in another all-USA team matchup. Ironic that three of our team members are all in the same mini-quadrant here. I like Jake here in the mini upset.
– #5 Portillo over #12 @Sebastian Franco, who he’s topped a couple times lately and shouldn’t trouble him too much. Franco is recovered from surgery and didn’t show much in the way of wear last weekend at Wintergreen.
– #4 @Andree Parrilla versus #13 @Andres Acuna. After months of work getting out of the dreaded “16-seed hole,” Acuna looks to build on his win over Landa in the last IRT event and his run to the final of Worlds against Parrilla. These two players are similar in age and have been meeting in World Juniors for years, but their pro experiences against each other are limited. Andree crushed Acuna at this event last year, but Acuna topped Parrilla in Sept 2019 to advance to his first ever pro quarter. Acuna has improved mightily in the last year; upset watch here for me.
– #3 Murray vs #14 @Rodrigo Montoya : a very interesting matchup here; Montoya continues to be an enigma to predict; he has stellar wins but curious losses all throughout his resume. He absolutely has the ability to out-power Murray (he topped Sam in the 2019 Pan Am Games en route to the gold medal), but will he? Will the winner of this match be the one doing the least amount of bracket watching? On paper, the prediction is Murray, but upset watch here.
– #6 Kane Waselenchuk is set to face the winner of Beltran and Trujillo. If its Beltran, it makes for an interesting matchup between the top player in the world and a guy who is not afraid of him at all. Beltran has always shown the ability to hang with Kane with his excellent shot making abilities, but Kane might be a man on a mission this weekend.
– #7 Moscoso takes on #10 @Mario Mercado , a player who will play Conrrado tough. Last time they met it was a two game win for Moscoso, but he was made to work for it. Mercado has been playing great ball lately, got a win over Lalo in Maryland last weekend and really pushed the #1 player in the final, and could surprise Moscoso if he’s not focused.
– #2 Landa should outclass either of Carrasco or Carter advancing to move on.

Projected Qtrs: There’s a lot of what-ifs in this draw, so take these projections with a grain of salt.

– #1 DLR over #9 Jake: it was 11-10 to DLR the last time they met in Sarasota last fall; it probably will be close again, but DLR wants a matchup with Kane.
– #5 Lalo over #4 Parrilla: another quarters rematch from Sarasota, where Portillo easily handled Parrilla and I predict it happens again.
– #6 Waselenchuk over #3 Murray: Canada on Canada crime; Kane moves on here.
– #7 Moscoso over #2 Landa: I’m not sure Landa is recovered enough from his back ailments from last fall to hang with the younger, more powerful Moscoso here.

– #1 DLR over #5 Portillo; yes Lalo beat DLR 11-10 in Sarasota; i don’t think DLR is coasting through this event.
– #6 Kane over #7 Moscoso; well, if you asked me which matchups i’d most like to see on tour, this is a close #2 to the final we’re likely to see. They’ve only met four times, but neutrals were really treated to some fun top level shot making each time. This was the 2019 US Open final, and gave us a scintillating game one between these two players. Lets hope for another barn burner.

Finals; if all goes well, we will see the match everyone wants to see. The current #1 DLR versus the presumed #1 Kane, irrespective of his current ranking. The big questions for this match:
– we’ve watched DLR really mature over the past year, playing lots of controlled, smart racquetball on the court, beating all comers. Can he maintain his poise against the relentless power and pressure of Kane?
– how rusty is Kane? He’s played exactly three pro singles matches since March of 2020. In that time he’s gone from age 38 to 40 and has been contemplating his future in the sport. But, when he comes to a tournament, he comes to win.

Prediction: Kane over DLR 12,10

Doubles review

The doubles draw looks awesome: #1 DLR/Beltran and their heirs-apparent in Mexico #3 Montoya/Mar are my favorites to advance to the final. however, the top half features two tough teams in #4 Keller/Moscoso and #5 Lalo/Carson that will make for a fun semi. From the bottom half, Fernandez and Parrilla make for an interesting pairing, and of course the #2 seeds Murray/Landa will have something to say about my prediction.

Finals prediction: Montoya/Mar over DLR/Beltran.

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 Baer , @Favio Soto, @Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!

Thanks to the Tourney Directors Chad Bailey and @Rob Lyons for putting this event on!

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2022 Holiday Park WOR Shootout Recap

Joe Young took the open double’s title on the weekend. Photo 2021 Beach Battle via Rick Bernstein

(recap by Todd Boss with help from Jeff Wright and Rob Mijares)

While huge swaths of the country were bracing for a debilitating snow storm (yours truly included; as I wrote this on Sunday there’s a blizzard of snow falling at my home in Virginia), it was 75 and sunny in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for yesterday’s 2022 Holiday Park Shootout. Why do we all not live in Florida again?

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Holiday Park is a cool facility. It is home to the Jimmy Evert Tennis center, a 21-court tennis facility named for its long-time teaching professional who happens to be the father of long-time #1 female tennis player Chris Evert (who grew up playing on the courts). The outdoor courts are tucked in-between a gym and a roller rink on the grounds; they’re three-wall mid-wall courts that are a bit wider than normal (23′ wide), and have side walls that run well past the short line, which makes for very unique play and strategy on the courts as compared to other 3-wall/mid-wall courts. Like many places in Florida, the regulars at the park have the advantage over traveling parties due to these unique factors, and welcome all covers to challenge the locals.

The park’s leading benefactor for decades has been the legendary George Daurio, who has worked with local officials for years for upgrades and is known as the “Godfather” of the courts. Tournament play has been present here for decades as well, and the park has been the home court for many top outdoor players over the years, including Ken Mooney, Billy Montana, Dave Smith, Ken Grandy, Dave Conway, and Rob Mijares.

Here’s a recap of the day’s action, which featured 37 of some of the best outdoor players in the state.

Men’s Open Doubles recap

12 players/6 teams split into two RR groups of three to determine a group winner advancing to the knockouts. One group was taken by top seeds @Joe Young and @Garry Smith , while the other group was surprisingly taken by Max Heyman and Javier Trujillo, who played consistently all morning and made it to their first ever Open finals.

In the final, the powerful Young/Smith pairing vanquished the upstarts to take the title.

Men’s Elite Doubles

The story of the day was longtime Holiday Park veteran Valeria Trabucco Clemmensen . The women’s draw was depleted due to some Covid exposures, so she entered into the Men’s Elite division with partner @Juston Cooklin and won the draw. She is a warrior and played amazing against some tough competition. Fittingly, Valeria hit a flat rollout to win it all in the tiebreaker. She has won many tournaments over the years, but this one was epic!
They topped the very tough @Eric Gomez and Luis Gonzalez in the Elite final.

The winners of the rest of the events on the weekend:
– Men’s A/B Doubles: Giovanni Pezo / Luis Salinas
– Women’s Elite Doubles: Susan Suid / Carolina Pisana
– Mixed Elite Doubles: Miriam Benard / Max Heymann


Thanks to Tournament director Jeff Wright for hosting the event and for all you do for Florida outdoor racquetball. Thanks to tournament staff @Rob Mijares and Hale Sakoff , who are ever-present figures at outdoor events in the state. Thanks to Vic Leibofsky for providing breakfast for the tournament; Vic is another behind the scenes supporter of programming who never asks for credit but who has been a great help to me over the years. And thanks to the city Parks and Rec staff, who gave the courts a fresh pressure wash ahead of the event.

2022 IRT Wintergreen Classic Wrap-Up

DLR wins the 2022 Wintergreen classic as a tune up for Atlanta. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your major division winners on the weekend:
– Pro Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
– Open Men’s Singles; Alan Natera
– Open Doubles; Eduardo Portillo & Sebastian Franco
– Mixed Doubles: Erika Manilla & Mario Mercado

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

The Men’s Pro draw basically went chalk in the round of 32 and 16. #9 @Jaime Martell upset #8 @Mauricio Zelada as the only upset by seed, but Martell might be the best player in the world who does not regularly feature on the IRT, so this is no surprise to regular followers of the sport. #4 @Sebastian Franco was pushed to a breaker in his round of 16 match by Ohio-based up and coming player @Victor Migliore but persevered 11-7 in the breaker to move into the quarters.

In the Quarters
– It looked for a hot second like #1 @Daniel De La Rosa was going to get upset by Martell, losing the second game 15-14 and then going down early in the tie-breaker, but he flipped the script in an instant and cruised to the 11-4 breaker win.
– #5 @Andres Acuna got a solid win against #4 Franco in two games. This is another excellent example of why Acuna is a player to watch going forward; he’s beating the players he should beat, and is starting to get top-8 wins.
– #3 @Mario Mercado cruised past #6 @Alan Natera 11,7
– #2 @Lalo Portillo took out #7 Bolivian @Kadim Carrasco in two 9,8.

In the Semis, a couple of interesting results.
– #1 DLR labored to get past Acuna in a breaker 11-6. Perhaps its still just a bit of rust for the #1 player, or perhaps its another sign that Acuna is a player to be reckoned with. Or perhaps its a bit of both.
– #3 Mercado continued his hot streak of late, dispatching #2 Portillo with a streaky score line of 2,,(8),2. A really nice win for Mercado.

In the Finals, Mercado took the first game and was up big in the second game, and the broadcasters & viewers were wondering if DLR would even *score* in the second game. Well, not only did he score, he basically stopped Mario in his tracks and took game two 15-10 (going on a 15-2 run to do so), then took the tie-breaker to claim the title. Never count out the #1 player in the world. DLR takes the win here as a great tune-up for next week’s Grand Slam in Atlanta.

Men’s Open Singles review

The Open Singles had 20 players, including one touring LPRT pro in @Erika Manila . Here’s a recap of the action.

From the top side, #1 seed Martell cruised into the final without dropping a game. He topped Migliore in the semis. Victor had topped Thomas Gerhardt in the quarters, a solid win for him.

In the bottom Half, an under-seeded Manilla took out New Yorker @Anthony Armaneuse in the round of 32 opener, then upset #3 seed @Kyle Ulliman in the next round. She couldn’t move forward though, losing a nail-biting 11-10 breaker in the quarters to Maryland local open player @Dylan Pruitt. But it was #2 Natera who advanced to the final, beating NY junior @Josh Shea and then Pruitt in the semis.

In the final, Natera had a nice run to finish off a game 1 win that looked for a while like it was lost, then blew away Martell in game two to take the title 12,6. Natera wins the open draw without dropping a game.

Men’s Open Doubles review

The 13-team Men’s Open draw went completely chalk to the semis. From the top side of the draw, #1 Portillo/Franco took out #4 Natera/Acuna, while on the bottom #3 home-town favorites Mercado/Zelada took out the Bolivians Keller/Carrasco to move into the final.

In the final… Franco/Portillo drove the action and dominated play against the Maryland-based FormulaFlow brothers, and won going away 9,4 to take the title.

Mixed Open Draw

The Mixed open draw was mostly competed on Sunday, and featured a 5-team RR draw of top competitors mostly with DC-area ties. And, unfortunately, the looming snow storm took a toll on this draw, as the traveling NY-team forfeited to get a jump on the weather, and a couple hours later the Junkin/Weinberg team did the same.

In the end though, the top two seeds ended up going undefeated and met in the Sunday final, with the #1 seeded pairing of Erika Manilla & Mario Mercado squeaking out game one over #2 Brenda Laime & Zelada and advancing to the title 14,9.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer and Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew, who braved the weather forecast to travel into the area this weekend.

Thanks to the Tourney Director @slemo Warigon for putting this event on and for your continued patronage of the sport.

Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar ……/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9S…/

Next weekend is a big one: the 2022 Suivant Consulting IRT Grand Slam in Atlanta. The draws look fantastic and it should be a barn burner. And, by the time you read this we may have a big-time announcement related to the IRT draw. How’s that for a teaser?


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2022 Wintergreen Classic Preview

Zelada competes on home soil this weekend at the Wintergreen. Photo from US Doubles 2020 via Kevin Savory

The first appearance of the top IRT pros of the new year is set to happen this coming weekend, at the annual Wintergreen classic held in Severna Park, located halfway between Baltimore and Washington in Maryland. This year’s event, run by long-time racquetball benefactor and IRT investor Slemo Warigon , has been upgraded to be a tier 3 event for the first time, which has attracted a slew of top IRT regulars for a solid draw.

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Lets review the major draws on the weekend, which will feature some solid women’s draws, fun doubles matchups, and even some pro-level mixed doubles.

IRT Pro Singles

There are 20 players entered, including three top-10 players, another 5-6 regular touring players ranked in the teens, and a slew of top east coast open players. It should be a fun draw.

Fun round of 32 and 16s to look for:
– #8/#9 is MoMo Zelada versus @Jaime Martel Neri , in what should be a very interesting match. Zelada has been playing regularly and has some good wins, while Jaime rarely travels outside his native Mexico but has been known to make noise when he does play. Look for Martel to upset Zelada here (they met in 2015 and Jaime won in 3 easy games).
– #6/#11 Alan Natera takes on NY junior @Josh Shea in what could be a closer match than Natera may want. Shea has been improving his results lately and has been facing better and better competition.
– #7/#10 Bolivian vet @Kadim Carrasco takes on Maryland’s own Dylan Pruitt in what should be a stiff test for the local player playing on courts he knows pretty well.

projected quarters.
– #1 Daniel de la Rosa faces the winner of the Martell/Zelada match, but should have no problems moving on.
– #4 Sebastian Franco projects to face #5 @Andres Acuña , an interesting matchup of mid-teens IRT regulars. Franco is 3-0 lifetime against Acuna, never really being pushed, but all their past meetings are in the 2016-18 range. Acuna is a different player right now, and I sense an upset here, even though these courts are well known to the long-time Maryland resident Franco.
– #3 @Mario Mercado versus #6 Natera. Mercado is fresh off a tier 1 win late last year and an excellent showing at Worlds. He beat Natera twice heads up on tour last year, but both times were really close. I expect Mercado, a long-time DC area native who is quite familiar with this club, to advance in a close match again.
– #2 @Lalo Portillo projects to face #7 Carrasco. They have played once; in 2017, when Lalo was a shell of the player he is now. Portillo moves on in two.

Projected Semis and Finals:
– DLR over Acuna
– Lalo over Mercado

Final: Lalo upsets DLR, but not without DLR putting up a fight. He didn’t fly here from Arizona to not get the top prize. Lalo took the IRT component at this tourney last summer, taking out Franco and Zelada along the way, so he is not unfamiliar with the courts. And Lalo upset DLR in Sarasota last November, so he’s got a playbook for winning. How motivated is DLR in his first tourney back? We’ll see.

Men’s Open doubles

13 teams are entered into Open doubles, and the top four seeded teams are all touring regulars, which should make for some great semi finals action.

From the top half, look for #1 seeds Portillo/Franco to advance to the final, vanquishing teams that include top Maryland amateur @Dylan Pruitt playing with top junior from New York @Josh Shea, the #4 seeds Acuna/Natera, and the voice of the IRT Dean Baer , playing with fellow New Yorker @Anthony Armanuse.

From the bottom half, I like the #3 seeded team of @FormulaFlow players Zelada & Mercado to upset the #2 seeds from Bolivia Keller/Carasco to make the final. They’ll advance out of a quadrant that includes top teams from Virginia (Peter Appel and Ross Weinberg), Texas (@Richard Eisemann and @Cole Sendry), and frequent east coast tourney players @Brent Walters and Thomas Gerhardt.

In the final, Lalo/Franco win to give Lalo a double on the weekend and some serious confidence heading into the 2022 season.

Mixed Open doubles features five teams and some top women’s players. @Erika Manila is in town; she’s teamed up with the excellent mixed doubles player Mercado as the #1 seed in the RR draw. They’ll be challenged by fellow LPRT touring pro Brenda Laime at the #2 spot (teamed with house-mate and fellow FormulaFlow player Zelada) for the title. Also competing are two top-level Virginia mixed pairings in Kristin Junkin & Weinberg and two outdoor regulars @Aime Brewer and Gerhardt.

I like the draw to play out chalk; with Manilla/Mercado taking the title.

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 Baer and 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.

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3WallBall SoCal Outdoor Season Kickoff Invitational Shootout Recap

Danny Lavely powered his team to victory in the season opening shootout. Photo via Outdoor Nats 2021/Steve Fitzsimons

To kick off the 2022 season, on January 8th 2022 3Wall Ball and MC Vegas hosted an invitational Outdoor shootout at the courts of West Newport Park, right on Highway 1 in Newport Beach, California. These 3-wall/mid-wall courts are Rocky Carson ‘s favorite, his “home courts” that he practices on most frequently, and he was part of one of nine top-level teams invited to play in this shootout. Some of the players were rusty; it had been several weeks of inaction for most of the competitors, but eight games of round robin cleared off the dust by day’s end for everyone. And the shootout featured a great collection of top talent from SoCal and beyond.

Here’s a recap of the action.

The nine teams played a pure round-robin, one-game to 11 against the other eight teams, making for a ton of racquetball on the day. The top 6 teams from the RR stage advanced to a knockout round. Two teams dominated in the RRs (Geis/Rich and Lavely/Solis) going 8-0 and 7-1 respectively, and looked to be the favorites for the cash.

Here’s how the knockouts went.

In the quarters:
– #5 @Tom Durham and @Matt Barserian upset #4 @Tony Berg and @Scott Sinclair 15-10. This is a great result for the relatively unknown Barserian, who (like Micah Rich) is a great player who plays recreationally and can put up results when he’s in practice.
– #3 Rick Koll (aka “Soda Man”) and Emmett Coe took out the home-court playing Carson and his regular partner @Jesus Ustarroz 15-11. Soda Man traveled to LA with Coulter from Vegas and teamed up with the ever-tough Paddleball champion Coe to take out the two-time Outdoor National champs Carson & Jay.

In the semis:
– #1 @Jason Geis and @Micah Rich, your 2021 Outdoor National champs and Vegas 3WB pro finalists, topped Durham/Barserian 15-5 to move into the final.
– #2 @Greg Solis, WOR Hall of Fame inductee in 2018, and partner @Danny Lavely crushed Koll & Coe 15-2 to move into the final.

In the final, Lavely got hot and made the best adjustments to the fast penn ball being used, took advantage of some tiring arms after a long day, and pushed his team to the upset win over #1 Geis/Rich 15-5.

Thanks to @Mike Martinez and @prokennex for stopping by, thanks to 3WB and other sponsors, thanks to Coulter as always for his support of the sport, and thanks to the players for putting on a show.

(Photos courtesy of Mike Coulter)