IRT 2022 SoCal Preview

Cardona returns to the IRT for the first time in 3.5 years. how far can he go? Photo unk


The IRT returns to Southern California and its rich player base for the first time in 2.5 years with the SoCal Open. The tournament will be held at the Canoga Park club, which hosted an annual IRT event recently and is now back in the fold.


Play starts today 11am PDT/2pm EDT.


R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38996

There’s a huge draw: 42 singles players are entered in to the pro singles draw, with a good chunk of them also playing in the “Open Doubles” draw.
top20 players missing; #13 Bolivian @CarloCarlos Keller did not make the long trip from Bolivia for this one. #15 @RodriRodrigo Montoya and #20Javier Mar are both missing (they may have burned their available vacation for long PARC trip). Otherwise the full top 20 is here plus a ton of guys ranked in the next 10.

Notably, #2 @Kane Waselenchuk was a very-last minute commit, which sets up back end of this tournament well and should be a boon for neutrals and Kane fans.

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

  • Colombian @JJuan Pablo Rodriguez takes on NorCal’s Wayne Antone IV in a fun opener.
  • Bolivian junior @Hector Barrios has a solid opener against Texas’ DJ Mendoza
  • Former WRT #1 @Alejandro Cardona returns to the IRT for the first time in more than 3 years and faces IRT regular @Anthony Martin in his opener.
  • – top SoCal amateur @Iain Dunn takes on Colombian international veteran @Set Cubillos

In the round of 64:

  • @Jordy Alonso should face a tough qualifier against the winner of the Rodriguez/Antone match.
  • @Erick Cuevas will face a stiff challenge from the Barrios/Mendoza winner for a spot in the main draw.
  • Top Guatemalan @JuanJuan Jose Salvatierra has the tough task of facing Cardona, assuming Alejandro wins his opener.
  • – An international-heavy quadrant in the draw will see the Colombian Cubillos challenged by Mexican up and comer @MiMiguel Angel Arteaga for a spot in the main draw.

Projecting the 32s: some guys face a third singles match on Thursday, a difficult proposition for any player… so factoring that in, here’s some interesting round of 32s to get into the main pro draw:

  • #16/17: Patata versus @Thomas Carter . Carter has been playing well, but Fernandez is better.
  • #9 @Mario Mercado faces a very tough draw against #24 @Bobby Horn … who is 7-1 lifetime against him. But, Horn will be playing his third singles match of the day. Mercado is coming off a relatively disappointing PARC event on his native soil … will he bounce back against an opponent he’s struggled against historically?
  • #12 @Sebastian Franco has serious upset potential versus #21 @Jordy Alonso. Alonso took out Bredenbeck with relative ease at the last event and may get the upset here as well.
  • #11 @Alvaro Beltran is the unlucky recipient of Cardona’s qualifying spot … but again, Cardona will be on his third match of the night. Can he muster enough juice to top the hobbled Beltran? He may. Upset watch here.
  • – Lastly, in the 15/18 spot we have a great potential match, with @Eduardo Garay set to take on the up and coming Mexican @Erick Trujillo . Trujillo is fresh off his U21 wins at PARC and his first real big win on tour in Chicago. Look for Trujillo to move on here.

Round of 16: I’m predicting a couple of upsets, otherwise chalk.

  • #17 Fernandez pressures but fails to supplant the #1 Daniel de la Rosa
  • #21 Alonso continues his run and takes out #5 Samuel Murray .
  • On the back of his big run at PARC, #14 @Andres Acuna takes out #3 @Andree Parrilla
  • – While not necessarily an upset, #7 @EduaEduardo Portillo takes out #10 @JaJake Bredenbeck to setup a meeting with the King.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 DLR over #8 @Rocky Carson; It’ll be two matches on Friday for these two, and I think DLR can get some revenge from his upset loss in the last event
  • #4 @Alejandro Landa halts the Cinderella run of Alonso
  • #14 Acuna falls to #6 @ConrradoConrrado Moscoso in a rematch of the PARC final earlier this month.
  • #2 @Kane Waselenchuk wipes out Mexican youngster Trujillo in a rematch of their Atlanta meeting in January.


    Semis:
  • #1 DLR over #4 Landa: DLR is 10-5 career over his Mexican compatriot and moves on here.
  • #2 Kane over #6 Moscoso; these two have met several times and the matches can be super-fun, but the Bolivian needs a better strategy than he had in Chicago.

    Finals;
  • – #2 Kane over #1 DLR. Odds are we won’t get this matchup but this is what all the neutrals want. Kane is still the king, but how far has DLR come?

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! @Leo Vasquez is also flying in this weekend to help broadcast, and of course the venerable JT R Ball is based in Southern California, so he should be in the streaming mix too!

2022 PARC Team Standings

While the “team competition” is underway now, the PARC Team competition (as determined by the sum of all the finishes by all the participants) has finished.

Here’s how the standings shook out (these are unofficial numbers based on the worksheet seen here, but are consistent with past scoring methods and should be accurate unless the IRF has made a change without widely announcing it).

Men’s Team: Bolivia, Costa Rica, USA.

This is the 3rd time in the last 4 IRF events that the Bolivian men have taken 1st in this competition. Costa Rica eked out a 4-point win over USA to claim 2nd: this is by far Costa Rica’s best ever team finish; the only other time they placed was in 1990’s regional competition. Amazingly, Mexico did not place; they had won 5 of the 6 Men’s team competitions prior to 2019 (Bolivia’s first Men’s title).

Women’s Team: Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico.

Argentina gets 1st in doubles, 2nd in singles and easily wins the women’s competition, their first ever Team Women’s win in any IRF competition. Mexico falls to 3rd, their lowest team finish since 2010 worlds. No USA on the podium; team USA women have not won an IRF competition since 2010 (which is basically when Paola Longoria started regularly representing Mexico).

Combined/Overall Team: Bolivia, Argentina, USA.

Bolivia runs away with the combined title, with a singles win and a finals mixed appearance. This is the first ever combined/overall Team title for Bolivia. Argentina’s 2nd place is their best ever combined finish. After winning the combined title by a hair in the 2021 Worlds event (a result that had more than a few people questioning the scoring), USA fades to third here. Mexico finishes 4th despite taking the Mixed title and one has to wonder how these results would have gone had Mexico #1 Longoria played; Mexico won 7 straight Combined IRF titles, taking every IRF event held between 2015-2019 inclusive.

Click here for a worksheet of the 2022 PARC Team standings point totals:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rmqPcjrrgYkCMb8kcQDeM5kNdXYe_NliFlBLaElFN_Y/edit?usp=sharing

PARC Recap

Barrios with the surprise win at PARC. Photo via Barrios’ facebook page.


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Conrrado Moscoso, Bolivia
  • Women’s Singles: Angelica Barrios, Bolivia
  • Men’s Doubles; Samuel Murray & Coby Iwaasa, Canada
  • Women’s Doubles: Maria Jose Vargas & Natalia Mendez, Argentina
  • Mixed Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya & Samantha Salas, Mexico


    Links to “Category Reports,” which show a history of all current and past PARC finalists, so you can see all 33 such tournaments that have happened since inception in 1986.
  • Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/F5F5D2
  • Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/9BC953
  • Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/68D315
  • Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/6F9E9F
  • Mixed Doubles: http://rball.pro/BA46DA

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092


Men’s Singles:
Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/486271
The quarters gave us some unexpected results for sure.

  • #1 @Conrrado Moscoso took out the upstart Argentinian Diego Garcia in 3.
  • #5 @Rodrigo Montoya got a very solid win over USA’s @Jake Bredenbeck in three straight. Montoya always seems to play well in these structured international competitions. This sets up a juicy Moscoso-Montoya match that has some interesting history.
  • Huge upset: #3 @Carlos Keller , 2-time defending champ and playing on home soil, was taken out by Costa Rican @Andres Acuna , and it wasn’t particularly close (11,6,12). I thought Keller was a great bet to three-peat.
  • – #2 Alejandro Landa held serve against his tough doubles partner, Canadian @SSamuel Murry to setup a rematch of the 2021 World’s final with Acuna.

In the Semis

  • #1 Moscoso outlasted fellow hard hitting IRT regular #5 Montoya in three close games.
  • #11 Acuna took the latest salvo in his rivalry against #2 Landa, beating him in four games to move into his second successive major international final.
    In the Finals… the two players traded 15-14 games to start, then Conrrado turned on the heat in game three, racing to a 15-6 win before finishing off another close game four to take the title. This is his first “major” IRF title in his career.

Fun side note: the two Men’s finalists both came from the group stage of the #1 pre-tournament seed.


Women’s Singles:
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/9C2A60
The knockout quarters featured some HUGE upsets, with both the #2 and #3 seeds going down early.

  • #1 Maria Jose Vargas cruised past the Bolivian junior @Micaela Meneses to move into the semis.
  • #4 @Carla Munoz took out the veteran #5 Rhonda Rajsich in four games. Great solid win by Munoz to take out a competitor in Rajsich who always plays tough in these IRF competitions.
  • #6 @Ana Gabriela Martinez upset #3 Natalia Mendez in a 5-game thriller. Even though these two are very close talent wise, this was a surprising result for me for Mendez to lose on home soil.
  • The biggest upset of the round on either side though was #2 @Alexandra Herrera , winner of the last two LPRT events and the odds-on favorite here, losing to Bolivian @Angelica Barrios in four. Never underestimate the Bolivian, who made a run to the semis of the Bolivian Iris event as an unknown and typically flies under the radar at these events.
    In the semis
  • #1 Vargas continued her quest to win the title in her home town, overcoming a game 1 loss to down Chilean #4 Carla Munoz .
  • #10 Barrios continued her upset ways, getting her third straight upset-by-seed win, this time against former World champion #6 Guatemalan Martinez. Barrios makes a major international final on home soil to setup an intriguing all-native Bolivian final.
    In the final…a fantastic back and forth affair that wasn’t settled until 12-10 in the fifth. Barrios gritted out a comeback win in game 4 to push it to a 5th, then kept the ball in play and took advantage of a slightly tight Vargas to win 12-10 and claim her first ever IRF title.

Fun side note: As with the Men, the two Women’s finalists both came from the group stage of the #1 pre-tournament seed.


Men’s Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/E4307D
A shocking result in the quarters, with the home-town Bolivian team of @Carlos Keller and @Kadim Carrasco both top doubles players, both of whom are regular IRT touring pros, falling in 3 straight (albeit close) games to the Ecuadorian pair of @Juan Francisco and Jose Daniel Ugalde. Cuevas and Ugalde have been representing Ecuador for a long, long time; Ugalde first played in the 2006 Worlds, Cuevas in juniors since 2011 and this is a great win for them. Otherwise, the #1, #2 and #4 seeds advanced as expected.
In the semis …

  • Team Canada took out #1 USA in three games; despite their seeding they’re the pre-tourney favorites and make it to the ifnal.
  • Team Ecuador upset #2 Costa Rica to move into the finals. its the first Men’s doubles final in an IRF event since 2016 for Ecuador.
  • In the final … I thought for sure this was a cake-walk for Canada, but Ecuador won the first and pushed it to a 5th game before falling 11-5 to team Canada. Great showing by Ecuador, making a major IRF final for the first time in years, and congrats to team Canada for returning to the throne.

Women’s Doubles:
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/B73598
No surprises in the quarters, as the top 4 teams (Mex, USA, Bol, Arg) advanced as expected, each in three games.
In the semis, two very close matches between the four top Women’s doubles teams resulted in the top two seeds advancing to the final. #1 Mexico dropped the 2nd game but beat Bolivia in four, while the experienced Argentina team squeaked out a win against team USA with two games going 15-14 their way.

In the final … the four LPRT top 10 players, who are quite familiar with each other from years of touring together, battled it out to the very end. Team Argentina made the clutch shots in the 5th to win 11-9 and take the title.


Mixed Doubles:
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/78C637
No surprises in the 16s or quarters really, even though the #3 and #4 seeds lost to lower seeded competition. We knew going in that one of the groups was weaker than the other two, and no Group 3 mixed teams advanced into the semis here.
In the semis, some fireworks:

  • #1 Bolivia blasted #5 Argentina 5,4,5. Just a complete dominant win.
  • #6 Mexico took got revenge for a RR loss to #2 team USA and advanced to the final by virtue of a technical forfeit for accumulated technical fouls. The IRF referees are very pedantic, and team USA was penalized once too often. The final play that led to the disqualification was arguable, as most hinder calls end up being, and its a shame the match was decided on what I thought was a referee error, but passions must be held in check and referee arguing isn’t as tolerated on the IRF as it is on the pro tours. Landa (per the US Team handbook) may face a lengthy suspension after this incident.
  • In the final … team Mexico (my pre-tourney favorite) eked out a win over the hard hitting Bolivian team to take the first ever Mixed IRF title.

Despite my publishing this wrap-up … the event continues. After these brackets are done, the “Team Event” commences, returning to IRF competitions for the first time in years. This can be confusing for those who query the Pro Racquetball Stats site: we keep “Team stats” but that’s not the same as a “Team Competition.” Team stats are driven by the accumulated individual accomplishments. We do not track the team event results in the database.
Speaking of Team results, here’s the unofficial team winners (based on my working xls):

  • Men’s Team: Bolivia, Costa Rica, USA. This is by far Costa Rica’s best ever team finish; the only other time they placed was in 1990’s regional competition. Amazingly, Mexico did not place. Costa Rica eked out a 4-point win over USA to claim 2nd.
  • Women’s Team: Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico. Argentina gets 1st in doubles, 2nd in singles and easily wins. No USA on the podium.
  • Combined/Overall Team: Bolivia, Argentina, USA. Bolivia runs away with the combined title, with a singles win and a finals mixed appearance. Mexico finishes 4th despite taking the Mixed title and one has to wonder how these results would have gone had Mexico #1 Longoria played.

I’ll load up the full Team Results once they’re blessed by the IRF.

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 Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
After this weekends team competition in Bolivia …
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

IRT returns to action in two weeks time in Canoga park.

tags
International Racquetball Federation

PARC Knockout Stages Preview

Can Keller 3-peat? Photo US Open19 via Kevin Savory


We’re through the group stage at the 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball championships, being held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and have whittled the field down to just the top finishers per group for the knockout stage.


Here’s a preview/prediction of each bracket plus some quick observations about the group stage results.

r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092

For streaming, follow the IRF on Facebook and sign up for live video notifications.

Men’s Singles
Group Stage thoughts: No surprises for me in the first four groups, as the top 4 seeds advance with relative ease, and the “expected” players finished in second place.
Group 5 and 6 though had some shockers. In group 5, #5 pre-tourney seed @Rodrigo Montoya topped the group, but in a shock IRT top 10 player and Nov 2021 IRT tourney winner Mario Mercado was taken out by Argentina’s recently matriculated junior @Diego Garcia and failed to advance to the knockouts. Garcia represented Bolivia until his age 17 season, then converted to Argentina and had to sit out a couple years. But he’s back, and he’s quite good. He could be a regular representative for Argentina for the next 15 years, and we hope to start seeing more of him on the IRT.
Group 6’s shock was at the top, when IRT top10 player @Samuel Murray was dominated by Mexico’s #2 Elias Nieto 13,3,(3),7 to fall to 2nd place in the group. Nieto tops the group and grabs the #6 seed in the knockouts.
Here’s how I see the knockouts going:

  • In the 16s, Nieto’s #6 seed gets him #11 @AndAAndres Acuna , a really tough draw and a likely upset.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 Conrrado Moscoso over #8 Garcia; they met in 2021 Worlds and Moscoso crushed him, but it will be a good all South American test.
  • #4 @Jake Bredenbeck over #5 @Rodrigo Montoya . This will be close, as both hard hitters can make deep runs in tournaments. Jake has topped Rodrigo the last three times they’ve played and I think he’ll do it again.
  • #3 @CarloCarlos Keller over #11 Acuna. They have not played in years (last meeting 2017), and both players have improved significantly over the past year. Keller made the finals at the 2021 US Open, Acuna made the finals at 2021 Worlds. Keller always seems to rise to the occasion at this event (and, lest we forget, is the 2-time defending PARC champ, having won in both 2018 and 2019), and is playing on home soil so we’ll go with the Bolivian here.
  • #2 @AlAlejandro Landa gets his pro doubles playing partner @Samuel Murray , who he has traded results back and forth with on the singles court recently. However, Landa is here to win. Landa in 3.
    Semis prediction:
  • #1 Moscoso over #4 Jake; I just think Conrrado is too good on these courts.
  • #3 Keller over Landa. They’ve only met 3 times, but its been years since they’ve played and they’ve never played internationally. I think Keller’s familiarity on these courts gets him the win over the mercurial Landa, who has a tendency to start slow in his matches and that might mean the difference in a rally scoring match where every point counts.
  • Final: Moscoso over Keller in an all-Bolivia final that will have the crowd pulsating.

Women’s Singles
Group stage review: No real surprises in the group stage for me; The top seed in group 4 should have been one of the top Mexican pros, but instead the seed went to Chile’s @CCarla Munoz , who topped USA’s @Kelani Lawrence in a 5-game thriller on the competition’s opening day to claim the 4th seed in the knockouts. The best player to not advance is Cris Amaya, who finished 3rd of 3 in the group of Death, falling to two top-10 LPRT pros.
Knockout predictions:
In the 16s, a really tough matchup between #7 @Kelani Lawrence and #10 Angelica Barrios looms; Advantage Barrios here.
Quarters prediction:

  • #1 @MariMaria Jose Vargas over #8 Micaela Meneses . Meneses is pulling triple duty here as a junior but doesn’t yet have the firepower to topple Vargas.
  • #5 @Rhonda Rajsich over #4 Munoz: on paper Munoz is the better player right now, but Rhonda always plays “up” at these competitions.
  • #3 Natalia Mendes over #6 @Ana Gabriela Martinez ; Gaby may have the world title, but Mendez is the one on her native soil (she grew up in Bolivia before converting to represent Argentina). Plus, Mendez has topped Gaby 2 out of their last 3 meetings.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrera over the Barrios/Kelani winner. There’s no easy matches from the quarters on, so Herrera will get a top 10 touring pro from here on out despite being the #2 seed#1s
    Semis prediction:
  • #1 Vargas over #5 Rajsich
  • #2 Herrera over #3 Mendez
  • Final: Vargas tops Herrera on her native soil. She may represent Argentina, but Vargas was born in Santa Cruz and will take the title in her hometown.

Men’s Doubles
Group stage thoughts: Great win by the Bredenbeck’s to take the #1 seed in their group of death. Likewise, really solid win by the Costa Ricans to seize the #2 seed over the Mexicans.
Knockout round preview:

  • Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 best teams are in the upper bracket so we’re going to get what should be the final in the semis. Look for #4 Canada (Murray and @CoCoby Iwaasa ) to take out #1 Team USA to make the final.
  • From the bottom, I think the Bolivians (Keller and @Kadim Carrasco ) will bounce back on home soil to advance to the final as the #6 seed.
  • Final: Canada over Bolivia.

Women’s Doubles:
Pool play reaction: no surprises for this observer, despite the seeding not going as expected. The top LPRT pros in both groups rose to the top.
Knockout predictions:

  • Mexico over Bolivia in one semi. I like the Herrera/ @Samantha Salas Solis team to cruise past the @Yazmine Sabja Aliss and Meneses team, though the home town will cheer them to at least one game win.
  • Argentina over USA in the other semi. I just think the two native Bolivians (Mendez and Vargas) are too good on the court together, despite the international heroics of @RRhonda Rajsich and @ErikErika Manila .
  • Final: Mexico over Argentina: Herrera/Salas are just too good at Doubles to lose here.

Mixed Doubles
Pool play reactions: Chalk in Group A, but a huge win for Team USA (Landa and Manilla) to upset my pre-tourney favorite Team Mexico (Montoya/Salas) to claim the #2 seed. I was slightly surprised to see team Colombia (Mercado and Amaya) finish 3rd in their group, being the solid doubles players they both are.
Knockout predictions:

  • From the top half, Team Bolivia (Moscoso and Meneses) seem like they have the easier path to the final and may have a harder quarter vs Colombia than semis versus Argentina (Valeria Centellas and Diego Garcia).
  • From the Bottom half, we probably get a rematch of the group stage Mexico vs USA … and I like the passion of Landa/Manilla to advance. They beat them once, they can do it again.
  • In the final? I think the Bolivia – USA matchup favors the Americans. Landa can hang with Moscoso, while Manilla would out-perform Meneses on the right hand side. USA for the inaugural international Mixed title.

Should be great matches this week. Can’t wait.

Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
International Racquetball Federation
International Racquetball Federation

33rd PARC Tourney and Group Stage previews

Landa is set to defend his 2021 World title in Bolviia. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


The 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball Championships kicks off this weekend with a slew of singles round robins, new rules, and new divisions.
It is back after two years of cancellations due to Covid.
We’ll hold off until the RRs are competed and the knockout brackets are determined to do predictions, but did want to highlight some interesting items at this juncture.

  • First off, the IRF has FINALLY FINALLY decided to use R2sports.com to coordinate the tournament. For years (decades?) they’ve depended on hand creating PDFs and uploading them to Dropbox, but could never seem to keep the results updated in a timely manner mid-tournament, and the Dropbox links constantly change so I can’t embed sources for tournaments … So everyone can be happy that this tournament will be in the same platform as every other racquetball tournament.
  • R2sports home page: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092
  • Rally scoring is now in play. A reminder that the IRF went to rally scoring because they claimed it would shorten matches (it doesn’t), or that its because they want to be presentable to TV (a TV contract they don’t have), or so they can hold team events (which they’ve always been able to do). Other than that … yay! can’t wait for rally scoring so that we can not have any epic comebacks or fantastic back-and-forth tiebreakers or any semblance of a match that doesn’t look like its being competed in a rush because the participants are late for a dinner reservation….
  • Reminder on seeding: the seeding is done based on the COUNTRY, not the PLAYER. So, you might have someone like a top 10 touring pro (Mario Mercado) seeded below someone ranked outside the top 1000 in the world thanks to the prior success (or lack thereof) by their countrymen in previous IRF events.
  • New event here: Mixed Doubles. Should be fun. The Mexican Nationals mixed event was great, and i’m sure this one will be fun too.
  • They have junior divisions here, including an U21 division. They seem to be competed basically by Mexican players and South American players. This is not an official IRF junior international event, so only countries that can afford to send players are doing so.

Now for some thoughts on each main draw:

Men’s Singles:

  • there’s 22 players competing. A bit light as compared to past PARC events (in 2019 they had 30 men competing)
  • There is a definitely has a “Group of Death” so to speak, with defending Pan Am games gold medalist @Rodrigo Montoya , top IRT pro @Mario Mercado , and dangerous argentine young player @DDiego Garcia all joined by Canadian #2 @Trevor Webb in one RR group. Wow; i’m not sure i’ve seen such a strong international group stage collection in a while.
  • The draw overall is good: there’s some solid players here; the quarter finals will be epic here if they play out to seeds in that eight regular touring players are present, many of whom have won IRT events.
  • Mexico’s #2 player is a name maybe not as well known to fans in Elias Nieto. He earned this spot by making the semis in last June’s Mexican Nationals event, an event won by Montoya over Parrilla in the final, and with Portillo topping Nieto in the 3rd place game. With both Parrilla and Lalo begging out of the event, the slot went to Nieto.
    Women’s Singles:
  • 17 players entered, also a light draw. 25 entered the 2019 version of the PARC.
  • Shockingly … no Paola Longoria, who lives for these international competitions to add to her astounding count of titles (21 at current). I’ll have to get some insight as to why she’s not here.
  • Clearly Mexico had some issues filling the spot, because the Mexican #2 female is junior Angela Ortega, who is competing in her age 17 season and who has never appeared on the LPRT. Very odd, in that there’s probably 10 other Mexican touring pros who would have been a more competitive entrant here (just off the top of my head …. Mejia, Parrilla, Enriquez, Salas, Lucia Gonzalez, Flores, Groves, Acosta, Perez, Rico, or Aguilar). Interesting. Salas is here, but already competing in both doubles events, and adding a third event probably was a non-starter.
  • In fact, I might be wrong, but it doesn’t seem like any player is playing in all 3 events; maybe that was a purposeful limitation on the entrants.
  • The group of death seems to be Group A, with @Maria Jose Vargas, @AmAmaya C , and @Angelica Barrios. A top 3, top 10 and top 15 player.
  • Despite no #1 Longoria, 6 of the top 10 are in the singles draw plus another 3 from the top 20.
  • – Another notable absence; no @Maria Renee Rodriguez from Guatemala, who has been a mainstay at these events for the better part of a decade representing her country alongside Gaby Martinez.

Men’s Doubles:

  • There’s 10 teams/countries represented here.
  • Interestingly Moscoso is NOT playing with his typical doubles partner Roland Keller; instead its Carrasco and Carlos Keller representing Bolivia.
  • The Bredenbeck brothers are representing the USA, which should be fun.
  • Acuna is not playing with his regular partner Camacho from Costa Rica.

I think your two early favorites here are Canada (Murray and Iwaasa are tough) and USA (the Bredenbecks have played together a lot).

Women’s Doubles

  • 8 teams here, split into two RR groups to start.
  • Group A is stacked, with three teams I think could win this all together (Bolivia, Mexico and USA).
  • Group B is … well, significantly weaker than Group A, and its 4th seed is clearly the best team in Argentina. They’ll get a cakewalk into the #2 seed in knockouts.
  • I just don’t see how these groups/seedings make sense: you have clearly the top four racquetball playing countries (USA, Canada, Mexico, and Bolivia) in one group, then Columbia, Guatemala, Chile, and Argentina in the other. That just doesn’t seem balanced at all. Even if the past results support it.

I think your favorites are clearly Mexico (Herrera/Salas), but Argentina (Vargas/Mendez) have been playing together regularly for most of the last few LPRT seasons and should make it a compelling final if they get there.

Mixed Open

  • A first time through for Mixed and we have some intriguing teams for sure.
  • 10 teams here and it seems like players have prioritized Mixed over Gender doubles; the better players are here.
  • – My early favorites are Mexico (Montoya and Salas, who just won Mexican Mixed), USA (Landa and Manilla are both great doubles players), and Colombia (Mercado and Amaya are both highly experienced doubles teams). Don’t sleep on Bolivia, who has Moscoso hitting bombs on the right hand side, always a challenge in doubles.

Streaming apparently doesn’t start until next week. But maybe we’ll get some of the players streaming their matches in the interim.
More to come next week on this event when we get to the knockouts.

Mexican Nationals Recap

Beltran wins the Men’s doubles title in Mexico; is it his last? Photo US Open 2019 via Photographer Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Men’s Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa/Alvaro Beltran
  • Women’s Doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas
  • Mixed Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya/Samantha Salas

    Very successful weekends for Longoria, De La rosa, and Salas, each of whom come home with two titles. Montoya wins Mixed and makes the final of Singles, double qualifying for the team.

    Here’s some quick “Category” reports showing all Mexican National finals in the database:
  • Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/13D7D4
  • Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/D13492
  • Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/7F4C52
  • Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/7B5D25
  • Mixed Doubles: http://rball.pro/7E4470 (this is a brand new query!)

    These winners shall represent Mexico starting with international events AFTER next month’s PARC: the winners of last June’s Mexican Nationals are the representatives for Mexico in Bolivia (as we learned with the little kerfuffle a couple of weeks ago when the FMR attempted to reneg on the original plan to send the 3rd/4th place finishers from June 2021 as the PARC doubles team as opposed to the two-time defending IRF champion team of Montoya/Mar).

    Reminder: rally scoring here, so the scoring format is games to 15, win by one, and if it gets to a fifth game it goes to 11, win by 2.

    R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38926

Lets review the notable matches from the Event.
Men’s Open Singles

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/C33ED1

In the 32s and 16s:

  • The only round of 32 between notable/known IRT touring pros was a win for #7 Sebastian Fernandez over #26 Erick Cuevas 11,14,8
    We saw just a couple of upsets in the 16s:
  • #21 @Rodolfo Esparza got his second upset in a row, taking out #7 Emir Martinez 13,9,9 to move into the quarters. Great tourney for Esparza, who is in his mid 20s and has never appeared in an IRT event.
  • Wily Veteran #20 Polo Gutierrez , who missed a chunk of time with an elbow injury, is clearly back playing in his home town and cruised by #4 Erick Trujillo in three close games 13,10,12. The draw opens up for Polo to make a deep run, and he poses a danger to all he plays. He was a 2014 Mexican open finalist and has made the weekend in many pro events in his career.
  • No other upsets really: your quarters are seeds 1,8,21,20 from the top and chalk 3,6,7,2 from the bottom half.

In the Quarters

  • #1 @Rodrigo Montoya won over #8 @AAlejandro Cardon … but he had to work for it. After going 2 games up, Cardona took the next to for a 5th game breaker. In the breaker, Rodrigo caught fire and rolled to an 11-4 win.
  • #20 Polo took out #21 Esparza in three quick games to move into the semis as expected.
  • #6 @Daniel De La Rosa took out #3 @Javier Mar in three solid games 13,10,6. DLR is just a step ahead in quality than Mar right now and it showed on the court. This was a rematch of the Beach Bash final just one day ago, but the result was the same.
  • – In the match of the tournament so far, #2 @Andree Parrilla took down #7 @Sebastian Fernandez in a battle of two of Mexico’s up and coming pros … and it went the distance. Final score: 14,11,(9),(14),9. Can’t get much closer than that.

In the Semis

  • #1 Montoya overpowered the veteran #20 Polo 5,7,13 to move into the final.
  • #6 DLR ground out a win over his IRT rival #2 Parrilla in four close games to return to the final for the first time in two years.
  • In the Finals, we had a rematch of the 2018 final, won by Montoya. The final was even better than the semi, with DLR rushing out to a 2-game lead and Montoya coming storming back to force the 5th game tiebreaker. After jumping out to a small lead, DLR ran off a slew of points to make a comeback nearly impossible and took the breaker 11-7. This is DLR’s 3rd Mexican National title since 2014.

Women’s Singles recap


Match Report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/AA60BE


The Women’s draw went completely chalk to the quarters, but that included for me a big upset win for #5 @DaniDaniela Rico over an under-seeded and under-rated #12 @Lucia Gonzalez in the 16s. Rico, who is the reigning Mexican 18U junior champ and still has a year of junior eligibility, got a career win over Lucia 12-10 in the fifth.
In the quarters…

  • #1 Longoria dominated #8 @JJessica Parrill , winning 9,5,3 in a match where Leoni got increasingly frustrated as the day went on.
  • #4 @Nancy Enriquez took out the upset minded Rico in four very close games 14,(13),13,14. Can’t get much closer than that in rally scoring.
  • #6 @Alexandra Herrera went the distance against her doubles partner #3 @Montse Mejia before advancing. A tough draw for both players but the champion of the last two LPRT events moves on.
  • #2 @Samantha Salas dominated against her long-time Mexican RivalSusy Acosta , winning 1,6,9.
    In the semis:
  • Longoria cruised into another final, topping Enriquez 2,7,7 in dominant fashion.
  • Herrera held serve against her veteran Mexican rival Salas, winning in four close games.

  • In the final, we get a rematch of the last two LPRT finals (both won by Herrera). Longoria makes her 9th straight final (and probably many more since our database of Mexican results only goes back to 2014) while we get a first time finalist in Herrera. The top to LPRT pros split the first two games 14 and (13), but then Longoria found a new gear and cruised to win the next two games comfortably 15-8, 15-8 to take the title.

Men’s Doubles
PRS report: http://rball.pro/B9F23A
The top 4 seeds held to the semis without any really notable matches in the early stages. Lets pick up the action from there.
In the semis: both top seeds advanced to the finals in hard fought four game matches. #1 Montoya/Mar topped #4 Parrilla/Fernandez from the top side, while the veterans #2 DLR/Beltran held off the youngsters #3 Trujillo/Hernandez in the bottom side.

In the final, we get a frequent matchup; this is a rematch of the 2021, 2020, and 2018 National final, and a frequent match seen on the IRT pro tour. However, unlike for the last few matchups in Mexican Nationals, the veterans topped the newcomers, with DLR/Beltran winning the final in 3 straight games to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018 and vanquishing the current reigning World Champions.


Women’s Doubles
PRS report: http://rball.pro/FFC344
As with the men, the top 4 seeds held to the semis without any really notable matches in the early stages. Lets pick up the action from there.
From the top, #1 Longoria/Salas were not troubled in their semi against #4 Aguilar/Lucia Gonzalez, winning in three games in dominant fashion. The bottom semi was closer, but #2 Herrera/Mejia held off the Parrilla/Ximena Gonzalez pairing in four.
In the final … a frequent rematch. This was the 2019 and 2020 Mexican Nationals final. These are also inarguably the top two teams on the LPRT right now and a frequently seen final (mostly won by the Longoria/Salas pairing save for a famous 2019 Open win by the younger pair).

The four top LPRT pros played a very spirited, passionate match. The 15-time champions took the first two games, but their younger rivals stormed back to take games 3 and 4. In the breaker, a number of arguable calls led to a back and forth affair, but a pair of long rallies wen the way of Longoria & Salas and they eked out the win 11-7 in the fifth.


Mixed Doubles
PRS report: http://rball.pro/6C0361
Mexican Nationals was the first major Mixed tournament to be competed, and it was a fun one.
The Semis were chalk with the top 4 seeds advancing, but the early rounds were not without some interesting matches.
From the top side, #5 @Alvaro Beltran and @Montse Mejia topped the veteran team of #12 @Polo Gutierrez andSusy Acosta in the 16s but fell to the Parrilla brother/sister combo in the quarters.
On the bottom side, the third seeded pairing of the two current pro #1s @DaniDaniel de la Rosa and @Paola Longoria played a dominant match to take out the dangerous looking team of Cardona/Lucia in the quarters 4,6,9.
In the semis…

  • #1 Montoya/Salas dropped the first game against the Parrillas, but held on for the win.
  • #3 DLR/Longoria split the first two with the Fernandez/Herrera team before turning on the pressure and taking the next two games to move into the final.
  • In the final…Both Longoria and De la Rosa were competing in their third final in a row … and frankly ran out of gas. After winning the first game, Montoya/Salas won the next three games to give them the inaugural Mixed title for their country. They prevent both #1 players from a historic treble on the weekend.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from the Rkt and @Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol

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 Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

Its the 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball Championships! Live from Bolivia, this is the annual international competition that will run over the next two weekends!

tags

Outdoor Cup Series Standings


The first Outdoor “major” is in the books. Beach Bash was a hit, and was well attended by one-wall specialists from the east coast, outdoor specialists from all-over, and by touring pros on both sides.


This was also the first of the three tournaments that will determine the winner of the 2022 Outdoor Cups. The Ladies cup series is sponsored by LPL Financial and the Men’s is sponsored by Kwm Gutterman , both companies run by huge racquetball enthusiasts and we thank them for their patronage.

Here’s the Cup standings after Beach Bash.

Women’s LPL Financial Cup Standings:

  1. Michelle De La Rosa, 355 pts
  2. Masiel Rivera, 245 pts
    3t. @Katie Neils, 212.5 pts
    3t. @Erika Manilla , 212.5 pts
  3. @Hollie Scott , 205 pts.
    Michelle De La Rosa, who would have won this competition last year if it existed, rightfully takes over the lead on the back of her Mixed Doubles title and finals finish in Pro Doubles. Rivera’s two second place finishes (in Singles and in Mixed) push her to 2nd place. Doubles partners Neils/Manilla, who took the Pro doubles title in an upset, tie for third place. Hollie Scott, despite winning the Singles draw, comes in fifth based on the small draw size in her win.
    Also In the running after the first event in 6-10th place include @Kelani Lawrence , @AAnita Maldonado , @Susan Stephen , @KKathy Guinan , and Aimee Roehler .

LPRT full cup standings Worksheet: https://docs.google.com/…/1gUgDx40hqxGPJydLNyUR…/edit…


The Men’s competitions at Beach Bash included more than 50 potential players who competed in one of Singles, Doubles, Mixed, or CPRT. After the first set of competitions, here’s the top 5:


Men’s KWM Gutterman Cup Standings:

  1. Daniel de la Rosa , 550 pts
  2. @Javier Mar, 510 pts
  3. Mario Mercado , 375 pts
    4t. @Eric Faro , 325 pts
    4t. @IIgnacio Espino , 325 pts
    DLR, as expected, takes two titles and opens up a lead at the top. He’ll be tough to beat as long as he continues to dominate Mixed with his wife. But, a chink in the armor on the pro doubles side as he and @Alvaro Beltran took an early upset. Javier Mar had an astounding re-introduction to outdoor, winning pro doubles with 3rd place Mercado and racing to the singles final. Mercado continues to show why he’s one of the best doubles players in the land and may be kicking himself for not entering mixed (where he always does well). Faro and Iggy may not be long for this leader board once Outdoor Nationals rolls around as one-wall Florida-based specialists, but they had a solid weekend, taking the CPRT draw.
    Rounding out the top 10 include Eduardo Portillo , @Robert Sostre, @Andres Acuna , Sebastian Franco , and then a tie for 10th by the CPRT finalists @MaxMax Heyman and @Seran Ramkissoon. So, lots of players lurking who will definitely be at the next two majors.


    Men’s Full cup standings Worksheet: https://docs.google.com/…/1HBH6v9KhPIuUkwYjjWlI…/edit…


    Next stop, Outdoor Nationals for the second leg of the “Road to Vegas.” the R2site for Outdoor Nationals is live now and signups have begun!
    @World Outdoor Racquetball
    @3WallBall Outdoor World Championships
    @3Wall Ball
    @Mino Keith
    @MC Vegas