USA Nationals Wrap-Up

Carson has a huge weekend, winning both his draws. Photo Portland 2019 via Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners and US National team qualifiers on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson over Alex Landa
  • Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla over Rhonda Rajsich
  • Men’s Doubles; Rocky Carson/Charlie Pratt
  • Women’s Doubles: Holly Scott/Kelani Lawrence
  • Mixed Doubles: Alex Landa/Michelle De La Rosa

    These players qualify to represent the USA at the upcoming 2022 World Games in August in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and at the 2023 Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC) to be held in April 2023 at a site yet to be announced. (Note: the 2022 World Games participants were determined from the finishes of last year’s Worlds).

R2 Sports App home page for event:

Lets review the draws and give out the direct links into the database for the full draws of results.
Men’s Singles Recap:
PRS Match Report:
Seeds held to the quarters (though #6 seed Thomas Carter was a no-show), with only one close match in the 16s, that being #7 Sam Bredenbeck going the distance to take out #10 Danny Lavely in five.
In the quarters, no real surprises as the top 3 seeds advanced. #5 Manilla got a mid-game injury retirement after #4 Horn pulled something in his leg.
In the semis; chalk. Manilla kept it close but #1 Carson won in three, while #2 Landa dominated #3 Bredenbeck to return to the US National team.

In the final, Carson secured his 9th ever US National title, most ever for American Men, by topping Landa in 4. Click here for a list of all National title winners across all countries.

Women’s Singles:
PRS Match Report:
7 of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarters without dropping a game; the sole upset by seed was #10 @Shane Diaz, who took out #7 seed @Graci Wargo in three.
In the quarters, chalk, as only one top four seed was extended by a game. Up and coming junior @Annie Roberts took a game off of Manilla, otherwise the top US women cruised into the semis as expected.
In the semis, Manilla was taken to 4 games but advanced past Scott, who continues to look for her first US title. On the bottom side, a big upset as #2 Lawrence (who had made the final of the last three nationals) was taken out by #3 Rajsich. These two had met as recently as the last LPRT stop, where Kelani dominated Rhonda, but the tables were turned today.
In the final, Manilla finished her official ascension to the top of US racquetball with her first National title, a dominant 7,8,1 win over Rhonda.
See here for a list of all US national titles.

Rajsich made her 13th national singles final, and guaranteed making the team yet again.

Men’s Doubles:
PRS Match Report:
The top 4 seeds advanced to the semis without dropping a game.
In the semis….chalk, but not without some excitement. #1 Carson/Pratt advanced in four over Manilla/Horn at the top, while #2 Bredenbecks’ staved off three match points in games 4 and 5 to shock the 2020 National titlists and tournament favorites Landa/Monchik 13-11 in the fifth.
In the final, the veterans dropped the first game but took the next three to repeat as champions, take their 3rd title together, and for Rocky secure his 13th US doubles title.

Click here for a list of all USA Men’s Doubles champs, dating to 1968:

Women’s Doubles:
PRS Match Report:
Seeded teams 1,2,3, and 5 advanced into the semis; the sole upset in the opening round was #5 @Lexi York/@Michelle De la Rosa taking out the #4 seeded U21 team of @Annie Roberts/@Alondra Canchola in four games.
In the semis, the #3 seeds scored a mini upset when the 2020 champions @Aimee roehler and @Erika Manilla upset the #2 seeds @Rhonda Rajsich/@Sheryl Lotts. The #1 seeded team of Scott/Lawrence, who eneted the event ranked #1 and #2 in USA Women’s doubles, dropped a game but advanced over York and De La Rosa.
In the final, #1 took out #3 in four games, giving Scott her first ever National doubles title.

Click here for a list of all USA Women’s Doubles champs dating to 1972.

Mixed Doubles:
PRS Match Report:
Seeded teams 1,2 and 4 advanced to the semis with relative ease, but a big upset in the 3/6 quarter final, as my pre-tournament favorites #3 @Sudsy Monchik and @Kelani Lawrence were upset 11-9 in the fifth by #6 @Sam Bredenbeck and @Lexi York.

In the semis and finals, seeds held to form as #1 Landa/De La Rosa took out the Manilla siblings to claim the first ever Mixed doubles USA crown.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters @Tony Prater and newly elected USAR Board President @Stuart Soloman , plus Team Dovetail’s @Kyle Artzman, who streamed the secondary court for us at home all weekend, plus a shoutout to everyone else who broadcast live off their phones.
Thanks to the Tourney Director and USAR National events coordinator Connor Shane for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on 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 ……/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Next weekend is the big Capital City WOR championships in Stratton Woods outside of DC, and then the week after is the big Supermax LPRT Grand Slam in Kansas City, the final event of the 2021-22 LPRT season.

We’ll recap Canadian Nationals tomorrow!


USA Nationals Preview

Can Sudsy double qualify at the age of 47? Photo 2020 USAR Doubles via Kevin Savory

Welcome to the 53rd Annual USA Racquetball National Singles championships!
2019 was the 52nd, then Covid knocked this event out for the last two years. Prior to that, it had been held every year since the first one in 1968 in Milwaukee.
But we’re back, and so are the players. 246 participants are entered in Texas, which is the highest National Singles turnout since 2016. That’s great news and a nice sign that perhaps tournament players are ready to come back.
The qualifying team draws are stacked, and the event should be a ton of fun with the inclusion of Mixed doubles and the return of some big names.

  • the national team qualifiers will play IRF rally scoring rules, including the “immediately stop on appeal” rule, as much as we may not like them. 3 out of 5 games to 11, win by 2.
  • the rest of the tournament still plays classical USAR rules.
  • Seedings were done in singles purely by rank, while Men’s/Women’s doubles gives priority to last year’s finalists if they have returned as a team. There’s no “last year” for Mixed, so its seeded entirely by rankings.

R2 Sports App link:

Lets preview the draws. I talked through the draws with @Sudsy Monchik on Monday 5/23/22 (see here for that link: )

So, I’ll do some quick predictions here instead of re-hashing an hour long conversation.

Men’s Singles
19 entered, headlined by last year’s finalists #1 @Rocky Carson and #2 Alex Landa .
There’s some intriguing round of 16 matches to watch for: look for close matches in the 8/9 Robbie Collins / Nick Riffel match, and in the 7/10 match between Sam Bredenbeck and Danny Lavely , an accomplished player who hasn’t played US Nationals in more than a decade.
In the quarters, a potential 4/5 match between @Bobby Horn and @Adam Manilla looks really tough; the two are doubles partners here and are also business partners in their new online training/coaching venture. I think Manilla gets the upset.

Semis and Finals: I’m going chalk, with a repeat of last year’s final between Carson and Landa. I can’t quite see either Manilla or Horn topping Rocky, nor can I see @Jake Bredenbeck beating Landa. Rocky to repeat, since getting onto the team is seemingly more important than winning the title.

Women’s Singles:
The US Women’s game has four top competitors in Manilla, Scott, Lawrence, and Rajsich … then a gap to the rest of the field. While there’s some compelling early rounders (Ros vs Roberts and Diaz vs Wargo in matches of rising juniors), the semis were always going to be the “big four” here.
Matchups matter: in the 1/4 Scott and Manilla will battle it out in a match that could go either way; the two have split their only two adult meetings, and despite Manilla’s run into the LPRT top 10 she lost badly in the last pro event. Meanwhile in the 2/3 matchup Lawrence has the upper hand against long-time rival Rajsich. Rhonda beat Kelani in 8 of their first 9 meetings, but Kelani has won the last three, including an 0,9 beating at the SC pro stop a few weeks ago.

Look for Manilla vs Lawrence in the final and a first ever national title for Manilla.

Men’s Doubles review
Last year’s finalists (Carson/Pratt and the Bredenbeck brothers) are back as the #1 and #2 seeds, with 2020’s champions (Monchik/Landa) pushed to #3. The Bredenbecks may be pushed a bit in the quarters against Diaz/Hansen; Diaz and Jake were long-time playing partners and know each other’s game well, but the seeds should hold to the semis.
In one semi, Manilla/Horn have a great shot at upsetting Carson/Pratt; all four players are accomplished veterans, cerebral on the court. In the other semi, we should see a return to the final for Monchik/Landa.

Finals prediction; a repeat of the 2020 semis, with Monchik/Landa topping Carson/Pratt in a tight one.

Women’s Doubles Preview:
This draw is all about who’s coming in second, because the #1 seed are the top two female doubles players in the land right now in Scott & Lawrence, and they’re going to win this draw.

The 2/3 semi to determine who makes the final will be intriguing, with Manilla and hall-of-famer Roehler (she the owner of 13 national doubles titles) taking on the veteran Rajsich and Lotts. I like Manilla/Roehler here to make the final, but not to realistically push Scott/Lawrence once t hey get there.

Mixed Doubles Preview
Perhaps the most fun draw to preview in a while, since there’s almost no history of these players playing mixed doubles at a high level. We just do not know how the teams will gel, who is better at Mixed than their ranking may indicate, and who isn’t.
The quarters will be interesting from the top down, with #1 Landa/De La Rosa getting challenged by Jake and Roehler and #2 Manilla Siblings projected to face veterans Diaz/Rajsich. While we could see some breakers here, i’d expect the top four seeds to the semis.
From there, we could see some upsets. I can see #4 Horn/Scott taking out Landa/mDLR, and I can see #3 Monchik/Lawrence topping the Manillas. But I can also see the reverse; we could see 1 v 2 in the final, or 3 v 4 in the final.

I’m picking Monchik/Lawrence to take it over Horn/Scott in the final.

Look for Streaming on USA Racquetball’s page, with a rotating crew of broadcasters for this event to include current USAR board member @Stuart Solomon at the lead.

We’ll preview the other big National event in Canada later this week, once they get through their RRs and have a knockout bracket set.

International Racquetball Tour
USA Racquetball

LPRT Sweet Caroline Open Recap

Jessica Parrilla returns to the pro semis for the first time in years. Photo US Open 2019 via Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Doubles; Alexandra Herrera/Jessica Parrilla
    Longoria reverses the script from the last two finals against Herrera and wins her 106th career LPRT tier1 event.
    See for a list of all LPRT singles tour winners
    Both Herrera and Parrilla get their second pro doubles title of the season, each done with different partners.
  • 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 32s:

  • I was shocked by Lotts’ 2,2 win over Meneses, considering that the Bolivian junior had bested Lotts handily the last two times they played. Lotts played lights out and took it to the up and coming Micha.
  • – Naomi Ros continues to look for a breakthrough win, playing Scott tough before losing 9,10

In the 16s:

  • Salas trounced Centellas in the 8/9 game 4,6. Centellas seems to be lost on the court lately.
  • Mendez forced to a breaker by Scott before advancing in a match that looked like an upset for a while.
  • MRR took Vargas to a breaker before falling.
  • Lawrence handed Rhonda a donut in the first before moving on.
  • – Biggest shock of the round: Munoz absolutely dominated Manilla 7,4 to move into the quarters. Manilla had been riding high all season but came out flat today.

In the Quarters

  • Longoria took out Salas in what is now the 2nd most frequent rivalry in tour history.
  • Mendez’ luck ran out as she was taken out by Parrilla, who amazingly returns to a Pro semifinal for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
  • Lawrence advanced to her first ever pro semi with a career win over Vargas in a close tie-breaker 11-9
  • – Herrera cruised past Munoz 7,2 to slide into the semis for the 7th time in her last 8 pro events.

In the Semis, the #1 and #2 players showed their dominance on tour, each winning their semi finals in dominant fashion; Longoria 2,6 over Parrilla, and Herrera 8,3 over Lawrence.

In the Finals, we got the third straight meeting of 1v2, and the fans got another compelling back and forth close match. This time though the GOAT Longoria prevailed in the breaker and ended Herrera’s 2-tourney win streak.

Points Implications of results
So, the 2022 SC event should expire off the 2020 KC and 2021 SC events (if they’re continuing to do a 12-month rolling calendar of points), which will mean a significant tightening at the top of the race for the top of the tour. But, with just one more LPRT event on the books, Longoria’s lead is insurmountable for the 2021-22 season, meaning irrespective of the KC events she will capture the year end title, which will be her 12th.
See this link for a list of all LPRT tour winners.…/lprt_year_end…
Herrera trails Longoria by a bit more than 500 points, which is a lot, but which represents her cutting that lead in half just since the last LPRT event thanks to the way the points work. A couple more good results for Alexandra and we’ll have a real good race for the 2022-23 title.

Elsewhere notable, Mendez should return to #4 by virtue of Gaby’s missing this event, and Barrios will drop a couple slots with her absence. Despite an early loss, Manilla will move up to #9 (her career best), and Lawrence’s big semis should propel her up to #11 (also her career best). It is good to have a couple of American’s returning to the top 10 just as the long-standing stalwart of American racquetball (Rajsich) begins her gradual falling out of the top 10.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database:
Herrera and Parrilla gave the Longoria/Salas team a rare pro doubles loss in the final, and game two wasn’t that close.
Four of the top US women’s doubles teams heading into US nationals all played with each other as practice for the event in Texas in two weeks:

  • Diaz/Ros took the veteran Roehler/Manilla team to a breaker
  • Roehler/Manilla lost to the #1 pro team Longoria/Salas 6,9
  • Scott/Lawrence took out the #4 seeds and took the #1 seeds to a breaker before losing
  • Rajsich/Lotts were unlucky to lose against the #2 seeds, going down 11-10.

Based on these results, Scott/Lawrence look like the team to beat.

Women’s Open, other draws
Centellas rebounded from a disappointing pro event to take the Women’s open title, downing Munoz and Amaya along the way. #1 Seed Meneses lost to Amaya 7,2, another shocking result that indicates to this observer that something was amiss with Micha this weekend.

Maurice Miller cruised to the Men’s Open title as the #1 seed, topping Alabama #1 Destry Everhart in the final. However Miller couldn’t convert the Men’s open double, losing the doubles final with his twin brother Marquis to Everhart playing with Shane Karmelin.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and @Tj Baumbaugh]

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 ……/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
We have a rare break in the calendar next weekend… then the final weekend of the month is Nationals! US in Texas, Canada in Brossard.

IRT New York Open Recap

Kane was cruising towards another title before court conditions halted play. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winner on the weekend … well, there was no Pro winner this weekend. For just the 2nd time in recorded pro tour history, an event was started but not completed. #1 Daniel de la Rosa and #7 Kane Waselenchuk had just finished game one of the singles final when the viewers saw them talking with the IRT commissioner @Pablo Fajre on the court … and then we saw nothing but commercials for what seemed like 10 minutes straight before the feed cut out. We eventually got the explanation; wet courts and safety concerns.

IRT statement on the situation:

It’s a bummer, because Kane was as dialed in as I’ve ever seen him this weekend and had just taken the first game 15-4. But, the court conditions (which by all accounts were already sketchy all tournament) turned unbearable after an HVAC issue overnight turned the courts into skating rinks. The players will split the points and money, and we’ll have a ? for the winner in the database for the rest of time.

What was the other IRT tournament that never finished? That would be the 2005 Summer Cooler traditional season opener that used to happen in New Orleans every season. But in August 2005 … Hurricane Katrina bore down on the town and the players had to get out of town after completing the quarters on Friday night. The tourney was never finished, Katrina decimated the area … and there’s never been another tournament in New Orleans since.

R2 Sports App home page for event:

Lets review the notable matches in the Pro Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database:

In the 128s and 64s: Here were some of the eye-brow raising results for me in the first day of qualifying:

  • Bravo to the traveling Ecuadorian pros, who fared very well this weekend. Cueva won a round before losing to Horn, and Ugalde made the round of 32s before playing Fernandez tough and losing 13,10.
  • Bolivian junior Ezequiel Subieta got two solid qualifier wins over Warigon and Salvatierra before falling to Garay.
  • Flight issues took Cardona out of the event, giving Iwaasa a clearer path to the 32s.
  • – Mexican junior Guillermo Ortega Jr. got a couple of solid wins over established international pros Gomez and Cuevas to get into the 32s.

In the 32s:

  • Horn upset #9 Jake Bredenbeck with relative ease 7,10.
  • #12 Manilla was pushed to a 11-9 breaker by Guatemalan Galicia
  • Acuna and Iwaasa played a very close match, with Acuna advancing 10,14. Iwaasa could absolutely be a mid-teen ranked player on tour if he played regularly.
  • Bolivian junior qualifier Hector Barrios got the biggest win of the round, taking out #10 Franco 14,11.
  • Another top 16 seed upset was #15 Robbie Collins, taken out by the young Mexican Ortega.

Three qualifiers into the round of 16.

In the 16s:

  • #1 DLR calmed the upstart #16 Alonso
  • Underseeded Horn gave Mercado everything he could handle.
  • #12 Manilla took out another top 8 player, this time the #5 seeded Portillo in a breaker.
  • Fernandez was just a couple points away from an upset of #4 Landa … but couldn’t convert and Landa squeaks by 14,13.
  • Murray and Garay played a close game one, and a not-so close game 2 as the Canadian advances 13,0.
  • #6 Moscoso made fast work of his oft-difficult rival Acuna 6,4
  • #7 Waselenchuk put on a clinic against the young Bolivian Barrios, winning 3,5
  • – #2 Parrilla was made to work for it by his young Mexican rival Ortega, but advanced 9,12.

In the Quarters

  • DLR held off the mercurial Mercado in a breaker.
  • Landa cruised past Manilla in two.
  • Murray put another loss on Moscoso. This is the third time in five meetings that Murray has controlled Moscoso and put a loss on him, something that observers continually seem shocked by.
  • – Waselenchuk made a statement against Parrilla, donuting him in the first and ensuring that there would e no repeat of Atlanta.

In the Semis

  • DLR survived match point against his long-time rival Landa and moved into the final.
  • Waselenchuk crushed his Canadian rival Murray 1,1 in another statement win.

In the Finals … as mentioned above Kane was cruising. DLR’s points all came on aces or service winners, which is a difficult strategy to maintain when that’s the only way you can score.

Points Implications of results
Kane and DLR split the points, getting 350 each, which doesn’t make much of a change in the standings. The top 8 should stay the same after this event, which expires the 2020 Lou Bradley.
DLR (who didn’t play the Lou Bradley in 2020) only expands his lead at the top of the points; he now leads #2 Parrilla by 1400 points, a huge margin. The rest of the top 8 tightens: the difference between #2 and #8 is now less than 500 points, and we’ll see some major jostling in the 2-7 spots after every event going forward.

Acuna should rise to #11, his career best. Manilla should also see a big jump to #12. Beltran will drop, possibly to #15 by virtue of his absence here and expiring points. The other big mover will be Alonso, who will jump from in the 30s to in the 20s.

Men’s Open and other draws

  • Men’s Open Singles had 33 players, and the final featured two veteran international competitors in Canada’s Iwaasa and Ecuador’s Ugalde. They played the “perfect” match, with Iwaasa winning 14,(14),10.
  • Men’s Open Doubles featured more of the tour regulars with no pro doubles component, and the competition was fierce. The final was won by Acuna/Alonso topping Fernandez/Ortega Jr in two close games. Great event for Ortega jr.
  • – The U21 was a new event here, with players representing SEVEN different countries competing. In the end #1 seeded Bolivian Hector Barrios took out #2 Cuevas in the final, but lots of top young players competed and fared well.

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

Next up?
We’ll recap the LPRT event tomorrow, then talk about what’s next on the calendar

IRT NY Open Preview

Fernandez gets a #13 seed; can he get a first round upset? Photo US Open 2019 via Kevin Savory

After a couple year’s hiatus, the IRT returns to Long Island for the 2022 New York Open.
The tournament has a rich 47-man draw, including a ton of players we don’t normally see on tour, which I’ll call out in the “interesting matches to watch” section below.
Top20 players missing: #8 Carson misses a rare event; he went nearly 20 years without missing a tournament. Word is he’s avoiding the cross-country trip ahead of Nationals. #11 Beltran is not here; he was clearly hurt at the last tournament and has mentioned he won’t play in tournaments that don’t have doubles anymore. #13 Keller misses his second straight pro event. #16 Montoya is not here, nor is #17 Carter (a rare tourney missed as well). Interestingly #20 Trujillo, who was making a big move, is missing the event after a strong run. Maye he has finals.

All these missing top seeds have meant that Fernandez is finally out of the 16/17 seed range and can get a more winnable first rounder, and Mercado gets a top8 protected seed, among other players ranked in the teens moving up.

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

  • Arteaga vs Ecuadorian national team member Cuevas should be interesting.
  • Sam Kelley versus Canadian national team member Leduc is a solid match.
  • Another Ecuadorian Ugalde takes on Cubillos in an intriguing all-South American match.
  • toughest first rounder: Canadian #2 Iwaasa versus the very good Joe Kelley.
  • Gomez vs Ortega Jr could be interesting too.
  • Bravo to all the NY local players who entered and will duke it out in this round of 128. Punjari, Puggioni, Galvez, Sullivan, Meguerditchian, and Behm all representing the tri-state area.

In the round of 64, we have some projected battles worth watching:

  • Floridian Zamudio versus Galicia could be great.
  • Ugalde versus Sam Kelley would be a good match.
  • Warigon versus the Guatemalan #1 Salvatierra would be great.
  • Iwaasa once again is in the toughest potential match of the round, projecting to face Cardona. Both these guys can make the 16s with the right draw, but one is going home in the 64s.
  • – Young Bolivian Barrios gets a test against veteran Wer.

Projecting the 32s:

  • #16/17 Alonso vs Zelada. Alonso has been on fire, but Zelada is no slouch. A nice test for the Mexican who has been hot lately.
  • #9 Bredenbeck vs Horn; all American matchup sends one team USA member home early. In their WRT peaks i’d favor Horn, but now i’m favoring Jake.
  • The best projected match of this round will be #11 Acuna versus the winner of Cardona/Iwaasa. Acuna should hold serve against both players, but both will press him as better than their seedings.
  • – #15 Robbie Collins is the most vulnerable of the 9-16 seeds, but the winner of Cuevas/Behm/Gomez/Ortega Jr quadrant may not have enough firepower to do so.

round of 16:

  • I Like DLR-Alonso for some fireworks. Alonso can score some points, but DLR will advance.
  • I think #9 Jake upsets #8 Mercado with better current form.
  • Can #13 Fernandez upset #4 Landa? Yeah, I think he can, especially if Landa gets off to a slow start. Fernandez has the explosive game to press Landa unless he’s 100%.
  • #14 Garay has the firepower to top Murray but will need to play a complete match. Murray is a model of consistency and rarely loses to upstarts.
  • #6 Moscoso vs #11 Acuna: these two always play close.
  • – If Kane shows up, he has a straightforward winnable first rounder against Franco.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 DLR over #9 Jake.
  • #5 Lalo over Landa/Patata winner; i think Lalo is poised to take the next step and Landa is beginning to show some wear and tear. If Sebastian gets the upset win, I still think Portillo can top him in a battle of 20-somethings.
  • #6 Moscoso over #3 Murray, even though Murray has a number of wins over the Bolivian in their career. It nearly always goes breaker.
  • #7 Kane over #2 Andree. Again, if he shows. This would be a rematch of the epic 11-10 Andree win from Atlanta in January.
  • #1 DLR over #5 Lalo; Lalo doesn’t have what it takes to beat DLR yet.
  • #7 Kane over #6 Conrrado. But, if Kane no-shows I like Andree over Conrrado in a rematch of two weeks ago.
  • Finals;
  • – If he shows, Kane takes out DLR in a highly anticipated matchup of the current #1 and the long-time #1. If its DLR vs Parrilla, its a rematch of last week, a easy DLR win. If its DLR- Moscoso? Tough one: DLR has the better game and Moscoso would need a game-plan/strategy to counter it.

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!
@International Racquetball Tour

LPRT Sweet Caroline Grand Slam preview

Meneses gets a winnable round of 32; can she capitalize? Photo Severna park 2021 via Ken Fife

The LPRT is back in South Carolina, and at the club that houses their Hall of Fame. Legendary 70s player Shannon Wright is set to be inducted this weekend, and the ladies pros will compete for one of the largest purses of the season.
There’s a relatively small draw this weekend, but the absences will give us a compressed draw with new and exciting matchups.

Top20 players missing include #4 Gaby Martinez, #5 Angelica Barrios, #7 Montse Mejia, #11 Laime (weird b/c she can drive to SC). So the top 8 seeds all get bumped up a ton.

Lets preview the draw.

Round of 32: we have 5 play-in matches, with a couple of compelling ones:

  • #16/17 @Michaela Meneses vs @Sheryl Lotts: the Bolivian youngster gets a great test against a long-time touring USA pro.
  • #12/#21 @Nancy Enriquez vs @Naomi Ros. I like Ros to really push her veteran countrywoman in this one. Upset alert.

– #14/#19 MRR vs Riveros: an international flavor match between two long-time touring Vets. Riveros has not played a ton lately; can MRR get the win and hold serve?

Round of 16: notables i’m looking forward to:

  • #8/#9 Centellas vs Salas: two players who have both not gotten recent results they want. I suspect Salas’ power is the favorite here; what can Centellas do to reverse her recent slide?
  • #5/#12 Parrilla/Enriquez: they’ve traded blows and wins against each other over the last year. who wins here?
  • #4 Mendez vs #13 Scott: this is the perfect kind of match for Scott to try to make a statement; can she press the Argentinian?
  • #6/#11: Rajsich vs Lawrence; a rematch of multiple US nationals matches over the past few years; Lawrence is the favorite irrespective of seed.

– #7/#10 Manilla vs Munoz; they’ve never played in a top-level match. Manilla is the favorite based on form and recent results.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Longoria over #8 Salas for the 57th time on tour.
  • #4 Mendez over #5 Parrilla
  • #3 Vargas over #10 Lawrence; they’ve played some close games but there’s still a bit of a gulf between them.
  • #2 Herrera over #7 Manilla; they met in the 32s twice last year … this time should be different. Upset watch.
    Semis: chalk: #1 Longoria over #4 Mendez, #2 Herrera over #3 Vargas.

Finals; Can Herrera make it three in a row? I think so.

Doubles review

All kinds of weird teams in the pro doubles this time around, as missing players change the regulars. #1 Longoria/Salas are still there, but I like #3 Herrera/Parrilla to make the final and push them.

Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

IRT SoCal Open Recap

DLR wins his 8th career title. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your pro singles winner Daniel de la Rosa for his win in Canoga Park on Saturday 4/30/22.

He secures his 8th career Tier1 title, which moves him into a tie for 13th all time with newly inducted Hall of Famer John Ellis . 12th on the list is 1981-82 pro tour champion and fellow Hall of Famer @Dave Peck , who won 11 tier1 titles.

See this link for a list of all 42 historical Tier1 IRT pro tourney winners:

R2 Sports App home page for event:

Lets review the notable matches in the Pro Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database:

In the 128s and 64s:

  • Great showing this weekend from Bolivian Junior @Hector Barrios, who won twice on Thursday, including an upset of IRT regular @Erick Cuevas Fernandez, to get into the round of 32.
  • @Alejandro Cardona ‘s return to the IRT started out well, with two quick wins over seeded competition.
  • @Jim Douglas secured his first career IRT win in the round of 128, taking out @Brad Levine in a breaker.

In the 32s, some big upsets.

  • #17 upset #16 when @Sebastian Fernandez took out @Thomas Carter in two. Patata can’t seem to get out of the #16 seed at IRT events and will shoot for the big upset on Friday.
  • #9 Mario Mercado almost fell to former IRT touring pro @David “Bobby” Horn, but outlasted him 11-8 in the breaker. Its hard to win three matches in a day.
  • #21 @Jordy Alonso got the biggest upset of the day, continuing his excellent streak of play lately and beating #12 @Sebastian Franco in two 6,13. Alonso is making a statement lately, now with wins in the last few months over Horn, Franco, and Bredenbeck.
  • Cardona made quick work of a hobbled #11 @Alvaro Beltran 13,2 to move into the round of 16
  • #18 Mexican junior phenom @Erick Trujillo staved off match point against in game two versus #15 fireballer @Eduardo Garay, then raced to a 11-3 tiebreaker win. Trujillo continues to get solid wins against solid pros.

In the 16s, two upsets by seeds and a couple other notable matches:

  • #8 @Rocky Carson made quick work of #9 @Mario Mercado 6,11 in the 8/9 spot that generally sees really competitive matches. Mercado won his first Tier 1 recently, but has scuffled as of late both professionally and internationally.
  • #13 @Adam Manilla got one of the best wins of his career, topping #4 Alejandro Landa in an 11-8 tiebreaker.
  • #3 @Andree Parrilla was pushed to the edge by the improving @Andres Acuna but prevailed 10,14
  • #6 @Conrrado Moscoso shook off the jet lag after falling behind big in the first, then raced to a two game win over Cardona 14,4.
  • In the always competitive 7/10 match, #7 @Eduardo Portillo took a solid win over #10 @Jake Bredenbeck in a tiebreaker
  • #2 @Kane Waselenchuk was a no-show, reportedly having “flight issues,” which gave Mexican reigning 18U World champion @Erick Trujillo a walkover into the quarters, his career best.

In the Quarters

  • #1 @Daniel de la Rosa reversed his previous result against #8 Carson, topping him in a breaker. These two had met in the last event at this juncture and Carson upset the #1 player; not this time.
  • #5 @Samuel Murray cruised past the upset-minded Manilla in two games. It is difficult to come back after a career win and compete in the next round, especially when its just a few hours later.
  • #3 Parrilla showed pretty sturdy mental game against #6 Moscoso, coming back from 10-0 down in the first to win 15-12. He then ground out a 15-13 game two win against the talented Bolivian to get a really solid win and move into the semis.
  • #7 Lalo put his foot down against his junior Mexican rival, topping Trujillo 8,4 in a dominant showing to move into the semis.

In the Semis

  • #1 DLR improved to 5-1 lifetime against Murray, playing a solid match to advance despite Murray’s best acrobatic efforts 13,9.
  • #3 Parrilla played a masterful tactical match against #7 Portillo, frustrating his young San Luis Potosi rival to advance 8,8.

In the Finals, DLR improved to 9-2 career against Andree and took care of business, driving the action and out playing Parrilla en route to a comfortable 8,11 win.

Points Implications of results

The IRT for the time being is doing the ranks on a rolling 11 Tier1 basis, dropping the lowest Tier1 showing and any other events that add up to more than 11 played events. That means this tournament “retires” two Jan 2020 events, where DLR had a win and a final, so he had 700 points to defend. This means his lead at the top will shrink, but he will remain #1 by a sizeable margin.

The big move will be Kane dropping; he had a win in Austin in January 2020 to defend, and earned zero points here, so he’ll drop at least a few spots (my projection shows him dropping to #5 on tour). This means that Parrilla will ascend back to the #2 spot, Landa moves up to #3, and Murray to #4.

Men’s Open Singles and Doubles draws
No pro doubles here, so a lot of the non top 8 also entered Open Singles … and then a lot of them dropped out, giving a bad look with a ton of WBF-ns on the sheet. Four of the top 8 seeds forfeited out at the round of 16.
The semis featured a very international flavor, with two Bolivians, a Guatemalan, and a Colombian competing. Bolivian 16U payer @Ezequel Subieta took out Colombian vet @SeSet Cubillos in one semi, while Mexican youngster @Miguel Arteaga Guzman got a walkover against Guatemalan vet @Juan Jose Salvatierra in the other. The final thus was #15 versus #16, with Arteaga taking out Subieta 11-10 in a thrilling match.
In Open Doubles, seeds held to the semis, which was full of IRT touring regulars. #1 Garay/Franco (a good representation of the top Colombian doubles team) beat the young team of Trujilo/Rodriguez in one semi, while the excellent pairing of Acuna/Alonso topped the NorCal duo of Antone/Horn.

In the final, Acuna/Alonso prevailed over the hard hitting Colombians, winning easily 13,5.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer and Leo Vazquez , who flew in specially for this event. We also got to see a ton of streaming from @JTRB , thanks as always for all you do. Thanks also to @Wayne Antone who did some great work on the mike and reffing.

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 ……/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

We have a break next weekend, then on the 5/15 weekend both pro tours are back in action. IRT is in NYC, while LPRT has its Grand Slam in South Carolina.