LPRT Paola Longoria Grand Slam Preview

Manilla has a career high seeding. Photo 2021 US Open via Kevin Savory


Welcome to the 2022-23 LPRT season! The LPRT starts off with a bang; a Grand Slam season opener and a return to tournament racquetball in Mexico.
For three years running, from 2017-19, the “Paola Longoria Experience” was held in her hometown of San Luis Potosi as a kickoff tournament for the tour each season, but then Covid hit and the tournament took three years off. But we’re back, and this time the tournament is being held 100 miles west of SLP in the town of Aguascalientes.
R2 Sports App link:https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39838
Perhaps due to fixture congestion, the draw for the opener is way down, with just 21 players entered (by way of comparison, the Supermax GS in Kansas City in June had 25% more players with a 28-person draw). A huge chunk of the ladies tour is qualified for Worlds, taking place the starting next weekend in SLP proper, and its likely that many decided not to add a week to their next trip. Understandable.

As a result, this event is missing 6 of the top 20 players in the world: #3 Vargas (pregnant), #5 Gaby, #9 Rajsich (which is odd; she’s missed just 3 events in her entire career!), #12 Lawrence, #13 Laime, and #16 Scott all are out of this draw, which will give us a ton of elevated seeds and solid opportunities for lower ranked players. Most of the American national team is missing the event, which could have been a nice tune-up for Worlds.

Lets preview the singles draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that I’m looking forward to:

The round of 32 features 5 relative unknowns playing 5 regular LPRT players. We may see some upsets, but not likely as the LPRT veterans advance.

Round of 16: there are a few compelling matches:

  • In the usually competitive 8/9 seed game, we get two players in Carla Munoz and @Samantha Salas Solis who have had some battles in the past. Some of Munoz’s best ever wins have come at the hands of Salas, so she’ll be confident. Salas saw her ranking dip out of the top 10 last season, but she finished strong with a semis appearance in Kansas City. Great match here. I’m leaning Munoz to win here.
  • Long-time international rivals #3 Natalia Mendez and #14 Cris Amaya are set to meet for the 8th time in all competitions. Mendez leads h2h 5-2.
  • #6 @Jessica Parrilla takes on #11 Maria Renee Rodriguez. MRR is a long-time tour competitor and will seek a top10 win for her resume.

– In the 7/10 matchup, we get a very competitive match between @Montse Mejia and Valeria Centellas . Mejia is undefeated against the Argentinian in her career, and as I frequently intone has the talent to be in the top 4 on tour, but needs consistent attendance and consistent performances.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 and tournament namesake @Paola Longoria should advance over the Salas/Munoz winner.
  • A great match is projected between #4 Erika Manilla and newly crowned World Games champ #5 @Angelica Barrios. These two met in Vero Beach, a two game win for Erika, and I’d expect the same here, but under-rate Barrios at your peril.
  • Upset watch for #6 Parrilla over #3 Mendez: these two met in South Carolina and that’s exactly what Leoni did. She’s finally back into the top 10 consistently after her knee injury and will look to stay there.
  • #2 Alexandra Herrera projects to meet her long-time doubles partner Mejia in the quarters. They’ve met more than a few times, and Herrera has taken their last couple of meetings, but Mejia is arguably the better player, but needs to overcome the mental aspect of playing her friend and partner. Based on where these two are right now, i’m going with the lefty.
    Semis projection:
  • Longoria over Manilla: this is becoming somewhat of a famous matchup, and many see Manilla as a leading rival to take down Longoria. Can Erika take a big step here? The game plan for beating Paola has been demonstrated by Herrera recently; simply put, don’t make errors. Easier said than done.
  • Herrera over Parrilla: I still think there’s a huge gap from the top 2 players to the rest of the tour, and see no reason not to predict a 1v2 final.

Finals: Longoria wins her namesake tourney and starts off the season with the upper hand against her primary rival for the 2022-23 title.

Doubles review
There’s 8 doubles teams here … with some new teams competing thanks to regular partners missing. However, the top 2 seeds are the regular dominant teams of Longoria/Salas and Herrera/Mejia. It is difficult not to predict another final between these two teams, who have been battling for pro and National titles regularly for years.
I am intrigued by #3 seeds Manilla/Parrilla: both have regular partners at this point (Scott and Perez respectively), and it should be interesting to see how they play together. Both are great doubles players.

In the final i’ll go chalk, with Longoria/Salas raising another doubles title together.

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!

Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. The winner each week gets free swag!

LPRT
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Alex Landa Open Recap

Landa wins the Landa Open. Photo from 2020 USAR National doubles by Kevin Savory


Here’s a recap of the excellent satellite IRT event from this past weekend in Juarez.
Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • IRT Singles: Andree Parrilla
  • Open Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya & Javier Mar
  • IRT21 Singles: Erick Trujillo

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39837

Lets review the notable matches in the Pro Singles draw.
Not too many surprises before the quarters; Cuevas got a walkover against Christian Longoria, @Jordy Alonso was a no-show, giving Diego Gastellum a pass into the 16s, otherwise the top players advanced.
In the 16s,

  • Andree Parrilla took out former WRT #1 Alex Cardona in two games.
  • Gastellum got a marquee win, topping Cuevas to get to the quarters.
  • Rodrigo Montoya handled former Mexican national champ Polo Gutierrez in two, a solid win against a very tough opponent.
  • Alvaro Beltran went breaker to top the under-rated Jaime Martell (who I thought would get this upset).
  • #2 and tournament namesake @Alex Landa had his typical slow start and dropped a game to Sebastian Hernandez before advancing.

All in all, only a couple of minor surprises into the quarters.

In the Quarters

  • #1 Parrilla handled the upstart Gastellum in two to advance to the semis.
  • #4 Montoya blitzed #5 Sebastian Fernandez , donuting him in the first to advance in two. Kind of a shocking result honestly.
  • “The Kid” Erick Trujillo took out the Veteran @Alvaro Beltran in a breaker. It looked like it would be a two game win, but Beltran had a huge comeback in game two to force the breaker, where Trujillo ran away with it 11-2. Another excellent result for the reigning 18U Mexican national (and World) champ.

– Landa made a statement against his long-time Mexican rival @Javier Mar, taking game one 15-1 and holding on for a two-game win.

The Semis went chalk:

  • #1 Parrilla, who has a losing record in tier1s against his long-time rival Montoya, flipped the script and took out Rodrigo in a breaker. After saving match points against in game two, Parrilla blew out the breaker 11-1 to win.
  • #2 Landa won two close games against the upstart Trujillo to move into the final.

In the Finals, it was a tale of streaks between the two top seeds. Landa cruised to a game one win, then Parrilla ran of a ton of points straight to win game two … then Landa blew it out in game three 11-1 to take the title in his home town tourney.

Open Doubles review
The doubles draw was relatively chalk into the finals, where the two top seeds of IRT veterans (#1 Montoya/Mar and #2 Landa/Beltran) were set to meet.

In the final, the #1 seeds took a close game one win, then cruised to a two game victory and the title.

IRT 21 Singles results:

  • #1 Trujillo advanced to the final from the top half, but not before getting pressed by Luis Renteria , who is playing in his age 17 season.
    The bottom half featured a big run of upsets by @Jose Ramos (who holds 6 junior Mexican titles himself and just matriculated out of 18U), who topped both Orteaga and Cuevas with relative ease to make the final.

In the final, Ramos gave Trujillo everything he could handle, and it went down to the wire, with Trujillo taking a thrilling 11-10 win.

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

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…/

there’s a break in the schedule on the 8/7 weekend, then 8/15 marks the first pro tournament since May, with the LPRT returning to Mexico for a grand slam kickoff to their new season.

tags
International Racquetball Tour