US Open Preview!

can DLR defend his U S Open title? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

We’re at the US Open, the biggest event of the year.

I wrote up a huge preview for @USA Racquetball with “odds” of winning for each of the two pro singles draws, so I don’t want to write a ton here. Instead, go to the below link, open the Event Program, and read it there. The program has a TON of useful information on top of what i’ve written.…/19/US-OPEN-Program-Daily-Racquet

In this post, i’ll talk about some of the matchups I’m looking forward to in the opening rounds of the draws (i.e., Wednesday and Thursday), then i’ll cruise through some players to watch with some light predict ions.

IRT Singles:

I think your 128 and 64 round qualifiers will be:

– #17 Sebastian Fernandez , who continues to be “stuck” right in that 16/17 seed range, making it tough on him to move forward in main draws.

Rodrigo Rodriguez , who I think will get a win over former IRT touring pro and veteran Costa Rican Felipe Camacho

– Erick Cuevas fresh off his Mexican Junior Nationals appearance, who I think will top Maryland’s @Troy Warigon . But this could go either way.

– 9-time Junior national champion Jordan Barth, who is playing his first top-level racquetball to urnament in 5 years.

– Jaime Martell to take out talented USA junior @CCole Send .

– @MoMo Zelada to take out tough Colombian player @Andres Gomez.

– Former WRT top pro @Alejandro Cardona to take out Guatemalan veteran Christian Wer.

– Mexican Junior phenom @Erick Trujillo

– Last week’s IRT finalist #19 seed @Javier Mar, who I think will have another surprising run here.

– New Jersey tough lefty Joe Kelley over Arteaga

– USA national team member Sam Bredenbeck over Mexican junior @EzEzequiel Subieta

– Bolivian turned Argentinian @Diego Garcia to upset IRT regular @RoRobbie Collins

– @Sam Sam Brede , who looked so good at Worlds playing doubles.

– Veteran Bolivian power player @Kadim Carrasco

– Guatemalan regular Edwin Galicia

– Atlanta’s own and USAR board member Maurice Miller

– #18 Team Zurek member Eduardo Garay .

From there, here’s some of the round of 32 matches i’m looking forward to:

– 16/17 @Rodrigo Montoya vs Fernandez: two of the most athletic guys on tour battling it out. Could go either way.

– #9 Jake Bredenbeck versus former 9-time national junior champ Jordan Barth could be an interesting matchup of fellow Minnesota natives who have met plenty in local events in the past.

– #12 Andres Acuña versus Zelada; these two just met in Maryland, and Zelada upset the Costa Rican with relative ease. Could he do it again?

– #13 @Carlos Keller Vargas vs Trujillo; this could be a real interesting meeting, and an upset watch.

– #4 Eduardo Portillo versus Cardona: Cardona can and will score points against his young Mexican rival.

– #14 @AlvAlvaro Beltran cannot be happy about seeing Mar feeding into his round of 32 match.

– #11 Sebastian Franco projects to face a very tough former Junior world champion in Garcia.

– #15 @TThomas Carter versus Garay is an upset to look for.

In the 16s, a couple of possible upsets to look for:

– #1 Daniel de la Rosa versus Montoya; not the round of 16 that DLR would want; Montoya can win this.

– #5 @Alex Landa vs Acuna; if this comes to pass, these two have quite a bit of history.

– #19 Mar vs #3 @SSamuel Murray , a rematch of the semis from the Maryland IRT event, won by Mar.

– #7 Rocky Carson vs #10 @Adam Manilla , who I wonder if he could get an upset win.

My semis: DLR, Portillo, Parrilla, Moscoso. I think Lalo can beat Landa again, I think Moscoso takes care of Mar (though if Murray advances, Moscoso could be in trouble).

My final: Moscoso over Portillo.


Men’s Doubles:

15 teams are here, but the top 4 seeded teams have really separated themselves in both pro and international competitions oer the past year.

I like #4 Moscoso/@Roland Keller to upset the #1 DLR/Beltran team, #2 Montoya/Mar over Parrilla/Murray, and to eventually win the title.


Ladies Singles

31 Ladies entered into the singles draw.

In the 32s … look for some tough openers:

– #16 Cristina Amaya draws #17 @Nancy Enriquez in a super tough opener for both these long-time LPRT vets.

– #5 @Jessica Parrill gets USA national @Lexi York , who has been training with the Bredenbecks and will be a tough out.

– #14 @Maria RMaria Renee Rodriguez gets the tough Bolivian veteran @Jenny Daza in an upset watch.

– #15 @Sheryl Lotts takes on Bolivian junior national champ @MMicaela Meneses in a fun one for both players.

In the 16s:

– 8/9 @Brenda Laime vs US national team member Kelani Lawrence could be a barn burner. Laime famously took out Longoria in Virginia, while Lawrence only exited at the hands of eventual winner Herrera 14,14.

– #5 Parrilla vs #12 @Valeria Centella could be closer than Leoni prefers.

– #4 @NNatalia Mendes draws Gaby in an upset watch by seed.

– #3 US National champ @EErika Manilla will have her hands full with Daza.

– US National Hollie Scott has to come up with a game plan to beat the consistent Bolivian @AngelAngelica b .

– Salas-Munoz is a frequently seen matchup lately, with the two players splitting wins

My semis: Longoria, Martinez, Barrios, Herrera. I don’t think Laime can win twice in a row, I think Gaby takes out Leoni, I think Barrios upsets Erika, and I think Herrera beats either Salas/Munoz.

My final: 1 vs 2, with Longoria securing the biggest title in the sport.


Ladies Doubles Preview:

The absence of Mejia robs the draw of the Herrera/Mejia team that would normally press for the title. In their absence, I think #1 Longoria/Salas cruise to the title. They’ll likely face the most recent LPRT pro double champions from Virginia Lawrence/Scott in the semis, a fun match. On the bottom, Herrera replaces Mejia with excellent doubles player Parrilla and will make the final.


Follow USA Racquetball, IRT, LPRT on FB to get live streaming updates.

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

@International Racquetball Tour


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2022 IRT Capital Classic Recap

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Eduardo Portillo

– Doubles; Adam Manilla and Jake Bredenbeck

Portillo becomes the 43rd man to ever win a Tier 1 pro tournament, following on recent first time winners Mario Mercado (Nov 2021), and Samuel Murray (Jan 2021). See for a full list of the 43 players to win Tier 1s.

Meanwhile, Manilla/Jake win an upset-laden pro doubles event, giving the lefty American his first ever pro doubles title and Jake his second.

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 128s and 64s:

– No major surprises for me; #18 seed @JoJordy Alon had visa issues that prevented him from traveling, robbing the draw of a potential darkhorse.

– This gave #21 Kyle Ulliman a bye into the round of 32, after escaping Maryland local player @BeBen Bleyer by the skin of his teeth, 11-10.

– All the other 7 top seeds escaped the early rounds unscathed.


In the 32s the two notable results for me were:

– Local fan favorite @MMauricio Zela getting a huge upset win over #11 @Andres Acuña 13,12. Acuna has been putting himself into the conversation for months with his excellent play, but was taken out by Maryland-based Zelada.

– #15 @Adam Manilla got a very solid win over #23 @Jaime Marte , dominating action 9,6 to move on.

– all your other top seeds advanced at this juncture, mostly in two fast games. We’re definitely starting to see some separation in the 9-16 players as compared to the 17-onwards players on tour.


In the 16s, some fireworks.

#17Javier Mar got a very rare 17-over-1 seed upset of #1 @Andree Parrilla , 10,11. How Rare? Since 2008 (when we started capturing seeds on tour), only three other times a 17 seed has topped a #1 seed … and they were all forfeit wins. We’ve had some 16-over-1 wins here and there, but never a 17-over-1.

see for the “Highest Seed to…” report for some fun data.

– #5 Conrrado Moscoso took out his countryman @Carlos Keller Vargas 10,14, a frequent tipping point for these two players, who know each other’s game so well.

– #3 @Alex Landa survived 11-10 against @Rodrigo Montoya Solis , a match I thought might go the other way in my prediction piece.

– #10 Adam Manilla crushed #7 Mario Mercado 9,6 on essentially Mario’s home courts. Manilla really looked solid this weekend.

– #2 Kane Waselenchuk took some time to get going against #15 @Thomas Carter , giving up 10 in the first before dominating for the 10,2 win.


In the Quarters, I was on-site broadcasting for the IRT, and did parts of all four quarter finals. So I definitely have some more detailed observations than I normally have.

– #17 Mar continued his run, handling #8 @Jake Bredenbeck in two 7,8. My take on this match was simple: Mar’s shot making ability outclassed Jake’s power. Despite his pedigree on the world racquetball stage, this represents the first time Mar has ever advanced to a pro semi final.

– #4 Murray downed #5 Moscoso 11,4. I saw Sam before the match and he discussed his game plan with me, and played it to perfection. He continually forced Moscoso into the back court, where the impatient Bolivian often took an ill advised shot instead of hitting a defensive ceiling ball, and over-and-over we saw Murray capitalize and score points. By midway through the second game, Moscoso was just going through the motions until he loss was sealed.

– #6 Lalo Portillo out Landa’d Landa and won 11,8 in a match that perhaps wasn’t as close as the scores suggested. Portillo played impeccable strategic racquetball on the day, kept Landa the shooter at bay, made the right shots, waited for his opportunities and executed.

– #2 @Kane Waselenchuk downed his second straight lefty in Manilla 11,7, a score-line that really showed how well Adam was playing on the day. Kane looked rusty from the layoff, wasn’t as sharp as you normally expect, and the fit-and-inform Manilla scored points. Just not enough to win.

Some have asked when Kane has ever played two lefties in a row … a quick glance at his match history ( ) shows a couple of times:

– in Dec 2000, he played THREE lefties in a row: @Javier Moreno , @Clous Woody , then @Cliff Swai . Hard to do.

– In 2004 he played @Mike Guidry and Swain back to back.

– In New Orleans 2005 he played Mitch Williams and Guidry back to back before Hurricane Katrina washed out the event.

– At the 2002 US Open he played Mitch, Moreno AND Cliff in one event.

– There’s probably a few more in there, especially if he played a non-regular on tour who was lefty.


In the Semis,

– #17 Mar continued into the final with an excellent 13,13 tactical win over Murray.

Its his first pro final, on the back of his first pro semi.

– On the other side of the draw, perhaps a seminal moment in the tour’s history occurred. Two points into his semi final against an in-form Portillo, Kane suffered a non-contact injury when he pushed off his right foot to go after a passing shot. As of this writing we’re not sure what the injury is, but it looked like either an achilles or a calf issue. If t his is the worst-case, its a 6-month rehab for a player already at the twighlight, and one may wonder if this is the last time we see Kane on tour.

In the Finals, Portillo crushed Mar 7,3 in a comprehensive win, just on auto pilot of put aways and winning shots. Lalo was unstoppable on the weekend, and while some say he got a break by not having to beat Kane on the court, this is a deserved win.


Points Implications of results

This tournament expires the Jan 2021 Grand Slam in Atlanta, which featured double points and Murray/Moscoso in the final. So those players lost a ton of points … but ironically didn’t lose a ton of ground in the standings.

After this event, here’s what we’ll see in the rankings:

– Kane overtakes Parrilla for #2, not that it will matter, since it seems highly unlikely he will be in Minnesota right now.

– Portillo’s win vaults him to #5 on tour, pushing down Murray and Moscoso.

– Keller and Beltran both missed Atlanta, so they only gained points on the weekend and both moved up 3 spots.

– Acuna took a dive down, now ranked #16.

– Despite the final, Mar only improved slightly to #20 on tour now.

Assuming Kane is out of the Open and no other absences, your top 8 seeds will go DLR, Parrilla, Landa, Portillo, Murray, Moscoso, Carson, Mercado. I point this out because matchups matter (as we saw with Moscoso/Murray), and DLR would be ecstatic to see that he’s avoiding Landa, Moscoso, and Carson in his side of the bracket (all of whom give him trouble).


Doubles review

Missing partners made for all sorts of new and weird doubles teams t his weekend, and it played out in the results. The #1, #2, and #4 seeded teams all lost in the quarters, while the event was eventually won by #7 seeded Manilla, and Jake, playing together for the first time. they denied Portillo (playing with Acuna) from getting a rare men’s double on the weekend, topping them in the final.

Match report in the PRS database:


Men’s Open, other draws

– Martell took the Men’s Open draw by default over #1 seed @AlaNate Alan . Ohio’s @ViVictor Miglio and New Jersey’s @Joe Joe K were your semi finalists.

– Open Doubles was taken by the Bolivian team of Keller/Carrasco, topping home-town favorite @Troy Warigon playing with @Maurice Miller in the final.


Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters @DeDean Baer , Gary Mazaroff ,Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew

Thanks to the Tourney Director @slemo Slemo for putting this event on!


Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar ……/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

The next event is the big one. US Open. We have a break in the schedule this coming weekend, then we’re in action in Minneapolis.



IRT 2022 Capital Classic Preview

Parrilla is the #1 seed for the first time in his career. Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory

Welcome back to Men’s Pro Racquetball! It seems like it has been ages since the last IRT event, in May, in New York. We’ve had two international events, multiple nationals, outdoors, and ladies pro events in the interim … but now we’ve got the Men’s tour back in action.
And the tour returns to the Washington DC/Baltimore area for a Tier-1 for the first time since 2019, when the old Valentine Open was held at the former Laurel SportFit club (since closed, a Covid casualty unfortunately).
This weekend we’re at the legendary Severna Park Health and Racquet, roughly halfway between Washington and Baltimore, a club that has run tournaments for decades and still has a old-school stadium seating behind its show court.. The IRT did run a lower tier event at this club in May of 2021, so some of the pros are familiar with the setting.
R2 Sports App link:
There’s 40 IRT men’s pros entered into the singles draw this weekend, and we have a couple of curious missing players which will make for interesting seeding. #1
Daniel de la Rosa is not here, meaning that Andree Parrilla is the #1 seed, a career first for him. Also missing for one of the rare non-injury times in his life is #8 @Rocky Carson , perhaps “travelled out” after multiple IRF trips this summer and looking to avoid a cross-country trip so close to the US Open. This puts both @
Mario Mercado and @Jake Bredenbeck into top 8 seed placement, giving them guaranteed byes into the round of 16.

Other top 20 players missing include Fernandez and Trujillo (who is at Mexican Junior Nationals this weekend along with a few others who normally would be here). Interestingly, @Alvaro Beltran is here, and will be playing Pro Doubles with someone not named De La Rosa for the first time in recent memory (he’s playing with Landa as the #1 seeds).

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

  • A rare singles appearance by Bolivian doubles specialist Roland Keller , facing New Jersey’s @
    David Austin in the opening round.
  • Junior U16 Texan @Cole Sendry is here and starts his tourney against local open player @Troy Moore.
  • Top New England player John Behm has travelled down I-95 for the event and faces off against one of the Kelley Brothers in Sam.

– Two of the better Maryland-based open players (@Dylan Pruitt and @Ben Bleyer are entered and have their work cut out for them against @Abraham Mercado and former IRT touring pro @Kyle Ulliman respectively

In the round of 64:

  • #17 overall seed @Javier Mar gets a tough one in Roland Keller to get into the main draw.
  • Bolivian veteran @Kadim Carrasco returns to the tour and likely faces Texan youngster Sendrey to move on. This will be a great test for Sendrey if he makes it here in the opener.
  • Mexican dark-horse @Jaime Martel is here and kicks off his event against the Pruitt/Mercado winner.

– A tougher opener than #18 @Jordy Alonso deserved, likely facing Ulliman.

Projecting the 32s: here’s some possible matchups, which should be great.

  • #16 @Eduardo Garay projects to face Mar, a really nice matchup and contrast of styles. Mar is the better player, but has been out of singles action for a while. Can Garay grind out a win against the veteran control player?
  • #12 @Carlos Keller versus #21 @Alan Natera; Keller should advance here, but Natera can surprise.
  • #11 @Andres Acuna , who has now put himself squarely in the conversation of “man I’d least like to see in the qualifying draw,” faces local pro
    MoMo Zelada in the 32s. Zelada will get home-town bounces and fan support, but Acuna should advance.
  • #10 @Adam Manilla gets perhaps the toughest qualifier draw in #23 @Jaime Martel. I’ve got Manilla higher on the pecking order, but Martel can get wins. This will be an upset watch for sure.
  • #15

Thomas Carter has his work cut out for him against #18 Alonso. Another upset watch: Alonso has been on a hot streak lately, with 2022 wins over Horn, SFranco, and Jake.

Round of 16: Here’s some interesting projected matches for me in the 16s, which start Friday afternoon.

  • #1 Parrilla vs #17 Mar: wow, not the easy opener the #1 seed would normally expect. Up until quite recently I rated Mar as the better overall player than Parrilla, and these two go back a long ways. I don’t see an upset, but I do see a close match.
  • In the always-close 8/9, we get @Sebastian Franco on his (sometimes) home courts versus @Jake Bredenbeck . These two have split their last few meetings, dating to 2018, but Jake topped Sebastian easily the last time they met. Edge to Jake.
  • #5 @Conrrado Moscoso projects to face his country-man Keller, the mane he’d least like to see here. With DLR out of the top of this draw, Moscoso has to like his chances to get to the final (especially on the back of his great run at Worlds). But first he has to get past a player he’s played dozens of times in the past, and who knows how to beat him. Carlos beat Conrrado handily at last year’s US Open on the way to the final; Conrrado needs to find a way to mentally win this.
  • #3 @Alex Landa versus #14 @Rodrigo Montoya. Tough one for the #3 seed, as Montoya just beat Alex at the World Games rather handily. Montoya’s only losses this entire year have come against Kane, Moscoso, De La Rosa, and Acuna (in the World Games final). I think Montoya moves on here, and is starting to really take his place at the top of the pro food chain.

– #6 Lalo Portillo versus #11 Acuna: first time they’ve ever met in a top level setting, and I’ve got them neck and neck in my pure talent rankings. Tough one to predict, but I’m leaning towards Acuna, who has been hot lately. Lalo won the 2021 event on these courts so he’s a fan favorite, but Acuna has really turned it up a notch lately.

Projected Qtrs:

  • Parrilla over Jake: they just met in Birmingham and Andree handled the American easily.
  • Moscoso over @Samuel Murray. Yes I know Murray had a couple of recent wins over the Bolivian; to me Moscoso is the 2nd best talent in the world and blew out the Worlds draw, and seems like he’s on fire right now. That being said … sometimes its about the match-up and not about the talent; if Murray can control Conrrado’s power and force him to play impatiently … this could be a loss for the Bolivian at the hands of Big Canada once again.
  • Montoya over Acuna: even though Acuna topped Montoya at World Games final .. it was rally scoring. I think longer non-rally scoring games will favor Montoya, who can grind out points and wait for opportunities.
  • Waselenchuk over Mercado: Mario’s goal will be to not get donuted in either game at the hands of the GOAT.
  • Moscoso over Parrilla. Parrilla is a grinder, but Moscoso is a phenom.
  • Kane over Montoya. Montoya has the power and talent to get some points … and has had some impressive showings against Kane before, but he cannot keep up flawless shot-making for the entirety of a match, which is what it takes to beat Kane right now.
    Finals: Kane over Moscoso, in what hopefully is a more enjoyable match than the last time they met, where the Bolivian didn’t seem to have any semblance of a game-plan and got wiped out attempting to lob serve one of the best shooters in history.

(Note: I really hope t his turns out to be the progression of matches, because my semis features 3 of my 4 favorite players to watch in terms of athleticism, power, and shot-making.)

Doubles review
As noted at the top, DLR is not here, so the usual #1 seeds are now different. Beltran has teamed up with Landa and they’re #1. But they’re going to face some serious challenge; the #4 team is Moscoso/Keller, who have three IRF titles to their name and are coming off a finals appearance at Worlds.
From the bottom, #2 Montoya/Mar are the 2021 Worlds champions and are also a tough team to beat, but they’ve got to contend with a relatively new team of Acuna/Portillo as the #3 seed, both of whom are excellentdoubles players.

In the end, I like Montoya/Mar to top Moscoso/Keller in the final.

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! Also look for @Gary Mazaroff on the mike this weekend, as well as yours truly Todd Boss, coming in for Saturday’s action.
Thanks to the Tourney Director Slemo Warigon and regular helpers Grisz and Milbach et al for putting this event on!
International Racquetball Tour
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LPRT at the Beach recap

A career weekend for Brenda Laime, making her first pro final. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: @Alexandra Herrera
  • Doubles; Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Rae Scott
    It was an interesting weekend in Chesapeake. Lets read on for some thoughts.

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 16s:

  • #8 Brenda Laime crushed #9 Scott 3,9, a result that portended the rest of the weekend.
  • #4 Erika Manilla needed a breaker to get past the veteran tour player Cris Amaya .

– In the 7/10 match-up, home town fans were rewarded with a solid win by Kelani Lawrence , who got an excellent win over Argentinian Valeria Centellas

In the Quarters

  • #8 Laime sent shockwaves across the landscape by upsetting #1 Paola Longoria 11-10 in the breaker. Laime’s classical game has gotten her big wins in the past (she has career wins over multiple top-4 players in the past couple of seasons), but never as big of a win as this. Longoria’s quarter-final loss was the first time she’s lost that early in a pro event since February of 2008, a pretty amazing feat.
  • #4 Manilla outlasted #5 Jessica Parrilla in a breaker. After losing 14 in the first, she cruised to a 15-2, 11-3 win.
  • #6 Carla Munoz upset #3 Mendez and returned to the pro semis for the first time since April of 2017 with a solid 11,14 two game win.

– #2 Herrera squeaked out a 15-14, 15-14 two game win over Lawrence. Not much between these two players on the day.

In the Semis

  • Laime rebounded from a first game let-down to move past Manilla in a breaker to get to the final. This tournament represents the first time Laime has advanced to the semis in her career, and now its the first time she’s made a pro final.
  • Herrera cruised past Munoz 6,7 to get to the final.

In the Finals, Herrera took her 3rd career title by topping Laime 7,12.

Points Implications of results
There are no 2021 points to expire, so there’s not a ton of changes with these results.

  • #2 Herrera closes the gap a bit on #1 Longoria, thanks to her early loss. She still leads by nearly 1,000 ranking points at the top.
  • Mendez and Mejia switch places at 4/5, with Mejia missing the event.
  • Parrilla and Barrios switch places at 7/8, again with Barrios missing the event.
  • Lawrence moves into the top 10 I believe for the first time.

– Laime bumps up her ranking from 13 to 11 with the finals appearance.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database:

A small pro doubles draw was taken by USA reigning national champs Scott and Lawrence, a first pro doubles title for Scott and second for Kelani. They crushed Longoria/Centellas 1,12 in the final.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst , Jerry J Josey Jr. ., and Tj Baumbaugh
Thanks to the Tourney Director @Malia Bailey 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, the pro tour moves slightly north from Virginia Beach to Severna Park (outside of Baltimore) for the first IRT pro stop of the new season, and the first time we’ve seen the Men’s pros since May. There’s 42 pros entered into the Singles draw as of this writing, so it’ll be a big tourney.

Yours truly will be onsite, probably on the mike for some of the Saturday action.


LPRT at the Beach Preview

Can Kelani make a run at her home club? Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory

R2 Sports App link:

The LPRT is back in action, this time on the East coast, returning to the Virginia Beach area for the first time since 2019. Held at the Chesapeake YMCA, this is the home club of USAR hall of Famer @Malia Bailey ,who also serves as your tourney director.

Last time the LPRT was in town, Longoria was upset in the final, giving @Maria Jose Vargas one of her 5 career titles. #3 Vargas however is not here however, taking some time off to have her third child. Also missing is #4 Mejia, #7 Barrios, and #10 Rajsich, who went decades without missing a pro stop and now misses her second in a row, perhaps an tacit admission that she’s stepping back from the tour. Also missing is Salas, who has been making a comeback lately, and Gaby, whose ranking has plummeted due to these early season absences.

All these top 10 absences in Virginia give Manilla a career high #4 seed and will make for some unexpected quarter final matchups.

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 16:

  • The #8/#9 seed Hollie Scott versus @Brenda Laim matchup looks solid: I think these two are neck and neck talent wise, play different styles, and it could go either way .
  • #5/#12 Jessica Parrilla vs @Sheryl Lotts is a trap game for Leoni; Lotts has been playing really tough lately and could get an upset here.
  • #6/#11 @Carla Munoz versus the improving Maria Renee Rodriguez ; MRR can push Munoz here, but look for the Chilean #1 to move on.

– #7/#10 Kelani Lawrence versus Valeria Centellas : great matchup. On paper Centellas is slightly favored h2h, but this is Lawrence’s home club. Will that play to her advantage, or will the presence of family and friends put too much pressure on her? Last time they played in Va Beach, Kelani nearly upset Vargas, so odds are on the home town favorite to advance here.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Paola Longoria over the Scott/Laime winner.
  • #4 @Erika Manilla is favored over #5 Parrilla … but has started slow this season with some unexpected losses in the first LPRT stop in Mexico and at Worlds. Upset watch here. This is the kind of match she needs to win though to establish her presence in the top 4 on a more ongoing basis.
  • #3Natalia Mendez projects to play #6 Munoz, which could be an interesting match. On paper this is a win for Mendez, but she’s taken some upsets lately. Look for an upset here.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrea projects to play the winner of the Centellas/Lawrence match, and will be a heavy favorite. With no Mejia or Gaby in the draw, Herrera is the favorite to make the final.
  • Longoria over the Parrilla/Manilla winner, neither of which is likely to press the world #1.
  • Herrera to cruise over the Mendez/Munoz winner.

Finals: we should get a rematch of #1 vs #2, which we got several times last season and resulted in two straight titles for Alexandra. This time though, Longoria comes in on a hot streak, having blown through the competition in the season pro opener and last month at Worlds, and she’s the heavy favorite to cruise here.

Doubles review
An interesting doubles event should be seen, as the top teams are all missing half of the partnerships, meaning all sorts of new/different teams are h ere.
The consensus #1 doubles team in the land (Longoria/Salas) is missing Samantha, so Longoria is playing with Centellas, who normally plays with Mendez, but she’s playing with Manilla, who doesn’t have a regular partner but has been playing with Parrilla … but Parrilla is playing this weekend with Herrera, who normally plays with Mejia, but she’s missing. Meanwhile, Rodriguez usually plays with Gaby, but she’s not here, so she’s playing with Amaya, who has been playing with Riquelme but Maria isn’t here.
The only “regular team” I see here is the US #1 team of Scott/Lawrence, which perhaps portends well to their chances of beating these teams who don’t regularly play with each other.

All that being said .. i like Herrera/Parrilla from the top half and Longoria/Centellas from the bottom half to advance to the final. From there, I think Herrera/Parrilla will win a close one.

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!
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.
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!