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 http://rb.gy/krq4sh 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: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39163
Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.
Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rb.gy/gd4moc
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 http://rb.gy/gd4moc 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.
– #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 (http://rb.gy/6slu5z ) 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).
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: http://rb.gy/q4pmak
Men’s Open, other draws
– 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!
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
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.