This event has been an IRT satellite event in the past, but this year was just a solid “local” Mexico tournament where at ton of the top players from that country traveled and competed in honor of @Alex Landa , who recently announced his retirement from active touring.
Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.
All the regular touring pros who appeared advanced into the quarters as expected. The toughest round of 16 match was former WRT #1 Alejandro Cardona pushing 4th seed Alan Natera but ultimately falling.
Champion Parrilla topped Natera in one semi, while the namesake Landa topped his long-time pro and international nemesis Andres Acuña in the other. In the final, Andree took a close two-game victory 13,10 to claim the title.
Long-time rivals and teammates Parrilla & Montoya took out the top seeds and veteran Mexican players Landa and @Alvaro Beltran in the final 12,9.
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
Its 3WallBall time@ @3Wall Ball starts this coming Thursday, the biggest outdoor event of the year. Players are already starting to arrive in Vegas, and I’ll be getting there Wednesday night. I’ll be commentating on the IRT feed, primarily broadcasting the 3wall Men’s Pro matches.
This past weekend featured the 2023 Mexican Junior National tournament in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The results of these events determine the national team members that will represent their country at the upcoming World Juniors in Bolivia in Late November. Here’s a quick recap of the qualifiers and some commentary.
Mexican Junior tournament and qualification goes as follows: the entrants play a double elimination draw; the winner of the winner’s bracket is the champion and Junior National titlist, while the winner of the loser’s bracket is the 2nd player to join the delegation. This consolation bracket champ often is not the winner’s bracket finalist, and the format gives players hope of getting back on the team even with an early loss. Mexico does not play any doubles; the singles qualifiers will form the doubles teams at Worlds.
Congrats to the following Boys singles finalists for team Mexico:
(click here https://rball.pro/olf for a Matrix of all Mexican boy’s titlists loaded into the database currently, dating to 2012)
– Boys 21U: Diego Gastelum & Elias Nieto
– Boys 18U: Jorge Gutierrez & Luis Renteria
– Boys 16U: Sebastian Ruelas & Eder Renteria
– Boys 14U: Brian Axel Sanchez & Emilio Jurardo
– Boys 12U: Elias Medrano & Elias Garcia
– Boys 10U: Max Soto & Hermann Gracia
– Boys 8U: Isaac Soto & Mateo Zaala
– Boys 6Umb: Jose Maria De Alba & Enrique Rivera
Commentary on the older divisions:
The Mexico U21 division is stacked right now, and has several names that you should know about. IRT fans know the name Erick Trujillo , who tours regularly and was the 2021 18U Mexican Junior national champ, but Trujillo did not win this draw. He was beaten in the winner’s bracket final by Gastelum in 3, then lost to Nieto to miss out on the Jr. worlds team. Nieto took out last year’s 18U champ Sebastian Hernandez and IRT regular Erick Cuevas before falling to Trujillo in the winner’s bracket semis … but avenged the loss in the consolation final to qualify.
None of these players was the #1 seed/defending champion Jose Ramos (aka “Pepe”), who fell in the semis to Gastelum, then was topped by Nieto in the consolation semis. Nieto, in case you forgot, beat Murray at the Parc 2022, then went to World Singles & Doubles a few months ago and beat Castro, Sam Bredenbeck and Alan Natera before falling to Montoya in a tie-breaker. But none of these guys could touch Gastelum in this event (Gastelum also was in Denver; he was the guy who nearly took a game off of Jake before falling 14,4).
As good as the U21 players are, the 18U champ may be even better. Jorge Gutierrez (playing in his age 17 season) is the 2-time defending Mexico and Junior world 16U champ, and moved on up to 18U with no issues. He also has h2h wins over both Gastelum and Trujillo in amateur events recently. He’s only got one IRT appearance when he was 15; we hope to see more of him.
In the 16U, the last two champions of the 14U (Sebastian Ruelas in 2022 and Eder Renteria in 2021) faced off in the winner’s bracket final, with Ruelas winning. Renteria then took the consolation bracket to qualify and guarantee that both he and his older brother Luis were heading to Bolivia.
In the 14U, last year’s 12U finalist Brian Axel Sanchez moved up and took his first Junior National title, topping fellow newcomer Emilio Jurardo in the final.
Congrats to the following Girls Singles finalists for team Mexico:
(click here: https://rball.pro/qcm for a Matrix of all Mexican Girls’s titlists loaded into the database currently, dating to 2012)
– Girls 10U: Maria Jose Jurado & Lia Montserrat Gonzalez
Commentary on the older divisions:
21U’s Maria Gutierrez repeated as 21U Mexican champ with a 5-game win over Osorio. Gutierrez made the finals of JrWorlds 21U last December, losing to Barrios, but she’s never made an appearance on the LPRT.
18U’s Cynthia Gutierrez, Ivanna Balderrama, and last year’s 18U champ Angela Veronica Ortega all finished the RR stage 3-1, with no h2h winner, so the draw came down to points, with Gutierrez finishing atop the standings for her first Junior title. Balderrama (the 2019 14U champ) finished second, leaving Ortega on the outside looking in. Of these three, only Ortega has even played an LPRT event, losing in the opening round of the 2022 US Open.
In 16U, defending champ Yanna Salazar was upset in the final by 2021 14U champ Mariafernanda Trujillo, moving up to compete in 16U for the first time. This is Trujillo’s 4th junior national title.
in 14U, Lily Farias won her second junior national title by topping the 7-person bracket.
Congrats to all the Mexican Junior National title winners for 2023, and congrats to the National team qualifiers as well.
Congrats to Favio Soto for another successful Mexican national tournament.
In the 32s, the only real notable match was the strong return to the singles court of @Alvaro Beltran , who took out #13 Robert collins with ease 2,11. While we’ve seen Alvi play some doubles since his shock elbow injury last October, this is the first time he’s taken the singles court on the IRT since last October.
In the 16s:
– In the always close 8/9 match, @Samuel Murray took out Alex Landa in a battle of former top 4 players who have both slipped down the rankings as of late.
– #5 Eduardo Portillo had to dig deep to top the red-hot #12 @Alan Natera in a breaker.
– #3 DLR was surprisingly taken to a breaker by his young Mexican rival Erick Cuevas before moving on.
– #7 Adam Manilla got a tie-breaker win over #10 Andres Acuña to move on and solidify his ranking on tour.
In the Quarters
– #9 Murray continued his years-long mastery of #1 Conrrado Moscoso ‘s game, topping him 12,13 to move on and put a serious dent in Moscoso’s chance of winning the year end title. Murray is now 5-4 lifetime against Moscoso across competitions dating to 2018.
– #4 Rodrigo Montoya and Portillo played a close one, with Montoya taking the breaker 11-9 to move on.
– #3 DLR advanced past Parrilla by the closest of margins, winning 13,14.
– #2 Jake Bredenbeck avenged a US National team qualifying loss to Manilla, winning in a tie-breaker.
In the Semis
– Montoya improved to 4-2 lifetime over Murray with a straightforward 12,9 win.
– DLR made it two in a row over Jake, winning in a tie-breaker to move into the final.
In the Finals, DLR made relatively fast work of Montoya, improving to 9-4 lifetime across competitions with the 2,11 win.
Points Implications of results
During the tournament, I confirmed that the IRT remains on an 11-tournament rolling schedule for its rankings, having flirted with the idea of pivoting to a 365-day calendar earlier this year but ultimately staying with the same system that was put in place in mid 2020 during Covid. By the end of 2023, it won’t matter, because there will be exactly 11 events in the calendar year (assuming no more cancellations of the 3 remaining events on the books).
What i’m not sure about is the mechanism for counting these last 11 events; is it cumulative last 11 or is it “last 11, dropping the lowest.” Because in the short term, that’ll make a huge difference as to what happens at the very top of the tour rankings as soon as this event is put in. By my records, if all 11 tournaments are counted w/o dropping the lowest score, Jake Bredenbeck will ascend to #1 by the slimmest of margins over #2 DLR, with Conrrado falling to #3. However, if its “top 11 drop the lowest” then DLR will drop a zero-point score and ascend back to #1, with Moscoso #2 and Jake #3.
Either way, The Tracktown dropped the 2022 US Open, which costs Moscoso 600 points, but two of the next three events to drop were events towards the end of 2022 that DLR missed, meaning everyone else likely is playing for 2nd place unless DLR takes some shock early losses in the last couple of events.
Does DLR’s Pickleball commitments play a role here? Maybe. The 3 remaining events on the IRT schedule are:
– 11/12 in Boston
– 12/3 in Portland
– 12/10 in Pleasanton.
Pickleball events on the schedule for those weekends?
– 11/12: USAP Nationals, a huge event underwritten by the PPA
– 12/3: San Clemente PPA season finals.
– 12/10: MLP Season 3, event 3; the last event of the 2023 MLP season.
Wow. So DLR has a MLP event the same weekend as the IRT event in Pleasanton that could decide the tour. Phew. Something’s gotta give there.
Former #1 Kane Waselenchuk was in Eugene this weekend, but only playing doubles. He and fellow 40-something Beltran teamed up and won a round, but fell in the quarters to the #1 seeds Manilla/Parrilla.
In a testament to how close these doubles teams are, every match in the quarters and semis went to tie-breaker as the top two seeds advanced to the final.
#2 DLR/Landa, the US National team for Chile’s Pan Am games, topped the likely Bolivian doubles team Moscoso/Kadim Carrasco in one semi, then took out Manilla/Parrilla for the title.
Open Singles, other notable draws
– Victor Camacho took out Texas junior @Cole Sendrey for the Men’s Open title.
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew
Thanks to the Tourney Director Wayne Antone for putting this event on with such short notice. It was great to see a new event on the schedule and I hope you can make it an annual one.
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
Unless we get another event on the books last minute, the next big thing is 3WallBall in Las Vegas the first week of October! I’ll be there, on the mike and covering the event. Maybe even playing (hah, probably not).
Welcome to the business end of the 2023 IRT season. After a fun event in Denver (thanks again Jim Hiser !) the IRT is back in action at an event just recently added to the schedule. The IRT has this event, a Boston stop in November, a satellite event in Portland, and then Bobby Horn/Adam Manilla’s Pleasanton stop in early December and that’s it for the season. Every points counts.
Thanks to the hard work of Oregonian Wayne Antone , US National doubles finalist earlier this year, along with Portland native and resident Charlie Pratt , longtime US National team member, touring pro, USA Racquetball board member and former US Junior National team coach, we have the IRT visiting Eugene for the very first time.
Eugene, of course, is the home-town of Nike, hence the name of the event “Track town.” Racquetball has an interesting tie-in to Nike and the running world; Linda Prefontaine, sister of the famous runner Steve, was a top racquetball player in the late 70s/early 80s and competed in multiple pro events. See https://rball.pro/yku for her career record.
I’m a little late to the preview, so the draw has already started. So i’ll do a quicker summary than normal.
Lets preview the singles Draw
– Murray-Landa in the 8/9 spot used to be in the 4/5 spot; both players are slipping down the rankings tourney by tourney. Landa was sick and missed Colorado, and has had one thing or another bug him for a while.
– Natera looked great in Denver; can he turn that into performance in Eugene?
– Manilla-Acuna in the 16s is tough.
– Beltran is back and topped Collins in the 32s with ease. Great to see.
– DLR-Parrilla quarter will be a test, as will Jake-Manilla. Adam took out jake at US National singles, basically eliminating Jake from the team for Pan Am games, so we know he can win, but Jake’s #2 for a reason.
– Its hard to see anything other than a repeat of the semis from Denver, as we now have a real separation between the top 4 guys (Moscoso, Jake, DLR, Montoya) and the rest of the tour.
– I think we see another DLR-Moscoso final, and this time a non-injured DLR may very well take it.
– Waselenchuk is here, but only playing doubles. He and Alvi won their opener and have a good shot at #1 Manilla/Parrilla based on Beltran’s form and the fact that neither 40-something pro has to cover the whole court
– The 2/3 semi on the bottom could be great: Jake/Murray vs DLR/Landa. Two power hitters versus two control players who also happen to be your US National doubles team at the Pan Am Games.
– I like Montoya and Natera to get to the final, but to then lose to DLR/Landa.
Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live. Look for Favio Soto, Samuel Schulze, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!
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