13th Annual Costa Rica Open IRT Tier 2 Recap

Montoya wins the double in Costa Rica. Photo Kevin Savory 2022 Portland IRT event

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– IRT Men’s Singles: Rodrigo Montoya

– Open Doubles: Montoya & Javier Mar

– Open Singles: Diego Garcia

IRT Satellite events have specific rules about entry (only half the top 8 players are allowed to enter), which is primarily why i do not enter them into the database. I don’t want to “give credit” for tournament wins where half the top 10 was banned from entering.

Satellites do play an important part in the IRT tour though. Depending on the number of tier one events in the current 365 day rolling calendar, points earned at satellite events may or may not “count” towards a player’s ranking. As I write this article, the IRT has only 8 Tier 1s in its current 365-day window, which means that the points calculation takes a player’s 8 best results (Tier1 or otherwise) to total up their current point total. If a player has played in all 8 tier1s plus some satellite events, then the running point total will have the lowest X number of events subtracted from their overall total until they get down to the top 8 scores.

For example: Andree Parrilla plays a lot of events; he has played in all four satellite events in the last 365 days before the Costa Rica Open, and as a result, his IRT points total is all his tier 1 points minus three lowest point totals (satellite or not). This is where satellite events come in handy; you can win a Tier 2 event (worth 120 points) and have it “replace” a poor showing in a tier1 Event (say, a round of 16 loss, which is only worth 90) and actually come out ahead. And of course whatever prize money you make is yours, irrespective of the points impact on your IRT ranking.

All that being said, a slew of IRT touring regulars were in San Jose competing for the Tier 2 points and prize money, and we also got a big draw of international players, so here’s a review of the draw.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=42435

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In the 32s: we got some fun match-ups.

– CRC #2 @Jaime Mansilla got a solid win over Ecuadorian vet @Jose Daniel Ugalde to open.

– Bolivian turned Argentine @Gerson Miranda , who won World Juniors 18U back in 2019 before switching countries, got a solid win over #9 Rafael Gatica .

– #5 Carter Thomas survived a serious challenge from up-and-coming Mexican Junior @Jorge Gutierrez to move on in a breaker, and a heck of a round of 32 match.

– #23 @Sebastian Hernandez , Mexican world u18 champ a couple years ago, cruised past Guatemala’s #1 Juan Salvatierra 12,4

– #26 @Rodrigo Salgado upset touring veteran #7 @Carlos Ramirz in the opener.

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In the 16s:

– #9 Diego Gastelum and Miranda had a barn-burner, with Gastelum coming out on top in an 11-8 breaker.

– Carter was pressed by international vet Guatemalan Edwin Galicia but moved on.

– #3 Erick Trujillo made a statement against fellow Mexican 20-something Elias Nieto , beating him 0,7

– #6 Eduardo Portillo dodged a bullet and advanced past the dangerous Bolivian turned Argentine @DDiego García 13,7. Thought this would be closer, given Lalo’s time away.

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In the Quarters

– #1 Rodrigo Montoya crushed his young Mexican rival Gastelum 2,4 to move on.

– #4 Alan Natera took out Carter by the heavy scoreline of 5,2

– #3 Trujillo got a solid career win over #6 Portillo to kind of re-settle where these two players rank right now in the world order of men’s pro racquetball.

– #2 and home town favorite Andres Acuna was stretched to a breaker by Sebastian Hernandez before advancing.

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In the Semis

– #1 Montoya cruised past Natera 7,6

– #2 Acuna had to dig deep, getting taken to a breaker by Trujillo before advancing.

In the Finals, Montoya went breaker but topped the home-town favorite Acuna to repeat as champion.

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Points Implications of results

Interestingly, this tournament actually will impact the top of the rankings, if I have my XLS synced up right. Parrilla played this event last year and came in 2nd (worth 90 points). He misses it this year, so those 90 points expire off, but they’re not replaced with anything, so he’ll slightly fall in the rankings, enough to allow Kane Waselenchuk to move above him to #3. I also believe Trujillo and Natera may switch spots in the rankings, though both of these guys play a slew of events so it’s a little tough to figure out which results drop.

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Other notable draws

– Open Doubles: They didn’t play “IRT Pro Doubles” but they did have an Open Doubles draw that featured all the pros. #1 seeds Montoya and his regular partner Javier Mar took the title, but played a knifes edge close game in the final over Carter & Natera to do so, winning 15-14, 15-14.

– Open Singles: Diego Garcia took the Open Singles draw, getting a walk-over against #1 seed Portillo when Lalo was injured.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9SZd0MssH_nPGU/edit?usp=sharing

We have a week break, then its the 2024 USA Junior Nationals in Pleasanton. The LPRT season has completed so we’ll do a 2023-24 recap soon. Then, in July we have the 2nd leg of the Outdoor Major season in Outdoor Nationals.

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International Racquetball Tour

USA Racquetball

LPRT 2024 Battle at the Beach Recap

Longoria won the battle, but Vargas won the war. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

– Singles: @Paola Longoria

– Doubles: Montse Mejia and Alexandra Herrera

Singles tourney report in PRS database: https://rball.pro/zup

Doubles tourney report in PRS database: https://rball.pro/p2m

Longoria wins her 113th career LPRT tier1 title, but it isn’t enough to keep Maria Jose Vargas from winning her first career pro title. Mejia & Herrera finish off a complete domination of the LPRT doubles season, winning 6 of the 7 tournaments held (and losing in the final of the only one they didn’t win).

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=42244

Editor note: my apologies for not publishing a preview of this event; I had to fly out for a two day conference Wednesday afternoon, at which time the draws had not been released, and I couldn’t even look at my computer until Sunday afternoon, by which point the tourney was over.

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Let’s review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

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In the 32s, just one match with a 17-person draw. Newly crowned Liberty University graduate Maria Renee Rodríguez , who has missed most of the season after being a tour regular for years, entered and fell to #16 @Sheryl Lots, who herself was also a regular on tour for years but who missed most of this season. Hope to have both back full time touring next season.

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In the 16s, there was just one upset by seed but a couple other notable matches;

– In the 8/9, #9 Carla Munoz took out #8 @CAma Cris 8,4 but it wasn’t quite enough for Munoz to finish the year ahead of the Colombian (see later on for points analysis).

– #5 @Kelani Lawrence , a career high ranking, topped her doubles partner #12 Hollie Scott playing on home turf in Chesapeake.

– The most shocking result was probably #7 @NaNatalia Mena beatinSamantha Sala’s by the dominant scoreline of 3,4.

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In the Quarters

– #1 @MarMaria José Vargas , who entered the event with a 278 point lead on Longoria for the year end title, realistically only had to just show up and advance a round to seal the year end title, left no doubt about it by moving into the semis with a solid win over fellow South American Munoz here. We’ll talk more about Vargas’ accomplishment in a bit.

– In the always fun 4/5 match, Lawrence (who always plays tough on her home courts), took #4 Herrera to a breaker before falling.

– #3 Longoria, who needed a win here plus a lot of help to secure her 14th career LPRT tour title, made fast work of #6 Brenda Laime 8,1 to move on. Laime shocked Longoria last season but the GOAT left no doubt here.

– #2 Mejia had to work for it, but moved past the resurgent Mendez 9,8.

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In the Semis, two upsets.

– #1 Vargas fell to the left Herrera in three close games 14,(9),9.

– #3 Longoria cruised past Mejia 9,8 to secure 2nd place this season for certain.

In the Finals, Longoria dominated for stretches and took the title 5,10 over Herrera.

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Points Implications of results

Caveat: this analysis is based on my calculations; the final tour rankings have yet to be published and there might be some changes based on information unavailable at the time of this writing.

As noted above, once Vargas advanced a round she essentially sealed the 2023-24 title. We’ll cover the season in depth and discuss Vargas’ place in history in a future post. Longoria secured 2nd place for the season. Mejia will slump to 3rd after winning the title last year.

There will be little change elsewhere in the top 10 at season’s end. The injured Erika Manilla retains enough points to hang onto #10 and will be a force to reckon with next season as she defends zero points all season. Missing regulars Gaby and Parrilla fall into the Teens. We’ll do a fuller story later.

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Doubles review

There were only 7 doubles teams, but the competition was fierce. An 11-10 breaker in the quarters, and both semis going tiebreaker as well, but the final was as expected: the two top Mexican teams. Once it was Mejia/Herrera versus Longoria/Salas, the battle was on. But the final ended up being anticlimactic, as the #1 pair won 5,9.

Mejia & Herrera finish off a complete domination of the LPRT doubles season, winning 6 of the 7 tournaments held (and losing in the final of the only one they didn’t win).

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Open Singles, other notable draws

– Mendez took Women’s Open over Lotts

– Dylan Pruitt won the Men’s open over chesapeake’s Justin Carpenter

– Maurice Miller teamed with MRR to win the Mixed Pro doubles exhibition, an event that featured a slew of the LPRT pros playing with the top men who had travelled to play this event.

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That’s it for the 2023-24 LPRT season! As mentioned, we’ll let the final rankings get calculated and posted, load them into the database, then do our typical end of season recap.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9SZd0MssH_nPGU/edit?usp=sharing

This past weekend also featured a Junior Olympics event in Mexico that isn’t “Mexican Junior Nationals” but was a good competition. We may do a review of that. Next big event though is US Junior Nationals in Pleasanton the last weekend of June.

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