2022 US Open Recap

Moscoso takes the US Open crown, writing his name into the record books Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Conrrado Moscoso
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Men’s Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa & Alvaro Beltran
  • Women’s Doubles: Natalia Mendez & Erika Manilla
    All results now uploaded to the PRS datbase. Here’s the Match Report links:
  • Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/lsu
  • Women’s Singles: https://rball.pro/pb5
  • Men’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/sq4
  • Women’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/t72
    On the Men’s singles side, a brand new US Open winner in Moscoso, who blew through the draw to capture his 3rd career title and really make a statement on the tour. Paola wins her 12th career US Open title but had to work to do so. DLR/Beltran win their 3rd US Open doubles title together and defend their title, maybe the last time doing so if Beltran retires. And we have a brand new team and brand new faces on the US Open women’s pro podium.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39683

Lets review the notable matches in the Men’s Singles draw.

In the qualifying, only a couple of surprises for me (from my preview) making the main draw:

  • Christian Wer gets a walk-over against Alejandro Cardona , a bummer b/c I thought he’d really press Portillo in the 32s.
  • Tough win for the up-and-coming Bolivian Miguel Angel Arteaga over tough NJ player @Joe Kelley to advance.

– U21 up and coming Mexican @Guillermo Ortega Jr. took out top American player @Maurice Miller in two.

In the 32s, just three upsets by seed (and we predicted two of them)

  • #19 Mar topped #14 Beltran 1,0, a score line that indicates that Beltran probably was going through the motions or protecting against injury to focus on doubles.
  • #18 Garay took out #15 Carter in a tie-breaker.

– The biggest upset though, was #54 Garcia taking out #11 Sebastian Franco 11-8 in the breaker. Franco has been on a rough stretch on tour lately, and Garcia is a sneaky good player who’s gotten wins in the past.

In the 16s, 7 of the 8 matches went chalk, but one massive upset and a couple of surprising results to this observer:

  • #16 Rodrigo Montoya upset the #1 seed and Defending champion @DaDaniel de la Rosa in a tiebreaker (10),14,9. DLR had match point on his racquet in game two, then missed a slew of shots in the breaker to really squander this match. No offense to Rodrigo, but for me this was more DLR losing than it was Rodrigo winning. Montoya utilized a high lob Z to DLR’s backhand throughout the breaker that DLR uncharacteristically did not attack, leading to setups and setbacks. After bailing out of the Virginia event with little notice and little information, one has to wonder what DLR’s level of commitment to the sport is at this point, given his rising Pickleball stature (he is on a @Major League Pickleball team and competes often on the PPA tour).
  • #5 Landa gave #12 @Andres Acuna no room for drama with a straightforward win.
  • My big upset pick was a repeat of #19 Mar over #3 Samuel Murray , but after a first game loss Murray found the solution and ground out an 11-8 tiebreaker win. All credit to Murray for a huge comeback in the breaker, going down 0-7 before coming back to win; that’d never happen in rally scoring folks!
  • I thought #10 @Adam Manilla had a shot against #7 @Rocky Carson, and took game one. But Carson bounced back to win the breaker.

Its the second straight IRT event with a #16/#17 seed upsetting the #1 in this round, and unless Carson makes a huge run it guarantees a new US Open champion for 2022 (here’s a summary of the first 25 US Open finishers: http://rb.gy/cifvcf )

In the Quarters, my predictions went out the window.

  • Montoya improved to 6-3 h2h against Bredenbeck in top-level events by winning two close, sometimes controversial games 13,14.
  • Landa reversed the result from two weeks ago in Maryland, beating Lalo 14,10 to move on and continue to fulfil @Sudsy Monchik ‘s bold predictions.
  • In a stunning result, #6 Moscoso destroyed #3 Murray 7,2 to move on. Clearly the Bolivian has tired of losing to Big Canada and found a game-plan to counter Murray’s in a big way.

– #2 Parrilla quietly moved into the semis by moving past Rocky.

In the Semis:

  • Montoya crushed Landa 6,5 to advance to his first pro final.
  • Moscoso similarly crushed Parrilla 5,6 to move into the final.

In the Finals, Montoya really had no answers for Moscoso on the day. The second game was a complete blow out, and Conrrado really made a statement here winning the title 8,4.

Points Implications of Men’s Singles results
This event will expire the March 2020 Chicago event, the last event before Covid shut the sport down, and the points ramifications are large:

  • Moscoso should move up to #2 on tour, though still 700 points or so behind DLR.
  • Kane drops to #8; he won Chicago in 2020 and loses all those points.
  • Montoya should move up to #12, finally getting out of that 16/17 range and making it easier on himself to continue to get to back ends of tournaments.
  • Franco and Beltran now project to #15 and #16 on tour, putting significant questions on their continued participation on tour.

– We should also see significant rises from the two long-shots who advanced into the main draw, Garcia and Barth.

LPRT Pro Singles Review
Here’s a recap of notable matches in the Ladies singles draw.
In the 32s, almost no surprises but a couple of good matches.

  • Cristina Amaya got a solid win over Nancy Enriquez 4,12
  • Jenny Daza won a very tight match over @Maria Renee Rodriguez (14),13,7.
  • #15 Sheryl Lotts overcame a first game loss to blank #18 @Micaela Meneses in game 2 and survive the tiebreaker.
    Nearly half the round of 32 matches were complete blow outs: 8 of the matches played featured score-lines where the losing player scored 6 or fewer points TOTAL in the match. There’s definitely a line of delineation on tour right now.
    In the 16s: 100% chalk. All top 8 seeds advanced, though there were a couple of surprising results for me, and several close matches
  • In the 8/9, Brenda Laime setup a rematch with Longoria by taking out #9 @KelaLawal Kelani in a breaker.
  • #5 Jessica Parrilla went breaker to down #12 Valeria Centellas
  • The shocker of the round for me was #4 @Natalia Mendez holding serve and downing #13 Ana Gabriela Martinez in two close games. Based on form and talent, I thought for sure Gaby was making the semis here.
  • Great win for #7 Carla Munoz , downing #10 and frequent rival Samantha Salas Solis to earn her first ever US Open quarter final.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 @Paola Longoria pasted the player who defeated her in Virginia two weeks ago in Laime 1,8 to make a statement and move on.
  • #5 Parrilla got another solid win, this time over #4 Mendez, to move back into the US Open semis for the first time since 2016.
  • #3 Erika Manilla turned the tables against @AANgelica Barrios (who defeated her at Worlds a few months ago) and moved into the semis by edging the Bolivian 13,14.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrera made fast work of the #7 Chilean @Carla Munoz 5,2.
    So, nearly chalk into the semis, with 1,2,3 and 5 seeds.
  • Longoria was not troubled by her long-time Mexican rival Parrilla, winning 4,5 to get back to the US Open final for the 14th straight time
  • Manilla got her best ever professional win, crushing Herrera 6,6 to get to her first pro final.

In the Final, Manilla took a scintillating first game, then Longoria made some adjustments and cruised to the title, her 12th. Final score (13),5,3. Manilla has definitely put her name into the ring among the sport’s elite players as someone who absolutely could take the crown from Paola, but has her work cut out for her to vanquish the GOAT.

Points Implications of this event:

  • At the top of the LPRT, these results won’t change much. Vargas still held a sizeable lead on Manilla for #3 and it will take a couple more results for that lead to evaporate.
  • Longoria and Herrera still hold a huge lead at the top of the tour.

– Mejia will drop a couple of slots, especially once the 2021 US Open expires off.

Men’s Pro Doubles review
Chalk in the 16s, with all 8 top seeds advancing without any even being pressed to a breaker.
The big story of the Men’s Doubles was the amazing play by the Bredenbeck brothers, who beat the presumptive favorites Mar/Montoya and then handled the excellent #3 seeds Murray/Parrilla to get to the final.
From the top, all credit due to DLR/Beltran, who beat the excellent Bolivian pair of Moscoso/Keller to get to the final themselves.

From there, DLR/Beltran overcame a 15-14 first game loss to win t heir 3rd title.

Women’s Pro Doubles review:
No real surprises in qualifying; the only qualifier upset was the solid Bolivian doubles team of Barrios/Daza taking out the relatively new partnership of Lotts/Enriquez to get into the main draw.
In the quarters, the Guatemalan national team of Gaby/MRR took out the reigning US National champs and the winners of the last pro stop Scott/Lawrence in the 4/5 seed matchup. Otherwise the top 3 seeds moved on with ease.

The big story was the play of Mendez/Manilla, who took out the top two seeds en route to the title.

U21, Open, other notable draw results:

  • The IRT U21 was won by Diego Garcia, who took out presumptive favorite Trujillo in the semis and then held serve against hte improving Ortega in the final. Great win.
  • The LPRT U21 was taken by Centellas, who ground out a win against 18U Bolivian champ Meneses.
  • Men’s Open was taken by #1 seed Jordan Barth, who took out former IRT touring pro Costa Rican Felipe Camacho in the final.
  • Women’s Open was taken by Chilean Carla Munoz, who took out precocious Costa Rican MariCruz Ortiz in the final.
  • Men’s Open Doubles was taken by Mexicans Romano/Trujillo over Californians Torres/Reynolds.

– Women’s Open Doubles was won by Kaiser/Ros.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew , as well as the LPRT crew led by @Tim Baghurst and Sandy Rios.
Thanks to the Tourney Director @Connor Shane for all the work 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 …
We have a super fast turnaround for the IRT pros, who immediately head to the Bay Area to play in Manilla/Horn’s Golden State Open.

After that, a break until 3WallBall in Vegas, which i’ll be at all weekend! If you’re there definitely come say high.


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.


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.

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. Both the IRT and LPRT are running fantasy competitions this year. The winner each week gets free swag!

@International Racquetball Tour


@usUSA Racquetball US OPEN Championships

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

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 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.

– #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 (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).


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: http://rb.gy/q4pmak


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 …


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: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39163
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
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor







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: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=32188

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/o32

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: https://rball.pro/7gv

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 …
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: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=32188

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!

21st IRF World Championship Wrap-up

Moscoso is your new World champ. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your individual winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Conrrado Moscoso
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Men’s Doubles; @Alvaro Beltran and Daniel de la Rosa
  • Women’s Doubles: Longoria & @Samantha Salas Solis
  • Mixed Doubles: Salas and Rodrigo Montoya
    Obviously a huge week for team Mexico, which wins four of the five draws on home soil in San Luis Potosi, strongly taking back the crown of best Country in the sport.
    After the individual events, the countries played “team” events, which were both won by Mexico (Men’s over Canada, Women’s over Bolivia), further cementing Mexico’s reclaiming of their top-country status.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39914

Here’s a quick recap of each draw, with some observations.
Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/9s5
Bolivia’s Moscoso took out USA’s long-time representative @RRocky Carson in the final to secure his third IRF title and his first world title. Rocky loses in the final of Worlds on the same court where he made his Worlds debut back in 2000, an amazing feat considering that he’s still making the back end of tournaments 22 years later.
Some of the storylines of the knockout draw for me:

  • Moscoso really dominated this event. He beat Landa 2,3,2 (the 2021 World Champ), then turned around the next day and beat Montoya 4,2,6 (the 2018 World Champ). These were absolutely dominant wins even by rally scoring standards, and its hard to understate just how well he was playing. His serves were as fast as I’ve ever seen in a pro or IRF event, thanks to altitude in SLP and where Conrrado is right now.
  • The biggest storyline besides Moscoso has to be the shock upset loss of DLR in the 16s to Guatemalan @Edwin Galicia . This is the currently ranked #1 pro in the world, who should have been in the final against Moscoso. It is really a shocking loss for the world’s top player.

– Rocky came from two games down in the semis to down @Andres Acuna , who continues to make the case that he belongs in the discussion of the top players in the world.

Women’s Singles: https://rball.pro/uw5
Longoria secures her amazing 23rd international singles title, losing just one game the entire tournament. Her first title was in 2006, and now in 2022 she’s just as dominant.
Other storylines for me:

  • I realize its the IRF and they make their own rules … but the women’s draw seeds show why you cannot seed by country. Your 1-4 seeds were Manilla, Mendez, Rajsich and Centellas, giving USA and Argentina the top four seeds based on their finishes last fall. All four players lost in the quarters. Seeding is important in tournaments, and time and again the IRF’s country-based seeding results in weird looking results (like the decade-long #1 LPRT player Longoria being the #6 seed here).
  • Manilla’s loss to Barrios wasn’t that big of an upset, in that they’re #6 and #7 on tour right now, but Manilla’s loss to Angelica (or is it Steffany now?) coupled with her loss to Enriquez at the pro stop last week does not portend well to her aims to challenge for the upper echelons of the tour rankings.

– The second straight week that #2 Herrera has lost to one of her top rivals. Last week it was Mejia, this week Gaby. Is she really ready to challenge Paola for the #1 title, or were her two wins last spring just a good run of form?

Men’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/1hb

  • DLR and Alvaro return to the top of the IRF doubles world, winning Worlds again. They were 2018 World champions together. This represents Beltran’s 11th career IRF doubles title, and he does it in his final appearance before retiring from play.
  • They certainly earned this title, taking out the very solid Ecuadorian team in the quarters, the US team in the semis, and then coming back from 2 games down to beat the excellent Bolivian team in the finals.

– Was slightly surprised the Canadian team didn’t get to the final, but its also an indicator of just how well Moscoso was playing this week. And @Roland Keller is a fantastic right-side player.

Women’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/8hc

  • First the obvious; Longoria and Salas of course are the most dominant pro doubles team, and continue to be the best team in the IRF. This title is their 16th IRF title together. to go with more than 30 pro doubles titles. Its really amazing.

– Bravo to the Argentina team, who beat the team i thought was a shoe-in to get to the finals (USA), then crushed an over-seeded team Canada to get there. And they nearly won; taking the champs to 5 games and a 12-10 5th game loss that could have gone either way. Would love to see what Mendez/Centellas can do going forward, and see if they can challenge the other top teams on tour (Mejia/Herrera specifically).

Mixed Doubles: https://rball.pro/g75

  • Montoya and Salas are clearly the best mixed team in the world right now, having won their second straight Mixed IRF major to go with their title in the 2021 Mixed pro event in Denver.

– Mixed doubles is a great addition to these tournaments and I hope we get more combined pro events so we get more full-strength mixed pro draws.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend; thanks to IRT crew and @Pablo Fajre for making it happen, thanks to @Gary Mazaroff and Alexis Iwaasa for your time on the mike.

Thanks to USA Racquetball for streaming the USA matches when not on the main court, as well as other orgs/players who live streamed their matches for us to benefit from afar.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

IRF Seniors is in Albuquerque next weekend (home of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul!), and then the pro tours kick into action with two straight weekends of Mid-Atlantic tournaments; the LPRT in Chesapeake VA on the 9/11 weekend, and then the IRT in Severna Park the 9/18 weekend. Both of these sites are drivable for yours truly (now living in Richmond), but we’ll see which ones I can get to.


XXI 2022 Worlds Preview

Beltran goes for a title in his final Worlds. Photo US Open 2019 via Photographer Kevin Savory

Hello! I’m a few days late to this preview … but now that the knockout brackets have been set, i thought i’d set the stage for the rest of this week.
The 2022 Worlds tournament is the 21st iteration of the tournament. The first one was in 1981, held at the inaugural World Games in Santa Clara, then the second held three years later in 1984 in Sacramento (it didn’t move far). From there, it has been regularly held every two years at increasingly distant spots in the world from Racquetball’s origin in the states. Places like Germany, Venezuela, Bolivia, South Korea, Colombia, Guatemala, and Ireland have held the event over the years. The USA has now hosted it four times .. but none since 1996. Canada has hosted it twice.
But this year it is in San Luis Potosi, Mexico’s hotbed of racquetball, which now hosts this event for the third time. SLP was set to host in 2020 but Covid knocked the racquetball world for a loop, but here we are, back in SLP and at the amazingly beautiful La Loma Sports Center.
This being racquetball … it wouldn’t be an international event without some interesting stories. In the lead-up to this event, we discovered that:

  • The FMR (Mexico’s federation) is badly in arrears in its payments and paperwork with CONADE (the Mexican equivalent nationals porting body to the US’s US Olympic Committee). This was discovered when the entire Mexican team went to gofundme/facebook to ask for funds to cover their travel with a week’s notice. The FMR and CONADE traded accusations in the media, each disputing the other’s story.
  • The Colombian Federation apparently has dissolved, meaning that the two frequent ladies representatives Cristina Amaya and @Maria Paz Riquelme not only had to fund their own trip … but they had to cover their own and their association’s fees to the IRF which together are thousands of dollars). Not surprisingly, there are no Male Colombian competitors, robbing the worlds of the typical presence of @Mario Mercado , @Sebastian Franco , @Eduardo Garay (if he still even represents Colombia) , or lately Gerson Miranda , who just switched from Bolivia last year. Not good.
  • The European Federation announced that they were not sending any teams this year … but that didn’t stop @Fabian Balmori from coming to represent Spain. Balmori represented Venezuela at various international events from 1993 until 2008, and has two IRF Men’s singles titles to his credit (in the 1993 and 1998 Central American & Caribbean Games events).

The IRF has come to its senses and now uses R2; here’s the link https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39914

Quick recap of the interesting machinations of the RR groups before we get to knockout predictions.
Note: the top 2 competitors from each group advance to the knockouts, while the non-qualifying players/teams move to the consolation knockout brackets.
In Men’s Singles:

  • #2 seed and defending World champ @Andres Acuna was upset in the RRs by Ecuadorian @Jose Daniel Ugalde in five games. Big-time upset and this will shake up the bottom-side of the draw.
  • Argentina’s Diego Garcia was surprisingly eliminated inthe group stage.
  • Japan’s @Michimue Kono upset the #1 seed @Ssergio.acun in his group, and then Canadian @Kurtis Cullen had an amazing down-two-games come-back to win the group and the top seed; final score against Acuna was (7),(7),9,0,0. Sounds like a possible injury here; we’ll see what the knockouts bring.
  • Most of the rest of the groups went chalk, with #1 overall seed @RRocky Cars and IRT #1 ranked pro @DanielDaniel de la Rosa giving up the fewest points (36 and 37 respectively) in the group stage.
    In Women’s Singles, only a couple of notable results in a very chalk-y RR stage:
  • I was surprised @VValeria Centellas got a win over Steffany Barrios (formerly Angelica) ; big win that hopefully propels her to success in the knockouts.
  • A solid win byAna Gabriela Martinez in the group stage to topple current #2 LPRT player @AleAlexandra Herrera , a 5-game see-saw affair.
  • Both Cuban entrants played their first couple of matches , then no showed. Turns out, they used this opportunity to defect. Bravo to them, and I hope they find success.
    In Men’s Doubles:
  • Kind of surprised the Ecuadorian Men’s team didn’t fare better, after their excellent runs in past events.
  • The Canada-USA match was the highlight of the opening round, with both teams really powering the ball. Hope to see this matchup again.
    In Women’s Doubles:
  • Two of the groups went chalk/predictably, but Group 2 featured three teams to go 2-1, beating each other up and forcing the places to go down to points differential.
    In Mixed Doubles:

– Slightly surprised that the Bolivian team of Moscoso/Daza outlasted the Canadian team of Murray/Lambert.

Predictions/Knockout Preview
Lets run through the knockout draws and make some predictions.
Men’s Singles: The quarters look to be great.

  • #1 @Rocky Carson , who owns 8 IRF singles titles, likely faces Keller, a 2-time PARC champ. Carson has never lost to Keller, and should advance here.
  • #5 @DanieDaniel de la Rosa , who owns 3 IRF titles, likely faces defending champ Acuna,, who should advance as the #13 seed in the 16s over Canada’s @Kurtis Cullen . I don’t see DLR losing here.
  • #3 @Alejandro Landa faces a very stiff challenge against #6 Conrrado Moscoso in what should be the best match of the round. Landa has downed Moscoso two straight events, but neither has been in the race-to-11 rally scoring method. I think the altitude and pace of Moscoso works to his favor and he gets the upset here.
  • For his excellent RR finish earning him the #2 seed, Ecuador’s @Jose Daniel Ugalde is set to face 2-time IRF champ Rodrigo Montoya , who always elevates his game in IRF events. Montoya to advance.
    In the semis:
  • DLR should advance past Carson, though Rocky skipped out on Doubles specifically to focus on singles here while Daniel is still pulling double duty. On paper this is a DLR win .. but Rocky got a win over DLR back in Chicago in March. Could go either way.
  • Montoya has shown a propensity to control Moscoso … but Conrrado has turned the tide. These two met in the semis of PARC in April, a close 3-game win for the Bolivian, and I predict the same here.

In the final: DLR vs Moscoso is a fitting final, a contrast in styles. I think DLR’s patience and maturity on the courts will earn him a close win, similar to the way he ground out a win the last time they played, which was in Denver, at altitude, in Aug 2021.

In Women’s singles, as with the Men’s, the quarters are going to be great:

  • #1 Erika Manilla will have her hands full with the likely play-in winner Barrios (who has to top Chilean vet @Carla Munoz first). Manilla topped Barrios in Vero Beach … but Barrios just won the PARC event (albeit on home soil). A coin flip, but Manilla is slightly favored.
  • The #1 LPRT player @Paola LPaola Longoria is seeded 5th in the knockouts but should have little trouble topping #4 Centellas.
  • #3 Rhonda Rajsich faces a tall task in #6 Gaby Martinez; this should be an upset by seed.
  • Despite the seeds, #7 Herrera should make quick work of #2 Mendez.
    In the semis:
  • Longoria over Manilla; Erika has exploded onto the women’s scene, but isn’t ready to beat Paola, especially on home soil.
  • Martinez over Herrera: this would be an upset by seed, and by LPRT ranking … but Martinez has had consistent success over Alexandra and is an excellent international player.

Final: a rematch of the famous 2018 worlds title for Gaby, her sole career win over Longoria. Not this time: Longoria will not be stopped in her home town.

Men’s Doubles prediction:
I think seeds will hold to the semis. There we get some awesome matches.

  • #1 Mexico should advance to the final over #4 USA. @Alvaro Beltran is seeking to go out on top in his final World tournament.
  • #3 Canada is looking really strong and should topple #2 Bolivia.

In the final, I like DLR/Beltran

Women’s Doubles prediction: its hard not to predict a Mexico-USA final, but these teams will have to beat some solid teams to get there.
Longoria/Salas are pretty unbeatable right now, unless their opponents are Herrera/Mejia, so i’ll predict them to top Lawrence/Scott in the final.

Mixed Doubles prediction: I think Mexico is a shoe-in for the final from the top, but any of three teams (USA, Canada, or Bolivia) could win from the bottom. Whoever advances though will be hard pressed to beat Montoya and Salas.

Streaming is being done by the IRT team for this event (thanks to Pablo Favre ) and the lead broadcasters are the excellent @Gary Mazaroff and @AlIAlexis Iwaasa . Follow @internaInternational Racquetball Federation on Facebook and sign up for live notifications.
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.
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #irt #lprt

Paola Longoria Grand Slam Wrap-up

Longoria wins her namesake event. Photo via US Open 2019, Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Doubles; Alexandra Herrera & Montse Mejia

    This was a unique tournament featuring Paola’s “personal” portable court, which was setup on a covered court outside of the Deportivo Ferrocarrilero club in Aguascalientes, AG, Mexico.
    It is a spectacle of a court, but the outdoor setting features very difficult sight-lines for players, especially in the later afternoon where the sun glared into the court from all sides. This seemed to really vex some players, as we saw all kinds of upsets in this event. They had to have a thunder delay midway through the event, something I can’t quite say i’ve heard of before.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39838

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/k9q

In the 32s, no surprises from the 5 relative newbies to the LPRT tour.

In the 16s, we started to get some surprises.

  • In the 8/9 match, @Samantha Salas Solis got a solid win over top10 rival @Carla Munoz 5,13. Is this the return of Salas to the top 10?
  • #5 Angelica Barrios escaped by the skin of her teeth, winning 11-10 over #12 Sheryl Lotts.
  • The shock result of the round of 16 was former top10 player Nancy Enriquez blasting #4 Erika Manilla 10,4 to move on. Not a good start to Manilla’s pro season.

– #6 Jessica Parrilla was stretched to an 11-7 breaker win over #11 @Maria Renee Rodriguez

In the Quarters

  • #1 @Paola Longoria topped her doubles partner Salas 8,4 to move on. These two have met more than 70 times now on the pro tour, by far the most frequent rivalry in the tour’s history.
  • #5 Barrios had a comprehensive win over upset-minded Enriquez 11,5 to move into the semis.
  • #6 Parrilla continued her recent record over #3 Natalia Mendez , advancing to the semis.

– #7 @Montse Mejia dominated her doubles partner and #2 player @Alexandra Herrera 7,5. This is the most significant result of the round; Mejia is one of just a handful of players who have ever gotten a win over Paola, and this result spurred her into the finals.

In the Semis

  • Longoria flew by Barrios 3,6 to move into the finals in her namesake tourney. In 6 games she’s given up a grand total of 23 points and looks unstoppable as always.
  • Mejia had little trouble over her country-woman Parrilla, moving into the finals 5,6. Mejia definitely looks “on” this weekend.

In the Finals, a great back and forth match between Mejia, a young player who when “on” can beat anyone in the world, and Longoria, the veteran who has proven time and again she knows how to win. Mejia raced out to an early lead in game 1, but Paola came roaring back to win it. Instead of being deflated, Mejia returned the favor in game two to force the tiebreaker.. In the breaker, Mejia was first to match point but could not convert, then Longoria worked the last two points to win 11-10 in the final. The fans could not have asked for a better singles final.

Points Implications of results
No changes in the top 3: Longoria did not play in Denver last year, so she had no points to defend and thus turned her 600 point lead over Herrera into an 1100 point lead overnight. Wow; Herrera really needed a result here to make the race this season close and missed out on a huge opportunity.
There was some big-time movements though, both by players who were here and players who were not. Mejia’s result vaults her immediately to #4 on tour, jumping both Mendez and Manilla. Munoz moves into the top10 at #9. Salas continues to climb backup the rankings, now sitting at #12.

However the most impactful change is to Gaby Martinez, who plummets from #5 to #15 on tour. Martinez won the 2021 Denver event but defends none of those points and thus drops 320 points in an instant. This will make future seeding quite interesting, as she now projects to face a top 4 player in the 16s.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/hu4
The 8-team doubles draw resulted with the expected 1-2 final. The two top ladies doubles teams in the world (Longoria/Salas and Mejia/Herrera) met in the final just after the singles final, and the losing singles finalist Mejia helped power her team to a comprehensive finals win, beating the #1 seeds 7,7.

Herrera is on quite a roll in doubles; she has won 4 of the last 5 pro doubles titles now and has done it with multiple different partners as Mejia does not always travel. It seems likely Paola will lose her #1 doubles ranking soon.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Maria Renee Rodriguez.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

It is time for 2022 Worlds! Its being held just next door to Aguascalientes in San Luis Potosi, one of the hotbeds of Mexican racquetball. There’s been all sorts of funding drama leading up to the event (well publicized elsewhere); lets hope the Mexican players do actually attend.


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!

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