Here’s a recap of the action from the 3rd installment:
In the Singles…
The top half featured a big upset early, as #1 seeded Ben Bleyer was taken out by Connecticut #1 and 9th seed here Jose Flores Jr in the quarters. Flores couldn’t capitalize on the big win though, falling in the semis to #5 seed and host @Samuel Kelley. Kelley had gotten his own big upset, topping former Massachusetts #1 and now a new Washington DC area resident John Behm in the quarters before advancing past Flores to get to the final.
From the bottom half, the draw went mostly chalk, with #3 seed and co-host @Joe Kelley advancing over NY junior phenom @Josh Shea (aka “Baby S”) to meet top Ohio player @Victor Migliore in the other semi. Victor advanced to face S.Kelly in the final.
Kelley and Migliore battled it out in the final, and Sam took the title at his namesake “Average Joe” event.
This year’s event featured Doubles for the first time. Here’s a recap of the Doubles draw:
It was a 14-team draw, straight up single elimination.
From the top half, the draw went chalk, as #1 seeds the Kelley brothers used their Lefty/Righty combination to top #4 seeded Derek Ott and Texas junior @Cole Sendrey
to make the final.
From the bottom half, #3 seeds team Maryland Dylan Pruitt and Bleyer upset the 2nd seeded team of Josh Shea and @anthony Armanouse (aka “Moose”) to make the final.
In the final, Team Maryland topped the #1 seeds and hosts to take the title.
A 28-person draw finishing both a Singles and a Doubles draw in a 3-day weekend is awesome, and lays out a blueprint for a possible future pro event on the grounds. Hey, we can dream right?
Congrats to Coby Iwaasa and Frederique Lambert for taking the two Singles qualifiers this past weekend.
Iwaasa wins his first Canadian National event since May of 2015. He had faced off against finalist @Samuel Murray in the last 10 straight Canadian national event finals and got the win by virtue of an injury related walkover. It is Iwaasa’s 3rd overall title (1 National title, 2 qualifier titles).
Lambert wins her 4th straight Canadian national event, and her 14th overall with the win. She now owns 4 National titles and another 10 National qualifying tournament titles. She has not been defeated in Canadian competition since May of 2014, though her participation is understandably spotty thanks to her day job of being a Medical professional. She defeated Michele Morissette in the final, the third straight time these two have met in a Canadian national event final.
The Canadian Amateurs will presumably play another qualifier in the winter months before competing for their 2023 National title next May.
Mixed Doubles:David Serra/Disney Linares The Canadian Nationals also had Junior nationals, awarding the following Junior titlists:
Girls 21U: Cassie Prentice
Girls 16U: Ofelia Wilscam
Girls 14U: Lahni Buller
Boys 18U: Nathan Jauvin
Boys 16U: Asher Pocsai
Trackie home page for event: https://www.trackie.com/…/racquetball-canada…/476421/…
Lets do some quick commentary on each draw.
Men’s Singles: PRS event report: http://rball.pro/CF063C No real surprises here; #1 @Samuel Murray topped #2 @Coby Iwaasa for the fourth straight time. The Men’s draw was missing some regulars (Castro, the Landeryou brothers, Bousquets), but featured the expected names at the back end.
Men’s Doubles; PRS report: http://rball.pro/5F5739 The Murray brothers secure their third straight Canadian men’s doubles title together, and Sam gets his 6th for his career, by topping Iwaasa and Kurtis Cullen in the final.
Women’s Singles: PRS report: http://rball.pro/EEB08C Former LPRT #2 Dr. @Frederique Lambert won her fourth national singles title, defeating her doubles partner Michele Morissette in the final.
Women’s Doubles: PRS Report: http://rball.pro/7B7355 Lambert gets the double on the weekend, winning both Singles and Doubles. Frederique wins her 3rd career national doubles title, Morissette her 3rd as well, but their first together.
Congrats to your winners and US National team qualifiers on the weekend:
Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson over Alex Landa
Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla over Rhonda Rajsich
Men’s Doubles; Rocky Carson/Charlie Pratt
Women’s Doubles: Holly Scott/Kelani Lawrence
Mixed Doubles: Alex Landa/Michelle De La Rosa
These players qualify to represent the USA at the upcoming 2022 World Games in August in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and at the 2023 Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC) to be held in April 2023 at a site yet to be announced. (Note: the 2022 World Games participants were determined from the finishes of last year’s Worlds).
R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38797
Lets review the draws and give out the direct links into the database for the full draws of results. Men’s Singles Recap: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/F7A26D Seeds held to the quarters (though #6 seed Thomas Carter was a no-show), with only one close match in the 16s, that being #7 Sam Bredenbeck going the distance to take out #10 Danny Lavely in five. In the quarters, no real surprises as the top 3 seeds advanced. #5 Manilla got a mid-game injury retirement after #4 Horn pulled something in his leg. In the semis; chalk. Manilla kept it close but #1 Carson won in three, while #2 Landa dominated #3 Bredenbeck to return to the US National team.
In the final, Carson secured his 9th ever US National title, most ever for American Men, by topping Landa in 4. Click here http://rball.pro/455001 for a list of all National title winners across all countries.
Women’s Singles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/173522 7 of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarters without dropping a game; the sole upset by seed was #10 @Shane Diaz, who took out #7 seed @Graci Wargo in three. In the quarters, chalk, as only one top four seed was extended by a game. Up and coming junior @Annie Roberts took a game off of Manilla, otherwise the top US women cruised into the semis as expected. In the semis, Manilla was taken to 4 games but advanced past Scott, who continues to look for her first US title. On the bottom side, a big upset as #2 Lawrence (who had made the final of the last three nationals) was taken out by #3 Rajsich. These two had met as recently as the last LPRT stop, where Kelani dominated Rhonda, but the tables were turned today. In the final, Manilla finished her official ascension to the top of US racquetball with her first National title, a dominant 7,8,1 win over Rhonda. See here http://rball.pro/8C6DC2 for a list of all US national titles.
Rajsich made her 13th national singles final, and guaranteed making the team yet again.
Men’s Doubles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/92C865 The top 4 seeds advanced to the semis without dropping a game. In the semis….chalk, but not without some excitement. #1 Carson/Pratt advanced in four over Manilla/Horn at the top, while #2 Bredenbecks’ staved off three match points in games 4 and 5 to shock the 2020 National titlists and tournament favorites Landa/Monchik 13-11 in the fifth. In the final, the veterans dropped the first game but took the next three to repeat as champions, take their 3rd title together, and for Rocky secure his 13th US doubles title.
Click here for a list of all USA Men’s Doubles champs, dating to 1968: http://rball.pro/589110
Women’s Doubles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/B31897 Seeded teams 1,2,3, and 5 advanced into the semis; the sole upset in the opening round was #5 @Lexi York/@Michelle De la Rosa taking out the #4 seeded U21 team of @Annie Roberts/@Alondra Canchola in four games. In the semis, the #3 seeds scored a mini upset when the 2020 champions @Aimee roehler and @Erika Manilla upset the #2 seeds @Rhonda Rajsich/@Sheryl Lotts. The #1 seeded team of Scott/Lawrence, who eneted the event ranked #1 and #2 in USA Women’s doubles, dropped a game but advanced over York and De La Rosa. In the final, #1 took out #3 in four games, giving Scott her first ever National doubles title.
Click here http://rball.pro/8F8065 for a list of all USA Women’s Doubles champs dating to 1972.
Mixed Doubles: PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/04FD8B Seeded teams 1,2 and 4 advanced to the semis with relative ease, but a big upset in the 3/6 quarter final, as my pre-tournament favorites #3 @Sudsy Monchik and @Kelani Lawrence were upset 11-9 in the fifth by #6 @Sam Bredenbeck and @Lexi York.
In the semis and finals, seeds held to form as #1 Landa/De La Rosa took out the Manilla siblings to claim the first ever Mixed doubles USA crown.
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters @Tony Prater and newly elected USAR Board President @Stuart Soloman , plus Team Dovetail’s @Kyle Artzman, who streamed the secondary court for us at home all weekend, plus a shoutout to everyone else who broadcast live off their phones. Thanks to the Tourney Director and USAR National events coordinator Connor Shane 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 … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/ Next weekend is the big Capital City WOR championships in Stratton Woods outside of DC, and then the week after is the big Supermax LPRT Grand Slam in Kansas City, the final event of the 2021-22 LPRT season.
Welcome to the 53rd Annual USA Racquetball National Singles championships! 2019 was the 52nd, then Covid knocked this event out for the last two years. Prior to that, it had been held every year since the first one in 1968 in Milwaukee. But we’re back, and so are the players. 246 participants are entered in Texas, which is the highest National Singles turnout since 2016. That’s great news and a nice sign that perhaps tournament players are ready to come back. The qualifying team draws are stacked, and the event should be a ton of fun with the inclusion of Mixed doubles and the return of some big names. Reminders:
the national team qualifiers will play IRF rally scoring rules, including the “immediately stop on appeal” rule, as much as we may not like them. 3 out of 5 games to 11, win by 2.
the rest of the tournament still plays classical USAR rules.
Seedings were done in singles purely by rank, while Men’s/Women’s doubles gives priority to last year’s finalists if they have returned as a team. There’s no “last year” for Mixed, so its seeded entirely by rankings.
Lets preview the draws. I talked through the draws with @Sudsy Monchik on Monday 5/23/22 (see here for that link: https://www.facebook.com/RacquetballGuy/videos/1451019748650331 )
So, I’ll do some quick predictions here instead of re-hashing an hour long conversation.
Men’s Singles 19 entered, headlined by last year’s finalists #1 @Rocky Carson and #2 Alex Landa . There’s some intriguing round of 16 matches to watch for: look for close matches in the 8/9 Robbie Collins / Nick Riffel match, and in the 7/10 match between Sam Bredenbeck and Danny Lavely , an accomplished player who hasn’t played US Nationals in more than a decade. In the quarters, a potential 4/5 match between @Bobby Horn and @Adam Manilla looks really tough; the two are doubles partners here and are also business partners in their new online training/coaching venture. I think Manilla gets the upset.
Semis and Finals: I’m going chalk, with a repeat of last year’s final between Carson and Landa. I can’t quite see either Manilla or Horn topping Rocky, nor can I see @Jake Bredenbeck beating Landa. Rocky to repeat, since getting onto the team is seemingly more important than winning the title.
Women’s Singles: The US Women’s game has four top competitors in Manilla, Scott, Lawrence, and Rajsich … then a gap to the rest of the field. While there’s some compelling early rounders (Ros vs Roberts and Diaz vs Wargo in matches of rising juniors), the semis were always going to be the “big four” here. Matchups matter: in the 1/4 Scott and Manilla will battle it out in a match that could go either way; the two have split their only two adult meetings, and despite Manilla’s run into the LPRT top 10 she lost badly in the last pro event. Meanwhile in the 2/3 matchup Lawrence has the upper hand against long-time rival Rajsich. Rhonda beat Kelani in 8 of their first 9 meetings, but Kelani has won the last three, including an 0,9 beating at the SC pro stop a few weeks ago.
Look for Manilla vs Lawrence in the final and a first ever national title for Manilla.
Men’s Doubles review Last year’s finalists (Carson/Pratt and the Bredenbeck brothers) are back as the #1 and #2 seeds, with 2020’s champions (Monchik/Landa) pushed to #3. The Bredenbecks may be pushed a bit in the quarters against Diaz/Hansen; Diaz and Jake were long-time playing partners and know each other’s game well, but the seeds should hold to the semis. In one semi, Manilla/Horn have a great shot at upsetting Carson/Pratt; all four players are accomplished veterans, cerebral on the court. In the other semi, we should see a return to the final for Monchik/Landa.
Finals prediction; a repeat of the 2020 semis, with Monchik/Landa topping Carson/Pratt in a tight one.
Women’s Doubles Preview: This draw is all about who’s coming in second, because the #1 seed are the top two female doubles players in the land right now in Scott & Lawrence, and they’re going to win this draw.
The 2/3 semi to determine who makes the final will be intriguing, with Manilla and hall-of-famer Roehler (she the owner of 13 national doubles titles) taking on the veteran Rajsich and Lotts. I like Manilla/Roehler here to make the final, but not to realistically push Scott/Lawrence once t hey get there.
Mixed Doubles Preview Perhaps the most fun draw to preview in a while, since there’s almost no history of these players playing mixed doubles at a high level. We just do not know how the teams will gel, who is better at Mixed than their ranking may indicate, and who isn’t. The quarters will be interesting from the top down, with #1 Landa/De La Rosa getting challenged by Jake and Roehler and #2 Manilla Siblings projected to face veterans Diaz/Rajsich. While we could see some breakers here, i’d expect the top four seeds to the semis. From there, we could see some upsets. I can see #4 Horn/Scott taking out Landa/mDLR, and I can see #3 Monchik/Lawrence topping the Manillas. But I can also see the reverse; we could see 1 v 2 in the final, or 3 v 4 in the final.
I’m picking Monchik/Lawrence to take it over Horn/Scott in the final.
Look for Streaming on USA Racquetball’s page, with a rotating crew of broadcasters for this event to include current USAR board member @Stuart Solomon at the lead.
We’ll preview the other big National event in Canada later this week, once they get through their RRs and have a knockout bracket set.
Associations International Racquetball Tour LPRT Countries USA Racquetball
Very successful weekends for Longoria, De La rosa, and Salas, each of whom come home with two titles. Montoya wins Mixed and makes the final of Singles, double qualifying for the team.
Here’s some quick “Category” reports showing all Mexican National finals in the database:
Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/13D7D4
Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/D13492
Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/7F4C52
Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/7B5D25
Mixed Doubles: http://rball.pro/7E4470 (this is a brand new query!)
These winners shall represent Mexico starting with international events AFTER next month’s PARC: the winners of last June’s Mexican Nationals are the representatives for Mexico in Bolivia (as we learned with the little kerfuffle a couple of weeks ago when the FMR attempted to reneg on the original plan to send the 3rd/4th place finishers from June 2021 as the PARC doubles team as opposed to the two-time defending IRF champion team of Montoya/Mar).
Reminder: rally scoring here, so the scoring format is games to 15, win by one, and if it gets to a fifth game it goes to 11, win by 2.
R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38926
Lets review the notable matches from the Event. Men’s Open Singles
Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/C33ED1
In the 32s and 16s:
The only round of 32 between notable/known IRT touring pros was a win for #7 Sebastian Fernandez over #26 Erick Cuevas 11,14,8 We saw just a couple of upsets in the 16s:
#21 @Rodolfo Esparza got his second upset in a row, taking out #7 Emir Martinez 13,9,9 to move into the quarters. Great tourney for Esparza, who is in his mid 20s and has never appeared in an IRT event.
Wily Veteran #20 Polo Gutierrez , who missed a chunk of time with an elbow injury, is clearly back playing in his home town and cruised by #4 Erick Trujillo in three close games 13,10,12. The draw opens up for Polo to make a deep run, and he poses a danger to all he plays. He was a 2014 Mexican open finalist and has made the weekend in many pro events in his career.
No other upsets really: your quarters are seeds 1,8,21,20 from the top and chalk 3,6,7,2 from the bottom half.
In the Quarters
#1 @Rodrigo Montoya won over #8 @AAlejandro Cardon … but he had to work for it. After going 2 games up, Cardona took the next to for a 5th game breaker. In the breaker, Rodrigo caught fire and rolled to an 11-4 win.
#20 Polo took out #21 Esparza in three quick games to move into the semis as expected.
#6 @Daniel De La Rosa took out #3 @Javier Mar in three solid games 13,10,6. DLR is just a step ahead in quality than Mar right now and it showed on the court. This was a rematch of the Beach Bash final just one day ago, but the result was the same.
– In the match of the tournament so far, #2 @Andree Parrilla took down #7 @Sebastian Fernandez in a battle of two of Mexico’s up and coming pros … and it went the distance. Final score: 14,11,(9),(14),9. Can’t get much closer than that.
In the Semis
#1 Montoya overpowered the veteran #20 Polo 5,7,13 to move into the final.
#6 DLR ground out a win over his IRT rival #2 Parrilla in four close games to return to the final for the first time in two years.
In the Finals, we had a rematch of the 2018 final, won by Montoya. The final was even better than the semi, with DLR rushing out to a 2-game lead and Montoya coming storming back to force the 5th game tiebreaker. After jumping out to a small lead, DLR ran off a slew of points to make a comeback nearly impossible and took the breaker 11-7. This is DLR’s 3rd Mexican National title since 2014.
Women’s Singles recap
Match Report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/AA60BE
The Women’s draw went completely chalk to the quarters, but that included for me a big upset win for #5 @DaniDaniela Rico over an under-seeded and under-rated #12 @Lucia Gonzalez in the 16s. Rico, who is the reigning Mexican 18U junior champ and still has a year of junior eligibility, got a career win over Lucia 12-10 in the fifth. In the quarters…
#1 Longoria dominated #8 @JJessica Parrill , winning 9,5,3 in a match where Leoni got increasingly frustrated as the day went on.
#4 @Nancy Enriquez took out the upset minded Rico in four very close games 14,(13),13,14. Can’t get much closer than that in rally scoring.
#6 @Alexandra Herrera went the distance against her doubles partner #3 @Montse Mejia before advancing. A tough draw for both players but the champion of the last two LPRT events moves on.
#2 @Samantha Salas dominated against her long-time Mexican RivalSusy Acosta , winning 1,6,9. In the semis:
Longoria cruised into another final, topping Enriquez 2,7,7 in dominant fashion.
Herrera held serve against her veteran Mexican rival Salas, winning in four close games.
In the final, we get a rematch of the last two LPRT finals (both won by Herrera). Longoria makes her 9th straight final (and probably many more since our database of Mexican results only goes back to 2014) while we get a first time finalist in Herrera. The top to LPRT pros split the first two games 14 and (13), but then Longoria found a new gear and cruised to win the next two games comfortably 15-8, 15-8 to take the title.
Men’s Doubles PRS report: http://rball.pro/B9F23A The top 4 seeds held to the semis without any really notable matches in the early stages. Lets pick up the action from there. In the semis: both top seeds advanced to the finals in hard fought four game matches. #1 Montoya/Mar topped #4 Parrilla/Fernandez from the top side, while the veterans #2 DLR/Beltran held off the youngsters #3 Trujillo/Hernandez in the bottom side.
In the final, we get a frequent matchup; this is a rematch of the 2021, 2020, and 2018 National final, and a frequent match seen on the IRT pro tour. However, unlike for the last few matchups in Mexican Nationals, the veterans topped the newcomers, with DLR/Beltran winning the final in 3 straight games to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018 and vanquishing the current reigning World Champions.
Women’s Doubles PRS report: http://rball.pro/FFC344 As with the men, the top 4 seeds held to the semis without any really notable matches in the early stages. Lets pick up the action from there. From the top, #1 Longoria/Salas were not troubled in their semi against #4 Aguilar/Lucia Gonzalez, winning in three games in dominant fashion. The bottom semi was closer, but #2 Herrera/Mejia held off the Parrilla/Ximena Gonzalez pairing in four. In the final … a frequent rematch. This was the 2019 and 2020 Mexican Nationals final. These are also inarguably the top two teams on the LPRT right now and a frequently seen final (mostly won by the Longoria/Salas pairing save for a famous 2019 Open win by the younger pair).
The four top LPRT pros played a very spirited, passionate match. The 15-time champions took the first two games, but their younger rivals stormed back to take games 3 and 4. In the breaker, a number of arguable calls led to a back and forth affair, but a pair of long rallies wen the way of Longoria & Salas and they eked out the win 11-7 in the fifth.
Mixed Doubles PRS report: http://rball.pro/6C0361 Mexican Nationals was the first major Mixed tournament to be competed, and it was a fun one. The Semis were chalk with the top 4 seeds advancing, but the early rounds were not without some interesting matches. From the top side, #5 @Alvaro Beltran and @Montse Mejia topped the veteran team of #12 @Polo Gutierrez andSusy Acosta in the 16s but fell to the Parrilla brother/sister combo in the quarters. On the bottom side, the third seeded pairing of the two current pro #1s @DaniDaniel de la Rosa and @Paola Longoria played a dominant match to take out the dangerous looking team of Cardona/Lucia in the quarters 4,6,9. In the semis…
#1 Montoya/Salas dropped the first game against the Parrillas, but held on for the win.
#3 DLR/Longoria split the first two with the Fernandez/Herrera team before turning on the pressure and taking the next two games to move into the final.
In the final…Both Longoria and De la Rosa were competing in their third final in a row … and frankly ran out of gas. After winning the first game, Montoya/Salas won the next three games to give them the inaugural Mixed title for their country. They prevent both #1 players from a historic treble on the weekend.
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from the Rkt and @Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
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Next up? Per our handy master racquetball calendar … https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Its the 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball Championships! Live from Bolivia, this is the annual international competition that will run over the next two weekends!
Men’s Doubles 13 Teams are here, highlighted by the top two seeded teams of #1 @Javier Mar and @Rodrigo Montoya and #2 @Daniel de la Rosa & @Alvaro Beltran. These two teams have met on plenty of occasions as of late:
the 2021 Mexican Nationals final (Mar/Montoya win)
2021 US Open Semis (DLR/Beltran win)
2021 Shamrock Shootout Semis (DLR/Beltran win)
2020 Shamrock final (DLR/Beltran win)
2020 Mexican Nationals final (Mar/Montoya win)
2020 Lewis Drug Final (DLR/Beltran win).
So, the two wins for the Mar/Montoya team were … in the Mexican Nationals finals, which then opened a pathway for them to represent their country at the last few international events, where they have had great success. They’re the current reigning 2019 Pan Am Games champs and the 2021 World Champs.
So, can anyone stop either team on the way to another finals rematch? The only other team I’d be fearful of here is the #4 seeded team of @Sebastian Fernandez and Andres Parrilla ; they’ll give Montoya/Mar a run for the money in the semis. DLR and Beltran should cruise to the final.
My prediction? Another Montoya/Mar defeat of DLR/Beltran. I think Alvaro is dinged up right now, not getting any younger, and as a team they’ve gotten upset early in the last few events they’ve entered.
Women’s Doubles Preview: Nine teams here, highlighted (like the Men’s draw) by two powerhouse teams at #1 and #2 seeds. #1 @Paola Longoria and @Samantha Salas Solis continue their partnership, which now includes 36 pro titles together, somewhere in the range of 15 Mexican national titles, and 19 International titles together. Amazing. But the #2 team of @Montse Mejia and @Alexandra Herrera is coming up fast on the veteran team’s heels. They’ve beaten Longoria/Salas in a couple of significant pro events recently ( the 2019 US Open being most memorable) and have several pro titles together. But they’ve yet to take a National doubles title.
Is this the weekend?
Like on the men’s side, it is difficult to see anyone standing in the way of a 1-2 final. In that final, I’m going to predict a changing of the guard with the Mejia/Herrera team topping Longoria and Salas to take their first national title together.
Mixed Doubles preview. Today marks a new day for Pro Racquetball Stats: the beginning of what seems like it will be a sustained movement of regular mixed doubles competition at both the National and International level. For the nearly 20 years I’ve run this site, we’ve never had anything other than a couple of one-off Mixed pro events when the two tours just happened to be in the same spot (World Doubles in Denver, the Syosset Open, Arizona Pro-am to name a few over the past few years). But now we have Mixed to add to both the Amateur and International database and report code. Lets preview the first National mixed doubles draw. There are 15 Mixed Doubles teams competing here; lets go through with some predictions. Matches to watch for in the 16s (which happened yesterday so this is old news)
#5 Beltran/Mejia were done no favors having to play #12 Polo/Acosta. A lefty righty pair will present some interesting choices for Beltran and Mejia. Polo is always hard to beat. In the end though, Beltran/Mejia advanced rather easily 10,4,9 QF matches to look for
The 4/5 of Beltran/Mejia versus the Parrilla/Parrilla brother/sister combo could be great. Andree is a great doubles player and will push this matchup. I think there’s an interesting balance of talent here; Parrilla is a better player than Beltran right now, while Mejia is a better than Jessica. But, the key for me is the fact that Beltran plays almost entirely on the right hand side when he plays doubles with DLR in mens; here he’ll have to play the left hand side, where I think Parrilla has the advantage. I see the Bro/Sis pairing advancing.
I like the 3/6 matchup between DLR/Longoria and Cardona/Lucia. It might be odd to think that a pairing of the two currently ranked #1 pro players in the world is seeded third (hey, Mexican national seeding), but chemistry is important in doubles pairings, especially in mixed. Cardona will bang it out on the right side with DLR, while Longoria could overwhelm Lucia on the left. Projected Semis:
#1 Montoya/Salas, who won the 2021 World Doubles mixed pro title with relative ease, are set to face the Parrillas.
#2 Fernandez/Herrera, who made the 2021 World doubles final (perhaps this is the tourney they used to seed this draw) are set to face the #1/#1 team of DLR/Longoria. What makes this matchup interesting is the lefty/righty pairing. Herrera will be on the left, meaning DLR will be serving to her. DLR is not hitting photons at 160mph … but he does hit with pace and can place his “walking drive serve” with an accuracy and depth that Herrera is not used to seeing. On the flip side, Patata can blast serves at Paola’s forehand, but probably will choose to either hit wallpapers or hard Zs. Either way, for whatever reason Longoria has not fared well in past Mixed pro matches and I think they’ll lose again here to setup 1v2.
In the final, I like a rematch of the Denver World doubles final from 2021, where Montoya/Salas crushed Fernandez/Herrera 12,6. I think we’ll see a closer match but a similar result. #1 seeds to win.
Streaming has started: follow RKT on Facebook to get live notifications. The tournament runs through Sunday early afternoon. Juarez is Mountain time, so 2 hours later than EST for your planning purposes.
Welcome to one of my favorite tournaments to cover every year; its the 2022 Mexican Nationals Selection event. This year features both Singles and Doubles in one event and will feature the best of all the top Mexican players and pros. A new fun feature this year is the inclusion of Mixed Open Doubles, thanks to the IRF adding Mixed as a competitive event, so we’ll preview that event and the interesting pairings we will see.
I’ll preview Singles today and Doubles tomorrow.
You’ll see rally scoring this weekend, since IRF has adopted it and thus confederations will play it going forward so as to prepare t heir athletes.
This tournament started on Wednesday morning thanks to the huge draws, so we’re a bit behind on this preview (some of the first round of Men’s has already been played), but here goes.
Men’s Singles There’s some notable absences at this event. Current IRT #7 Eduardo Portillo is missing despite playing last weekend at the Beach Bash. Also missing was the other semi finalist from 2021 in @Elias Nieto. Curious why they’re not here, though word has it that a bit of a kerfuffle about the PARC Mexican doubles team was resolved by Mar/Montoya backing out and giving their spots to Lalo/Nieto (as was apparently promised to them last Summer, when the FMR said the 2022 PARC team would be comprised of the singles semi finalists, not the Doubles winners from the Worlds selection event later in the fall). Also not here are top Mexicans such as Eduardo Garay (perhaps still not converted back to Mexico from Colombia), Javier Estrada , Alan Natera , @GeraGerardo Franco (who may be retired at this point), @Jaime Martel , @Ernesto Ochoa, Jordy Alonso (who’s had some recent success on tour), Rodrigo Rodriguez, or frequent competitor @Christian Longoria . So, as deep as this draw is it could have been better. Also not playing singles but here playing doubles is @Alvaro Beltran, prioritizing his health and skipping the demanding singles draw to focus on doubles.
But, there’s some notable players present who we don’t always get to see playing. Former WRT #1s @Alejandro Cardona and @Polo Gutierrez are entered in the draw (probably because they’re both residents of Juarez and its an easy commute). Both are top notch players and are dark horses as the #8 and #20 seeds respectively.
Also, a general word about the seeding. The seeds at this event always seem curious to me, depending on what seems to be a random calculation of past events and personal opinion. Daniel De la Rosa, for example, is the #1 player in the world and has been for some time, but is seeded 6th in the Singles draw (he missed the 2021 Nationals event and finished 3rd in the 2019 event, so i guess that adds up to the 6th seed). It makes for some curious early round matches sometimes that we’ll note as we go.
If you were asking me to seed this ignoring last year’s results (not that you were of course), i’d seed it: DLR, Parrilla, Montoya, Mar, Fernandez, Cardona, Trujillo, and Polo. There’s 31 players in the singles draw, with the top seeds driven by last year’s finals. Here’s a preview of matches to look for.
In the 32s:
#5 @Emir Martinez faces #28 @Luis Renteria in what could be an interesting match. Renteria is one of the more decorated Mexican Juniors in history but is in his age 17 season.
#7 @Sebastian Fernandez takes on fellow IRT touring pro @ErErick Fernanado Cuevas in the round of 32, perhaps a round too early for such a meeting.
– Another decorated Mexican junior recently matriculated in Jose Ramos is entered as a #23 seed; he’ll take on #10 seed Angel Camacho in the opener.
Projecting the 16s, here’s some fun ones
#4 @EErick Trujillo , who has been making waves on tour, may face Polo at this stage. Polo has a unique game style that stymies veteran pros all the time; can the younger Trujillo make the adjustments? Upset watch here.
– #7 Patata versus the upset-minded junior #23 Ramos: Fernandez should advance but if Ramos gets by round one he’ll have some confidence.
Quarters: here’s where the rubber meets the road, with a set of projected quarter final players all with tour experience.
#1 @Rodrigo Montoya versus #8 Cardona: a good old fashioned WRT matchup between two hard hitters. Cardona leads career h2h 4-2, but they havn’t played in 5 years. Advantage Montoya to move on.
The winner of Trujillo/Polo has the advantage over #5 @Emir Martinez, who has zero IRT experience and is seeded 5th (ahead of DLR, lets we forget) on the back of his 2021 run to the quarters.
#6 @Daniel de la Rosa takes on #3 @Javier Mar in a match worthy of a final, but which happens in the quarters thanks to the ridiculous seeding. Mar has been on the singles sidelines for months as he recovered from a hernia, but competed well last weekend in Florida. DLR missed the Nationals last year for the first time in a decade, but has made the semis or better in the last 6 Mexican Nationals that he’s played. Mar won this title in 2017 and made the 2020 semis … so this will be a tightly fought match. Advantage DLR just based on world rankings.
#2 @Andree Parrilla projects to take on Patata in another fun match. They have not met since 2019, but Andree is 4-0 lifetime against Fernandez. This is a solid IRT round of 16 quality match and Parrilla should advance. My projected Semis:
#1 Montoya over #4 Trujillo; power will rise to the top here.
#6 DLR over #2 Parrilla; Though Andree beat him in their last meeting (Atlanta pro semis in January en route to his 11-10 win over Kane in the final) DLR is still 7-2 lifetime over his younger countryman. DLR in 5 games.
Projected Final: Montoya over DLR. This would be a rematch of the 2018 final, when DLR seemed to just kind of go through the motions and lost 3,12 to Montoya. See, once you have the final determined, both players are on “the team” and the winner is more about bragging rights and title collection than anything else. Will DLR push to win another actual title or is he just interested in ensuring his spot on the team for future IRF competitions?
Women’s Singles Review No real notable missing names from the Singles draw for the Women: the top 7-8 women in my book are all here and will make for some great quarters onward. Second tier pros like @Ana Laura Flores, Erin (Rivera) Groves, and Montserrat Perez are not here, nor are some of the top up and coming Mexican junior girls, but the draw is solid. Here’s a preview of what to look for. In the 16s:
#12 @Lucia Gonzalez, who has had enough past success that players know not to call her a “dark horse” any longer, should advance past #5 @DanielDaniela Rica .
#3 @Montse Mejia faces a tough challenge from @Delia Aguilar to start In the quarters:
#1 @Paola Longoria , looking for what should be something like her 15th national singles title (our records are not complete), gets a tough quarterfinal opponent in #8 @Jessica Parrilla. Longoria moves on but not without getting pushed a bit.
#12 Gonzalez is my pick to upset #4 @Nancy Enriquez here. She’s done it before and should do it again.
The match of the round is #3 Mejia versus the criminally under-seeded #6 @Alexandra Herrera, winner of the last two LPRT stops. These two doubles partners are good friends of course, and know each other’s game all too well, but Herrera’s form is spot on right now. Six month’s ago i’d have favored Mejia here, but now its Herrera’s match to lose.
#2 @Samantha Salas should breeze into the semis with a win over veteran @Susy Acosta. In the semis:
Longoria should dominate against Lucia.
Herrera should top Salas.
Final: for the third major tournament in a row its Longoria versus Herrera in the final. Will the tournament category matter here? Longoria needs to find a winning strategy and fast, because Alexandra has proven for two events in a row she can make drive serves, play clean, error-free racquetball and get wins. My gut says Longoria wins this, just because the National titles are so important to her.
Streaming: it remains to be seen who will do the streaming down in Juarez. I’d follow FMR and RKT for now, to see if we can get some live streaming. Thanks to the Tourney Directors @Favio Soto 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 FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it. Associations @International Racquetball Tour @LPRT Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol Rkt Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor
In addition to two other major events this past weekend, USA Racquetball hosted its Intercollegiates tournament for the first time in two years. After having 2020 cancelled last minute due to the fast rising Covid issue, then not even attempting to organize for 2021, we’re back for 2022.
The host this year was, for the first time since 2017, not technically a University. To avoid any last minute mask mandate policy changes, USAR kept the tournament in Tucson (where the University of Arizona was intended to be the host), but moved the event to the beautiful Tucson Racquet & Fitness Center.
r2sports home page: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38237 Here’s a recap of the events Congrats to your winners:
Men’s #1 Singles: Ariel Tito, CSU-Pueblo
Women’s #1 Singles: Annie Roberts , University of the Pacific
Women’s #1 Doubles: Roberts & @Alondra Canche , University of the Pacific
Men’s Team: Missouri
Women’s Team: Missouri
– Overall Team: Missouri
Comments on the results with some fun facts.
Thanks to a two year gap in competition, we were guaranteed two new Singles champions. The reigning champions from 2019 (Erik Garcia and @Hollie Scott have both matriculated from college. This opens up the door for a brand new set of competitors in both main singles draws, and some familiar names from recent USA Junior competitions were in the mix. In the Boys #1, Bolivian Junior Ariel Tito, now attending the racquetball mecca of Colorado State University at Pueblo, made a big statement this weekend, beating three higher seeded players as the #6 seed to take the final over #2 Ben Baron. Tito’s only previous IRT experience was in a PAC shootout lower tier event last year, and he’ll see his USA Ranking rocket up after his comprehensive win in the final 9,3. In the Girls #1, the final was competed by two familiar faces to those who watch the LPRT. There, former Junior national champ @Annie Robert cruised to the title, never giving up more than 6 points in a game. In the final she topped Texas-native @Shane Diaz 6,4 to take her first intercollegiates title.
This win represents the 9th ever Men’s singles #1 win for a player from CSU Pueblo; they are gaining ground win by win on the leader, that being Memphis State (now U of Memphis). This is the first ever Women’s #1 title for a player from the U of the Pacific (2nd overall, as @Marco Rojas won the 2016 men’s #1 while playing for that university).
In the Men’s #1 Doubles, it was a rematch of teams featuring the two singles finalists, but NAU’s Baron teamed with Schmeiser to top Tito and his partner @Samuel Lazcano to take the title.
In the Women’s #1 Doubles, Roberts teamed with Canchola to take the title. They topped Missouri’s Kate Zawalski / Abby Lachance in the final.
In the team competition…Missouri made a clean sweep of the team event, winning all three team competitions. Your team results top 3 in each category: Men’s: Missouri, BYU, Northern Arizona (nau) Women’s: Missouri, Pacific, BYU Overall: MIssouri, BYU, Oregon State This represents the first team title of any kind for Missouri in the 48-year history of intercollegiates. Its also the first time we’ve had a clean sweep by a college since Oregon State in 2013.
Congrats to all the participants and to USA Racquetball and @Shane Conner for tournament direction. Thanks to Leo Vazquez for streaming all weekend.
In addition to the LPRT Boston Open, there were a slew of other events this past weekend worthy of mention. Here’s a quick run through of what was a very busy weekend globally for racquetball.
US High School Nationals.
r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38151 One of the biggest tournaments of the year (by pure attendance) was held last weekend: the 2022 @USA Racquetball High School Nationals event, held at the Vetta Sports clubs in St. Louis.
Nearly 350 High School players from around the country were in St. Louis to compete for singles, doubles, and team competitions. Here’s a recap of the #1/Gold competitions on the weekend…
Boys #1 Gold Singles: #1 @Josh Shea from New York topped #2 @AnAndrew Gleason from Iowa. In a likely precursor to the 18U Junior Nationals final later this year, Shea won the first HS title for a New Yorker since … @sSudsy Monchik won in 1991.
Girls #1 Gold Singles: #2 @Naomi Ros from San Antonio upset #1 seed @Heather Mahoney. Ros recently relocated from Mexico and topped Mahoney in the 2021 Junior Nationals, setting up a rivalry that is set to run for a couple more years on the US junior national scene. She becomes the first ever titlist from a Texas HS on the girl’s side.
Boys #1 Doubles: Jacob Schmidt / Gabe Collins from Christian Brothers College High School in St Louis cruised to the title as the #1 seed.
Girls #1 Doubles: Heather Mahoney / Ava Naworski from Casa Grande High School outside of Santa Rosa HS took the title as the #3 seeds.
Mixed #1 Doubles: Ros teamed with DJ Mendoza (the #4 seed in Boys #1 gold) to cruise to the Mixed doubles title. The team competition was dominated by Missouri/St Louis area high schools:
Boys’ Team: St. Louis University HS
Girl’s Team: Lafayette HS
Overall Team: Kirkwood HS
Congrats to everyone who played, organized and participated. Thanks to @LLeo Vasque ‘s tireless work on the stream all weekend.
LPRT Boston Open Draws r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38579
Connecticut’s top player @Jose Flores upset the #1 seeded @John Behm to take the 24-man Open draw from Boston this weekend.
Women’s Open: as noted in the LPRT wrap-up, Micaela Meneses had a great women’s Open tournament, topping LPRT regulars Lotts, Lawrence and Munoz to take the title.
PAC Pueblo Athletic Shootout IRT recap r2sports: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38852 Several IRT touring regulars traveled to Colorado to compete in the PAC shootout. The four IRT regulars all advanced to the singles semis as expected. From there, #1 Andree Parrilla topped #4 @NNick Riff while @David Horn took out his colleague @Adam Manilla in the other semi to setup an All-WRT alumni final. In that final, Parrilla cruised to the title, topping Horn 2,5.
In doubles, Horn and Manilla were unstoppable, cruising to the pro doubles title over #2 seeds Riffel and @Mike O’Brien in the final.
Minnesota Hall of Fame IRT Tier 3 r2sports: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38807 A solid mid-western flair draw of top players descended to Fridley over the weekend for the Hall of Fame tournament. This included the IRT broadcast team of @DeDDean Baer and @PFPablo Fajre , who made friends with a local kangaroo and called some matches. r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38807 Congrats to local open amateurs @John Goth , Blake Hansen , and Lee Meinerz , who joined the 5 touring pros in the pro quarters. From there, Canadian #1 @Samuel Murray topped #5 Jordy Alonso in one semi, while #3 @Andres Acuña upset home-town favorite @Jake Bredenbeck in the other semi. In the singles final…Acuna played solid ball to top Murray 10,7 to take the singles title.
In the Doubles draw, the Bredenbeck brothers took out Murray playing with Canadian Ledu Michael in the final.
Lastly, several countries have been holding Nationals events or National team selection events ahead of next month’s Pan American Racquetball Championships. Results are a little hard to come by since no international countries use r2sports outside of the “big 3” … but here’s what we’ve been able to glean from various Facebook Posts:
Costa Rica held their men’s championships last weekend; in the men’s final: Andres Acuna d Gabriel Garcia 6,7,5. This is somewhat of a changing of the guard, as @FelipFelipe Camacho has represented the country for many, many years.
Colombia held a Men’s Selection event in Pereia, COL over the weekend.
Guatemala held their Men’s Selection event this past week and weekend (Women’s will be next weekend). The 4 semi finalists competed (presumably) in a RR draw; here was the results:
@Juan Jose Salvatierra
The top 3 will represent Guatemala, with Mendoza as the alternate.