IRT SoCal Open Recap

Jake wins his 2nd ever IRT title. Photo unknown circa 2018

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Jake Bredenbeck

– Doubles: @Daniel De La Rosa and @Alejandro Landa

Bredenbeck beats #1 and #2 to claim his second career IRT title. Landa and DLR win their first title together since claiming the US National crown in February.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41100

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/fz9

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In the 32s: the move to a non-qualifying draw continues to show its impact. Of the nine round of 32 matches competed, four of them could only be described as complete blow outs, finishing with score-lines of 2&0, 2&1, 5&1, and 0&1. Even those which didn’t finish in 15 minutes were generally not competitive, featuring single game scores in the low single digits. Only one tiebreaker in the entire play-in round, when #11 Jaime Martell was pushed to a breaker by #22 @Oscar Elias Nieto.

Lower-ranked players: are you still sure you want a non-protected draw?

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In the 16s, just one upset by seed and really only a couple of competitive matches as the IRT starts to get really chalky.

– #11 Martell upset #6 @Alejandro Landa 14,12. Landa was recovering from a couple of simultaneous injuries suffered in an IRT match earlier this season and the Opportunistic Martell took advantage.

– The only other close match in the 16s was #2 Daniel De La Rosa grinding past #15 Sam Bredenbeck 7,12.

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In the Quarters, we saw some solid ball.

– #1 @Conrrado Moscoso , who could not lose #1 unless he lost in the first round, cruised past the #8 seed Alan Natera .

– #5 Rodrigo Montoya continues his recent dominance over #4 Andree Parrilla , beats him for the 5th straight time in all competitions to move into the semis. With this win, Montoya should ascend into the top 4 on the IRT for the first time.

– #3 Jake Bredenbeck raced past the upset-minded Martell 11,2 to move into the semis for the 5th time in six tournaments this season, after having made a grand total of 5 pro semis in his entire career prior.

– #2 De La Rosa moved past the lefty Adam Manilla 12,6 to setup a critical meeting against Jake that has significant ramifications both for the pro tour and for USA national rankings as we approach National singles.

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In the Semis

– Moscoso and Montoya had their customary “nothing between them” first two games, splitting it 14 one way and 13 the other, before Conrrado ran away with the tiebreaker to move into the final.

– In the bottom half, pundits (ahem, me) thought DLR would advance into the final like he normally does over Jake (he’s 13-2 lifetime against Bredenbeck and has owned him this whole season). Jake had other plans, taking game 1, getting a huge lead in the breaker and holding off a comeback attempt to take the semi and advance into the final.

In the Finals, another upset as Jake took out Moscoso in two straightforward games to get his first ever win over the Bolivian and claim his second title after taking Portland in December. Jake played solid, calm, tactical power racquetball to take out the world #1. A well earned win.

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Points Implications of results:

We’ve alluded to the expected changes above, but we’re seeing some major movement with these results:

– Thanks to Jake’s replacing last year’s round of 16 loss in SoCal with a win here, he will supplant De La Rosa easily for #2 on tour. What a great achievement for Jake, who many thought would be mired in the 7-10 range as a peak for his career.

– Montoya will jump over both Parrilla and the missing Eduardo Portillo and moves into the coveted #4 spot. He’ll continue to project into Moscoso in the semis, and may very well continue to face his long-time nemesis Parrilla in the 4/5 spot in the quarters, but he’s now in position to put some points on the board.

– Manilla should move up to #8 spot.

– Murray drops to #9 and with his latest injury is in serious jeopardy of dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since 2016.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/zc9

This tournament marked the triumphant return of Alvaro Beltran to the tour after months away, and also marks a new pathway forward for Beltran. For a while, he has been hinting at retiring from playing singles but still wanted to play doubles. However, his long-time doubles partner De La Rosa has been forced to find new partnerships in his absence.

Since Alvaro’s injury, DLR has played with @Kadim Carrasco (semis loss in Florida), Sebastian Fernandez (semis loss in Austin), @javier Mar (a win in the Lewis Drug), Landa ( a win at US nationals, then a Finals loss in Atlanta before this weekend), and then with Moscoso (a loss in Minnesota). Suffice it to say, DLR needs a regular partner. Has he found one in Landa? Maybe so; he and Landa eased into the final by topping Chicago’s champs Parrilla and Manilla in the semis.

There, they met … DLR’s old partner Beltran, who teamed with Montoya this week in Mar’s absence and got a very solid win over the PARC finalists from Bolivia Moscoso & Carrasco to get t here.

In the final, the former partners showed little good will towards each other in a tight, testy match that belied the existence of some tension between the long-time partners. In the end, DLR and Landa took the title, their first since taking US Nationals in February, though Beltran made his normal array of fantastic shots.

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Other notable draws.

In the Men’s Open, Trujillo (who curiously forfeited his pro match) took out for fellow Mexicans in a row (Sanchez, Nieto, Ortega, and Longoria) to take the Men’s Singles Open title.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew . thanks to Brian pineda for coming out of broadcasting retirement to make it happen this weekend.

Thanks to the Tourney Director @Favio Soto and for Keith Minor as always for your continued support of the sport. I’m not sure we have pro racquetball right now without KWM Gutterman and Minor.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

Next weekend the LPRT is back in action for the first of two back to backs, in San Antonio and then their Grand Slam in Greenvile, SC. The IRT has had several events fall through and now doesn’t have a tier 1 again until the big event in Denver, which may very well feature the return of Kane Waselenchuk .

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tags

@kwKwm Gutterman

International Racquetball Tour

IRT SoCal Open Preview

Carso returns to the tour. how far can he go? Photo Portland 2019 via Kevin Savory

Welcome back! It’s been a month since the last IRT event, but it seems like forever since the Men’s pro’s were in action. But they’re back, in Southern California.

r2sports home page: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=41100

Perhaps its a hangover effect from the PARC, but this event is missing a ton of regulars. #4 Lalo, #8 Murray (who got injured in Guatemala), #10 Acuna are not here; these guys rarely miss an event. Plus a big chunk of the 11-14 ranked guys conspires to give Natera a #8 seed here, by far his highest ever pro seed. (note: post publishing JTRBall tells us that both Lalo and Acuna are at the Asia championhships).

A total of 28 players here, down from 42 players at this same event this same weekend last year. This continues a troubling trend on the IRT, which seems to have lost a third of its players in the last year.

Daniel De La Rosa won this event last year, so he’s defending full winner’s points. Meanwhile Moscoso lost in the quarters and will likely gain ground on his top rival DLR for the #1 spot after the weekend.

Lets go through the draw, see what may happen with so many top players out.

round of 32:

– @Rocky Carson is back, playing on tour for the first time in months in his home town. He faces local junior Cody Elkins in a round of 32.

– Jaime Martell takes on fellow Mexican Neito Oscar.

– #6 Alejandro Landa , fresh off not going to PARC, gets to play a name we havn’t heard in a while, former Japanese international Hiroshi Shimizu . Shimizu has pro results dating back to 2001-2, nearly as long as Rocky.

– in the 15/18 match, Sam Bredenbeck takes on Mexican youngster Jesus Guillermo Ortega in a match that could be closer than expected.

In the 16s, the top 4 seeds join the action. Matches of note for me:

– Rodrigo Montoya projects to face Carson and probably ends his return to the tour early.

– Landa projects to face his old WRT rival Martell.

– #7 Adam Manilla versus #10 Erick Trujillo is probably the most interesting match of the round. A good test for Trujillo to see if he can get by the crafty lefty.

Projected qtrs:

– #1 Conrrado Moscoso takes out Natera

– #4 Andree Parrilla faces his nemesis #5 Montoya, who has taken over their h2h lately. Montoya wins again and moves on.

– #3 Jake Bredenbeck projects to face #6 Landa in an intriguing match. Last time they played, Landa cruised past Jake at the 2022 USA National singles event to take the qualifier spot. But, since then Jake has really turned things around. What happens here? This is likely a preview of a match that happens in May with a spot on the US team on the line.

– #2 DLR projects to face Manilla, another possible May USA nationals match. DLR moves on.

Semis:

– Moscoso may be #1, but he has the harder semi against Montoya, a player who has proven time and again he can beat the Bolivian. These two met at this juncture in Chicago and it was a 14,14 win for Conrrado. What happens here? Coin flip, but i think Moscoso is on a roll after dominating the PARC event.

– DLR vs Jake. they keep running into each other at this juncture … and Jake keeps pressing the action but falling short. I see an other DLR TB win.

Final: DLR tops Moscoso. I think the jet setting catches up to Moscoso and DLR defends his title.

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Doubles preview:

The big news, as announced on Sudsy Monchik ‘s show last Sunday, is the return of Alvaro Beltran to the court. He has not played professionally since injuring his elbow in the Vegas 3WB tournament last October.

He’s paired with Montoya, whose regular partner @javier Mar is not here. They’re the #1 seeds; can they run the table?

They’ll face stiff competition from the top half of the draw, which features PARC champs Moscoso & Carrasco, who will have to get by the Bredenbeck brothers before taking on the Mexicans for a spot in the final. We’ll see how Beltran is doing quickly, as their opponents will be testing Alvi’s stamina.

From the bottom half, the #2 seeds Parrilla and Manilla have had some fast success together, but will have to get by the newly crowned USA national team pairing of DLR/Landa.

I’m looking at Team Bolivia versus team USA in the final, with DLR/Landa getting the win

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Look for Streaming starting at 7pmEST/4pmPST on the regular channels

IRT Shamrock Shootout Recap

Manilla wins the pro doubles in Chicago. Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: @Conrrado Moscoso

– Doubles: @Andree Parrilla and Adam Manilla

Moscoso secures his 6th career win, tying him for 16th all time. He now has as many tier 1 victories as @Jerry Hilecher , Ruben Gonzalez and Drew Kachtik each had in their careers.

On the doubles side, Parrilla wins his 4th career pro title and Manilla his 2nd.

see https://rball.pro/vhp for a list of all Tourney winners.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=40557

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

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

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In the 64s and 32s, absolutely no surprises.

The only upset by seed was in the 16/17 game between Carrasco and Cuevas, and no one was surprised by the 6,8 victory by the 17th seed. All sixteen round of 32 matches were two-game wins, zero tiebreakers, zero upsets. Lots of blow outs, and even those games that appeared like they were closer probably weren’t; if a player wins the first game 15-1 and then wins the second game 15-11 …. it’s not like the losing player suddenly “figured things out” as much as its likely “the winning player coasted.”

I mention these facts because this is a side-effect of going to a straight draw, which some lower level players have clamored for. Well, congratulations, you’ve gotten what you want. People are convinced that from a competitive level giving top players byes into either the 16s or the 32s was unfair to the rest of the tour; well, what you fail to realize is that these top players are there for a reason. Now instead of getting a more competitive match in the 32s against a player seeded closer to your ability, mid-20s seeds are forced to play IRT top 8 players and get crushed.

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In the 16s, we got nearly chalk, with 7 of the top 8 seeds advancing. Only in the 8/9 match did we get an upset, with Acuna taking out Manilla a week on from a reverse outcome in the same matchup.

– Montoya held serve against an improving Natera in a closer than expected game 9,14

– Moscoso was taken to breaker by his countryman Carrasco.

– Landa dropped the first game and held on for an 11-9 tiebreaker win against Carter

– Murray made a statement against Mar, winning 2,13 to move on in a match I thought would go the other way.

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In the Quarters

– Moscoso crushed Acuna 3,7

– Montoya topped Parrilla yet again, going breaker yet again. These two have been playing each other for so long, dating to Juniors and WRT, and now it looks like they’ll continue to do so on the pro tour.

– Portillo made fast work of Landa 2,9

– Jake crushed Murray 3,7 to continue to prove that he belongs near the top of the IRT.

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In the Semis

– Moscoso won a captivating match 14,14 over Montoya, the player who just topped him at the last event. Great racquetball.

– Jake ground out a come-back win over Portillo to move into another final.

In the Finals…. Jake will be kicking himself for this one. After taking a close first game, Jake had leads of 8-0, 10-5, and 14-10 and could not close out the match, as Moscoso hung around and avoided the mental checkout of game 2. The tiebreaker was neck and neck before Moscoso ran off points at the end to win 11-7, but for me the story was Jake letting a winnable one slip away.

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Points Implications of results

With no DLR, obviously this win puts Moscoso back on top of the tour. He should be about 150 points clear. The next event to expire was a DLR win, so he’ll have 400 points to defend when the tour returns.

No other changes in the top 10.

In the 11-20 range:

– Mar and Carter flip spots at 11 & 12

– Natera up to 14th

– Collins up to 15th

– Martel now in the top 16, which may be a tough spot for him because he’ll continue to run into #1 or #2 in the round of 16.

– Rocky and Kane are now 17 and 18 respectively.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/vy2

Parrilla & Manilla topped Montoya and Mar 10,10 to win the doubles title here.

@Andree Parrilla wins his 4th career pro title and Adam Manilla his second with an impressive win over the #1 Montoya/Mar team.

Parrilla has bounced around partners for a while on tour: he played most of last season with Portillo, but Lalo seems to have gone with a Team Dovetail connection with Acuna. It was looking like he had paired up with Murray for a bit (as Murray was dropped by Landa for DLR upon Beltran’s injury), but Murray picked up with Jake when Sam took the last few events off. This left Andree needing a partner again.

Manilla has been bouncing around too; he used to play mostly with Riffel, them being college buddies, but when Riffel stopped touring Manilla has needed a partner. In the past few Pro events Adam has played with Murray, Franco, Mercado, Fernandez, Jake, and even Horn going back to 2021. But none of these players are a reliable partner for him, either because of absences/stepping back from touring, or because they’re playing more regularly with someone else.

Maybe Manilla and Parrilla are the new solid pairing, given that they just beat the clear #1 team in the world.

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Men’s Open, other draws

– Natera took out Longoria in the final. Semis Martell and Migliore, who had an excellent win over Trujillo to get there.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

We will recap Intercollegiates tomorrow. The Warhawk IRT satellite is next weekend in Louisiana, then the next week starts the 2023 Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC). This annual event takes on special importance this year, as it will be a qualifier for the Pan Am Games later this year in Chile.

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tags

International Racquetball Tour

IRT Shamrock Shootout Preview

Jake is the #2 seed; can he get an other tour win? Photo Kevin Savory 2020 USAR national doubles

Welcome to Chicago, and the famed “fishbowl” court at the Glass Court Swim & Fitness club in Lombard, IL. Its the 2023 38th Annual Papa Nicholas Coffee Shamrock Shootout Presented by Glass Court Swim & Fitness.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=40557

Two big news items from Chicago:

– #1 De La Rosa is not here. Instead, he’s in Austin playing in the PPA pickleball event. I just got done going on @Sudsy Monchik ‘s show talking about how DLR had a smooth ride to #1 based on his Fall 2022 results expiring … but not if he’s missing events in March. Look, this is probably a calculated decision on Daniel’s part, knowing that the pay at PPA events is better, knowing that he’s now representing Pro Kennex in both sports, and probably knowing full well of his game-plan schedule wise to ensure a year end #1. Just saying.

– This event has no qualifying; its a straight draw. This is the 3rd event in a row where the tiered qualifying has been abandoned, and this is being done at the request of a player suggestion. @Pablo Fajre and I have talked about this in the past; when he ran the WRT, he used straight draws, and there’s decent arguments to go back to a straight draw in the IRT now based on the size of the draws (small) and the concentration of talent at the top.

Top 20 players missing: after DLR, we still don’t have Mercado. Rocky hasn’t played a pro event since November, kane still hurt, and Franco misses another.

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Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:

In the 32s, I don’t see anywhere where i expect an upset by seed, with the exception of the 16/17 match between Cuevas and Carrasco. But even that could go chalk. Longoria may give Montoya a push, or maybe you see Mendoza get points off of Collins, but there’s little chance otherwise for upsets in this round. In fact, I see a ton of absolute blowouts. #1 Moscoso versus a high school kid in the 32s? #2 Bredenbeck against a local amateur?

Not for nothing, this is one of the reasons given for going to protected qualifying to begin with. Lets take the #29 seed in this event: Victor Migliore. Assuming he wins his round of 64 match against Blase Zera, he sets to face #4 Parrilla in the 32s, almost certainly a loss. However, under protected top 8 qualifying we’ve had in place since 1999, Migliore would have played #20 Edwin Galicia in the “round of 64” (a winnable match?), to then play into #13 Trujillo in the “round of 32.” He would have more opportunities to get upset wins, which then lead to improved ran king and more prize money. Instead, with a straight draw? He loses in the 32s and probably gets zero prize money.

I know there’s lots of proponents for straight draws, but realize that straight draws are almost guaranteed to eliminate the kinds of close early round matches that we’ve come to enjoy.

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round of 16:

I don’t see a ton of upsets here: maybe 8/9 Manilla-Acuna will be close. Can Trujillo trouble Parrilla right now in the 4/13? i don’t think so. Unless Landa is still hurt, he should cruise past Carter.

The two best matches in the 16s are at the bottom: Murray-Mar and Jake-Martell. Mar took out Murray at the US Open and is my pick to move on here. Martell can get wins, but probably not against Jake based on the way Jake is playing.

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Projected Qtrs:

– Moscoso over Manilla

– Montoya over Parrilla: Rodrigo has Andree’s number right now.

– Portillo over Landa: Even at 100% this is close, and I’m guessing Landa is still not 100% so i’ll Pick Lalo here.

– Mar over Jake: this is the tough one. Jake has been playing so well, but Mar handled him easily the last time they played (last Sept). This could go either way.

Semis:

– Moscoso over Montoya: Rodrigo got him in Minnesota, i think Conrrado flips the script with the faster courts in Chicago. This is the real “final” for me with DLR in the draw.

– Mar over Portillo; similar game styles, Mar the classier player.

Finals;

– Moscoso over Mar.

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Doubles review

I like chalk to the semis. The “final” again comes early, with Montoya/Mar taking out Moscoso/Landa in the semis. On the bottom, Murray/Bredenbeck power their way over Manilla/Parrilla. In the final #1 team continues to win.

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Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live. Look for Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!

International Racquetball Tour

Minnesota HoFame IRT Tourney recap

Montoya the latest player to join the IRT Tier 1 club. Photo Kevin Savory 2022 Portland IRT event

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Rodrigo Montoya

– Doubles; Rodrigo Montoya & Javier Mar

Montoya becomes the 45th ever winner of a Tier 1 event in the Men’s pro tour.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=40006

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/q4j

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In the 32s, no surprises and mostly blowouts; only two matches even had games go double digits.

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In the 16s:

Adam Manilla with a solid win in the 8/9 seed game over Costa Rican @Andres Acuña 11,3. Manilla really rounding out his game so far this season.

– #5 Alejandro Landa forfeits out of the event, likely due to his not quite recovering from the multiple ailments (ankle and back) that hobbled him at the end of the last event. The lack of points will cost him, as he sees his ranking continue to slip. This gives Alan Natera a walkover into the quarters.

– Sam Bredenbeck really pushed #3 Eduardo Portillo , beating him in the first before losing in the breaker. Hometown crowds energized both Bredenbeck brothers this weekend.

– #6 Rodrigo Montoya took out his doubles partner #11 Javier Mar in two close games.

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In the Quarters:

– #1 Daniel De La Rosa took out the lefty American Manilla 7,9

– Natera looked to take advantage of his gifted quarter final appearance, beating #4 Jake Bredenbeck in game one, but Jake took over from there to win (13),3,4.

– Hot-handed Montoya crushed #3 Portillo 4,4. Montoya continues to be the player who I most wish would commit to touring full time, just to see what would happen.

– #2 Conrrado Moscoso , who missed the last event due to some high-level meetings back home in Bolivia, ground out a tactical win over his Canadian nemesis Samuel Murray in game 1 before running away with the match 13,3

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In the Semis:

– DLR was pressed by Jake, losing game one, before regrouping to win (7),10,2 to move into the final and guarantee he retains #1.

– In a surprising result, Montoya improves to 5-4 lifetime over Moscoso with a dominant 13,3 win. Moscoso reportedly was nursing a knee injury, but the 15-3 shellacking of the player who many think is the next #1 is interesting.

In the Finals, Montoya served DLR off the court, winning 15 of his 40 points via Aces. DLR was able to salvage match points against in game two, but games one and three were one-way traffic for Montoya. Its Rodrigo’s first Tier 1 win on the IRT, and is a long time coming for one of the world’s best players.

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Points Implications of results:

Moscoso had a slight chance of regaining the tour #1 if he won, but his semis loss guarantees DLR is in the driver’s seat for a while longer. Moscoso probably doesn’t have a good chance of regaining #1 until the SoCal Open.

Parrilla’s expiring of his huge points win from last year’s Suivant Grand Slam drops him from #3 to #5, giving Jake a career #3 high.

Landa’s absence drops him to #7, while Montoya moves up to #6. Montoya is now just a handful of points out of 4th on tour, and the next two events to expire include an absence for Rodrigo, meaning he’s like to be in the top 4 by June.

Veteran players who are either hurt or retiring continue to plummet: Kane is now #14, Rocky #15, and Alvaro all the way down to #30.

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Doubles review

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

Landa’s last minute W/D caused Moscoso to pick up a new partners last minute … just perhaps the best Male doubles players of all time in DLR. They bashed t heir way to the final. There they met the #1 seeds Montoya/Mar for what was billed as a fantastic match of top doubles play.

In the final, Montoya & Mar won a solid two-games 13,8 over DLR and Moscoso, giving Montoya the double on the weekend and the pair their 6th pro title together. They cement their status as the top doubles team in the world.

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Men’s Open, other draws

– Canadian Kurtis Cullen took out #1 seeded Gatica and #2 seeded Gomez to win the Men’s Open title.

– Kelly Gremley & Vallana Perrault took the Women’s Open Doubles RR draw.

– Meadow Barth & Jordan Barth teamed to take the Mixed Open doubles draw.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew

Thanks to the Tourney Directors John Olson and @KKaren Masberg Bredenbeck for putting this event on and raising the funds to bring pro racquetball back to MN.

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.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

We will recap LPRT and HS Nationals later this week.

Next weekend is Beach Bash! The First outdoor major of the year, held on the one-wall courts in Hollywood, Fla. The weekend after that, the IRT is back in action, as well as USAR intercollegiates at Ohio State.

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tags

International Racquetball Tour

IRT 2023 KWM Gutterman MN Hall of Fame Event

Will Landa give us more talking points this weekend? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

The IRT returns to the host site of last year’s US Open, the University of Minnesota, for the 2023 Minnesota Hall of Fame IRT event. Thanks once again to the generous sponsorship of Keith Minor and Kwm Gutterman , the pros are back in Minnesota.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=40006

The draw for this event is down a bit from what we’ve come to expect out of pro draws, continuing a trend so far in 2023. I’m not sure why this is the case. The first half of 2022 saw draws regularly north of 40 in the singles draws for the IRT, then by October we were mid 30s, and the first four events of 2023 have gone 36,30,31, and just 25 in Minneapolis.

Top20 players missing: just #3 Parrilla missing from the top 10, then a big chunk of the 11-20th ranked guys are out for this event. We’ll end up having one larger round of 32 on thursday, then kick off the main event friday as normal.

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Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:

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In the 32s/1st round, here’s a couple to watch for if the streaming starts up early:

– Cullen-Natera: Natera has been playing well lately and the Canadian will give him a good test.

– Collins-Salgado Jr: can Rodrigo get an upset of the lefty vet?

– Sam Bredenbeck – Gatica: upset watch for the American.

– Carter -Hansen: the Iowa amateur is a dangerous opponent and could give Carter trouble.

– Carrasco-Gomez: i like this matchup that could go either way.

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round of 16:

– Acuna-Manilla could be a barn burner at 8/9: good gut check match for both.

– Landa-Natera: could Landa be distracted after the controversy at the last event?

– Montoya-Mar: the good friends and long-time doubles partners have to face off in singles in the 16s, not for the first time. Impossible to predict who wins; they’ve evenly split their matches going back years. For what it’s worth, Montoya won their most recent meeting, at Mexican Nationals in Juarez a month ago.

– Moscoso- Carrasco: could be a meeting of fellow Bolivians and doubles partners. Not likely to see Conrrado lose here, but he’s been known to lose to his fellow Bolivians at inopportune times.

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Projected Qtrs:

– #1 De La Rosa over Manilla: a rematch of the same quarter in Atlanta

– #4 Jake versus #5 Landa. To say there’s bad blood here would be an understatement, after Landa’s actions in their doubles match in Atlanta. But, Landa is 12-1 over Jake lifetime. Landa was decently hurt in the last event; is he healthy?

– Portillo versus the Montoya/Mar winner: whoever comes out of the 6/11 can beat Lalo

– Moscoso over Murray; Despite Murray’s tactical acumen, i don’t see Moscoso losing to him again anytime soon.

Semis:

– DLR over Landa; despite Landa’s superior career h2h over DLR, i think his time has past where he can push the #1 player.

– Moscoso over Montoya/Mar winner. Conrrado and DLR have elevated.

Finals; Moscoso takes out DLR again. I see a similar result to what we saw in Atlanta, with slower walls and a slower ball benefitting Conrrado.

A note about the possible rankings: DLR is currently 200 points ahead of Moscoso, but is set to lose around 100 points in delta to Conrrado when the next event expires (the Suivant consulting Grand Slam). So, if Moscoso wins here over DLR in a final, they’ll be amazingly close at the top. I believe Conrrado can re-take #1 spot by just a couple of points if he wins and DLR makes the final.

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Doubles review

9 teams here, and some interesting moves. DLR decides not to enter doubles this event, leaving his US national teammate to find another partner; he picks Moscoso, who then drops his own Bolivian partner Carrasco just a couple weeks before they are set to play at PARC. It all seems like a moot point though, because Montoya/Mar are #1 and are the clear favorites.

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Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.

Look for Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!

Associations: International Racquetball Tour

Montana IRT Satellite and Xelani Open Recap

Natera wins in Montana. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

No Tier 1s or major events on the calendar last week, but we did have a couple of interesting pro-level competitions going on. Here’s a quick recap of two events that had some pros and internationals competing.

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First up; the Montana Winter Classic, an IRT-500 (which means basically players get $500 per round won from the quarters onward). This tournament drew a handful of regular touring pros and some top Canadian players.

r2sports page: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=40488

Pro finals: Alan Natera Chavez took out Thomas Carter . Semi finalists included recently crowned National Singles Open champion Ty Hedalen

Open doubles: won by LPRT #4 Erika Manilla and Matthew Ivar Majxner , who topped the all-Canada pairing of Lee Connell and @Tanner Prentice .

Men’s Open singles: also won by Manilla in a small RR group.

Bravo to the Montana crew, Andrew Weber , Majxner, and others who made this tournament possible.

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Xelani Open

https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=40450

the brainchild of top Florida amateur Alex Zamudio , this tournament featured an old-school open only draw; big money to enter, winner takes all style competition.

25 Pros from around the country and around the world entered the singles (34 together for 17 teams in the doubles), and here’s how the action went down.

Pro singles:

The story of the tourney had to be Mexico 21U player Diego Gastelum , who upset Ecuador international Juan Francisco Cueva in the 16s, then Guatemala’s Edwin Galicia in the quarters, then the #1 seed and easy tournament favorite @aAlejandro Herrera in the semis to make the finals as an #12 seed.

From the bottom side, Ecuador’s longtime veteran @Jose Daniel Ugalde worked his way th rough the draw, upset #2 @Nolsen Jimenez

in the semis, then took out Gastelum in the final to claim the big prize.

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The Doubles draw was wide open, with top seeds falling early on both sides. The #1 seeded team of Zamudio & Morales was taken out by Gastelum & Gomez in the quarters, while the #2 seeds (Team Ecuador Ugalde/Cueva) was upset by the legendary Sudsy Monchik playing with Charles George . Neither of these upset-minded pairings could go much further though.

In the end, the Floridians rose to the top, with Herrera (paired with Bolivian Fronton veteran @Marcelo Vargas Aguilar ) taking on Jimenez and Mike Harmon from the bottom half. Jimenez and Harmon blew it up in the final, winning 6,6 to take the title.

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Next up, we have a busy weekend.

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

Next weekend we have HS Nationals, IRT in Minnesota, and the LPRT in Boston.

IRT Williams Accounting and Consulting Atlanta Grand Slam Recap

DLR back in the winner’s circle, and back to #1. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Daniel De La Rosa

– Doubles: @Rodrigo Montoya and Andree Parrilla

DLR wins his 11th career IRT title, and he is now tied for 12th all time in the tour’s history.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39119

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/2ix

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In the 32s: a couple of results stood out to me:

– Carrasco loses to Guatemalan #1 Salvatierra 8,14. Even though these two are similar in stature on the world rankings stage, I would have thought the Bolivian would have pulled it out.

– Jose Daniel Ugalde did not seem that pressed to defeat Erick Trujillo 8,11. An interesting result; Ugalde now plays into Acuna, who he beat at 2022 Worlds in the group stage. Could we see a run?

– Erik Cuevas takes out Jesus Guillermo Ortega in a breaker. This seems like an upset in my book, as he’d beaten Cuevas the last couple of meetings.

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In the 16s, a couple of notable results for me:

– #4 @Alejandro Landa held off the usually dangerous @Jaime Martel in two. These two players will both be part of a larger issue later on in the weekend, so read on.

– In kind of a shocking result for me, #11 Sebastian Franco took out #6 Rodrigo Montoya with ease 4,11. The Jeckyl and Hyde performances of Montoya continue; in my mind he’s one of the bets 3-4 players out there, but he can’t seem to beat players consistently that he should beat. Franco had lost 8 of his last 9 matches on tour, mostly to amateur entries in the opening rounds of events, and should never beat a guy who’s making pro finals.

– Ugalde could not continue his run, and Acuna took him out with ease to move into the quarters.

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In the Quarters, chalk.

– #1 Daniel De La Rosa cruises past @Adam Manilla

– #4 Landa reverses his recent trend in events and lives up to his seeding, taking out his former doubles partner @Samuel Murray in a breaker.

– #3 @Jake Bredenbeck crushed Franco 8,3 to make the semis for the 4th time in his last 6 IRT events.

– #2 Andree Parrilla blasted #7 @Andres Acuña 3,4 to move into the semis and squelch any possible upset.

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In the Semis

– DLR got a walk-over against Landa, (his doubles partner both this weekend and on the US Team) after Landa tweaked his ankle in their doubles match earlier in the day.

– #3 Jake got a solid win over his long-time rival Parrilla to move into his 3rd final in his last 6 events.

In the Finals, DLR and Jake played the expected “close but never really in doubt” match, with DLR winning 10,12. Jake continues to really make a mark on tour and seems a safe bet to get another tourney win eventually.

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Points Implications of results

– Thanks to Moscoso’s absence and DLR’s performance, Daniel will re-ascend to #1 on tour for the time being. And going forward for a while, it will be a dog-fight at the top as both DLR and Moscoso have varying results expiring and we may see more flip flopping. Just hope Conrrado doesn’t miss events.

– Portillo’s absence costs him: he’ll drop slightly in the rankings.

– Despite his early loss, Montoya will move up to #7

– Adam Manilla will rise up to #9, his career best.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/n9s

The doubles draw overall was very chalk-y, with the top 4 seeds advancing to the semis and the top 2 to the final.

However, that’s not the storyline of the weekend.

In a tense semi-final between #2 seeds DLR/Landa and #3 Murray/Jake, a possible match-point for the US champs was given in the form of an avoidable hinder. It was a wrap around shot and though Jake was definitely in the way, it was a borderline hinder call. Which, upon appeal, is exactly what was called; the line judges’ calls turned the avoidable into a replay hinder, much to the chagrin of Landa.

Landa, without warning, shockingly spiked the ball back towards the back wall, ostensibly towards the line judge who called the rally a replay instead of an avoidable, nearly pegging Murray in the face. Murray and Jake were shocked that Landa received no technical or warning for the action, and the match was over on the next rally. But the reaction on social media was fast and furious; how could there not have been any penalty given for this behavior at the moment? The referee was a highly experienced IRF level ref in Jaime Martell; did he miss what happened?

Murray, Landa’s long-time doubles partner, took the rare-step of posting on KRG specifically to call out what happened, and Landa took the also rare step of responding (and not apologizing) in real time defending his actions.

I’m sure this is not the last we hear of this; IRT generally issues fines and suspensions after the fact (and in private) even if there’s no on-the-court penalty. But more importantly, Landa’s US National team spot is now in severe jeopardy. He was already on probation for actions stemming from the PARC event last April, and his actions here could absolutely lead to a suspension from the team. The timing couldn’t be worse, as Landa just re-qualified for the team by winning National doubles two weeks ago, and is scheduled to play both singles and doubles at the upcoming 2023 PARC event, a qualifier for the 2023 Pan Am Games.

In the final…the chatter in the Facebook live stream group chat focused on asking why Landa was even allowed to be playing, but the play on the court was far more interesting than the keyboard warriors in action. Landa was clearly hobbled; pundits said it was his ankle but he seemed to also be favoring his back to this observer, and DLR was taking a ton of shots that normally Landa would be handling. Parrilla and Montoya tried to work the ball to the right hand side as much as possible; when it was left out in the middle, more often than not DLR would bury it.

The match still went breaker, but Landa’s stamina ran out; long-time rivals Parrilla and Montoya took the tiebreaker 11-6 to take the doubles title.

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Men’s Open, other draws

– Natera beat Trujillo to take Men’s Open. Solid wins by Ortega Jr to make the semis.

– Veteran Ecuadorian team Ugalde/Cueva topped Atl locals Cunningham/Miller to win Open Doubles.

– Costa Rican junior Maricruz Ortiz took the Men’s Elite singles crown.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto , Pablo Fajre , @Karen Grisz and the IRTLive crew

Thanks to the Tourney Director @Michael Miller for putting this event on, and thanks as always to title sponsor Donald Williams for everything you do in the sport.

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.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

There’s an IRT satellite in Montana next weekend with some great talent that we will cover. The unsanctioned big-money Xelani open is in Miami and hopes for a full 32 draw of top Open players. The weekend after both LPRT and IRT are in full stops while High School Nationals happens in Portland. A busy March coming up.

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tags

@iInternational Racquetball Tour

IRT Williams Accounting & Consulting Grand Slam Preview

Can Jaime Martell make a run in Atlanta? Photo USOpen19 via Kevin Savory

The Men’s tour returns to Atlanta and has its first Grand Slam of the 2023 season at Recreation Atlanta, in Lilburn, GA. Great friend of the sport Donald Williams and his namesake companies have sponsored the Grand slam event.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=40471

The draw includes 31 pros, and continues a downward participation trend we’re seeing on the men’s tour this year. Three events and the singles draws have gone 36, 30 and 31. Most of the 2022 tour events had draws in the 40-48 player range and its a situation to monitor. Perhaps as we get closer to the international events we’ll have better turnout from international teams.

Top20 players missing; we’re missing the newly ascended #1 player on tour Moscoso due to reasons that will likely be announced soon. We’re also missing #3 Portillo (injury), #9 Waselenchuk (injury), #12 Mercado (visa/travel issues), #13 Carson (semi-retiring), #15 Mar (unknown), #18 Patata (travel), and #19 Garay (unknown). These absences give Jake a career best #3 seed and give some really high seeds to mid-teens players.

Most importantly, it opens a huge door for #1 seed and #2 ranked Daniel De La Rosa to return to #1. This tournament expires the 2021 Sarasota open, which Moscoso won, so he’s losing 400 rankings points with no defense. Meanwhile, DLR has the chance to replace his semis loss (220 points) at that event with Grand Slam points this weekend. By my calculations, if DLR gets to at least the semis, he’ll jump Moscoso and return to #1.

The 31 players in the draw are playing a straight draw, so we start with the round of 32. Here’s some openers to watch:

– 16/17 Kadim Carrasco vs Guatemalan Juan Salvatierra : Carrasco is fresh off a doubles win at Bolivian Nationals, and had a quick turnaround and long flight to Atlanta here; he’ll battle jet lag fatigue in this match but should advance.

– #4 Alejandro Landa versus #29 DJ Mendoza : Landa has gone one-and-done in two straight IRT events, complaining all the while about the slower ball. Is he in his own head at this point? Could we see a huge upset at the hands of USA 18U team member Mendoza? Probably not here, but something to watch for.

– #10 Erick Trujillo versus #23 Jose Daniel Ugalde : Trujillo gets a very tough opener in the veteran Ecuadorian, who has some solid international wins in his career. Upset watch.

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Round of 16: matches to watch for:

– #5 Samuel Murray vs #12 Alan Natera : is Murray back to being 100% ? He won the Canadian qualifier, but Natera played solidly at the last event.

– #4 Landa vs #13 Jaime Martell : Martell can get wins and can upset Landa if he’s distracted. Landa has been distracted for weeks; i’m going with a Martell upset.

– #7 Andres Acuña versus #10 Trujillo: this is a solid matchup of two players on the rise. Acuna is higher seeded and is the better player, but this is the kind of statement match Trujillo can build on. If Trujillo wants into the top 10 on the IRT, this is the kind of match he needs to win.

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Projected Qtrs:

– #1 DLR over #8 @Adam Manilla Manilla was the star of USA Nationals, winning mixed with his sister @erErika Manila and surprisingly making the men’s doubles final with Wayne Antone . He was on fire all weekend; can he press the two-time defending IRT champ?

– #13 Martel over #5 Murray: last time these two played, it was a 2-game win Jaime and that was when Sam was full strength.

– #6 Rodrigo Montoya over #3 Jake: these two have played a bunch since both were on the WRT back in 2015. Rodrigo leads H2H 5-4, and has won the last two, and is coming off an impressive win at Mexican Nationals.

– #2 Andree Parrilla over #7 Acuna: Andree finally gets a straight forward path into the weekend and won’t drop the ball.

Semis:

– DLR over Martel: Jaime’s run ends.

– Montoya over Parrilla: he’s the better player right now.

Finals: DLR over Montoya; Rodrigo has a handful of wins over DLR in their careers, but mostly DLR beats his fellow countryman and won’t miss the opportunity to get 600 valuable ranking points to take back control of the tour.

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Doubles review

– USA National champs Landa and DLR have (finally) paired up on tour and are the #2 seeds. They’ll be challenged by some newish looking teams (#3 seeds are Murray and Jake, who have played together a couple of times but not for quite a while) but should advance to the final.

#1 seeds Montoya and Parrilla used to be a frequent pairing and have a 9-4 career IRT doubles record together, but I can’t see them topping the excellent DLR/Landa pair.

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Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.

Look for Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!

Thanks to the Tourney Director Donald Williams for putting this event on!

Associations

@International Racquetball Tour

Lewis Drug IRT Pro/Am Recap

Mosocos beats #1 DLR to cement claim to #1. Photo unk from Bolivian IRIS

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Conrrado Moscoso

– Doubles; Daniel De La Rosa & Javier Mar

Moscoso secures his 5th pro tour win, breaking a 5-way tie for 20th place and now sits tied at 19th ever with Tim Doyle. He also moves ahead of Andy Roberts for 7th place in Career W/L of all time.

Mar wins his 6th pro doubles title, but the first one he’s won without long-time partner Montoya. DLR gets his 11th pro doubles title, his first without his own long time partner Alvaro Beltran

Singles Match report in PRS DB: https://rball.pro/ejz

Doubles Match report in PRS DB: https://rball.pro/kv9

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=40409

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database:

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In the 64s and 32s, no real surprises to this observer.

– Just one tie-breaker: Utah’s Anthony Martin going deep to take out Tanner Gross 13,(14),8.

– Jordan Barth dug deep in both games to come back against Montana amateur Ty Hedalen to advance 14,12.

– Argentina’s Diego García cruised past @Sam Bredenbeck in game one 15-2 then held on for a 2,12 win to advance in the 16/17 seed match.

– @Adam Manilla made fast work of Bolivian u21 @Gerson Miranda 2,6. Miranda showed he has a bit of work to do to be broaching the top 10.

Erick Trujillo topped Canadian veteran Lee Connell 10,7 to move into the 16s.

– Costa Rica’s Andres Acuña won a straightforward 7,10 match over Barth, making it much less close than I anticipated.

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In the 16s, no big surprises for me.

– In the 8/9, Manilla got a solid win over Mario Mercado to get another pro quarter.

– As predicted, #12 @Javier Mar ousted #5 Alejandro Landa to move on.

– #4 Portillo destroyed his younger Mexican countryman Trujillo 0,2.

– #6 @Jake Bredenbeck was pushed to a breaker by Illinois-based pro Thomas Carter but moved on.

– As was rumored earlier in the week, Samuel Murray missed a second straight event with a lingering injury, defaulting to Acuna.

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In the Quarters: a couple of upsets

– #4 Portillo held serve and ousted #12 Mar in two. I thought this might go the other way, but Lalo played well to outclass his fellow control specialist.

– #6 Jake got a solid win, taking out #3 Andree Parrilla in two. These two met over and over on the WRT adn now they’re frequently meeting on the IRT.

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In the Semis: two straightforward wins for the top 2 seeds:

– #1 Moscoso took out #4 Lalo in two straight. These two had played 3 times previously, all tiebreakers. But Conrrado played solid ball to win 10,7.

– #2 DLR was pressed by #6 Jake in both games but persevered 13,8 to get to the final.

In the Finals, for the second event running we get #1 vs #2, Moscoso vs De La Rosa. After watching DLR’s master class in control to win in Austin, I thought going in he was the favorite, but I discounted the effect the panel walls would have on the Gearbox ball and specifically Moscoso’s serve. Moscoso served lights out this match, scoring aces left and right and controlled the match for long swaths. DLR was flummoxed and flustered and could not consistently score points, and that was the match. Moscoso wins 9,12.

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Points Implications of results

Irrespective of this result, Moscoso was going to keep the #1 seed thanks to this tournament replacing the 2021 Arizona open (which Canrrado did not play). With the win suddenly he’s got a sizeable gap in front; nearly 500 points.

The rest of the results here gave us some interesting points machinations:

– Portillo will overtake Parrilla for #3 on tour.

– Jake moves up to #5 as Landa continues to slip with two one and dones in a row.

– Despite missing the event to receive an award back home, Montoya moves up to #8.

– Acuna is now in the top 10.

– Mercado and Carson take a big slip, dropping to #12 and #13 respectively. Its amazing how quickly Rocky has been falling by missing 3 straight events.

– Trujillo is now ranked #16, which puts him safely into the “second bye” section and given the odds of several players ahead of him missing each event right now, gives him an even better seed going forward.

– Diego Garcia is now #24.

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Doubles review

The doubles draw went perfectly chalk to the final, with all expected seeds winning. That chalkiness continued in the final, as #1 seeds team PK DLR/Mar eked out a win over #2 Landa/Moscoso.

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Men’s Open, other draws

– Alan Natera went breaker to top Bolivian Miranda to take Men’s Open singles.

– Trujillo got a surprising win over Garcia to take the IRT U21. He won 8,5 and made a statement.

– @Vallana Perault took the 3-person Women’s Open RR draw.

– the legend @Ruben Gonzalez flew in from HHI to compete in Centurian Doubles, winning the title with Montana’s Hedalen. They took out some tough teams, including Minor/Coyle in the group stage and Kisling/Adam in the final.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew. Adam Manilla did a fantastic guest spot at the final and has a future in streaming.

Thanks to the Tourney Director Mark Gibbs for putting this event on!

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

In two weeks’ time its Nationals time. USAR is holding National Doubles with team qualifying along with National Amateur singles in Arizona. Mexico was scheduled to hold its Nationals but I’ve yet to see an R2 site. And Canada is having its 2nd qualifier in Grand Prairie. Lots of ball going on.

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