World Singles & Doubles Preview Pt 1

Moscoso is a player to watch this weekend. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


Hello all. We are back, and this week coming up we have a massive tournament that has been months in the making in the World Singles & Doubles championships in Denver. More than 300 players are here, and the tournament includes an absolutely massive Men’s IRT draw, and equally huge women’s LPRT pro singles draw, plus the namesake Doubles events that have quickly made this one of the biggest events on the annual racquetball calendar.
Tournament Director and primary sponsor Jim Hiser first put on this event in May of 2018. After a year hiatus, Covid forced the cancellation of the 2020 iteration and months of delays in the 2021 event. But we’re here now, and fans are going to be better for it.
Today we will preview the Men’s and Women’s Pro singles draws, with Doubles previews coming later this week.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=30515

First, lets preview the Men’s IRT Pro Singles draw.

There are no less than 53 players competing in this draw, the largest non US Open draw we’ve seen in more than a decade on the Men’s tour. 18 of the top 20 players are present, with #20 Gerardo Franco Gonzalez missing (he is rumored to be stepping away from the sport). The other glaring omission here is #1 Kane Waselenchuk, who also missed the Atlanta pro event earlier this year. His absence here will cause additional speculation as to his future in the sport; he continues to play and do clinics with Sudsy Monchik but has not played competitively in an IRT event since March of 2020. But the writing seems to be on the wall; we’ll have to see what happens when the US Open rolls around.

Lets preview the draw. Because of the size of the draw, there are several rounds of qualifying to get into the main round of 32. We even have a handful of round of 256 matches, mostly between players making their IRT debuts.
We’ll start in the round of 128: Here’s some interesting 128 matches to look for:

  • #25 Andres Acuña is the highest seeded player to miss out on a bye into the main draw and gets two extra matches for his troubles; he starts out with an international-flavored match between the winner of Ecuador’s Juan Francisco Cueva and Bolivia’s Hector Barrios.
  • Former Mexican National team member Abraham Peña faces off against Scott McClellan, a tough opener for the IRT’s primary referee and one that could end his tournament quite early.
  • #27 Carlos Keller Vargas, fresh off a double-qualifying Bolivian Nationals tournament, seems set to face Bolivian Junior Adrian Jaldin in his opener. Fly all the way to the USA, play the guy from down the street.
  • #30 Alan Natera Chavez faces a very tricky opener against Texan Ruben Baez, who beat Jake Bredenbeck and nearly topped Bobby Horn in the PAC shootout in Mar 2019. Upset watch here.
  • #34 MoMo Zelada faces a really tough opener in Guatemala’s #1 Javier Martinez.

In the round of 64, some great potential matches:

  • Acuna versus Colombia’s Andres Gomez could be full of fireworks. Gomez is no slouch and Acuna is going to have to work to get into the main draw.
  • Kadim Carrasco projects to face off against Pena, and I think Pena can advance into the main draw. Fatigue may work against the veteran Mexican, but he’s a workout-fiend and should have the fitness to advance.
  • Vargas potentially faces off against former IRT touring pro Nick Riffel in an interesting tactical battle.
  • An interesting all South American battle between Zelada and long-time Colombian national team member Set Cubillos Ruiz could be in play depending on earlier rounds.

Interestingly, I think by and large the 128s are all tougher for these players than their projected 64s to get into the main draw.

Projecting the 32s: here’s some possible matchups, though the depth of this draw could make for some upsets and make these predictions moot:

  • #17 Acuna vs #16 Adam Manilla; an interesting one; Manilla had some breakthrough wins just before the tours had to stop, but so did Acuna. I favor Acuna in my world talent rankings, and i’ll take him here in the upset.
  • #9 Jake Bredenbeck projects to face qualifier Pena in the 32s. Both players hit with a ton of pace, but I don’t believe Pena’s acrobatics will take him past the stronger and younger Jake here.
  • #13 Javier Mar, who always seems to run into tough players during qualifying, projects to take on fellow Mexican qualifier Javier Estrada at this juncture if results hold. And this spells bad news for Mar, because Estrada has beaten him multiple times in the past couple of years. Estrada doesn’t always travel well, but has wins over Mar on home soil plus in two RKT events in the latter part of 2019. I think Estrada wins again here.
  • #14 Thomas Carter projects to face off against Bolivian #2 Vargas at this juncture, and I think Vargas moves past the veteran lefty.
  • #11 Mario Mercado projects to face Natera coming out of the qualifiers, a potential barn burner of a match. Mercado has topped Natera twice in top-level meetings in the past, but I have Natera ranked higher personally. Natera can be hit or miss, with great wins and curious losses … but the same can be said for Mario. I’ll go with the seeded player here.
  • #10 Sebastian Franco set to face qualifier Zelada here … two players who are quite familiar with each other from years of both living near each other in the Baltimore suburbs. Franco is the better player and will be fresher and will move on.
  • #15 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez set to take on #18 Sebastian Fernandez, a potentially awesome match to watch. Fernandez has been stuck right in this 16-18 range for quite a while, and tournament after tournament it seems to bite him with tough match-ups. This time is no different, with Garay coming in hot. A contrast in styles here; Patata plays casual and tactical, while Garay plays balls-out 110% power. Look for Garay to move on here.

Round of 16: I project plenty of upsets in the play-in, so here’s my projected 16s.

  • #1 Alejandro Landa over #17 Acuna: While Acuna topped Landa at PARC a couple years back (a result that led to Landa’s removal from the Pan Am games team and his subsequent defection to the USA…) Landa dominates Acuna when “it counts” on tour. Landa moves on quickly here.
  • #8 Lalo Portillo over #9 Bredenbeck: Lalo has beaten Jake a couple times in the past relatively easily, and should again here.
  • #5 Andree Parrilla vs #12 Montoya: these two have played so many times in the past (they’re the exact same age and traded off Mexican Junior National and World titles for years). Montoya has had the slight upper hand lately at the Mexican Adult and Pro level, including a win over Andree in the Mexican Nationals final earlier this summer. Advantage Rodrigo.
  • #4 Daniel De La Rosa vs Estrada. DLR probably would rather face Estrada versus Mar, but Estrada’s amazing 2019 Black Gold cup win included a h2h win over Daniel. So the history is there, but DLR has turned around his pro career lately and should advance here.
  • #3 Samuel Murray, the champion of the most recent IRT event, should not be troubled by Keller and should move on.
  • #6 Alvaro Beltran projects to face Mercado, a player who he’s faced a number of times both internationally and professionally and should have no trouble advancing past here.
  • #7 Conrrado Moscoso, fresh off another Bolivian national title, set to face #10 Franco. Power versus … more power, and Moscoso should move on here.
  • #2 Rocky Carson, fresh off his 8th US national title, set to face the hard hitting Garay. This is not the match-up Carson would have wanted here; the last time these two played it was an 11-7 gutted out win for Carson, and that was in Mar 2020. Carson is a year older, Garay is a year more experienced. Upset watch here.

Projected Qtrs:

  • Landa over Portillo: Lalo has been playing well, but not well enough to top landa.
  • DLR over Montoya: this could be fantastic match. DLR has two successive pro wins over Rodrigo, but Montoya has some dominant wins over DLR in the past as well. Any given sunday, but for me DLR on the day.
  • Beltran over Murray: yes Murray won the last event and is the #3 seed, but Beltran has never lost to Murray professionally, and most of his wins have been lopsided. Plus, I always pick against Alvaro and its time he gets his due.
  • Moscoso over Carson. Moscoso has played a grand total of 10 IRT tournaments in his life .. and in three of those, he’s taken out Rocky. Well, he’ll make it 4-4 here, as he’ll be on a mission in a Kane-less field to win the title.
    Semis:
  • Landa over DLR: Landa has DLR’s number lately, beating him the last 7 times they’ve played in top level matches that I track. But these matches are often close. There’s little between these guys, but without Kane in the field Landa will be looking to pad his title count.
  • Moscoso over Beltran: Conrrado has topped Alvaro both times they’ve met professionally, but Alvaro the crafty veteran can hang with the hard-hitting Bolivian and make him earn it.

    Finals; Moscoso over Landa: they met in the Bolivian Grand Slam and a streaky Moscoso blanked Landa in the breaker for the win. I think that Conrrado, day in and day out, is the 2nd best talent on the planet and is always a favorite against anyone not named Kane, and i’ll take him here.

LPRT Pro Singles Review


As with the Men, there’s a robust draw of 34 ladies pros this weekend, right in line with the last handful of major events.
Thanks to her duties covering the Olympics for a sport channel in her home country, #1 Paola Longoria is not in Denver. This means a first-even #1 seed for Alexandra Herrera. Other top 20 pros missing include #15 Kelani Lawrence and #16 Adriana Riveros for a pretty solid 17 of top 20 present.
No qualifying here; a straight draw from the 64s onward. Here’s some early round matches to look for:
In the 64s…

  • top Ecuadorian vet Maria Paz Munoz is here (at least, I think that’s who is here), playing in the round of 64 because of having zero points. Its unfortunate she plays into the #1 seed Herrera, because she could have done some damage with the right seeding.
  • Also, welcome back to Ladies pro racquetball Aisling Hickey, who has represented Ireland on the international stage previously.
  • #16/#17 features two top Americans pitted against each other early in Sheryl Lotts and Hollie Scott. Look for Scott to move on.
  • #13 Amaya Cris takes on #20 Susy Acosta in an interesting battle between long-time LPRT touring veterans.
  • #19 Micaela Meneses Cuellar, fresh off her double qualification weekend at the Bolivian Nationals, faces #14 Maria Renee Rodríguez in a really tough opener for both. Meneses can win this match, thought MRR has been steadily improving.
  • #22 Lucia Gonzalez matches up with #11 Nancy Enriquez in a brutal first rounder for both. The last time they met, Gonzalez blasted Enriquez in the 2020 Mexican Nationals. But Enriquez has been playing very strongly since. I have Lucia as one of the top 7-8 players in the world … but she keeps running into top players early in pro draws; can she get a couple of signature wins here?
  • – #15 Brenda Laime Jalil taking on #18 Masiel Rivera Oporto; two players who play frequently and who match up pretty well meet, fittingly, in the 15/18 matchup. I have Rivera slightly ahead of Laime in my personal rankings, but to me this is a tossup.

Some great projected round of 16s here:

  • #1 Herrera should move past #17 Scott, but it might be close.
  • #8 Valeria Centellas should top veteran #9 Rhonda Rajsich, who is in danger of dropping out of the top 10 for the first time in 20 years.
  • #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein should top #12 Carla Muñoz Montesinos; they’ve met 5 times previously in top-level events and Mendez is 5-0 over the Chilean.
  • #4 Samantha Salas Solis should dominate whoever comes out of the Amaya/Acosta match.
  • #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada should move past the Bolivian junior Meneses, still playing 18U despite finishing runner-up at their Nationals.
  • #6 Jessica Parrilla ended Gonzalez’ 2020 Mexican Nationals run, and will do so again here. I think Parrilla has a bit too much power and game flexibility for Lucia to handle.
  • #10 Ana Gabriela Martínez over #7 Angelica Barrios – Raquetbolista; an upset by seed, but probably not by talent. last time these two met was at Junior worlds in 2017, a win for Martinez in the RR stage. It is good to see two young players making such inroads to the sport and these two project to be at the top of the sport for years.
  • #2 Montse Mejia should cruise past the winner of the Laime/Rivera match.
    Quarters:
  • I think #8 Centellas can take out #1 Herrera. They’ve never met in a top level event, but i’ve got Valeria slightly ahead of Alexandra in my personal rankings. We’ll see; this is a great test for Herrera, who has managed to avoid frequent match-ups with the young starlets on tour such as Barrios, Centellas and Mejia.
  • #4 Salas just topped #5 Mendez in Kansas City and will do so again.
  • #3 Vargas versus #6 Parrilla; tough one. On paper normally this is Vargas all the way, but she’s still working back from time-off for childbirth. I think Parrilla can take this one.
  • #2 Mejia versus #10 Gaby; for me, the top two players in the world not named Paola, meeting in the quarters. That being said, Mejia has dominated their recent meetings and hasn’t lost to Gaby since 2016 16U worlds. They met in KC a few months back and Mejia dominated in winning 8.6. Mejia tops again.
    Semis:
  • #8 Centellas over #4 Salas; they’ve only met once, a Salas win a few years back, but that was before Salas hit her rough patch of form. Centellas has ascended since and is in a prime spot to make the final.
  • #2 Mejia over Parrilla; the two Mexican rivals have met several times in the past, with Leoni winning all of them, including a big upset at the 2020 Mexican Nationals, but that was before Mejia found her current gear. She topped four of the world’s best in order in straight games to win in KC, and she won’t be stopped here.

Finals: a rematch of the KC round of 16 that Mejia won handily 9,8 happens in the final, and Mejia takes her second straight LPRT title.


Who is Streaming this weekend? The IRT crew Dean DeAngelo Baer and Pablo Fajre are heading to Denver to stream this weekend, so stay tuned to the IRT feed for all your streaming options.


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 FB stripped it.
Tags/Sponsor links
@International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
@Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
@Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
@Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
@ASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALA
Ferac Racquet
@Federación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERAC
@Reaching Your Dream Foundation
Formulaflow
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

2021 Wintergreen Classic Preview

Wintergreen is an annual tradition, an east-coast classic tournament, dating back to at least 1988 and up until Covid always held at the Sportfit Laurel club in Laurel MD. The famous Laurel club was forced to close due to the pandemic, so the Peak Racquetball guys and @slemo warigon just moved it a bit east to the Severna Park racquet club, located in Millersville on I-97 about halfway between Baltimore and Annapolis. It’s being held a bit later than it normally is in 2021, but should return to its normal MLK weekend date in 2022.

The 2021 Wintergreen event is the 33rd annual instance of the tournament, and this year features a tier-5 IRT draw of 17 pros that has attracted a decent amount of east-coast talent and should be pretty entertaining. Additionally, the full Colombian national team is on site with coach @francisco Fajardo to get some work in ahead of international dates later this year, which should make for an excellent draw.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37546
——————————

Lets preview the IRT pro draw first. There’s one play-in match, so lets start with the round of 16:

  • #1 @eduardo Portillo, currently ranked 9th on tour, is your headliner. He’ll start off friday night against the play-in winner between @roger subieta and @josh pearl.
  • The #8/#9 will match-up two long-time friends from the upper PA/lower NJ area in @david austin and @joe kelley. I favor the lefty here to advance.
  • #5 @maurice miller gets an intriguing match against junior Colombian phenom #12 @juan pablo rodriguez. Rodriguez has been playing out of Bradenton, FL and has made some noise in local tournaments, taking out some talented players despite playing in his age 17 season. Miller is an experienced touring pro at this point and should advance, but this is no cakewalk.
  • #4 @eduardo garay takes on former Mexican national team member @abraham pena in what should be a fun match to watch. Pena can still bring it, but Garay should advance. Garay is making his claim to the Colombian national team right now, having switched from Mexico, and the more success he has in front of the coach the better.
  • #3 @mario mercado, back in the DC area after living there for many years, gets his start against WashDC’s @brian acuna.
  • #6 @mauricio zelada, also playing on basically home turf, gets his start against Virginia amateur @leland rupp.
  • #7 @troy warigon versus #10 @dylan pruitt; well, the long-promised “grudge match” finally occurs. Are we cynical and believe the tournament staff made this match-up happen, or was it just happen chance that these two players get to play and compete after months of dancing around each other for a “money match” on facebook earlier this year? Either way, Friday night 7pm should be interesting. I’m sure there will be some streaming by someone. I’m going with Warigon to advance.
  • #2 @sebastian franco, playing out of his home club. starts off with a solid NC player in lefty #15 @jordan walters.

I think i’m predicting chalk to advance, which I never do. But, there definitely seems to be a top tier of players here and I don’t see much room for upsets. Lets move to the quarters

—————————–

Projected Qtrs: Here’s how I see the quarters playing out:

  • #1 Portillo over #8 Kelly: Portillo has been really dominant on the court lately, and it’ll take a solid performance to beat him.
  • #4 Garay over #5 Miller: I’ve always been a Garay fan, and I expect him to advance over Miller here. Both players cover the court well, but Garay has more power and should wear down Miller in the end.
  • #3 Mercado over #6 Zelada; these two know each other quite well from their time in the DC area, so I’d expect a closer match. Mercado is 4-0 lifetime over MoMo in Tier1 events, and they played in January’s Tier 1 in Atlanta. I’d expect a two-game win for Mario.
  • #2 Franco over #7 Warigon; another matchup between two guys who know each other’s game quite well. I show just two tier1 meetings between the two, both occurring several years ago and resulting in straight-game wins for Franco. I expect the same here. Franco has slipped to #11 on tour after 5 straight season in the top 10 (mostly due to scheduling, not losses) and will look to build back this weekend.

Again, i’m predicting chalk to the semis.

Semis:

  • #1 Portillo over #4 Garay; I show zero meetings in tier1 events between these two, which means this should be an interesting one to watch. Portillo plays a methodical; in fact if you were uninitiated you might almost think he wasn’t trying on the court at times. But when he has an offensive opportunity he can accelerate his mechanics and really generate unexpected power. Garay is a power player, with the pace to get easy points on his serve if he can stay in control. Portillo has plenty of experience handling significant power at this point and should move on.
  • #2 Franco over #3 Mercado: amazingly, despite these two both being top10 players together for years, both representing the same country internationally and both living in the DC area … i have zero meetings between these players in tier1 events. On my global power rankings I have Franco well ahead of Mercado, but we’ve seen Mercado get surprise wins over and over on tour over the past decade. Mercado beat both Portillo and Landa en route to the Lou Bradley final in 2020, for example. So nothing is out of the realm of expected here. I’ll go with gut and give Franco the win

——————–

In the finals though, irrespective of who advances I favor Portillo for the win. I think Mercado has more recent success against Lalo, but both Franco and Mercado are trending the wrong way in terms of power rankings, while Portillo seems like he’s at the precipice of breaking into the very top tier of the sport.
——————————-

Doubles review

Eight solid teams are competing in the Men’s open doubles draw, headlined by the #1 Colombian doubles team of Franco/Garay. They should advance to the final over Mercado/Zelada from the top.

In the bottom half, I like the Pena/Portillo team, but i’m not sure they can get past the Warigon/Miller team. I’ll go with #2 seeds to advance to the final, but for the #1 seeds to win.


There’s a small but fun Women’s open draw, with four solid women’s players competing in Micaela Meneses, Masiel Rivera, Graci Wargo, and Megan Shelton. An interesting combination of international and domestic, junior and veteran competing together.


The IRT streaming crew is coming into town to broadcast all weekend, so ; follow the IRT on facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.Look for Dean Baer, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots! I also hear LPRT’s Jerry Josey is coming into town to help out as well.

Thanks to the Tourney Director Slemo Warigon 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.


Tags
Sponsor linksInternational Racquetball TourLPRTInternational Racquetball Federation – IRFPan American Racquetball Confederation – PARCUnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball ChampionshipsWOR – World Outdoor RacquetballUSA RacquetballRacquetball CanadaFederación Mexicana de RaquetbolRKTFederación Boliviana De Raquetbol – FeboraFederación Boliviana de RacquetballRacquetball ColombiaFederacion Colombiana de RacquetballFederación Costarricense de RacquetballAsociación Argentina de RacquetballFederación Chilena RacquetballRacquetball Rancagua, ChileASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALAFerac RacquetFederación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERACIndia racquetballReaching Your Dream FoundationFormulaFlowBeastmade ApparelWear RolloutRacquetball WarehouseSplatit
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Warhawk Open Wrap-up

Collins takes the IRT Singles title in Monroe on the weekend. Photo from US Open by Kevin SAvory

Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:
– Singles: Robert Collins
– Doubles; David Diaz & Brennen Jennings

Both #1 seeds hold on and take the titles over strong fields. A great tournament for a non-resident of the Texas/Louisiana corridor to see some of these players play for the first time live.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37104

——————

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

In the 32s, there were a few upsets by seeds and some notable winners advancing on.
– #9 seed Michael Magana / Realtor advanced over Bryan Satawa to setup a great 8/9 matchup in the 16s.
– #12 Cole Sendrey, playing in (I think) his age 16 season, topped Steve Semones to move on.
– #22 Paul Julbes upset #11 Ray Flowers.
– #20 Ted Alvendia upset #13 Kenneth Fletcher.
– Long-time top Texas amateur Lance Hale, the 2019 Texas Male Player of the Year, advanced in two tight games over Bradnado Turnquest 13,12.
– #23 Michael Perez upset #10 Kipp Atwell in two.

—————-

In the 16s, we got the top 8 seeds starting up and immediately some upsets.
– #1 Robert Collins got his tourney started with a two-game win over #16 David Anastasio 2,2
– #8/#9 matches are always fun and this was too, one of just a couple of round of 16 match to go tiebreaker. #8 Daniel Diaz, a commercial airline pilot based in Monterrey, flew into town and advanced past #9 Magana but not without getting stretched. Magana came from way down in game two to take it 15-14 and force a breaker. Diaz cruised in the 3rd to win 3,(14),3.
– #5 Long-time tourney player Bob Jackson] was upset in the first match of the 16s by junior Texan Sendrey 11,2.
– #4 Zach Williams advanced in two over #20 Alvendia.
– #3 Destry Everhart ran into a frequent southwestern local rival in Hale and advanced in two games 2,5.
– #6 Brennen Jennings survived a strong push from #22 Julbes, who saved match point against in game two to force the breaker. Jennings got hot and ran off 6 unanswered points to take the 3rd 11-6. Final score 12,(14),6
– #23 Perez provided the biggest upset of the round, recovering from a 15-3 first game defeat to take out #7 Sam Hojat in the breaker. Two wins in an IRT pro event for Perez, who seems like he just moved up to open.
-#2 Maurice Miller got his title defense started with a straightforward win over #15 Craig Clement Jr. 4,1.

—————-

In the Quarters:
– #1 Collins overcame some really spirited play and some amazing diving gets to advance past #8 Diaz 9,14. The pandemic has been great for Collins’ facial hair game; he’s rocking a look that can only be described as, “extra in a saloon shootout scene.”
– #4 Williams topped the junior Cinderella Sendrey 5,8 to make the semis.
– #6 Jennings and #3 Everhart played about as close as you can play, going toe-to-toe with shot after shot. The Texan came out on top of the Alabama #1 in the end, with Brennen advancing (14),14,7.
– #2 Miller stopped the upset run of #23 Perez in the quarters, advancing in two straight 9.6. Great showing by Perez on the weekend.

—————

In the Semis
– #1 Collins cruised past #4 Williams 6,8 to make the final. Collins pushed the tempo all game and kept the pressure on Williams.
– #2 Miller had his hands full with #6 Jennings, who seemed to improve round after round in this event and nearly took out the semi-regular touring pro. Miller won a back and forth tiebreaker match 12,(12),7.

In the Finals, Collins took two close games from Miller and surprised this pundit, winning the draw 13,13. Good solid win for Collins, who really was hitting the ball well all weekend.

—————-

Doubles review

Three of the four top seeds held to the semis, but three of the four quarters went breaker. Quarter final results:
– #1 Diaz/Jennings took out the all-Texas Perez/Hale team
– the #4 Miller Father/son team took out the #5 Sendrey Father/Son team
– #3 Richard Eisemann/Jubles went 11-9 to take out IRT touring pro Collins playing with Tom Provan.
– #2 Magana/Williams lost to the the travelling North Carolina pair of Chris Thomas and Eric New for the round’s only upset.

In the semis:
– #1 Diaz/Jennings played two solid games to advance over the Atlanta-based Miller team, a match that was delayed for quite a bit due to participants playing their singles semis.
– #3 Eisemann/Jubles continued to show why they’re a heck of an age-group team, advancing to the final with lethal power and a great lefty/righty combo. Eisemann is a long-time top age-group player and certainly did not play like a man turning 60 in a few weeks.

In the final, the two younger players outlasted their rivals 7,9 to take the title. Diaz/Jennings d Eisemann/Jubles for the title.

—————-

Men’s Open, other draws
– Men’s Open was a pro consolation drop down, won by Sam Hojat, who took four straight 2-game victories and topped Parker Ewing in the final.
– The 19-person Men’s A draw was taken by DAVID Anastasia].

—————–

Thanks for all who streamed on the weekend: Steve Semones, David Anastasio, Brennan Jennings, Destry Everhart, Lance Hale, Sean Duffy, Tom Provan and others who I may have missed. It’s great to see live racquetbal!Thanks to the Tourney Directors Mark Thompson and Raj Bajari for putting this event on!

——————

Next up? The next scheduled Pro event will be the Sweet Caroline LPRT event the first weekend of May in South Carolina. World Singles & Doubles just got pushed back to perhaps August, which puts the next IRT event perhaps not happening until then. USAR National festival is the first two weekends of June, and in the interim we’ll cover some major WOR events as they happen.

——————-

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.

——————-
Sponsor linksInternational Racquetball TourUSA RacquetballHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#outdoorracquetball#irt#lprt#wor

2021 Warhawk Open Preview

Maurice Miller is the defending champ and #2 seed; can he repeat? Photo USOpen 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Hello Racquetball fans! There’s an IRT Tier-5 event happening this weekend; the 2021 Warhawk Open, so named because Warhawks are the mascot of the host facility, the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). Nearly 70 players have entered this event, the lions share from Louisiana and Texas, and represent a good chunk of the top players from the South West. The Pro Singles draw includes no less than 24 players and play gets started first thing friday morning.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37104

Draws are up and online now.

PRS note/reminder: we do not enter non-Tier1s into the database. This review is as a fan of the sport craving live racquetball action

🙂

——————————

Notable round of 32 and 16 matches: honestly I don’t know the local players well enough to make predictions. I do see some familiar names though in the play ins and look forward to seeing if they can advance. Good luck to frequent and vocal racquetball fans like Parker Ewing, Bryan Satawa, Steve Semones, Lance Hale, Ray Flowers, and the like.

The 8/9 and especially the 7/10 round of 16s look tough, with #7 Sam Hojat projected to take on #10 Kipp Atwell if seeds hold early.

——————————

Projected Qtrs:

If the top seeds hold, here’s what your quarters would look like:
– #1 Robert Collins v #8 Daniel Diaz; Collins is a long-time touring vet from Hawaii/NorCal who has been touring full time since 2013. Diaz is a wildcard; he played the Atlanta Tier1 earlier this year and lost two close matches to a couple of touring vets. He was the 2019 Texas state singles champ and could give Collins some grief, but I think Collins advances.
– #5 Bob Jackson has been playing top-level Racquetball for 25+ years: he was qualifying into main draws in the mid 1990s. He is projected to play Texan #4 Zach Williams, who ran to the final of this event last year and should be favored to move on here.
– #3 Destry Everhart is Alabama’s #1 player and has a ton of solid wins on his resume; he might face a tough round of 16 against top veteran Texan Lance Hale. In the quarter’s he’s set to face #6 Brennen Jennings, who has won the last few Texas shootouts he’s entered. This could be an upset pick by seed.
– #2 Maurice Miller, this event’s defending champ, projects to take on the Hojat/Atwell winner here for a spot in the semis.

Projected Semis:
– #1 Collins v #4 Williams: I think i like the veteran lefty to move on here.
– #2 Miller v #6 Jennings: I don’t think Miller is losing at this juncture.

Finals; #2 Miller defends his title over #1 Collins.

——————————-

Doubles review

14 teams entered, including a ton of players who aren’t in the singles pro draw. I like the #1 seeded team of Diaz/Jennings to advance to the semis. There they are set to face #4 seeds but defending champs Miller & Miller for a barn burner.

At the bottom, #2 seed Magana/Williams made the final last year and are favorites to get there again, though doubles teams with tough players like Collins and Richard Eisemann are in their side of the draw.

Look for the Millers to repeat and give Maurice the double.

———————————

I’m sure there will be streaming this weekend; Plenty of the participants are regular/frequent participants of the Racquetball facebook groups.

———————————T

agsSponsor linksInternational Racquetball TourUSA RacquetballHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#irt

IRT Suivant Consulting Pro-Am Grand Slam Wrap up

Murray becomes the 41st ever winner on the pro tour. Photo Kevin Savory 2018 US Open

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Samuel Murray

– Doubles; Alex Landa/Sudsy Monchik

Also congrats to the winners of the massive Open and 18U draws (which we’ll talk about later on):

– Men’s Open: Andres Acuna

– Men’s Open Doubles: Moscoso/Carrasco

– 18U Juniors: Erick Trujillo

Murray, who was in jeopardy of not even traveling to the tournament thanks to Covid-related travel restrictions coming out of Canada, becomes the 41st ever Tier 1 tournament winner in the history of Men’s pro tours. Ironically, the previous person to fulfil that particular bucket list item was also the player he vanquished in the final. Murray had a fantastic event, getting his first ever wins over both Mar and De La Rosa, then playing solid racquetball all weekend to win the title. Arguably Murray was the underdog in every match from the round of 16 on, and proved all pundits and prognosticators wrong.

(see http://rball.pro/ABA6F8 for a list of all tour winners in history).

On the Doubles side, the reigning US national team champs topped a number of top teams en route to the final, including two top international teams that they might face in the next IRF championship. They seem to be growing as a team and looking more dangerous the more they play together.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=34826

——————

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/A1D93C

—————-

In the 64s, the huge draw made for 16 round of 64 matches, and we saw a couple of surprising results and tough tiebreakers:

– Up and coming Costa Rican international Gabriel Garcia moved past solid Alabama-native Destry Everhart 9,9 in the always-tough #32/#33 matchup.

– Junior Timmy Hansen moved past the ref Scott McClellan 12,11 in a hard fought opener.

– Another member of the Costa Rican team

Sergio Acuña

was stretched to a tiebreaker by home-town favorite Austin Cunningham before advancing (13),13,7.

– #19 Sam Bredenbeck dropped the opener against relative newcomer Texan Brennen Jennings before moving on (9),11,4.

– #23 MoMo Zelada was pressed by top amateur player from Monterrey Daniel Diaz 13,9 before advancing. This is the first time i’ve seen Diaz in any top-level competition tracked by PRS and he played well, hope to see more of him on tour.

– In one of the best matches of the opening round, 18U junior lefty Andrew Gleason came from a game down to beat tough Bolivian Miguel A. Arteaga Guzman (5),5,7. Gleason showed some great mental toughness for a junior, many of whom would have folded after a first game beat down.

—————-

In the 32s, we saw the top 16 pros enter into the draw for the first time … and the draw went perfectly chalk. Every one of the top 16 seeds advanced. There were a couple notable matches though.

– the #16/#17 seed match always seems to provide a close call, and this was no exception. #16 Javier Estrada took out his doubles partner and good friend

Alan Natera Chavez

12,10.

– #9

Sebastian Franco

was stretched a little too close for comfort against improving youngster

Erick Cuevas

before advancing 8,14

– #14 Costa Rican number one Andres Acuña came back from a game down against the improved Sam Bredenbeck to advance in a breaker.

– #11

Thomas Carter

was also stretched to a tie-breaker by the Bolivian veteran

Kadim Carrasco

before moving on.

– #10 Mario Mercado blitzed by Zelada 6,8, making much faster work than the last time they played (season opener in Laurel in Sept 2019).

—————-

In the 16s, despite the size of the draw and all the upset potential …. the draw went chalk again. All top 8 seeds advanced.

– #1

Alex Landa

took a game off, but advanced over the big man from Chihuahua Estrada. Final score 11,(1),9

– #8 Jake Bredenbeck advanced past fellow big hitter #9 Franco] 6,10 in the 8/9 match which is typically a lot closer.

– #5

Samuel Murray

fought back from dropping game one to the dangerous #12 Javier Mar before advancing 11-7 in the breaker. I thought for sure this was an upset special.

– #4 Daniel De La Rosa made fast work of #13 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez 7,1 … a result that might give the rest of the tournament pause.

– #3

Andree Parrilla

crushed the Costa Rican #1 Acuna 1,4 . A great result for Parrilla, who was struggling for consistency when the tour paused.

– #6 Eduardo Portillo Rendon was stretched to a breaker by the suddenly dangerous Carter before advancing.

– #7

Conrrado Moscoso

beat fellow Bolivian native #10 Mercado in two straight, a solid win against an opponent that used to give him trouble.

– #2 Rocky Carson shook off the rust and advanced past

Adam Manilla

, who played him tough in game two but could not force the breaker.

—————-

In the Quarters, we started to see the seeds breaking down, in a slew of fantastic matches that put the show court behind nearly 3 hours inside of 3 matches (the last quarter final was a 1pm scheduled start and didn’t go on until nearly 4pm). Lets recap

– #1 Landa over #8 Jake: Landa made it 10 for 10 in top competitions versus Jake, but the big Minnesotan did not make it easy, keeping it close throughout. Landa advances 11,13.

– #5 Canadian number one Murray got his first career win over #4 DLR in an 11-9 thriller. Game one was back and forth, with DLR coming back to eke it out 15-14, then Murray blitzed game two in about 10 minutes to force the tiebreaker. There, the players were neck and neck, playing back and forth racquetball that was just great for the neutrals, with DLR shooting constantly, Murray putting on a defensive and diving clinic, and then Sam pulling out a great winner to break a 9-9 tie that had lasted several service changes before DLR pressed on a forehand winner to skip out at match point against.

– #6 Portillo showed some real veteran poise throughout his match against #3 Parrilla, keeping to his game plan and grinding out the 11-8 tiebreaker win. This isn’t necessarily Lalo’s best ever win (he beat Carson in Arizona in 2019) or his best result (he made the final of the 2020 Lewis Drug) but it was the kind of match he won when he wasn’t necessarily favored to win, and he did it by just out playing and out thinking his opponent.

– #7 Moscoso got another win over #2 Carson in an IRT event (the third in as many pro meetings), but really had to dig deep to do so. Carson controlled game one, but Moscoso ground back in game two before racing to the 11-4 breaker win. Kane and Sudsy were on the mike for the first part of this match and put on a broadcasting clinic, with some of the best in-match analysis you’ll ever see. It is worth a re-listen to the broadcast.

—————

In the Semis

– #1 Landa seemed to show some of the effects of the layoff and lots of play on Saturday, looking tired throughout the match. He was pressed continually by the Canadian #1, who put on an absolute clinic on defensive racquetball and athletic prowess diving around the court and showing amazing agility for a big man. Murray saved match point against and ran off a couple points for victory on the back of a couple of pretty amazing kill shots from the back court. This was one of those matches you wished was still win by two, because there was little separating these two players on the day. Murray advances to just his second ever pro final, first since Sept 2018 with the 11-10 thriller.

– #7 Moscoso advanced to the finals over #6 Portillo, but Lalo continued to show his maturation as a player, bouncing back from an embarrassing first game 15-2 shellacking to take a game from one of the world’s best players before falling quickly in the breaker. Moscoso advances to his 3rd major final in just 10 career tournaments and is in a great spot to take another title.

—————-

So, just to note the pathway for the two finalists:

– Murray has beaten Mar, DLR and Landa to get here.

– Moscoso has beaten Mercado, Carson and Portillo.

Murray in particular really having a great event.

In the Finals…

Murray controlled game one easily, playing smart racquetball and exposing Moscoso’s go-for-broke style. Conrrado came back in game two, getting on a hot streak to push to a breaker. In the tie-breaker, Murray continued to grind out points, playing smart racquetball and counter-punching against Moscoso’s shots. Momentum seemed to swing against Murray as Moscoso ran off four straight towards the end … but Murray stiffened up, played smart racquetball, mixed in a few highlight-reel 39 foot roll outs of his own to match the flashier Moscoso, then ended the match with a diving re-kill roll-out to take his first ever IRT title.

Murray played lights out all weekend, and more than earned this title.

—————-

Points Implications of results

Well, we’re not entirely sure what the points implication of this event will be, because we’re not sure what the tour will do yet with the rankings points The points have been frozen since March, but just turning the system back on and expiring 9 months of points will have a pretty radical effect on the rankings.

There’s talk of changing the points system as a result, to go away from a rolling 12-month calendar for the time being to something based on the last 10 tourneys, or perhaps the last two years of events. There’s also talk of moving to a calendar year system versus a rolling seasonal system.

IF (and this is a big if) we were to stick with rolling 12-months and just expire the points dating to the end of 2019 … then these are some of the big-time moves we’ll see in the rankings:

– DLR jumps to #2

– Finalists Murray and Moscoso jump to #3 and #4 respectively.

– Landa drops to #5

– Mercado jumps to #7

– Estrada, amazingly, jumps from #23 to #8

– Parrilla gets dropped to #9

– Manilla, also surprisingly , jumps from #21 to #10.

– Beltran drops all the way to #11

– And lastly, most amazingly, Carson would drop from #3 all the way to #15. That’s right; Rocky, a player who has not been outside the top 3 in 20 years or so, had such a badly timed run of results and missed early 2020 events due to injury that he’d nearly be out of the top 16.

Take all this with a grain of salt, because I sense the ranking system needs to be modified to protect against such radical moves. Stay tuned.

—————-

Pro Doubles review

Doubles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/6066EC

The 14-team doubles draw provided a ton of interesting results on the first night of competition, with a ton of really surprising results. Here’s a walk through.

In the 16s:

– #3 seeds DLR and tournament sponsor Donald Williams were handled by the local team of Zachary Patterson and Austin Cunningham 14,3. I thought the presence of top doubles player DLR would get them at least a round further, but they fall at the opener.

– #6 seeded Colombian’s Garay and Franco dug deep to hold off the tough pair of Mexicans from Chihuahua Natera & Estrada in two tight games 14,10. They’re setup for a good shot at the final.

– #10 seeds and new pairing Carter & Mar really surprised me and blew past the all-Colombian team of Mercado and Herrera 6,5. Mercado is such a good doubles player, I thought this would have gone the other way based on the inexperience of Carter+Mar pairing … but as they say, this is why they play the games.

In the Quarters

– #1 Murray/Jake had to go breaker to top the experienced Costa Rican pair of Acuna/Camacho.

– #4 Sudsy Monchik and Landa had a tense, tight match against the Bolivian team of Moscoso/Carrasco, pulling it out in a heated breaker where the American reps came back from 5-8 down in the breaker to run the match out. At the death, a highly contested two-bounce call, several debatable replays and then match point awarded via an avoidable when Monchik had a setup in the middle of the court that hit a jumping Moscoso. It was an animated finish to say the least.

– #3 Garay/Franco destroyed the Cinderella local team of Patterson/Cunningham to move into the semis.

– #2 Parrilla/Portillo took a close 2-game win 11,13 over Carter/Mar.

In the semis…

– The US national team of Monchik/Landa stiffened up after a first game blowout loss to #1 seeded Murray/Jake and eventually cruised to the tiebreaker 11-3 to move into the finals.

– The Colombian national team of Franco/Garay held off match point in game two, then blew it out in the breaker to move into the final over the #2 seeded all-Mexico team of Parrilla/Portillo.

In the final…

– Monchik & Landa had match point on their racquets … twice, but the new Colombian pairing of Franco/Garay fought back and forced the breaker. There. the US champs controlled throghout and ground out the win. The tail end of game two was some of the best doubles play i’ve ever seen, with all four players hitting amazing shots, and both teams showing tactical adjustments on the fly to try to strategize their way to a win.

—————-

Men’s Open review; a 35-man open draw went down, with a ton of top pro players dipping down into the draw and making for some great matches.

In the final, Acuna topped Natera in a breaker. Floridian vet

Alejandro Herrera Azcarate

and Costa Rican newcomer Gabriel Garcia were the semi finalists.

—————–

18U Junior draw review

The IRT is embarking on a new program to highlight juniors, and Atlanta was their first foray into the program. A large scholarship purse was devoted to the draw and they got a fantastic multi-national 18U junior draw as a result.

The top two 18U players from Mexico advanced to the final, with

Erick Trujillo

topping 2019 Mexican 16U champ Sebastian Longoria in a breaker. American juniors Gleason and

Benjamin Horner

were the semifinalists.

—————–

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean DeAngelo Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew . Also a special shoutout to

Sudsy Monchik

and Kane Waselenchuk, who provided amazing commentary for some of the Saturday afternoon matches.

——————

Next up? the next “known” event from any major organization is Mid March’s Shamrock shootout in Chicago-land. We hope to have something hit in February but the odds seem low.

——————-

Tags

Suivant Consulting

Zurek Construction, LLC

International Racquetball Tour

USA Racquetball

Racquetball Canada

Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol

Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora

– Febora

Federación Boliviana de Racquetball

Racquetball Colombia

Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball

Federación Costarricense de Racquetball

Reaching Your Dream Foundation

FormulaFlow

Beastmade Apparel

Wear Rollout

Racquetball Warehouse

Splatit

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

Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, presented by Zurek Construction tournament Preview

Moscoso is a player to watch this weekend. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

After nearly a year, the IRT is back in action, hosting its first full Tier 1 pro stop since March of 2020. And its a grand slam welcome back to the sport’s top level.

The draws are now online for your review:

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=34826

48 players are entered into this draw, making it the biggest men’s pro draw since the 2019 US Open, and the first time we’ve breached 40 pro player entrants since the May 2019 Syosset Open in Long Island.

Big news for this event; #1 Kane Waselenchuk has bowed out of the event. Kane’s place of residence (Texas) has been quite restrictive with gym openings, and reportedly he has not seen an indoor racquetball court in 8 months. He doesn’t even have outdoor courts nearby to practice on. But, he’ll be in Atlanta and helping with the broadcast to support the event.

#5

#5 Alvaro Beltran underwent gall bladder surgery on Monday and had to miss the event as well (he’s doing well though; just bad timing for this event). This really opens up the top side of the draw, and will make for a potentially wide-open event.

Other top-30 players missing from Atlanta (and the reasons for missing the event if known):
12. Rodrigo Montoya: visa issues
16. Sebastian Fernandez: taking a step back from touring with a new job with the family business. Also lives in California where court access is highly restricted.
18. Gerardo Franco: unknown
19. Carlos Keller Vargas: unknown
22. David Horn; no court access; reported on FB that he would not play in a pro event if he could not train.
24. Robert Collins; unknown but based in California where courts are closed.
28. Charlie Pratt; unknown but in Oregon where courts are closed.

The event is a Grand Slam, which means the top players play from the round of 32 on. With 48 players, that’s just one qualifying round before the action starts.

——————————

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

In the round of 64, I see several matches to keep an eye on:

– #17

  • #17 Alan Natera Chavez faces #48 Jordan Deeney: Natera misses out on the last unprotected top seed and gets one extra match for his troubles, against the lowest-seeded entrant in Deeney. Natera is well traveled these past couple of weeks; he was just in Chile to celebrate his marriage to LPRT touring pro Carla Muñoz Montesinos. Congrats to both.

– #21 Scott McClellan takes on #44 Timmy Hansen, son of the USAR hall of famer Tim Hansen and up-and-coming junior.

– #29

Dylan Pruitt

(who is NOT a lefty, I need to keep reminding myself) takes on #36

Erick Trujillo

in a battle of teenagers. Pruitt is recently graduated out of juniors, while Trujillo is playing in his age 18 season. Expect a battle here.

– #22

Kadim Carrasco

] takes on #43 Pedro Castro in a battle of seasoned international vets. The Bolivian is favored over the Canadian (who hails from Chile), but it is great to see Castro traveling to and playing in a pro event again.

– #26

Alejandro Herrera Azcarate

takes on #39 Matt Fontana in a battle of seasoned top Florida players. We haven’t seen Fontana in a pro event in nearly 5 years.

——————————-

Projecting the 32s: here’s notable matches from my projected round of 32s.

– #16 Javier Estrada vs #17 Natera: a brutal match between two good friends who are familiar with each other from many regional tournaments in Mexico, and who happen to be playing doubles with each other this event. This probably is the match of the 32s. Natera beat Estrada en route to the San Antonio IRT Tier 4 title in 2019, their last known meeting. Natera is perpetually underrated and under-seeded and I like him here as an upset, unless he’s too jet-lagged from his weekend wedding trip to Santiago.

– #14

Andres Acuña

vs #19 Sam Bredenbeck; the younger Bredenbeck brother has been steadily improving his game and could give Acuna a run for his money, especially since we know the

Beastmade Apparel

crew has been playing regularly up in Minnesota.

– #22 Carrasco vs #14

Thomas Carter

; Carter was playing well on tour before the Covid-break, but could face a challenge here from the Bolivian veteran.

– #10 Mario Mercado vs #23

MoMo Zelada

; these two familiar foes used to face off frequently when both lived in the Washington DC area. They met in the 2019-20 season opener in Zelada’s home Laurel courts and it went breaker. Mercado will have to play solid to avoid the upset.

– #15

Adam Manilla

vs #18

Felipe Camacho

; the long-time touring pro Camacho can still ball, and Manilla needs to keep focused to advance into the round of 16. Manilla takes a break from his

Manilla Athletics

initiative to play in Atlanta.

——————————-

Round of 16: here’s my projected round of 16;

– #1

Alex Landa

vs Natera/Estrada winner; for his troubles of being elevated to the #1 seed, Landa faces a very dangerous opponent in either Natera or Estrada. Both are capable of putting an early loss on the top seed, who can sometimes be a slow starter in early round matches.

– #8 Jake Bredenbeck vs #9

Sebastian Franco

; a hard hitting matchup here; I give Jake the edge because he’s been trending better and has been getting regular court time.

– #12 Javier Mar over #5

Samuel Murray

; Murray gets the early match up against the dangerous Mar, and I see Mar advancing into the quarters. Mar was a late addition to the event, and an unwelcome one at that, since he makes waves nearly every time he enters a pro draw.

– #4 Daniel De La Rosa vs #13 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez; I’m a Garay fan, but DLR has controlled him on the court in the past and should move on here.

– #3

Andree Parrilla

vs Acuna/Bredenbeck winner: This will be a great test to see where Parrilla’s game is. Parrilla’s last few months before the shutdown were rough, with lots of early losses. Acuna is a solid player who doesn’t make mistakes and makes you beat him.

– #6

Lalo Portillo

vs Carter/Carrasco winner: either way, I favor Portillo to make another quarter and continue his upward trajectory on tour.

– #7

Conra Moscoso Ortiz

vs Mercado: a tricky opener for Moscoso, who is a dark-horse favorite here but who has struggled against the Bolivian turned Colombian Mercado in the past.

– #2 Rocky Carson vs Manilla/Camacho winner: a winnable opener for Carson, who has struggled with court time in Southern California and may be a bit rusty this event. He’ll have a chance to play himself into tournament shape here.

——————————

Projected Qtrs:

– #1 Landa over #8 Jake: Landa has dominated the head to head over his former WRT rival, having never taken a loss in a top-level event.

– #4 DLR over #12 Mar; a really tough match-up that could go either way, and two guys who play a really similar game. But, DLR plays the control game just a bit better and should move on.

– #3 Parrilla over #6 Portillo; doubles partners are projected to face off against each other; Parrilla gains confidence early on and beats his younger countryman to advance.

– #7 Moscoso over #2 Carson: Moscoso has two wins already over Rocky, and makes it a third. Rocky’s rustiness shows on the court and Conrrado moves on.

Semis:

– #1 Landa over #4 DLR: they’ve played quite often, and Landa has come to dominate their H2Hs lately … DLR hasn’t topped Landa since the 2017 Lewis Drug in a Tier 1 event, but beat him a few months ago on these same courts in a Tier 4 event. Their matches are always close. Another good test to see where DLR’s game is these days; he ended the 2019-20 season on such a high note. I’ll go with the historical trend of Landa’s dominance, as opposed to the recentcy bias of DLR’s last on the court win.

– #7 Moscoso over #3 Parrilla, though Parrilla beat him easily in California in Nov 2019, Moscoso has the higher ceiling right now and will be looking to add another Grand Slam win to his list of titles.

Finals;

#7 Moscoso over #1 Landa. He beat Landa the last time they played, and something tells me Moscoso sees the grand slam and sees a pathway to the title without Kane in the draw and will not be stopped.

——————————-

Doubles review

The IRT doubles event should be intriguing as we have some unexpected teams thanks to last minute withdrawals.

– Beltran’s absence has DLR playing with tournament sponsor Donald Williams as the #3 seed.

Sudsy Monchik

has flown up to play with his US teammate Landa, which splits up the regular Landa/Murray pairing.

– Murray pairs with Jake at the #1 seed instead.

– The #2 seeds are now the season-long regular team of Portillo/Parrilla.

– Two all-Columbian teams are competing; Garay & Franco are the #6 seeds and Mercado/Herrera are the #7 seeds.

– Estrada & Natera are a dark-horse #11 seed.

– two guys with DC-area ties Pruitt and Zelada form a solid team that could make waves. Just like the frequently seen all -east coast team of Troy Warigon and

Maurice Miller

, both of whom skipped out of the pro singles draw here curiously.

The match of the opening round will be Estrada/Natera vs Garay/Franco. In the quarters, I look forward to a Landa/Monchik battle against the Bolivian pair of Moscoso/Carrasco.

I see the 14-team draw coming down to the US national team from the top Landa/Monchik and the increasingly successful Parrilla/Portillo partnership from the bottom, with the veterans coming out on top.

———————————

There’s a solid Men’s Open draw, plus a new featured Junior 18U draw that will be showcased on the live stream throughout the weekend.

——————————–

Thanks to title sponsors

Suivant Consulting

] and

Zurek Construction, LLC

, with proprieters/sponsors Donald Williams

and

Francisco Fajardo

. Without you, these events could not happen.

———————————

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

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

Tags

International Racquetball Tour

International Racquetball Federation – IRF

USA Racquetball

Racquetball Canada

Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol

Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora

Racquetball Colombia

Federación Costarricense de Racquetball

Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #worLi

2020 IRT Atlanta Open Wrap-Up

DLR takes the singles title in Atlanta. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
– Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
– Doubles; Eduardo Garay/Juan Pablo Rodriguez

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31746

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.(reminder: this was not a Tier1, therefore there’s no results in the PRS database).

—————-

In the 16s:- 7 of the top 8 seeds advanced, with the only “upset” being Austin Cunningham topping #8 Jim Douglas with a double donut. For the most part the traveling pros dominated local competition in their openers, with no tie-breakers and only a couple games that were competitive. This setup some great quarter final action.

—————-

In the Quarters- #1 Alex Landa cruised past #9 Cunningham 4,12. – #5 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez blitzed past his countryman #4 Mario Mercado 11,4 to advance. This seems like an important result, as Garay trails Mercado in the current IRT standings, but just supplanted him on the Colombian national team and seems set to make a rise up the standings when we get back into full time touring.- #3 Sebastian Franco was stretched to a breaker by the home-town favorite Maurice Miller before advancing 11-4.- #2 Daniel De La Rosa dropped the first game 14 before advancing in a breaker over the pesky #7 MoMo Zelada.

—————

In the Semis- #1 Landa cruised past #5 Garay 4,11 to move to the final. Garay had to take the court immediately after a long doubles match and looked a bit winded in game one, then Landa held on as Garay settled in for game two.- #2 DLR dominated #3 Franco 7,7 to move into the finals.In the Finals, DLR dropped the first game 14 but rebounded to push it to a tiebreaker. In the breaker, he raced out to a commanding lead that Landa could not overcome and DLR gets the win over his long-time rival (14),11,4. Solid win for DLR, who stayed calm and stuck to his game plan to take out Landa. Both players played well, showing a bit of rust, but I liked DLR’s calm approach.

—————-

Doubles reviewThe 8-team Men’s doubles draw kicked off the festivities Friday night, and all four quarter final matches were close. The draw went chalk (with all four top seeds advancing), but three of the four top seeded teams needed a tie-breaker to advance. The #2 seeded team of DLR and tournament sponsor Donald Williams was pushed the hardest, dropping the first game 6 before rebounding to take the tiebreaker 11-9 over the all-Colombian team of Franco and their coach Francisco Fajardo.

In the semis:- the #4 team of Miller/Mercado surprised the #1 seeded team of Landa/Zelada. Mercado has always been a solid doubles player, and spurred on the run along side the home town favorite to push into the final. It was a surprising result, given Landa’s IRT pro doubles accomplishments as of late.- The #3 team of Colombians Garay and Juan Pablo Rodriguez eked past one of the top doubles player in the world in DLR, teamed with tournament sponsor Donald Williams 11-10 in the breaker. Rodriguez is an up and comer; he represented Colombia at the 2019 world Juniors in 14U, making the semis before losing to USA’s NIkhil Prasad. Rodriguez out-hit Williams on the forehand side, and the #2 seeded team’s tactics couldn’t push them past the Colombians in the end.

In the final, Rodriguez stepped up and helped his all-Colombian team outlast two seasoned IRT pros 13,8. Garay/Rodriguez take the title over Miller/Mercado.

—————-

Men’s Open, other drawsThe young Colombian Rodriguez had a heck of a tournament, winning Pro doubles, making the final of Pro Consolation/Men’s Open (where he lost to long-time top Floridian Andres Ramirez in a breaker), and also winning Elite Doubles with fellow top junior international Maricruz Ortiz.

—————–

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean DeAngelo Baer and Pablo Fajre and the who streamed all weekend.——————

Next up? 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships in Vegas! More to come on that in this space soon.——————

-tagsSuivant Consulting (Donald Williams’ firm and tournametn sponsor).Formulaflow (Zelada’s sports retail firm)International Racquetball TourInternational Racquetball Federation – IRFUSA RacquetballFederación Mexicana de RaquetbolRacquetball ColombiaFederacion Colombiana de RacquetballFederación Costarricense de RacquetballFederación Boliviana De Raquetbol – FeboraReaching Your Dream Foundation

2020 IRT Atlanta Open Preview

Landa leads the field at the 2020 Atlanta Open. Photo from 2020 USAR National doubles by Kevin Savory

Well… its been six months since I wrote a pro tournament preview in this space. I almost forgot how to write one of these things. But somehow, we have pro racquetball happening this weekend.

The 2020 IRT Atlanta Open, which was initially set to be the 2020-21 Tier 1 slate season opener, has been repurposed as a Tier 4 event and is being held this weekend at Recreation Atlanta in Lilburn, GA.

Interestingly, the draw features a huge chunk of the Colombian national team playing, including its top three ranked singles players and some players who have traveled up from Cali. I’ll call them out in the preview below.

R2 Sports App​ link for the tourney: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31746

There’s 16 players in the pro singles draw and 9 pro doubles teams. Its a solid draw, featuring a slew of touring pros, so its worth running through a preview.

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some interesting matches from the round of 16.
– #1 Alex Landa ​vs #16 Andres Ramirez​; interesting first rounder for the current #2 player in the world. He takes on a long-time Florida star Ramirez, who has been playing pro events for nearly two decades and has even played internationally in the past. This is no cakewalk for Landa.
– #5 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez​ takes on home-town favorite #12 Marquis Miller​ , the twin brother of regular tour player Maurice Miller.
– #6 Maurice Miller​ takes on traveling Colombian @Juan Pablo Rodriguez in his opener.
– #7 MoMo Zelada​ gets a tough first rounder in solid Florida amateur Matt Fontana.

Projected Qtrs
– #1 Landa over #9 Austin Cunningham, to advance over Jim Douglas.​
– #5 Garay over #4 Mario Mercado​; two Colombian teammates battle it out in the 4/5 spot. Mercado has been an enigma on the court; sometimes he’s lights out and sometimes he’s one-and-done. His 2019-20 season had a final reached and three round-of-32 exits. Garay topped him for the second Colombian team spot earlier this year, and that could be a trend for the young ex-Mexican junior national team member. I like Garay’s game but this could be a close one. Garay to edge Mercado in the breaker.
– #3 Sebastian Franco​ vs #6 Miller: Franco also had an up-and-down season, making two semis but also getting upset in the qualifiers a couple times and missing a bunch of events. He faces the tough Miller playing on his home courts under interesting circumstances. Has Franco been playing? The court availability in the DC area isn’t the same as Atlanta, where the clubs have been open for a bit. Upset watch here, but Franco advances.
– #2 Daniel De La Rosa​ vs #7 MoMo Zelada; DLR makes the bit trip eastward to compete in this event and gets DC-area native Zelada. I like MoMo (shoutout to Formulaflow​) but DLR outclasses him here and moves on.

Projected Semis:
– #1 Landa over #5 Garay: these two met twice last season and split, so Garay won’t be intimidated by Landa’s game. This is a contrast in style; Landa plays controlled and clinical, while Garay plays powerful and passionate. Landa ekes it out.
– #2 DLR over #3 Franco: they’ve met 9 times in top level competition (IRT and IRF) and DLR leads 7-2. Interestingly, they have not met professionally since Jan 2017 despite both being regular tour players for the past few years. DLR finished the season on fire, and I like him to keep going. DLR in two.

Finals: Landa over DLR. Yes, Landa owns the head to head record between these two, and it has been more than 3.5 years since DLR beat Alex on the court. But when they do play, they play close. Multiple 11-10 or 12-10 in the fifth encounters between them. Both have similar game styles; both are shot makers who rely more on skill than on power. If DLR is on, he’s hard to beat. But these two have played so much that they find it hard to get into their preferred game against each other. Look for Landa to win 11-9.

Doubles review
Nine teams entered, with a good mix of locals playing with traveling pros. I like the #1 seed of Landa/Zelada advancing over #4 Mercado/Miller on the top, with DLR/Donald Williams topping two teams with Colombian pros in the bottom. In the final, Look for Landa/Zelada to take the win and give landa the double.

Don’t forget to try out the IRT Fantasy Brackets this year!https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=36277 is the R2sports link for the Fantasy bracket. Enter for a chance to win and go head to head against me as I put in my picks (as predicted above).

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

Tags

International Racquetball TourInternational Racquetball Federation – IRFUSA RacquetballFederación Mexicana de RaquetbolRacquetball ColombiaFederacion Colombiana de Racquetball

IRT 2019-20 Season Complete: Year End Rankings Analysis Part 4

Martell made a statement at the US Open this year. Photo 2019 US Open by Kevin Savory

In the first part of this season-end post we went through the players who finished ranked in the top 10. In Part two, we did the 11-20 players. In this part 3, we’ll go through players 21-30

In this final rankings analysis post we’ll highlight selected players who finished 31st or higher.

Here’s helpful links that I use for year-end analysis.

– 2019-20 year-end points in the system: http://rball.pro/B8C116

– Season Summary Report: http://rball.pro/8F437B
– Season Seed Report: http://rball.pro/553125
– Year End Ranking Matrix: http://rball.pro/E441EB

——-
Here’s some random observations about the players on tour this year who finished ranked 31st or higher.

– Former top 10 player Jansen Allen took a significant step back from touring, playing in just 2 of the 10 events and finishing #32 on the season.

– #33 Kadim Carrasco played 7 of the 10 events and won 7 qualifying matches, but never enough in one event to make a main draw.

– #34 Jaime Martell Neri fought his way into the main draw of the US Open from the round of 256 and had a couple of wins over tour vets/former top 10 players along the way. He went 5-2 on the season in two events. He’s one of those guys who, if he played the tour full-time, would likely be in the upper teens in rankings.

– #35 Jose Diaz’s ranking plummeted from #11 last season as he took a hard look at the costs of touring and decided to stand down this season. He played 3 events this year.

– #36 Maurice Miller played three events and got four qualifier wins, but never was able to break through to the main draw.

– #38 Ernesto Ochoa played just one tier 1 this year (the US Open) but continues to get solid wins in RKT local events in Mexico, and is one of those “best kept secrets” of players who might really surprise if they played the tour full time.

#42 Anthony Martin quietly made it to 6 tier 1 events, running into a number of tough opponents in qualifying.

#43 Erick Cuevas played four events and got a couple of qualifier wins on the year.

#48 Lee Meinerz got a couple of qualifier wins during the tour’s mid-west spin in Jan/Feb and played tour regulars tough.

#51 Erik Garcia, the reigning intercollegiates champ, played a couple of events on the season with some success.

#52 Hiroshi Shimizu got a couple qualifier wins in his age 51 season.

#77 Francisco Gomez made the main draw of the US Open by qualifying from the round of 256 as the #68 seed; it was his only appearance on tour all year but he took out two tough players in Benson and Natera along the way.

——–
That’s it for the 2019-20 season. Thanks to the pandemic, nobody is really sure when the next event will be, but we’ll hope for Aug/sept.

——–
Tags

International Racquetball Tour
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
USA Racquetball
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Reaching Your Dream FoundationPRORACQUETBALLSTATS.COM

IRT 2019-20 Season Complete: Year End Rankings Analysis Part 3

Manilla made a statement this season. Photo 2019 Us National singles, Photographer Kevin Savory

In the first part of this season-end post we went through the players who finished ranked in the top 10. In Part two, we did the 11-20 players.

In this part 3, we’ll go through players 21-30.

Here’s helpful links that I use for year-end analysis.

– 2019-20 year-end points in the system: http://rball.pro/B8C116

– Season Summary Report: http://rball.pro/8F437B
– Season Seed Report: http://rball.pro/553125
– Year End Ranking Matrix: http://rball.pro/E441EB

——–
#21 Adam Manilla slipped slightly in the rankings from last season, but on a whole had a much better season this year than last. He made his first pro semi in Austin, where he played lights out all weekend, battling from the round of 64 and taking the first game from DLR in the semis before falling. He had several wins over top-10 players, and nearly took out Landa in Chicago (losing 11-10 in the 16s).

Off the court, Adam and his sister Erika Manilla have kicked off an online Racquetball training company Manilla Athletics . Give them a look-see and a follow.

click here http://rball.pro/DF0E72 for Manilla’s season summary report.

—-
#22 David ” Bobby” Horn took a significant step back from touring this year, and saw his ranking fall from #13 at the end of last season to #22 this season. He played in just four events and had decent results in all of them, generally playing top-8 players tough even in losses. We hope to see him back in action soon.

click here http://rball.pro/C2FDE1 for Horn’s career season summary report.

—-
#23 Javier Estrada, one of Mexico’s best kept secrets, finally debuted on the IRT this season (his sole prior tier-1 appearance was as a teen-ager in 2010 when the tour visited his home town of Chihuahua). He played 5 events, made three main-draws and had a couple of solid wins over top-10 guys, but was not able to replicate the amazing tournament run he put up last summer at the Black Gold cup. He’s one to watch for, one who could really make a name for himself if he can play on tour like he plays at home.

click here http://rball.pro/60BAFF for Estrada’s career season summary report.


#24 Robert Collins took a slight step back on tour this year thanks to the influx of new players in the mid-teens. He made three main draws on the year but his season was marked by frequent difficult round of 32 matches.

click here http://rball.pro/588B97 for Collins’ season and career summary report.

—-
#25 Alan Natera Chavez, like Estrada, was a relative unknown outside of Mexico until May, when he debuted in IRT Tier 1s for the first time. this season, he made one main draw in five events and had a solid win over #10 Bredenbeck in Austin. So far though on tour, he’s been unable to replicate his successes shown in past Mexican Nationals, where he had a string of upsets to make the semis in both 2018 and 2019.

click here http://rball.pro/C5D990 for Natera’s career summary.

——-
#26 Felipe Camacho stepped back a bit from touring this year after four straight seasons of full time play. He still made 7 of the 10 events, advancing into the 16s in two of them. His best win of the season was probably at the Lewis Drug, where he downed Keller in the 32s and played Portillo tough in the 16s. The long-time Costa Rican international player continues to represent his country, losing in the 16s at the Pan American Games in August.

see http://rball.pro/B28505 for his career summary report.

—–
#27 Sam Bredenbeck, younger brother of #10 Jake, played seven of the ten events on the season and had some success. He qualified for the main draw in Portland by downing tour veteran Collins and had a number of other wins against tour regulars.

click here http://rball.pro/B1BB4F for Sam’s summary report.

—-
#28 Charles Pratt played just three events this year and wasn’t able to show the “part-time magic” that he’s shown in years past (when he made it to late stages of Tier 1s despite not being a regular touring player). This season he played the US Open, his home town event and the Lewis Drug, where he got his best result.

click here http://rball.pro/CA959B to see Pratt’s summary report.

——
#29 Set Cubillos Ruiz played 7 of the 10 events despite being based in Colombia and facing a vigorous travel schedule. He got a solid win in Arizona to make the main draw; his best win of the season.

click here http://rball.pro/715488 for Set’s career summary


#30 Scott McClellan improved his season-ending ranking despite his full time ref duties on tour. I hope he reads this snippet and reminds me that one of my takes on his reffing this past season was wrong 🙂

click here http://rball.pro/03ED8A for Scott’s career summary.

tags

International Racquetball Tour
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Reaching Your Dream Foundation