2022 US Open Recap

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


Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Quarters, my predictions went out the window.

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

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

In the Semis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Points Implications of this event:

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

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

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

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

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

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

U21, Open, other notable draw results:

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

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

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew , as well as the LPRT crew led by @Tim Baghurst and Sandy Rios.
Thanks to the Tourney Director @Connor Shane for all the work for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
We have a super fast turnaround for the IRT pros, who immediately head to the Bay Area to play in Manilla/Horn’s Golden State Open.

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

tags

US Open Preview!

can DLR defend his U S Open title? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

We’re at the US Open, the biggest event of the year.

I wrote up a huge preview for @USA Racquetball with “odds” of winning for each of the two pro singles draws, so I don’t want to write a ton here. Instead, go to the below link, open the Event Program, and read it there. The program has a TON of useful information on top of what i’ve written.

https://www.teamusa.org/…/19/US-OPEN-Program-Daily-Racquet

In this post, i’ll talk about some of the matchups I’m looking forward to in the opening rounds of the draws (i.e., Wednesday and Thursday), then i’ll cruise through some players to watch with some light predict ions.

IRT Singles:

I think your 128 and 64 round qualifiers will be:

– #17 Sebastian Fernandez , who continues to be “stuck” right in that 16/17 seed range, making it tough on him to move forward in main draws.

Rodrigo Rodriguez , who I think will get a win over former IRT touring pro and veteran Costa Rican Felipe Camacho

– Erick Cuevas fresh off his Mexican Junior Nationals appearance, who I think will top Maryland’s @Troy Warigon . But this could go either way.

– 9-time Junior national champion Jordan Barth, who is playing his first top-level racquetball to urnament in 5 years.

– Jaime Martell to take out talented USA junior @CCole Send .

– @MoMo Zelada to take out tough Colombian player @Andres Gomez.

– Former WRT top pro @Alejandro Cardona to take out Guatemalan veteran Christian Wer.

– Mexican Junior phenom @Erick Trujillo

– Last week’s IRT finalist #19 seed @Javier Mar, who I think will have another surprising run here.

– New Jersey tough lefty Joe Kelley over Arteaga

– USA national team member Sam Bredenbeck over Mexican junior @EzEzequiel Subieta

– Bolivian turned Argentinian @Diego Garcia to upset IRT regular @RoRobbie Collins

– @Sam Sam Brede , who looked so good at Worlds playing doubles.

– Veteran Bolivian power player @Kadim Carrasco

– Guatemalan regular Edwin Galicia

– Atlanta’s own and USAR board member Maurice Miller

– #18 Team Zurek member Eduardo Garay .

From there, here’s some of the round of 32 matches i’m looking forward to:

– 16/17 @Rodrigo Montoya vs Fernandez: two of the most athletic guys on tour battling it out. Could go either way.

– #9 Jake Bredenbeck versus former 9-time national junior champ Jordan Barth could be an interesting matchup of fellow Minnesota natives who have met plenty in local events in the past.

– #12 Andres Acuña versus Zelada; these two just met in Maryland, and Zelada upset the Costa Rican with relative ease. Could he do it again?

– #13 @Carlos Keller Vargas vs Trujillo; this could be a real interesting meeting, and an upset watch.

– #4 Eduardo Portillo versus Cardona: Cardona can and will score points against his young Mexican rival.

– #14 @AlvAlvaro Beltran cannot be happy about seeing Mar feeding into his round of 32 match.

– #11 Sebastian Franco projects to face a very tough former Junior world champion in Garcia.

– #15 @TThomas Carter versus Garay is an upset to look for.

In the 16s, a couple of possible upsets to look for:

– #1 Daniel de la Rosa versus Montoya; not the round of 16 that DLR would want; Montoya can win this.

– #5 @Alex Landa vs Acuna; if this comes to pass, these two have quite a bit of history.

– #19 Mar vs #3 @SSamuel Murray , a rematch of the semis from the Maryland IRT event, won by Mar.

– #7 Rocky Carson vs #10 @Adam Manilla , who I wonder if he could get an upset win.

My semis: DLR, Portillo, Parrilla, Moscoso. I think Lalo can beat Landa again, I think Moscoso takes care of Mar (though if Murray advances, Moscoso could be in trouble).

My final: Moscoso over Portillo.

———————————

Men’s Doubles:

15 teams are here, but the top 4 seeded teams have really separated themselves in both pro and international competitions oer the past year.

I like #4 Moscoso/@Roland Keller to upset the #1 DLR/Beltran team, #2 Montoya/Mar over Parrilla/Murray, and to eventually win the title.

———————————

Ladies Singles

31 Ladies entered into the singles draw.

In the 32s … look for some tough openers:

– #16 Cristina Amaya draws #17 @Nancy Enriquez in a super tough opener for both these long-time LPRT vets.

– #5 @Jessica Parrill gets USA national @Lexi York , who has been training with the Bredenbecks and will be a tough out.

– #14 @Maria RMaria Renee Rodriguez gets the tough Bolivian veteran @Jenny Daza in an upset watch.

– #15 @Sheryl Lotts takes on Bolivian junior national champ @MMicaela Meneses in a fun one for both players.

In the 16s:

– 8/9 @Brenda Laime vs US national team member Kelani Lawrence could be a barn burner. Laime famously took out Longoria in Virginia, while Lawrence only exited at the hands of eventual winner Herrera 14,14.

– #5 Parrilla vs #12 @Valeria Centella could be closer than Leoni prefers.

– #4 @NNatalia Mendes draws Gaby in an upset watch by seed.

– #3 US National champ @EErika Manilla will have her hands full with Daza.

– US National Hollie Scott has to come up with a game plan to beat the consistent Bolivian @AngelAngelica b .

– Salas-Munoz is a frequently seen matchup lately, with the two players splitting wins

My semis: Longoria, Martinez, Barrios, Herrera. I don’t think Laime can win twice in a row, I think Gaby takes out Leoni, I think Barrios upsets Erika, and I think Herrera beats either Salas/Munoz.

My final: 1 vs 2, with Longoria securing the biggest title in the sport.

———————————

Ladies Doubles Preview:

The absence of Mejia robs the draw of the Herrera/Mejia team that would normally press for the title. In their absence, I think #1 Longoria/Salas cruise to the title. They’ll likely face the most recent LPRT pro double champions from Virginia Lawrence/Scott in the semis, a fun match. On the bottom, Herrera replaces Mejia with excellent doubles player Parrilla and will make the final.

———————————

Follow USA Racquetball, IRT, LPRT on FB to get live streaming updates.

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. Both the IRT and LPRT are running fantasy competitions this year. The winner each week gets free swag!

@International Racquetball Tour

LPRT

@usUSA Racquetball US OPEN Championships

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

LPRT at the Beach recap

A career weekend for Brenda Laime, making her first pro final. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: @Alexandra Herrera
  • Doubles; Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Rae Scott
    It was an interesting weekend in Chesapeake. Lets read on for some thoughts.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=32188

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

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

In the 16s:

  • #8 Brenda Laime crushed #9 Scott 3,9, a result that portended the rest of the weekend.
  • #4 Erika Manilla needed a breaker to get past the veteran tour player Cris Amaya .

– In the 7/10 match-up, home town fans were rewarded with a solid win by Kelani Lawrence , who got an excellent win over Argentinian Valeria Centellas

In the Quarters

  • #8 Laime sent shockwaves across the landscape by upsetting #1 Paola Longoria 11-10 in the breaker. Laime’s classical game has gotten her big wins in the past (she has career wins over multiple top-4 players in the past couple of seasons), but never as big of a win as this. Longoria’s quarter-final loss was the first time she’s lost that early in a pro event since February of 2008, a pretty amazing feat.
  • #4 Manilla outlasted #5 Jessica Parrilla in a breaker. After losing 14 in the first, she cruised to a 15-2, 11-3 win.
  • #6 Carla Munoz upset #3 Mendez and returned to the pro semis for the first time since April of 2017 with a solid 11,14 two game win.

– #2 Herrera squeaked out a 15-14, 15-14 two game win over Lawrence. Not much between these two players on the day.

In the Semis

  • Laime rebounded from a first game let-down to move past Manilla in a breaker to get to the final. This tournament represents the first time Laime has advanced to the semis in her career, and now its the first time she’s made a pro final.
  • Herrera cruised past Munoz 6,7 to get to the final.

In the Finals, Herrera took her 3rd career title by topping Laime 7,12.

Points Implications of results
There are no 2021 points to expire, so there’s not a ton of changes with these results.

  • #2 Herrera closes the gap a bit on #1 Longoria, thanks to her early loss. She still leads by nearly 1,000 ranking points at the top.
  • Mendez and Mejia switch places at 4/5, with Mejia missing the event.
  • Parrilla and Barrios switch places at 7/8, again with Barrios missing the event.
  • Lawrence moves into the top 10 I believe for the first time.

– Laime bumps up her ranking from 13 to 11 with the finals appearance.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/7gv

A small pro doubles draw was taken by USA reigning national champs Scott and Lawrence, a first pro doubles title for Scott and second for Kelani. They crushed Longoria/Centellas 1,12 in the final.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst , Jerry J Josey Jr. ., and Tj Baumbaugh
Thanks to the Tourney Director @Malia Bailey for putting this event on!

Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Next weekend, the pro tour moves slightly north from Virginia Beach to Severna Park (outside of Baltimore) for the first IRT pro stop of the new season, and the first time we’ve seen the Men’s pros since May. There’s 42 pros entered into the Singles draw as of this writing, so it’ll be a big tourney.

Yours truly will be onsite, probably on the mike for some of the Saturday action.

tags
LPRT

LPRT at the Beach Preview

Can Kelani make a run at her home club? Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory


R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=32188


The LPRT is back in action, this time on the East coast, returning to the Virginia Beach area for the first time since 2019. Held at the Chesapeake YMCA, this is the home club of USAR hall of Famer @Malia Bailey ,who also serves as your tourney director.


Last time the LPRT was in town, Longoria was upset in the final, giving @Maria Jose Vargas one of her 5 career titles. #3 Vargas however is not here however, taking some time off to have her third child. Also missing is #4 Mejia, #7 Barrios, and #10 Rajsich, who went decades without missing a pro stop and now misses her second in a row, perhaps an tacit admission that she’s stepping back from the tour. Also missing is Salas, who has been making a comeback lately, and Gaby, whose ranking has plummeted due to these early season absences.

All these top 10 absences in Virginia give Manilla a career high #4 seed and will make for some unexpected quarter final matchups.

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 16:

  • The #8/#9 seed Hollie Scott versus @Brenda Laim matchup looks solid: I think these two are neck and neck talent wise, play different styles, and it could go either way .
  • #5/#12 Jessica Parrilla vs @Sheryl Lotts is a trap game for Leoni; Lotts has been playing really tough lately and could get an upset here.
  • #6/#11 @Carla Munoz versus the improving Maria Renee Rodriguez ; MRR can push Munoz here, but look for the Chilean #1 to move on.

– #7/#10 Kelani Lawrence versus Valeria Centellas : great matchup. On paper Centellas is slightly favored h2h, but this is Lawrence’s home club. Will that play to her advantage, or will the presence of family and friends put too much pressure on her? Last time they played in Va Beach, Kelani nearly upset Vargas, so odds are on the home town favorite to advance here.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Paola Longoria over the Scott/Laime winner.
  • #4 @Erika Manilla is favored over #5 Parrilla … but has started slow this season with some unexpected losses in the first LPRT stop in Mexico and at Worlds. Upset watch here. This is the kind of match she needs to win though to establish her presence in the top 4 on a more ongoing basis.
  • #3Natalia Mendez projects to play #6 Munoz, which could be an interesting match. On paper this is a win for Mendez, but she’s taken some upsets lately. Look for an upset here.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrea projects to play the winner of the Centellas/Lawrence match, and will be a heavy favorite. With no Mejia or Gaby in the draw, Herrera is the favorite to make the final.
    Semis:
  • Longoria over the Parrilla/Manilla winner, neither of which is likely to press the world #1.
  • Herrera to cruise over the Mendez/Munoz winner.

Finals: we should get a rematch of #1 vs #2, which we got several times last season and resulted in two straight titles for Alexandra. This time though, Longoria comes in on a hot streak, having blown through the competition in the season pro opener and last month at Worlds, and she’s the heavy favorite to cruise here.

Doubles review
An interesting doubles event should be seen, as the top teams are all missing half of the partnerships, meaning all sorts of new/different teams are h ere.
The consensus #1 doubles team in the land (Longoria/Salas) is missing Samantha, so Longoria is playing with Centellas, who normally plays with Mendez, but she’s playing with Manilla, who doesn’t have a regular partner but has been playing with Parrilla … but Parrilla is playing this weekend with Herrera, who normally plays with Mejia, but she’s missing. Meanwhile, Rodriguez usually plays with Gaby, but she’s not here, so she’s playing with Amaya, who has been playing with Riquelme but Maria isn’t here.
The only “regular team” I see here is the US #1 team of Scott/Lawrence, which perhaps portends well to their chances of beating these teams who don’t regularly play with each other.

All that being said .. i like Herrera/Parrilla from the top half and Longoria/Centellas from the bottom half to advance to the final. From there, I think Herrera/Parrilla will win a close one.

Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.
Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. The winner each week gets free swag!
LPRT

Paola Longoria Grand Slam Wrap-up

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


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

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

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

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

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

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

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

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

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

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

In the Quarters

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

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

In the Semis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

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

tags
LPRT

LPRT Paola Longoria Grand Slam Preview

Manilla has a career high seeding. Photo 2021 US Open via Kevin Savory


Welcome to the 2022-23 LPRT season! The LPRT starts off with a bang; a Grand Slam season opener and a return to tournament racquetball in Mexico.
For three years running, from 2017-19, the “Paola Longoria Experience” was held in her hometown of San Luis Potosi as a kickoff tournament for the tour each season, but then Covid hit and the tournament took three years off. But we’re back, and this time the tournament is being held 100 miles west of SLP in the town of Aguascalientes.
R2 Sports App link:https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39838
Perhaps due to fixture congestion, the draw for the opener is way down, with just 21 players entered (by way of comparison, the Supermax GS in Kansas City in June had 25% more players with a 28-person draw). A huge chunk of the ladies tour is qualified for Worlds, taking place the starting next weekend in SLP proper, and its likely that many decided not to add a week to their next trip. Understandable.

As a result, this event is missing 6 of the top 20 players in the world: #3 Vargas (pregnant), #5 Gaby, #9 Rajsich (which is odd; she’s missed just 3 events in her entire career!), #12 Lawrence, #13 Laime, and #16 Scott all are out of this draw, which will give us a ton of elevated seeds and solid opportunities for lower ranked players. Most of the American national team is missing the event, which could have been a nice tune-up for Worlds.

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

The round of 32 features 5 relative unknowns playing 5 regular LPRT players. We may see some upsets, but not likely as the LPRT veterans advance.

Round of 16: there are a few compelling matches:

  • In the usually competitive 8/9 seed game, we get two players in Carla Munoz and @Samantha Salas Solis who have had some battles in the past. Some of Munoz’s best ever wins have come at the hands of Salas, so she’ll be confident. Salas saw her ranking dip out of the top 10 last season, but she finished strong with a semis appearance in Kansas City. Great match here. I’m leaning Munoz to win here.
  • Long-time international rivals #3 Natalia Mendez and #14 Cris Amaya are set to meet for the 8th time in all competitions. Mendez leads h2h 5-2.
  • #6 @Jessica Parrilla takes on #11 Maria Renee Rodriguez. MRR is a long-time tour competitor and will seek a top10 win for her resume.

– In the 7/10 matchup, we get a very competitive match between @Montse Mejia and Valeria Centellas . Mejia is undefeated against the Argentinian in her career, and as I frequently intone has the talent to be in the top 4 on tour, but needs consistent attendance and consistent performances.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 and tournament namesake @Paola Longoria should advance over the Salas/Munoz winner.
  • A great match is projected between #4 Erika Manilla and newly crowned World Games champ #5 @Angelica Barrios. These two met in Vero Beach, a two game win for Erika, and I’d expect the same here, but under-rate Barrios at your peril.
  • Upset watch for #6 Parrilla over #3 Mendez: these two met in South Carolina and that’s exactly what Leoni did. She’s finally back into the top 10 consistently after her knee injury and will look to stay there.
  • #2 Alexandra Herrera projects to meet her long-time doubles partner Mejia in the quarters. They’ve met more than a few times, and Herrera has taken their last couple of meetings, but Mejia is arguably the better player, but needs to overcome the mental aspect of playing her friend and partner. Based on where these two are right now, i’m going with the lefty.
    Semis projection:
  • Longoria over Manilla: this is becoming somewhat of a famous matchup, and many see Manilla as a leading rival to take down Longoria. Can Erika take a big step here? The game plan for beating Paola has been demonstrated by Herrera recently; simply put, don’t make errors. Easier said than done.
  • Herrera over Parrilla: I still think there’s a huge gap from the top 2 players to the rest of the tour, and see no reason not to predict a 1v2 final.

Finals: Longoria wins her namesake tourney and starts off the season with the upper hand against her primary rival for the 2022-23 title.

Doubles review
There’s 8 doubles teams here … with some new teams competing thanks to regular partners missing. However, the top 2 seeds are the regular dominant teams of Longoria/Salas and Herrera/Mejia. It is difficult not to predict another final between these two teams, who have been battling for pro and National titles regularly for years.
I am intrigued by #3 seeds Manilla/Parrilla: both have regular partners at this point (Scott and Perez respectively), and it should be interesting to see how they play together. Both are great doubles players.

In the final i’ll go chalk, with Longoria/Salas raising another doubles title together.

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

Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. The winner each week gets free swag!

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

LPRT Season Wrap-up: News summary for the season.


This post highlights some of the noteworthy news items for the LPRT this year. I periodically publish these items to this link:
https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_tour_history…


So, if you want a trip down memory lane for the LPRT you can read that page from the top down. It isn’t comprehensive to the beginning of the tour in the detail captured recently … but it is built out pretty decently.


Here’s a quick summary of items of interest that happened on tour this year, to the tour itself or to its players. If you think I’m missing something, by all means let me know. This was a subjectively collected list of “news” items and I may have missed something worth capturing.

  • 7/11/21: LPRT #1 Paola Longoria is heading to the Tokyo Olympics as a Sports Commentator for TUDN. She ends up doing sports broadcasting for the whole of the Olympics and misses the season opening tournament in Denver as a result.
  • 8/23/21: Mattel Latin America included LPRT’s #1 Paola Longoria as one of three Latin American athletes to create Barbie doll likenesses for, in order to recognize Latin American athletes. Paola’s place in the landscape of sports media in Mexico continues to be strong.
  • 10/2/21: Argentinian Natalia Mendez signs an agreement with Nike. It isn’t often we hear about our athletes signing with such a major brand.
  • 10/11/21: Longoria takes her 11th US Open title, but not before an upset-laden tournament results in multiple top-8 seeds taken out in the 32s and 16s. Erika Manilla is the biggest shock, advancing out of qualifiers and into the semis despite never making a round of 16 previously.
  • 1/17/22: Rhonda Rajsich is named the Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year for 2022.
  • 3/6/22: Alexandra Herrera tops Longoria for the second final in a row, the first time Longoria has lost two finals in a row since Sept 2010. Is this the start of a new rivalry on tour?
  • 4/10/22: PARC 2022 kicks off without a slew of major pro names, not the least of which was #1 Paola Longoria, who misses a “major” IRF event for the first time since 2014. Her absences are referred to vaguely as being due to a “lack of support” by the Mexican federation, and led to a significantly weaker Mexican team. The women’s singles is eventually won by Bolivian #5 Angelica Barrios over #3 Vargas in the final.
  • 4/22/22: In the latest incident of Bolivian-born players lamenting the lack of support from their Ministry of sport, newly crowned PARC champion Angelica Barrios heavily criticizes the Bolivian organizations for promising and then reneging on financial support for Barrios, yet continuing to use photographs of her accomplishments with their logo attached. This comes hot on the heels of the Men’s PARC 2022 champion Conrrado Moscoso also criticizing the lack of support and possibly considering a switch to another country.
  • 5/15/22: Longoria holds off Herrera in the final of the Sweet Caroline Grand Slam to reverse the trend of the last two events, and to seal the 2021-22 year end title, her 13th.
  • 6/1/22: Herrera posts on social media herself in a walking boot: turns out she had a grade 2 ankle strain a couple weeks back but still traveled to Kansas City to compete in the Super Max. She forfeited out of singles early, but still managed to win the Doubles draw with Erika Manilla serving as a roving player. Herrera misses an opportunity to move up in the rankings ahead of the beginning of next season, but is still well positioned to challenge Longoria at the top in 2022-23.
  • 6/10/22: Sunshine Arterburn makes history, becoming the first known transgender woman to compete on the LPRT. Arterburn previously competed as Michael Arterburn on the IRT as recently as Sept 2019, then began the transition process. She lost in the first round in both the pro and Open draws in Kansas City, both times ostensibly withdrawing with an injury.
  • 6/11/22: Maria Jose Vargas plays the final event of the season 4.5 months pregnant. She takes an uncharacteristic loss early in the singles, but the bigger news will be her likely missing a good chunk of the 2022-23 season due to her expecting her 3rd child in the fall. This will have significant ramifications to the top of the tour, opening up some pathways for the current #3 ranked player.
  • 6/11/22: Thanks to some major upsets at the SuperMax, three American women advance to the quarter finals for the first time since 2016.
  • 6/12/22: Longoria wins the Kansas City Super Max 14,10 over Mejia, a rematch of last year’s final/upset win for Montse. It was a close match, with Mejia looking comfortable against the GOAT, but Paola ground out a win. This closes the book on the 2021-22 season.

LPRT 2021-22 Season ending Standings and Season Wrap-up Part 3: Select players ranked 21 and higher

Meneses finished just outside the top 20; how will she fare next season? Photo Severna park 2021 via Ken Fife

We recapped the top 10 LPRT finishers first, then the players ranked 11th-20th, now here’s some commentary on the players who finished 21st or higher. This will be a selection of the players; I’m not going to write up every player from 21-60+. We’ll focus on the notables, regular tour players, and the like.

  • #21: Michaela Meneses the 18U reigning world junior champ from Bolivia, came in ranked #21 after showing some impressive results early in the season. She had wins over Lotts, MRR, and Enriquez. But then she collapsed at season’s end, losing multiple matches by donut scores (or close to it). Apparently she’s going through some swing mechanical changes, and should recover for the beginning of the next pro season and in time for her to defend her 18U title. She’s got promise, can hang with seasoned players, and looks like a future top10 Bolivian star like Barrios and Centellas before her.
    Projected Rank next season: 15-16 range.
  • #23 Jenny Daza only played 3 events, but upset C.Munoz and got a walkover against Parrilla to get to the Vero Beach quarters. A couple of years ago she beat Vargas at the US Open. She can get solid wins … but lives 4,000 miles away and cannot travel to every stop. So, she’ll remain a player to watch out for when she plays.
    Projected Rank next season: mid 20s.

24 Veronica Sotomayor recently relocated to the US, living in Vero Beach, and made it to three events. She’s a former top 10 ranked player who just turned 30 and who trains every day with one of the best players who ever lived in husband @Sudsy Monchik , and can still play. She’s a threat whenever she plays, but cannot commit to playing full time. She’ll remain the wildcard “player nobody wants to have feed into them” in draws she enters, and she’ll hope to pick off wins here and there.

Projected Rank next season: low-to-mid 20s unless she decides to commit to the tour full time, then we’re talking top 10.

  • #27 @Annie Roberts is in college now, matriculated from juniors, and keeps running into Laime in pro draws (her last three round of 32 matches were all against the Colombian). She continues to show power improvements, and she’s eventually going to play someone besides Brenda to get a shot at a round of 16 matchup against a top 8 seed. Her college commitments will keep her from touring full time presumably, meaning her rank will remain in the 20s.
    Projected Rank next season: mid 20s.
  • #27 Susy Acosta played the tour about half-time, which is what she’s basically done since turning 40, but continues to compete. This was her 24th season with pro results and her lefty-ness will continue to get her partners in the doubles side for some time to come.
    Projected Rank next season: upper 20s.
  • #29 Naomi Ros is one to keep an eye on; she’s the reigning US 16U junior national champ, meaning she’s still got two years of junior racquetball remaining, but is already making half the LPRT events now that she’s relocated from Mexico to south Texas. She’s still looking for a signature pro win, but has hung with veterans and it’s just a matter of time before she starts getting wins.
    Projected rank next season: low to mid 20s.

36 @Daniela Rico is another 18u junior who can put some good results on the board; she only played a couple of LPRT events this year (going one-and done in Vero Beach and Boston) but made the semis of 18U world juniors and put a loss on a very under-rated Lucia Gonzalez at Mexican Nationals earlier this year. Another in a long line of Mexican junior women to watch going forward.

Projected rank: still mid 30s.

37 Ireland’s @Aisling Hickey made some noise in a couple of events she entered and has relocated to California, which could open up a pathway for her to play more events. We’ll see; we didn’t see her in any of the spring events, so perhaps moving to the US wasn’t the springboard for her to play m ore LPRT events.

Projected rank next season: low-to-mid 30s.

43 @martina Katz made her pro debut at the season’s final event; she’s an Argentine 18U champ who could start to feature for the Argentinian national team soon.

Projected rank next season: 30s-40s.

Phew, that’s it for recapping the season! One more post after this to point out some milestones I tracked on the “tour history page” as a look back at the season that was.

LPRT 2021-22 Season ending Standings and Season Wrap-up Part 2: the 11-20 ranked players

We recapped the top 10 LPRT finishers first in a post from last Friday. Now here’s some commentary on the players who finished 11-20.

11 @Carla Munoz finished 11th on season, pipped for the top 10 by just 30 points (by way of comparison; LPRT players get 25 points for making the round of 16 in a regular tier 1 event. Munoz had some unlucky early round matchups (a round of 32 meeting with Scott at the US Open and a tough loss in the 32s to Jenny Daza in Vero Beach), but also had some really solid wins on the season (defeats of Salas, Centellas, Vargas, and Manilla). She’s definitely poised to rocket into the top 10 if she can replace a US Open round of 32 loss with a better finish later this year.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #9/#10; i think she can gain a little ground on the players just ahead of her.

12: Kelani Lawrence comes in 12th, her career best. She’s incrementally improved her pro ranking each season she’s played the tour full time, moving from 22nd, to 15th, to 12th. She missed out on #11 by just 5 ranking points; just one more result puts her in the top 10. Lawrence made her first pro semi this season and had marquee wins over Mendez and Vargas.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #9/#10: I can see her competing with Munoz for that last top 10 spot.

13: Brenda Laime Jalil came in 13th, right in line where she’s been ranked for the past few seasons. She made 4 quarters and missed 2 events; those two events cost her a top 10 spot this season. What’s interesting about Laime this season is her results: she had a number of big wins: Mejia, Herrera, and Parrilla. She definitely has the capability of moving into the top 10.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: Just outside top 10; perhaps increasing a couple of slots until she shows she can play 100% of events.

14: Samantha Salas Solis saw her ranking slip to the lowest point of her career in an non-injury season. She missed a few events but had a massive showing in Kansas City, making her sole semi of the season and topping both Mendez and Gaby. So the talent is still there; she just needs to focus it at the right times to get back to her lofty ranking of yesteryear.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #10-#11: Her rank now has her running into top 4 players in the 16s, and that’s gonna make it tough for her to get back into the top 10.

15: Valeria Centellas has definitely taken a tumble from her top 10 ranking two seasons ago; she just cannot repeat her international success on the tour. Her best win on tour this year was over Rhonda … but Rhonda also beat her twice at the same tournament junctures (round of 16).

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #14-15: around the same as this year, unless she can make some major changes to her game.

16: @Hollie Scott improves her year end ranking for the 5th successive season and really her first playing the tour full time. She had some solid wins and didn’t take any “bad” losses, so I can see her moving up.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: Just outside the top 10, in the 10-12 range.

17: @MarMaria Renee Rodriguez finished in basically the same spot she has finished the last three years running. She’s consistently getting to the round of 16, but no further (which is in line with finishing 17th on tour). She needs some marquee wins over top10 players to get much further up the rankings.

Predicted Rank next season: same range, #16-#17.

18: @Sheryl Lotts’ season is a lot like MRRs: her results split between round of 16 and round of 32 losses. Perhaps her best win of the season was a h2h meeting with MRR in the most recent event (in the 16/17 round of 32 match), which inevitably led to a round of 16 loss to top-seeded Longoria. Lotts has been in this range for a bit now, and it is hard to get out of without a shock upset win.

Predicted Rank next season: #16-#17 range along with MRR.

19: @Nancy Enriquez has been seeing her ranking fall year after year for 5 years now. She seems to be stepping back a bit from touring, missing 3 events this season, which has contributed to her ranking fall. When she has played, she’s taking early round losses (3 round of 32 upsets). It looks like she may continue to step back.

Predicted Rank next season: Mid 20s.

20: Cristina Amaya Cris Amaya ‘s ranking has fallen to a career low 20th, thanks in part to her missing three events on the season. When she has played though, she has made the 16s (4 of her 6 tournaments saw her advance to the 16s), and she’s not terribly removed from a time when she was making the quarters on a regular basis. She needs to get healthy and commit to the tour full time to turn things around.

Predicted Rank next season: #13-15 range if she plays full time.

In part 3 we’ll cover the rest of the tour, those of note who finished ranked in the 20s or further down.

LPRT 2021-22 Season ending Standings and Season Wrap-up Part 1: the top 10

Longoria wraps up her 13th pro title. Photo via US Open 2019, Kevin Savory


The Kansas City SuperMax last week also marked the official end of the 2021-22 season. After a covid-ravaged season, the LPRT ended up this season with 9 events, including three majors.


The final season rankings have been updated to the website: see https://www.lprtour.com/lprt-singles-rankings for the year end standings.
We have captured the standings and uploaded them to the proracquetballstats.com website, where they will now be picked up in all year end rankings queries as appropriate. For example, click here http://rb.gy/x0t9jz for the year end singles standings in the database, and click here http://rb.gy/ysxyi8 to see how they flow into the Season Summary report.

Here’s some commentary on the LPRT finishers. We’ll break this post into four posts; in this post we’ll talk about the top 10, then talk about 11-20, then the rest, then list notable news items that happened this season to finish it off.

  1. Paola Longoria : finishes #1 for the 13th time (see here for a list of all LPRT year end title winners: https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_year_end… . She now has nearly double the next closest player, that being Michelle Gould with 7 year end titles.
    Longoria won 6 of the 8 events she entered, but showed a chink in the armor with two successive tourney final losses to #2 Herrera. She ends the season with a 600 point lead at the top; by way of comparison she ended last season leading the tour by nearly 1,000 ranking points.
    Still, her dominance this season should not be overlooked; finishing a season 31-2 is no mean feat. We have a tendency to focus on the losses for our two GOATS of the sport, not the wins. She’s still the #1 until someone takes it from her.
    Predicted Rank next season: #1 again.

2 Alexandra Herrera ; she finishes #2 for the second year in a row, but this #2 finish seems meaningful. For me, she has clearly taken over the title of “Best player not named Paola,” a title owned by Vargas for the past couple of years, and then Salas for a few years prior to that. Herrera found a way to beat Paola, and will be thinking she can continue the trend.

The beginning of next season should be rather interesting, as Herrera has a good chance of really narrowing that points gap and putting Longoria’s reign at #1 in jeopardy.
Predicted Rank next season’s end: #2 again.

3 Maria Jose Vargas finishes #3, having made three finals and three semis, but took some earlier-than-expected losses this season. She is also 4 months pregnant, which puts her childbirth right in the middle of the fall section of the LPRT schedule, meaning she’s likely to miss significant time next season. She missed an entire season earlier in her career after having one child and she missed half a season in 2017-18 around the birth of her second kid. So we’ll see how much she can factor in next year. Suffice it to say, there likely will be a new #3 next year.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: outside the top 20

4 Natalia Mendez improved to a year end ranking of #4, her career best, by playing consistently and generally playing up to her seeds. She made three semis, three quarters, and had three first round upset losses on the year. She’s a good ways behind Vargas for #3, and the players who finished 4-5-6 are relatively tightly packed and could see some shuffling into next season.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #5 or #6: i think she gets bumped down.

5 Gaby Martinez managed to finish ranked 5th on tour (and missed out on 4th by less than 30 points) this season despite missing 4 of the 9 events played, quite a feat. She did this by becoming the 31st player ever to win a LPRT tier 1 event back in August in Denver, when she took the World Singles & Doubles title as the #10 seed. This powered her to a huge jump in ranking (she finished last season ranked #11).

It wasn’t too long ago (March 2019) that Gaby announced she was “retiring.” Since then, she’s managed to play more than half the pro events. If she played 100%, one has to wonder if she’s be pushing Herrera for #2.
Predicted Rank next season’s end: #4/#5 if she plays enough events.

6 @Erika Manilla is the clear Player of the Year on tour. After playing just 9 pro events in her career, she played all 9 this season and vaulted herself from a ranking in the upper 30s to the #6 spot on tour. She had wins this year over Gaby, Mejia, Barrios, and Parrilla, and earned her first US National singles title. Quite the season. She’s within striking distance of #3 on tour (as are several players in this range), so the fall of 2022 could be super interesting.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #3. I think Manilla will continue to rise up and take Vargas’ place at #3.

7 Angelica Barrios finishes the season ranked 7th, a one-spot improvement from last year. She made 3 semis and was upset in the 16s three times (by Manilla, Gaby, and Rhonda), so kind of an up and down pro season. Of course, Barrios’ major accomplishment this year was taking the PARC title on home soil, beating four top players in a row (Lawrence, Herrera, Gaby, and Vargas) to do so.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #5 or #6; incremental update, but not enough to press the top 4.

8 Jessica Parrilla may have dropped back a spot from last season’s finish, but she accomplished something this season that she hadn’t since Jan 2018: she advanced to a Pro semi final. Since badly injuring her knee in June of 2018, Leoni has endeavored to get back to her rankings peak (she finished 2017-18 at #3 on tour), and this was a big first step. She needs to get out of the 8-9 spot though, which plays into #1 every quarter, in order to have a chance to really move up.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #7 /#8: i think she’s right in the same range again next season.

9 @Rhonda Rajsich finishes #9 on the year, missing out on #8 by a scant 5.5 points, and finishes in the LPRT top 10 for an amazing 22nd consecutive season. She made four quarters out of nine events and got some really solid wins along the way. Additionally, Rhonda had solid results at both international events this year, and qualified for the US Team for the 20th time.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: just outside top 10: I think father time is catching up.

10: Montse Mejía finishes 10th despite going into the season’s final event as the #6 seed and reaching the final. Three missed tournaments and a couple of shaky early round losses conspired against Montse this season, and even a grand slam final couldn’t make up the difference. Mejia is one of the more talented players on tour, with a classical style and athleticism to beat any player she faces, and the new season setups better for her to make an impact.

Predicted Rank next season’s end: #4, assuming she continues to miss events and not play full time.

Players 7-10 were very tightly bunched; Less than 30 points separated them at season’s end. To put that in context, players get 25 ranking points for making just the round of 16 in a normal tour stop. So, suffice it to say, the 7-10th players will quickly switch places next season as play picks back up.

Check back in for Part 2, where we cover the players who finished 11-20.