Mexican Nationals Recap

Beltran wins the Men’s doubles title in Mexico; is it his last? Photo US Open 2019 via Photographer Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Men’s Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa/Alvaro Beltran
  • Women’s Doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas
  • Mixed Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya/Samantha Salas

    Very successful weekends for Longoria, De La rosa, and Salas, each of whom come home with two titles. Montoya wins Mixed and makes the final of Singles, double qualifying for the team.

    Here’s some quick “Category” reports showing all Mexican National finals in the database:
  • Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/13D7D4
  • Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/D13492
  • Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/7F4C52
  • Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/7B5D25
  • Mixed Doubles: http://rball.pro/7E4470 (this is a brand new query!)

    These winners shall represent Mexico starting with international events AFTER next month’s PARC: the winners of last June’s Mexican Nationals are the representatives for Mexico in Bolivia (as we learned with the little kerfuffle a couple of weeks ago when the FMR attempted to reneg on the original plan to send the 3rd/4th place finishers from June 2021 as the PARC doubles team as opposed to the two-time defending IRF champion team of Montoya/Mar).

    Reminder: rally scoring here, so the scoring format is games to 15, win by one, and if it gets to a fifth game it goes to 11, win by 2.

    R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38926

Lets review the notable matches from the Event.
Men’s Open Singles

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/C33ED1

In the 32s and 16s:

  • The only round of 32 between notable/known IRT touring pros was a win for #7 Sebastian Fernandez over #26 Erick Cuevas 11,14,8
    We saw just a couple of upsets in the 16s:
  • #21 @Rodolfo Esparza got his second upset in a row, taking out #7 Emir Martinez 13,9,9 to move into the quarters. Great tourney for Esparza, who is in his mid 20s and has never appeared in an IRT event.
  • Wily Veteran #20 Polo Gutierrez , who missed a chunk of time with an elbow injury, is clearly back playing in his home town and cruised by #4 Erick Trujillo in three close games 13,10,12. The draw opens up for Polo to make a deep run, and he poses a danger to all he plays. He was a 2014 Mexican open finalist and has made the weekend in many pro events in his career.
  • No other upsets really: your quarters are seeds 1,8,21,20 from the top and chalk 3,6,7,2 from the bottom half.

In the Quarters

  • #1 @Rodrigo Montoya won over #8 @AAlejandro Cardon … but he had to work for it. After going 2 games up, Cardona took the next to for a 5th game breaker. In the breaker, Rodrigo caught fire and rolled to an 11-4 win.
  • #20 Polo took out #21 Esparza in three quick games to move into the semis as expected.
  • #6 @Daniel De La Rosa took out #3 @Javier Mar in three solid games 13,10,6. DLR is just a step ahead in quality than Mar right now and it showed on the court. This was a rematch of the Beach Bash final just one day ago, but the result was the same.
  • – In the match of the tournament so far, #2 @Andree Parrilla took down #7 @Sebastian Fernandez in a battle of two of Mexico’s up and coming pros … and it went the distance. Final score: 14,11,(9),(14),9. Can’t get much closer than that.

In the Semis

  • #1 Montoya overpowered the veteran #20 Polo 5,7,13 to move into the final.
  • #6 DLR ground out a win over his IRT rival #2 Parrilla in four close games to return to the final for the first time in two years.
  • In the Finals, we had a rematch of the 2018 final, won by Montoya. The final was even better than the semi, with DLR rushing out to a 2-game lead and Montoya coming storming back to force the 5th game tiebreaker. After jumping out to a small lead, DLR ran off a slew of points to make a comeback nearly impossible and took the breaker 11-7. This is DLR’s 3rd Mexican National title since 2014.

Women’s Singles recap


Match Report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/AA60BE


The Women’s draw went completely chalk to the quarters, but that included for me a big upset win for #5 @DaniDaniela Rico over an under-seeded and under-rated #12 @Lucia Gonzalez in the 16s. Rico, who is the reigning Mexican 18U junior champ and still has a year of junior eligibility, got a career win over Lucia 12-10 in the fifth.
In the quarters…

  • #1 Longoria dominated #8 @JJessica Parrill , winning 9,5,3 in a match where Leoni got increasingly frustrated as the day went on.
  • #4 @Nancy Enriquez took out the upset minded Rico in four very close games 14,(13),13,14. Can’t get much closer than that in rally scoring.
  • #6 @Alexandra Herrera went the distance against her doubles partner #3 @Montse Mejia before advancing. A tough draw for both players but the champion of the last two LPRT events moves on.
  • #2 @Samantha Salas dominated against her long-time Mexican RivalSusy Acosta , winning 1,6,9.
    In the semis:
  • Longoria cruised into another final, topping Enriquez 2,7,7 in dominant fashion.
  • Herrera held serve against her veteran Mexican rival Salas, winning in four close games.

  • In the final, we get a rematch of the last two LPRT finals (both won by Herrera). Longoria makes her 9th straight final (and probably many more since our database of Mexican results only goes back to 2014) while we get a first time finalist in Herrera. The top to LPRT pros split the first two games 14 and (13), but then Longoria found a new gear and cruised to win the next two games comfortably 15-8, 15-8 to take the title.

Men’s Doubles
PRS report: http://rball.pro/B9F23A
The top 4 seeds held to the semis without any really notable matches in the early stages. Lets pick up the action from there.
In the semis: both top seeds advanced to the finals in hard fought four game matches. #1 Montoya/Mar topped #4 Parrilla/Fernandez from the top side, while the veterans #2 DLR/Beltran held off the youngsters #3 Trujillo/Hernandez in the bottom side.

In the final, we get a frequent matchup; this is a rematch of the 2021, 2020, and 2018 National final, and a frequent match seen on the IRT pro tour. However, unlike for the last few matchups in Mexican Nationals, the veterans topped the newcomers, with DLR/Beltran winning the final in 3 straight games to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018 and vanquishing the current reigning World Champions.


Women’s Doubles
PRS report: http://rball.pro/FFC344
As with the men, the top 4 seeds held to the semis without any really notable matches in the early stages. Lets pick up the action from there.
From the top, #1 Longoria/Salas were not troubled in their semi against #4 Aguilar/Lucia Gonzalez, winning in three games in dominant fashion. The bottom semi was closer, but #2 Herrera/Mejia held off the Parrilla/Ximena Gonzalez pairing in four.
In the final … a frequent rematch. This was the 2019 and 2020 Mexican Nationals final. These are also inarguably the top two teams on the LPRT right now and a frequently seen final (mostly won by the Longoria/Salas pairing save for a famous 2019 Open win by the younger pair).

The four top LPRT pros played a very spirited, passionate match. The 15-time champions took the first two games, but their younger rivals stormed back to take games 3 and 4. In the breaker, a number of arguable calls led to a back and forth affair, but a pair of long rallies wen the way of Longoria & Salas and they eked out the win 11-7 in the fifth.


Mixed Doubles
PRS report: http://rball.pro/6C0361
Mexican Nationals was the first major Mixed tournament to be competed, and it was a fun one.
The Semis were chalk with the top 4 seeds advancing, but the early rounds were not without some interesting matches.
From the top side, #5 @Alvaro Beltran and @Montse Mejia topped the veteran team of #12 @Polo Gutierrez andSusy Acosta in the 16s but fell to the Parrilla brother/sister combo in the quarters.
On the bottom side, the third seeded pairing of the two current pro #1s @DaniDaniel de la Rosa and @Paola Longoria played a dominant match to take out the dangerous looking team of Cardona/Lucia in the quarters 4,6,9.
In the semis…

  • #1 Montoya/Salas dropped the first game against the Parrillas, but held on for the win.
  • #3 DLR/Longoria split the first two with the Fernandez/Herrera team before turning on the pressure and taking the next two games to move into the final.
  • In the final…Both Longoria and De la Rosa were competing in their third final in a row … and frankly ran out of gas. After winning the first game, Montoya/Salas won the next three games to give them the inaugural Mixed title for their country. They prevent both #1 players from a historic treble on the weekend.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from the Rkt and @Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol

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…/

Its the 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball Championships! Live from Bolivia, this is the annual international competition that will run over the next two weekends!

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Campeonato Nacional Selectivo Mexico 2022 Preview Part 2: Doubles

Fernandez and his mixed partner Herrera are a favorite this weekend at Mexican Nationals. Photo unk


Part 1 (published yesterday) previewed the Mexican National singles draws.
Part 2 today covers the three doubles draws: Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed.

r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38926

Men’s Doubles
13 Teams are here, highlighted by the top two seeded teams of #1 @Javier Mar and @Rodrigo Montoya and #2 @Daniel de la Rosa & @Alvaro Beltran. These two teams have met on plenty of occasions as of late:

  • the 2021 Mexican Nationals final (Mar/Montoya win)
  • 2021 US Open Semis (DLR/Beltran win)
  • 2021 Shamrock Shootout Semis (DLR/Beltran win)
  • 2020 Shamrock final (DLR/Beltran win)
  • 2020 Mexican Nationals final (Mar/Montoya win)
  • 2020 Lewis Drug Final (DLR/Beltran win).

    So, the two wins for the Mar/Montoya team were … in the Mexican Nationals finals, which then opened a pathway for them to represent their country at the last few international events, where they have had great success. They’re the current reigning 2019 Pan Am Games champs and the 2021 World Champs.

    So, can anyone stop either team on the way to another finals rematch?
    The only other team I’d be fearful of here is the #4 seeded team of @Sebastian Fernandez and Andres Parrilla ; they’ll give Montoya/Mar a run for the money in the semis. DLR and Beltran should cruise to the final.
  • My prediction? Another Montoya/Mar defeat of DLR/Beltran. I think Alvaro is dinged up right now, not getting any younger, and as a team they’ve gotten upset early in the last few events they’ve entered.

Women’s Doubles Preview:
Nine teams here, highlighted (like the Men’s draw) by two powerhouse teams at #1 and #2 seeds. #1 @Paola Longoria and @Samantha Salas Solis continue their partnership, which now includes 36 pro titles together, somewhere in the range of 15 Mexican national titles, and 19 International titles together. Amazing. But the #2 team of @Montse Mejia and @Alexandra Herrera is coming up fast on the veteran team’s heels. They’ve beaten Longoria/Salas in a couple of significant pro events recently ( the 2019 US Open being most memorable) and have several pro titles together. But they’ve yet to take a National doubles title.

Is this the weekend?

Like on the men’s side, it is difficult to see anyone standing in the way of a 1-2 final. In that final, I’m going to predict a changing of the guard with the Mejia/Herrera team topping Longoria and Salas to take their first national title together.


Mixed Doubles preview.
Today marks a new day for Pro Racquetball Stats: the beginning of what seems like it will be a sustained movement of regular mixed doubles competition at both the National and International level. For the nearly 20 years I’ve run this site, we’ve never had anything other than a couple of one-off Mixed pro events when the two tours just happened to be in the same spot (World Doubles in Denver, the Syosset Open, Arizona Pro-am to name a few over the past few years). But now we have Mixed to add to both the Amateur and International database and report code.
Lets preview the first National mixed doubles draw.
There are 15 Mixed Doubles teams competing here; lets go through with some predictions.
Matches to watch for in the 16s (which happened yesterday so this is old news)

  • #5 Beltran/Mejia were done no favors having to play #12 Polo/Acosta. A lefty righty pair will present some interesting choices for Beltran and Mejia. Polo is always hard to beat. In the end though, Beltran/Mejia advanced rather easily 10,4,9
    QF matches to look for
  • The 4/5 of Beltran/Mejia versus the Parrilla/Parrilla brother/sister combo could be great. Andree is a great doubles player and will push this matchup. I think there’s an interesting balance of talent here; Parrilla is a better player than Beltran right now, while Mejia is a better than Jessica. But, the key for me is the fact that Beltran plays almost entirely on the right hand side when he plays doubles with DLR in mens; here he’ll have to play the left hand side, where I think Parrilla has the advantage. I see the Bro/Sis pairing advancing.
  • I like the 3/6 matchup between DLR/Longoria and Cardona/Lucia. It might be odd to think that a pairing of the two currently ranked #1 pro players in the world is seeded third (hey, Mexican national seeding), but chemistry is important in doubles pairings, especially in mixed. Cardona will bang it out on the right side with DLR, while Longoria could overwhelm Lucia on the left.
    Projected Semis:
  • #1 Montoya/Salas, who won the 2021 World Doubles mixed pro title with relative ease, are set to face the Parrillas.
  • #2 Fernandez/Herrera, who made the 2021 World doubles final (perhaps this is the tourney they used to seed this draw) are set to face the #1/#1 team of DLR/Longoria. What makes this matchup interesting is the lefty/righty pairing. Herrera will be on the left, meaning DLR will be serving to her. DLR is not hitting photons at 160mph … but he does hit with pace and can place his “walking drive serve” with an accuracy and depth that Herrera is not used to seeing. On the flip side, Patata can blast serves at Paola’s forehand, but probably will choose to either hit wallpapers or hard Zs. Either way, for whatever reason Longoria has not fared well in past Mixed pro matches and I think they’ll lose again here to setup 1v2.

In the final, I like a rematch of the Denver World doubles final from 2021, where Montoya/Salas crushed Fernandez/Herrera 12,6. I think we’ll see a closer match but a similar result. #1 seeds to win.

Streaming has started: follow RKT on Facebook to get live notifications. The tournament runs through Sunday early afternoon. Juarez is Mountain time, so 2 hours later than EST for your planning purposes.

Campeonato Nacional Selectivo Mexico 2022 Preview Part 1: Singles

Montoya the #1 seed in both Singles and doubles this weekend. Photo Gearbox promotional


Welcome to one of my favorite tournaments to cover every year; its the 2022 Mexican Nationals Selection event. This year features both Singles and Doubles in one event and will feature the best of all the top Mexican players and pros. A new fun feature this year is the inclusion of Mixed Open Doubles, thanks to the IRF adding Mixed as a competitive event, so we’ll preview that event and the interesting pairings we will see.


I’ll preview Singles today and Doubles tomorrow.


You’ll see rally scoring this weekend, since IRF has adopted it and thus confederations will play it going forward so as to prepare t heir athletes.

This tournament started on Wednesday morning thanks to the huge draws, so we’re a bit behind on this preview (some of the first round of Men’s has already been played), but here goes.

r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38926


Men’s Singles
There’s some notable absences at this event. Current IRT #7 Eduardo Portillo is missing despite playing last weekend at the Beach Bash. Also missing was the other semi finalist from 2021 in @Elias Nieto. Curious why they’re not here, though word has it that a bit of a kerfuffle about the PARC Mexican doubles team was resolved by Mar/Montoya backing out and giving their spots to Lalo/Nieto (as was apparently promised to them last Summer, when the FMR said the 2022 PARC team would be comprised of the singles semi finalists, not the Doubles winners from the Worlds selection event later in the fall).
Also not here are top Mexicans such as Eduardo Garay (perhaps still not converted back to Mexico from Colombia), Javier Estrada , Alan Natera , @GeraGerardo Franco (who may be retired at this point), @Jaime Martel , @Ernesto Ochoa, Jordy Alonso (who’s had some recent success on tour), Rodrigo Rodriguez, or frequent competitor @Christian Longoria . So, as deep as this draw is it could have been better. Also not playing singles but here playing doubles is @Alvaro Beltran, prioritizing his health and skipping the demanding singles draw to focus on doubles.


But, there’s some notable players present who we don’t always get to see playing. Former WRT #1s @Alejandro Cardona and @Polo Gutierrez are entered in the draw (probably because they’re both residents of Juarez and its an easy commute). Both are top notch players and are dark horses as the #8 and #20 seeds respectively.


Also, a general word about the seeding. The seeds at this event always seem curious to me, depending on what seems to be a random calculation of past events and personal opinion. Daniel De la Rosa, for example, is the #1 player in the world and has been for some time, but is seeded 6th in the Singles draw (he missed the 2021 Nationals event and finished 3rd in the 2019 event, so i guess that adds up to the 6th seed). It makes for some curious early round matches sometimes that we’ll note as we go.

If you were asking me to seed this ignoring last year’s results (not that you were of course), i’d seed it: DLR, Parrilla, Montoya, Mar, Fernandez, Cardona, Trujillo, and Polo.
There’s 31 players in the singles draw, with the top seeds driven by last year’s finals. Here’s a preview of matches to look for.


In the 32s:

  • #5 @Emir Martinez faces #28 @Luis Renteria in what could be an interesting match. Renteria is one of the more decorated Mexican Juniors in history but is in his age 17 season.
  • #7 @Sebastian Fernandez takes on fellow IRT touring pro @ErErick Fernanado Cuevas in the round of 32, perhaps a round too early for such a meeting.
  • – Another decorated Mexican junior recently matriculated in Jose Ramos is entered as a #23 seed; he’ll take on #10 seed Angel Camacho in the opener.

Projecting the 16s, here’s some fun ones

  • #4 @EErick Trujillo , who has been making waves on tour, may face Polo at this stage. Polo has a unique game style that stymies veteran pros all the time; can the younger Trujillo make the adjustments? Upset watch here.
  • – #7 Patata versus the upset-minded junior #23 Ramos: Fernandez should advance but if Ramos gets by round one he’ll have some confidence.

Quarters: here’s where the rubber meets the road, with a set of projected quarter final players all with tour experience.

  • #1 @Rodrigo Montoya versus #8 Cardona: a good old fashioned WRT matchup between two hard hitters. Cardona leads career h2h 4-2, but they havn’t played in 5 years. Advantage Montoya to move on.
  • The winner of Trujillo/Polo has the advantage over #5 @Emir Martinez, who has zero IRT experience and is seeded 5th (ahead of DLR, lets we forget) on the back of his 2021 run to the quarters.
  • #6 @Daniel de la Rosa takes on #3 @Javier Mar in a match worthy of a final, but which happens in the quarters thanks to the ridiculous seeding. Mar has been on the singles sidelines for months as he recovered from a hernia, but competed well last weekend in Florida. DLR missed the Nationals last year for the first time in a decade, but has made the semis or better in the last 6 Mexican Nationals that he’s played. Mar won this title in 2017 and made the 2020 semis … so this will be a tightly fought match. Advantage DLR just based on world rankings.
  • #2 @Andree Parrilla projects to take on Patata in another fun match. They have not met since 2019, but Andree is 4-0 lifetime against Fernandez. This is a solid IRT round of 16 quality match and Parrilla should advance.
    My projected Semis:
  • #1 Montoya over #4 Trujillo; power will rise to the top here.
  • #6 DLR over #2 Parrilla; Though Andree beat him in their last meeting (Atlanta pro semis in January en route to his 11-10 win over Kane in the final) DLR is still 7-2 lifetime over his younger countryman. DLR in 5 games.
  • Projected Final: Montoya over DLR. This would be a rematch of the 2018 final, when DLR seemed to just kind of go through the motions and lost 3,12 to Montoya. See, once you have the final determined, both players are on “the team” and the winner is more about bragging rights and title collection than anything else. Will DLR push to win another actual title or is he just interested in ensuring his spot on the team for future IRF competitions?

Women’s Singles Review
No real notable missing names from the Singles draw for the Women: the top 7-8 women in my book are all here and will make for some great quarters onward. Second tier pros like @Ana Laura Flores, Erin (Rivera) Groves, and Montserrat Perez are not here, nor are some of the top up and coming Mexican junior girls, but the draw is solid.
Here’s a preview of what to look for.
In the 16s:

  • #12 @Lucia Gonzalez, who has had enough past success that players know not to call her a “dark horse” any longer, should advance past #5 @DanielDaniela Rica .
  • #3 @Montse Mejia faces a tough challenge from @Delia Aguilar to start
    In the quarters:
  • #1 @Paola Longoria , looking for what should be something like her 15th national singles title (our records are not complete), gets a tough quarterfinal opponent in #8 @Jessica Parrilla. Longoria moves on but not without getting pushed a bit.
  • #12 Gonzalez is my pick to upset #4 @Nancy Enriquez here. She’s done it before and should do it again.
  • The match of the round is #3 Mejia versus the criminally under-seeded #6 @Alexandra Herrera, winner of the last two LPRT stops. These two doubles partners are good friends of course, and know each other’s game all too well, but Herrera’s form is spot on right now. Six month’s ago i’d have favored Mejia here, but now its Herrera’s match to lose.
  • #2 @Samantha Salas should breeze into the semis with a win over veteran @Susy Acosta.
    In the semis:
  • Longoria should dominate against Lucia.
  • Herrera should top Salas.

Final: for the third major tournament in a row its Longoria versus Herrera in the final. Will the tournament category matter here? Longoria needs to find a winning strategy and fast, because Alexandra has proven for two events in a row she can make drive serves, play clean, error-free racquetball and get wins. My gut says Longoria wins this, just because the National titles are so important to her.


Streaming: it remains to be seen who will do the streaming down in Juarez. I’d follow FMR and RKT for now, to see if we can get some live streaming.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors @Favio Soto for putting this event on!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.
Associations
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@LPRT
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Rkt
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2021 Mexican National Doubles recap

Mar takes his 3rd straight national doubles title with Montoya. Photo via PK

The 2021 Campeonato Nactional Selectivo Dobles for Mexico was held this past weekend in racquetball hotbed San Luis Potosi, SL, Mexico. Here’s a recap
Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya/Javier Mar
  • Women’s Doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas

    This is the 3rd straight National doubles title for Montoya/Mar. This is the 7th National title for Longoria/Salas since 2014 (the extent of our current Mexican records), but likely represents something like their 12th or 13th title together once we get all records input.
    These teams qualify to represent Mexico at the next few international events, namely Worlds in Guatemala in December (if it happens), and then PARC next April in Bolivia.
    R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37831

    PRS Match Report links:
  • Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/4FDC8F
  • Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/8B09C7

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

Despite the tourney being held in racquetball hotbed San Luis Potosi, there was a distinct lack of depth in this draw, on both sides. The Men’s draw was missing top IRT pair Parrilla/Portillo, the regular competing team of Natera/Estrada was missing, the Longoria brothers were not present, nor was a slew of downballot Mexican players who usually compete.
Seeds held to the semis, though #2 Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran were pushed to a tiebreaker in the quarters by the relatively young team of Oscar Nieto and Elias Nieto Zedalav.
In the semis:

  • #1 seeds and defending champs Rodrigo Montoya Solis and Javier Mar were pushed to the bring by 18U players Erick Trujillo and Sebastian Hernandez, but scraped by with an 11-10 win.
  • #2 seeds DLR/Beltran cruised into the final with a 2- game win over IRT semi-regulars Jordy Alonso and Erick Cuevas.

    In the Finals, I would have thought it was advantage DLR/Beltran, who were just coming off a win in Vegas and who had the easier time of it in the semis. but it was the defending champs who were energized for the win and who ran away with the tie-breaker after splitting the first two games. Final score: 8,(9),4.

Lets Review the matches in the Women’s Doubles review

Also an odd draw; Herrera was missing her regular partner Montse Mejia, a slew of LPRT regular touring pros were not present, and the draw was small enough to go round robin. After the expected teams advanced to the knock out semis, here’s the recap:

  • #1 seeds Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas Solis cruised past 18U challenges Daniela Rico and Ximena Martinez.
  • #3 seeds Jessica Parrilla and Montserrat Pérez advanced past #2 seeds Alexandra Herrera and Diana Aguilar.

In the final, the lefty-righty pair of Parrilla/Perez cruised in game one, but the champions fought back to take a close game two and eventually the breaker. Longoria and Salas win the hotly contested match.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from players onsite and from FMR, the Federacion Mexicana de Raquetbol.
Thanks to the Tourney Director Favio Soto for putting this event on!

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

Next up? According to our master calendar
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Next up:

  • Florida Long Wall championships in Davie, FL
  • an IRT tier 4 Long Island Open in NY

The next big pro event is the dual IRT/LPRT Arizona Open two weekends from now in Tempe.

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@mexico racquetball

Mexican Junior Nationals recap

Erick Trujillo takes the 18U Mexican Junior National title. Photo US Open 2021 Kevin Savory


This past weekend featured both Mexico and Canada holding their Junior National tournaments. The results of these events determine the national team members that will represent their country at the upcoming World Juniors in Guatemala City the first weekend of December. We’ll recap the Mexican tourney today and the Canadian tournament tomorrow.


R2 site for Mexican Jr Nationals: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/viewResults.asp?TID=37940

Congrats to the following Boys singles finalists for team Mexico:
(click here: http://rball.pro/27C371 for a Matrix of all Mexican boy’s titlists loaded into the database currently, dating to 2012. We’ll work on the 2021 data entry later this week while on travel).

  • Boys 18U: Erick Trujillo , Sebastián Longoria
  • Boys 16U Jorge Gutierrez Ortiz and Cristhian Sánchez Raquetbol
  • Boys 14U: Eder Renteria and Sebastian Alejandro Ruelas
  • Boys 12U: Luis Carlos Ochoa and Diego Chavez
  • Boys 10U: Rene Palomino and Jhontan Garcia Banuelos
  • Boys 8U: Herman Gracia Castro and Max Soto

Trujillo is a name that’s been in “the news” lately for his excellent showings in recent IRT events. He’s come out of nowhere on the Mexican scene; this is his first junior national title. Longoria was the 16U champ in 2019. This is the first junior title for Ortiz. Renteria is a familiar name to junior racquetball; this is his 6th junior national title, and he’s got a chance to come close to David Ortega’s record of 11 career Mexican junior national titles. This is Ochoa’s 3rd junior title; he previously won an 8U and 10U title.


Congrats to the following Girls Singles finalists for team Mexico:
(click here: http://rball.pro/271CB4 or a Matrix of all Mexican girls’s titlists loaded into the database currently, dating to 2012)

  • Girls 18U; Daniela Rico and Ximena Martinez
  • Girls 16U: Angela Veronica Ortega and Cynthia Gutierrez
  • Girls 14U: Mariafernanda Trujillo and Yanna Salazar
  • Girls 12U: Lilia Farias and Natalia Guillen
  • Girls 10U: Michelle Gomez and Maria Melo
  • Girls 8U: Maria Jose Juardo and Eva Chavez Enriquez

A second junior national title for Rico, who has already played in 8 LPRT events, the first of which was in her age 13 season in 2017. Keep an eye on Rico; the list of recent Mexican junior 18U titlists reads like a list of players you’ll be seeing playing weekend matches on the LPRT: Ana Laura Flores, Montse Mejia, Erin Nocam Rivera, Montse Perez, Lucia Gonzalez, Alexandra Herrera and Diana Aguilar are the 18u winners from the last decade.

A third title for Ortega (she previously won in 2015 and 2017) and for Trujillo (she won previously in 2017 and 2019). All our other winners are new

fyi; the format for the Mexican draw was as follows (as far as I can tell): a single-elimination draw to determine the champion, then a loser’s bracket draw, the winner of whom was crowned the 2nd place finisher. This will present somewhat of a challenge for my database; its the first time that the “finalist” wasn’t necessarily the “2nd place finisher.” I’m not sure how i’m going to address this in the code.

Also, unlike in other jurisdictions Mexico does not hold a separate doubles competition, generally just naming the doubles team from the two singles reps.

Congrats to Favio Soto for another successful Mexican national tournament.
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
@federacion mexicana de raquetbol
International Racquetball Federation – IRF

3rd Annual Alex Landa Wrap-up

Landa’s annual namesake event featured some great play. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Hot on the heels of the big World Singles & Doubles event last weekend was a talent-laden tournament in Juarez hosted in honor of current IRT #2 Alex Landa. A solid set of the top Mexican players were joined by a big chunk of the Guatemalan national team, who stopped in Juarez on their way back from Denver, to have a nice tournament. Here’s a recap of some of the top events.

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Pro Exhibition: Rodrigo Montoya Solis
  • Men’s Open; Jaime Martel
  • Men’s Open Doubles: Landa/Montoya
  • Women’s Open: Cristina Amaya

R2 Sports App home page for event:https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=37803

Here’s a recap of the Men’s Pro exhibition:
22 players played the Pro “exhibition” event, headlined by the tournament’s namesake Landa as the #1 seed. Its great to see two guys in the draw in Polo Gutiérrez and Alex Cardona who don’t really tour anymore but who are forces on the court. Most of the top 10 players are regular IRT touring vets, and the rest of the draw is filled with Guatemalan nationals, Mexican rising juniors and top local players.
The 16s saw a couple of upsets and tough matches as a result:

  • Chihuahua’s Roldofo Esparza upset #5 seed Alan Natera Chavez in a tie-breaker.
  • #4 Polo was stretched to a breaker against Mexican 18U player Sebastián Longoria before advancing.
  • #3 Rodrigo Montoya Solis needed a breaker to get past Guatemalan Juan Salvatierra.
  • Guatemalan #1 Edwin Galicia took out #6 Javier Estrada 11-9 in a big upset.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 Alex Landa handled the talented but rarely seen Jaime Martell Racquetball 12,8. Hope to see Martell at the US Open.
  • #4 Polo Gutiérrez and #3 Montoya each cruised past upset-minded opponents Esparza and Galicia
  • #7 Lalo Portillo got a statement win, dominating the #2 Alex Cardona 9,4 to move on and setup a great semi.
    In the semis:
  • Landa needed a tiebreaker to get past his long-time Juarez-based playing partner and friend Gutierrez.
  • Montoya held off his young Mexican rival Lalo in two.

In the final, Landa and Montoya played a bit less intensive a match, ending up trading match point attempts at 10-10 before Montoya got the last rally.


The Men’s Open Draw was headlined by #1 Jaime Martell Neri, but also featured a couple of top LPRT women’s players in the draw competing against the men. This included Lucia Gonzalez and Ana Gabriela Martinez, fresh off her first ever professional win last weekend; she opted to just play the Men’s open here and not the women’s draws.

Both ladies in the draw won their openers to force matches against the #1 and #2 seeds (@sebastian longoria), but neither moved on from there. In the final, Martell took out Mexican junior Hernandez in a tie-breaker for the win.


The Men’s Open Doubles draw was stacked, with most of the top pros teamed up to provide some tantalizing later round matches. The Guatemalan pairing of Christian Wer and Edwin Galicia played great all weekend, taking out the #3 seeded teams of Javier Estrada/Alan Natera and then the #2 seeded team of Cardona/Polo to make the final.

However, the #1 team of top doubles players Landa/Montoya topped the Guatemalans for the title.


The Women’s Open featured 9 players, nearly all of which who have featured on the LPRT at some point. #1 seed Amaya Cris and #2 seed Lucia Gonzalez headlined the draw, but Gonzalez was upset in the semis by fellow up-and-coming player Delia. Aguilar. In the final, Amaya took a close 11-9 tie-breaker to win the title.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from various sources, including some players and some RKT. Make sure you follow the players and RKT on facebook and signup for live stream notifications to stay in the loop.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors RKT and Salvador Rentería for putting this event on!

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

Next up?

Breaking news; PARC 2021 in Bolivia has been cancelled due to covid-19 issues. The next major events on the schedule happen towards the end of September, when Canadian Nationals and the rescheduled Chicago IRT pro stop occur.

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Mexico Campeonato Nacional Wrap-up

Montoya returns to the top of Mexican Racquetball for the first time since 2018. Photo Gearbox promotional

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Rodrigo Montoya
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
    And, congrats to all the players who made the Mexican National team for 2021 (all semi finalists).

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=36616

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

Singles Match report in the PRS database: tbd (having tech issues this week)

In the 32s, a couple of upsets by seed or notable results:

  • #24 Elias Nieto took out #9 Daniel Diaz in two games 11,9. Nieto used his length to take control over Diaz and move on.
  • #25 Rodolfo Esparza took out #8 semi-regular IRT touring pro Erick Cuevas in a tie-breaker for the biggest upset of the round.

– #21 Carlos Esparza upset #12 Alex Bear 6,12 to setup a meeting with the reigning world champ Montoya.

In the 16s:

  • The first match of the 16s was also the biggest upset of the weekend: #1 seed and favorite to advance at least to the semis Sebastian Fernandez was upset in two games 13,10 by his junior cohort team member Emir Martinez. Fernandez and Martinez last met in a top-level tournament in the finals of Mexican 18U in 2019, an 1,3 dominant victory for Patata, but the tables were turned today. Fernandez played loose, left balls up and Martinez took advantage. Huge upset and the upper half is really opened up now for Montoya to return to the finals.
  • #2 Javier Mar avoided the same fate as #1 Patata, but had to really work to advance past #15 Jose Ramos. Ramos took game one 15-14, and the tiebreaker was 11-8.
  • #6 Erick Trujillo went the distance to down #11 Juan Loreto 11-9.
  • #20 Jordy Alonso continued his hot streak and took out #4 Christian Longoria in a tie breaker.

– the other top touring pros (#7 Andree Parrilla, #3 Lalo Portillo and #5 Rodrigo Montoya Solis all advanced in two dominant games.

In the Quarters:

  • #24 Nieto took out #16 Martinez to earn a shock semi-finals appearance.
  • #5 Montoya absolutely dominated #20 Alonso to move into the semis. Montoya donuted Jordy in the first, and was threatening to do so in the second before Alonso went on a run of points at the death to make it respectable.
  • #3 Portillo was not troubled by #6 Trujillo (who is also competing in the 18U here this weekend) and moved on with ease 5,6.

– The match of the night though, and the surprise of the night, was in the 2/7 game. #7 Parrilla absolutely dominated #2 Mar throughout the match, running up big leads in both games by playing smart, conservative racquetball, and blitzed into the semis with a 5,4 win. Parrilla looked crisp in his shots, putting balls away with ease and kept the pressure on Mar, who just couldn’t get anything going. Great win by Parrilla.

In the Semis

  • #5 Montoya ended Elias’ run, dominating his younger countryman 3,10 to move onto the final.
  • Another barn burner for Parrilla in the bottom semi, as he dug deep to take out #3 Portillo in a tie-breaker. This was a tough win, as Portillo has been improving steadily.
    In the Finals, Parrilla and Montoya face off for the next version of a very long-running series. The two players are just a few weeks apart in age and frequently met in the finals of junior nationals and junior worlds tournaments growing up. They traded titles for years, and then traded titles professionally. I don’t have them meeting in a top-level tourney since Mexican Nationals in 2018, but clearly Montoya has had the upper hand post-juniors. And the same happened in the 2021 final. Parrilla raced to a 15-4 first game win, but couldn’t close it out in game 2 and then Rodrigo dominated the tie-breaker to take his 2nd Mexican National title (he also won in 2018)

(Lalo took out Elias for 3rd)

Women’s Open review
Match report in the PRS database: tbd (having tech issues this week)
In the 16s:

  • no major upsets and mostly dominant 2-game wins for the top seeds.
  • #2 Jessica Parrilla was taken to a tiebreaker by 18U player Leonela Osorio, dropping the first game 15-14 before bearing down and cruising to a TB win.
  • #5 Susy Acosta was stretched by Delia Aguilar but advanced in two close games.
    In the Quarters, we got some heavyweight LPRT matchups and a couple of surprising results.
  • #1 Paola Longoria got her title defense started with a quick win over #9 and 18U competitor Daniela Rico 2,4.
  • #4 Montse Mejia served up a double donut against #5 veteran Acosta, winning 0,0.
  • #3 Samantha Salas Solis got a great win, topping #6 Alexandra Herrera in an 11-9 tiebreaker. Salas has seen her pro rankings slip lately, having been overtaken for the #2 spot on tour by Herrera, but she kept her career record perfect against Alexandra in top-level events, improving to 9-0.
  • #7 Nancy Enriquez gets a solid win over #2 Parrilla 10,9. An upset by seed, but in reality a really solid win for Enriquez, who has been playing on fire as of late.
    In the Semis:
  • #1 Longoria continued her dominance over her erstwhile younger rival Mejia, dominating the first then holding on for the win 4,11 to move to the final.
  • #3 Salas continued her great run this weekend, crushing her frequent LPRT rival Enriquez 7,4 to return to the Mexican Nationals final for the first time since 2018.

In the final, Longoria topped her frequent doubles partner Salas 11,3 to win her 7th title in the last 8 years.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from the players and from RKT.
Thanks to the Tourney Director Favio Soto for putting this event on!

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

Next up?

LPRT’s Team Root; Follow LPRT and tuen into their 6/15/21 bracket release show on facebook live!

tags
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
@Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
@Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

Mexico Campeonato Nacional Preview

Sebastian Fernandez is the #1 seed at Mexican Nationals 2021; can he capitalize? Photo unk

This week and coming weekend features the Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol (FMR)’s Campeonato Nacional (National Championships), being played in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

This tournament was one of the few to get in before Covid shut down the sport in 2020; it is normally competed in February, and is one of my favorite tournaments to cover, usually filled with amazing upsets and names not well known to the global rball fanbase making big runs (though, more and more these players are becoming household names).

This year will be a bit different for FMR Nationals: they have comparable draw sizes in both the Men’s and Women’s draws to last year, but the men’s draw in particular is missing a TON of big-time names this year. The two finalists from last year are not present ( Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa ). Also missing are top names like Alan Natera Chavez and @Gerardo Gerardo Franco Gonzalez and Alex Cardona. No @Eduardo Eduardo Garay Rodriguez, who is I hear is returning to the Mexican fold. No Javier Estrada to make a deep run. No Eduardo Ochoa or Jaime Martell Neri to get big time wins. Lastly, no Alejandro Landa, who is entered into USA’s nationals in a month’s time after leaving the Mexican federation over some rather short-sighted decisions related to the Pan Am Games roster selection.

So that’s too bad …. but it also illustrates just how deep the Mexican player pool is, because the top 8-10 players who are here are solid.

R2 Sports App link:https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=36616

Lets preview the Men’s Open draw first:

The 32s kick off the event on Tuesday; there shouldn’t be too many surprises in the 32s, and most of the top seeds are getting byes. However, some of the below predictions may already be obsolete if we see round of 32 upsets played before you read this…

Matches to look for in the round of 16:

  • I like 8/9s and I like Daniel Diaz to take out #8 Erick Cuevas in a slight upset. Diaz has been playing a ton of Texas tourneys and should have the chops to take out Cuevas.
  • #4 Christian Longoria may have his hands full with an under-seeded #20 Jordy Alonso, who I expect to advance here. Alonso beat Lalo Portillo in a local tournament in April, a pretty significant win, and i predict him to build on that victory here.

– #2 Javier Mar versus #15 Jose Ramos, recently graduated out of the juniors. Ramos made the semis of 2019 World Junior 18U, losing a heartbreaker 11-10 to close out his junior career; now he’s gotta compete with the pros.

Projected Qtrs: here’s where the rubber meets the road.

  • #1 Sebastian Fernandez, who gets the #1 seed by virtue of being the highest finisher actually present from the Feb 2020 event, projects to face #9 Diaz. Patata has stepped back from racquetball a bit, but still is a major player and should advance here.
  • #5 @Rodrigo Rodrigo Montoya Solis vs #20 Alonso: how is reigning World champ and reigning Pan Am games champ only seeded 5th? Well, he got beat early last year (by Portillo) and they re-seed every year based on last year’s finish. Agree or disagree, it always lends itself to some fun early matchups. Montoya moves on here.
  • #3 Lalo Portillo projecting against #6 Erick Trujillo; Portillo has been on a big-time roll lately, kickstarted at this event last year with his run to the semis. He moves on here.
  • #7 Andree Parrilla vs #2 Mar; two of the best seven or eight players in the world right now face off way too early in the quarters here. These two have generally split their matchups, but Mar took their most recent pro meeting at the 2020 Lewis Drug pro-am. I like Mar here.
    Semis:
  • I think #5 Montoya takes out Patata here; just too much firepower for Fernandez to handle.
  • #3 Portillo over #2 Mar: this is an upset by seeding, and an upset by my personal rankings, but Portillo is trending well right now. He just finished off an event where he topped multiple touring pros to win the IRT Tier 5 in Severna Park, and the last time these two played in a top-level event was in 2017. Lots has changed since. Lalo to move on.
    Finals;

– i’m going with Lalo over Montoya (just as he beat Rodrigo in last year’s Mexican Nationals) to climb to the top of Mexican racquetball. Mar beats Fernandez for 3rd.

Women’s Open preview:
15 women entered, headlined by the top 6-7 Mexican touring pros and then a slew of younger players. Most of the expected names are present, but we are missing a couple of names that usually shake the draw up ( Lucia Gonzalez in particular, but also Ana Laura Flores, Erin Nocamroves Rivera, etc.
Round of 16 matches to watch for: I see no jeopardy of any upsets in the opening round, with maybe the 8/9 being a toss-up.
Projected Quarters:

  • #1 Paola Longoria vs the winner of Rico/Ortega: should be quick work for the GOAT.
  • #4 Montse Mejia should make quick work of #5 Susy Acosta, who continues to compete at a high level after more than 20 years of playing professionally.
  • #6 Alexandra Herrera should start to get her Mexican rankings back in line with where her pro rankings are by taking out #3 Samantha Salas Solis
  • #2 Jessica Parrilla has a suddenly harder-than-it-looks match against #7 Nancy Enriquez. I think Enriquez looked awesome at the last LPRT tournament and is favored to beat Parrilla.
    Semis:
  • Longoria over Mejia: once again, seedings betray the two best players in Mexico and force them to play one or two rounds early. This should be the final, and was the final a couple years ago when Mejia stunned Longoria to take the 2019 Mexican title. But that’s the only time Montse has really threatened Paola, who should win and advance here.
  • Herrera over Enriquez: there’s a reason Alexandra has moved to #2 on tour, and its because she’s been getting wins in situations like this; tough wins against fellow top players over and again. She’s been consistently in the semis or finals on tour, and will be here as well.

Finals: Longoria over Herrera.

There’s only singles this weekend; Mexican doubles either doesn’t happen this year (with a FMR-named team) or is yet to be announced. The Juniors are playing … but as far as I know this is NOT junior nationals for Mexico 2021.

Streaming: i’m sure we’ll have personal streaming; follow FMR, RKT and the players all week and weekend.
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
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@Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
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Copa Mexicano 2020 Wrap-up

Longoria the double winner on the weekend. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
– Mens Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
– Men’s Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya/Javier Mar
– Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
– Women’s doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas

The two singles finalists on the Men and Women’s side qualify to represent Mexico at upcoming IRF events. The Doubles winners also qualifies to represent the country at upcoming IRF events. I’m assuming this is for the 2020 PARC games to be held in April in Bolivia and for the 2020 World Championships, but as with prior years there may be additional qualification parameters for the 2020 World Championships team that come to light later on.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=31821

——————

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

Men’s Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/279793

—————-
In the 32s: no upsets to this observer; all 10 round of 32 matches were two-game victories for the expected winner. The three closest games all involved the three highest ranked players playing in the play-in round, who were likely playing themselves into shape for the next round.

—————-
In the 16s, some notable results/upsets:
– #8 Christian Longoria topped #9 Andree Parrilla in a tie-breaker. This is a pretty significant upset, as Parrilla currently sits #5 in the world while Longoria (albeit in limited pro appearances) has yet to even qualify for a main draw. Parrilla continues his miserable tourney streak; he lost in the 16s of the last three pro events as well.
– #5 Gerardo Franco Gonzalez @got an excellent win over #12 Javier Estrada 6,(13),7 to move on. Franco continues to show he’s a tough out, and takes out the enigmatic Estrada.
– #11 Sebastian ‘Patata’ Fernandez dominated Alex Cardona 8,8 to move on. Solid win from Patata, who I thought had a chance to beat Cardona but certainly not in two dominant games.
– #10 Lalo Portillo took out reigning World and Pan Am games singles champ Rodrigo Montoya Solís with relative ease 9,11. Portillo frustrated Montoya with off-speed Z-serves that were quite effective, then matched Montoya’s athleticism to keep balls in play with diving gets and great retrievals.

By seeds, mostly chalk through the 16s with the seeds 1,8,5,4,3,11,10,2 advancing, but for me four of the eight matches were upsets or surprising results.

—————-
In the Quarters
– #8 Longoria gave #1 Alvaro Beltran a scare, taking the first game and giving Alvaro a run in the second before fading in the breaker. Final score (12),12,3.
– #4 Javier Mar took it to #5 Franco, controlling the match and advancing in two games 12,5.
– #11 Fernandez got his second statement win in a row, topping #3 Alan Natera Chavez 11,11 to move on. Natera’s streak of making the semis at Nationals ends after two straight years, while Fernandez moves into the semis of Adult nationals for the first time (he made the quarters twice before, in 2017 and 2018).
– #10 Portillo pushed #2 Daniel De La Rosa, saving match point against in the second game to force a breaker, but DLR ran away with it there, advancing to the semis. DLR keeps his streak of making the semis alive; he’s made the semis or better in every Mexican Nationals back to at least 2014 (he did miss 2017’s event).

—————
In the Semis
– #1 Beltran gave credence to the old statement, “It only takes 26 to win” in dropping the second game to #4 Mar 15-1 but moving on by the final score line of 8,(1),9.
– #2 DLR put an end to #11 Fernandez’s run, frustrating the young Mexican at the precipice of the National team by the score line of 10,11.

With these wins:
– Beltran secures his singles spot on the Mexican National team for the second year running after a 3 year gap from 2016-2018.
– DLR returns to the singles Mexican team after a year absence (he was beaten by Landa in the semis last year). DLR has now qualified for the team 4 of the past 7 seasons.

—————
In the Finals; a rematch of the 2015 Mexican National Finals, won by Beltran for his last National title. But on this day, DLR ended up on top of a close but casual match between friends and doubles partners 14,11 to take the title.

———————————
Lets review the notable matches in the Women’s Singles draw.

Women’s Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/3480BB

—————-
In the 16s, a couple of notable results
– #12 Lucia Gonzalez dominated LPRT top 10 player and #5 seed Nancy Enriquez 2,11 to move on. Gonzalez doesn’t have a top-level match in the database since Dec 2018, but makes noise every time she plays.
– #10 Erin Nocam “upset” #7 Maria Gutierrez in two to advance. Gutierrez was a finalist at 18U last summer in Mexican junior nationals and still has a year left in the junior ranks, while Erin continues her excellent season of results.

—————-
In the Quarters, two pretty big upsets.
– #8 Jessica Parrilla returned to the semis of Mexican Nationals after a two year absence, and she did it by dethroning the defending champ Montse Mejia in two straight. Parrilla was in control for large parts of the match, taking advantage of Mejia’s mistakes throughout.
– #12 Gonzalez got her second upset in a row, downing #4 Alexandra Herrera in a tiebreaker. These two are familiar foes, often competing for junior national titles as they grew up, and Lucia was able to get past her in a major event yet again.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis cruised past veteran #7 Susy Acosta, improving to 12-0 in top-level/pro events over the lefty, to move into the semis.
– #2 Paola Longoria blitzed past #10 Erin Rivera 0,3, giving her younger countrywoman little chance to get some of the upsets she’s gotten lately on tour.

—————
In the Semis
– #8 Parrilla played solid ball and outlasted #12 Gonzalez to make the Mexican national finals 12,10.
– #2 Longoria survived an injury scare to move past doubles partner #3 Salas 14,9 to get to the final. Early in game on at 1-6 down, Longoria and Salas got tangled up and Longoria seemed to have landed on her ankle wrong; it did not look good, and a full injury time out was taken. She recovered though, Salas could not take advantage of the mobility issues, and Longoria seemed to gain strength and confidence as the match moved on. In the second game Salas had her own injury scare, tweaking her knee in a rally but persevering without an injury time out.

With these wins:
– Parrilla returns to the Mexican national team singles spot for the first time in years: she last represented Mexico internationally at the 2016 PARC event, and before that at the 2013 World Games.
– Longoria secures her spot on the National team, and extends her streak held since 2006 of representing Mexico in singles at IRF events.

—————
In the Finals, Parrilla really put up a fight but couldn’t convert in game one when it counted, dropping it 15-14, then collapsing in game two to lose 14,4. Longoria regains the title she lost last year and returns to the top of Mexican racquetball.

—————-
Mens Doubles review

Men’s Doubles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/1D2489

In the Men’s competition,

In the early rounds:
– Seeds 1,2,4 and 6 advanced to the semis.
– #5 team of Fernandez/Miguel Rodriguez Jr. took out Cardona/Franco early and pushed Estrada/Natera before falling.
– The #6 team of Portillo/Parrilla “upset” the #3 seeds Sebastian Longoria/Erick Trujillo to advance.
– The #7 team of Christian Longoria and Cesar Barragan really pushed the #2 team DLR/Beltran, falling 14,11

In the semis:
– #1 Montoya/Mar moved into the final over #4 Estrada/Natera, but had to save off game point against in the second game to do so 4,14.
– #2 DLR/Beltran kept their qualification hopes alive … by by the skin of their teeth, taking a scintillating match over #6 Portillo/Parrilla 11-10. The tiebreaker was a shot-makers paradise, with rallies generally only ending with splat rollout kill shots. Fantastic racquetball.

At 10-10, with both teams having saved match point against and with DLR/Beltran re-gaining the serve … something weird happened. DLR/Beltran were assessed a technical for … i’m not sure. At 10-10 against Parrilla called a time out, and Beltran playfully hit the ball towards him. I’m assuming the referee deducted a point for it (based on DLR’s reaction when getting back the 10th point). Nonetheless, when play resumed it was 9-10. They gutted out the 10th point, then on match point rally DLR absolutely buried a reverse forehand pinch from 39′ feet to take the match with quite a statement.

In the final, these two teams went tie-breaker as expected. In the breaker Montoya/Mar jumped out to a bit lead but couldn’t close out at match point. DLR/Beltran quickly ran off several points and it looked like maybe they could pull magic out of a hat again, but Montoya/Mar got the serve back and the ended the match with an amazing winner from Mar.

Montoya/Mar repeat as Mexican National champions and get a chance to build on their 2019 Pan American Games title. Perhaps more importantly, they get a rare win over the veteran Beltran/DLR team in their increasingly exciting rivalry.

—————–
Women’s Doubles review:

Women’s Doubles Match report in PRS database: http://rball.pro/D0916F

In the quarters
– #1, #2 and #4 teams advanced easily
– #6 Angela Veronica Ortega/Maria Gutierrez upset the #3 seeded team of Acosta/Sacristan in a tie breaker for the round’s only upset.

In the semis:
– #1 Longoria/Salas, both of whom picked up knocks in their singles semi final match against each other, gutted out a two game win over the #4 team of Parrilla/Rivera 9,10.
– #2 Mejia/Herrera cruised past the upset minded #6 team of Ortega/Gutierrez 3,4.

In the Final, we got the quite-frequently seen doubles final as of late: these two teams have now met in the finals of four LPRT doubles events just this season, three last season, last year’s World Doubles pro final, plus last year’s Mexican National final. While the Mejia/Herrera team has gotten a couple wins in this rivalry lately, on the day today the veterans held serve, winning in two games 7,13 to take the national title and the right to represent Mexico in the upcoming IRF events.

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Next up?

After a month’s break, the LPRT is back in action next weekend in Boston. The IRT has a couple of lower-tier events next week (in Minneapolis and in Pueblo, CO), and then returns to Chicago for the 35th annual KWM Gutterman classic the following weekend.

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tags
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
International Racquetball Federation
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT

Copa Mexico 2020 Preview

Beltran is the #1 seed; can he make the team in 2020? Photo US Open 2019 via Photographer Kevin Savory

Its time for one of my favorite tournaments of the year; Its the 2020 Campeonato Nacional Selectivo de Raquetbol. This year the event is being held in Tijuana, not one of the hotbeds of racquetball in the country like San Luis Potosi and Chihuahua, which will be an interesting home-town advantage for some Tijuana based players and may also explain the dip in attendance from last year’s event.

There’s 26 in the Men’s open draw and 15 in the Women’s open: compare this to last year’s Nationals event in Chihuahua; 34 in Men’s Open, 19 in Women’s. Nonetheless, the draws are stacked and nearly every round of 16 match on the Men’s side (and all the quarters on the women’s side) are “back end of the tournament” pro-quality match-ups.

r2sports.com link:
https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=31821

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Lets preview the Men’s Singles draw.

First, some interesting players missing, and some similarly interesting players entered. First off, the elephant in the room; as most of the rball world knows, former Mexican #1 Alex Landa is not here; he entered (and won) US National Doubles a few weeks ago after having asked for his release from the Mexican team mid last year in the wake of the Pan Am Games Team selection controversy. So in his place, last year’s finalist Álvaro Beltrán ascends to the #1 seed in this draw.

We also see that Sebastian ‘Patata’ Fernandez is entered here, and specifically did NOT enter US National doubles a few weeks back. Fernandez (like Landa) has dual citizenship and has represented both US and Mexico in years past. However in a 3-week span in 2019 he played in both US national doubles and in Mexico National doubles, prompting some eligibility and access questions. No such issues this year.

Other notables missing: Ernesto Ochoa misses the event; he was the #11 seed last year. No Jaime Martell Neri here this year; he lost in the 16s last year and had a great run at the 2019 US Open. The draw also misses frequently seen players such as Jordy Alonso, former junior phenom David Ortega, last year’s #7 seed Edson Martinez and two of the top juniors in the land Emir Martinez and Jose Ramos.

Here’s some matches to watch:

In the 32s, there’s 10 matches, many involving top touring IRT pros. I don’t see much in the way of upset potential, but here’s a couple of interesting play-ins:

– @Miguel Rodriguez Jr. will give #9 Andree Parrilla (current #5 ranked IRT pro) an early run for his money.
– Mexican 18U top player Manuel Moncada faces off against Daniel Rodriguez.
– Mexican 18U reigning champ Sebastian Fernandez will face last year’s 16U finalist Erick Trujillo
– Two of the top players in 16U last year face off for a shot at #3 Natera in Sebastian Longoria and Guillermo Ortega. I like Ortega in his home town here even if there’s little between these two players.

The fireworks start in the 16s.
– #1 Beltran likely gets his tourney started against #17 IRT regular Erick Cuevas.
– #9 Parrilla likely takes on #8 Christian Longoria in a battle of SLP tour regulars.
– #5 Gerardo Franco Gonzalez gets zero favors from the draw, likely having to face an underseeded #12 Javier Estrada. Estrada has been giving the IRT a go this season and has a couple of solid wins, but no breakthroughs past the round of 16 yet. But we know what he’s capable of given his win last summer at the Black Gold cup. Franco has proven to be a tough out at times, with a quarter final appearance in the most recent IRT stop.
– #4 Javier Mar likely takes on the junior Moncada in the 16s here.
– #3 Alan Natera Chavez will kick off his latest Nationals event likely against the young Ortega, who will be spirited in defeat.
– #6 Former WRT #1 Alex Cardona gets a brutal opener against #11 Fernandez. I still think the part-time tournament player Cardona is the better player, but Fernandez has been improving and looked tough earlier this year. This could be a statement win for either player, and could go down to the wire in the breaker.
– #7 Rodrigo Montoya Solís] takes on #10 Lalo Portillo in another fantastic round of 16 match. Montoya crushed Portillo in Portland in December, but it was Portillo making a final in Sioux Falls a couple months later. its odd to see Montoya seeded 7th here, considering the fact that he’s the defending Pan Am Games and World Singles champ. He’ll have his work cut out for him again to make the team here unless we see more chicanery from the federation (see Landa, Alex).
– #2 Daniel De La Rosa will face a relative unknown (to me) either way to get his nationals tourney started; it should serve as a great warm-up for his brutal projected quarter final match. Read on.

Projected Quarters:
– #1 Beltran over #8 Parrilla. I know Parrilla finished last year higher than the elder Beltran, but he’s going through a really tough stretch. Andree lost three straight IRT round of 16 matches while Beltran held serve and eventually jumped him in the rankings last month. Beltran is 6-4 over Andree in their career, and i like Alvaro to rise to the challenge in his home town to move on.
– #4 Mar over #12 Estrada; in a battle of Javiers, i give Mar the upper hand. Estrada beat Mar h2h twice in two RKT events in Dec, but Mar gets up for these national events and I think handles Estrada.
– #6 Cardona over #3 Natera; yes I know Natera has made the semis in this event two years running with a slew of upsets. I like Cardona here if he can get past the bulked up Fernandez.
– #2 DLR over #7 Montoya: this is a rematch of the 2018 Nationals final AND the 2018 Selection event final. But its DLR who has had the upper hand in this rivalry lately, winning their last 3 meetings and 4 of 5. Some of their matches have been close … but often DLR really dominates Montoya, including a 1,4 stomping in the semis of the 2019 Lewis Drug. I think DLR builds off of some great recent results on tour and moves on here.

Great projected quarter finals here: it includes potentially four of the current IRT top ten players and another 2-3 players who are top 10 quality.

My semis:
– Mar over Beltran; if Mar gets to this point, I like his chances of taking out Beltran. Mar faced Beltran in the semis of the 2016 Mexican Nationals event and topped him then, and I like him to move to the final here.
– DLR over Cardona: Cardona’s run ends at the hands of DLR, who can handle his power and will outlast him from a fitness perspective on the court at the end-game. These two faced off in last year’s nationals in the quarters, and DLR advanced in a tie-breaker. I see a similar result here.

Final: DLR over Mar, a rematch of the 2016 National final also won by Daniel. DLR returns to the title seat of Mexican racquetball.

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Women’s singles draw preview;

15 women in the draw. All the major LPRT touring pros are present, meaning the quarters on should be action packed.

Notables missing:no Ana Laura Flores here after she dominated the Mexican 18U event last year. Also missing are periodic LPRT players like Montserrat Pérez, Denisse Maldonado, Eleni Guzman Velgis, Diana Aguilar, and Sofia Rascon (who I don’t have any tourney results for in more than two years now).

Round of 16s to watch for:
– #5 Nancy Enriquez takes on #12 Lucia Gonzalez in an upset-special. Gonzalez made the semis of the 2018 Mexican Nationals (she also made the semis of 2015 version just after graduating juniors), but missed 2019 so she gets a bottom seed. Nonetheless, she’s proven her ability to beat top LPRT players and Nancy should be on the watch here. I’m going to go with the upset; there’s always a 12 seed beating a 5-seed, right NCAA fans?
– #4 Alexandra Herrera takes on the 14U phenom Angela Veronica Ortega. Ortega was the 14U finalist in 2019 in Mexico, then made the Junior worlds 14U final as well. She’ll be playing in her home town against the touring pro Herrera.
– #10 Erin Rivera takes on the 2018 Mexican 16U champ Maria Gutierrez in the opener.

Projected quarters:
– #1 and defending champ Montse Mejia likely takes on Jessica Parrilla in a pretty tough quarter for the #1 seed. Mejia has never beaten Parrilla … but they also havn’t played since 2017, which means they havn’t played post knee injury. Parrilla continues to struggle to get back to her former lofty ranking; the talent pool is deeper and she has had really rough luck running into top players early in these draws. I think Mejia moves on but it could be a nail-biter tie-breaker.
– #12 Gonzalez takes on #4 Herrera; These two are familiar foes; they’re the same age and played on the junior circuit frequently, often in junior national finals. The last time they played was 2018 Mexican Nationals, a straight-forward 2-game win for Gonzalez. I’ll predict another upset.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis vs #6 Susy Acosta Racquetball; Salas has really struggled on tour this season, but I don’t see her losing to the veteran Acosta at this stage. These two veterans have played more than a few times so they’ll know each other’s game well.
– #2 Paola Longoria who must feel odd not being seeded #1 in an event for the first time in perhaps a decade or so, likely faces up and coming LPRT player Rivera at this stage. Longoria is on a mission and isn’t stopping till she gets to the final.

My semis:
– Mejia over Gonzalez to end the run
– Longoria over her doubles partner Salas

Final: Longoria re-takes the title and downs Mejia in two quick games in similar fashion to their past few pro meetings.

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Doubles preview:

In the Men’s doubles, 13 teams headlined by two of the best doubles teams out there in the top 2 seeds. DLR/Beltran were upset in the semis last year and slip to the #2 seed, while Montoya/Mar are the defending champs and #1 seed. Despite the seeding, DLR/Beltran have never lost as a team to the Montoya/Mar team, so if seeds hold expect DLR/Beltran to retain the title.

Standing in their way are a couple of intriguing teams: #6 Portillo/Parrilla are a frequent pairing on the IRT and could make for an edgy semi against the veterans. The #4 seeds of Estrada/Natera are a frequent pairing that could make noise … but they face a dark-horse in #12 Franco/Cardona, an intriguing pairng that includes the very talented doubles player in Cardona.

In the Women’s doubles draw there’s 8 teams entered but really only 2 teams to talk about: the #1 seeded Longoria/Salas team is one of the most decorated doubles teams of all time, but the #2 seeded team of Mejia/Herrera has been pushing into their territory, taking a couple of pro doubles titles already this season, including the US Open title. Expect #1 vs #2 and for the Longoria/Salas team to push for the win and the international representation spot.

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Streaming options: there’s usually good streaming of these events, by following FMR or RKT on facebook and by following the specific players’ pages.

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Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
International Racquetball Tour
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
LPRT