Canadian Nationals

Murray captures both the singles and doubles title. Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Sam Murray over Coby Iwaasa
  • Men’s Doubles; Samuel Murray/Tommy Murray
  • Women’s Singles: Frederique Lambert
  • Women’s Doubles : Frederique Lambert/Michele Morissette
  • Mixed Doubles:David Serra/Disney Linares
    The Canadian Nationals also had Junior nationals, awarding the following Junior titlists:
  • Girls 21U: Cassie Prentice
  • Girls 16U: Ofelia Wilscam
  • Girls 14U: Lahni Buller
  • Boys 18U: Nathan Jauvin
  • Boys 16U: Asher Pocsai

Trackie home page for event: https://www.trackie.com/…/racquetball-canada…/476421/…

Lets do some quick commentary on each draw.

  • Men’s Singles: PRS event report: http://rball.pro/CF063C
    No real surprises here; #1 @Samuel Murray topped #2 @Coby Iwaasa for the fourth straight time. The Men’s draw was missing some regulars (Castro, the Landeryou brothers, Bousquets), but featured the expected names at the back end.
  • Men’s Doubles; PRS report: http://rball.pro/5F5739
    The Murray brothers secure their third straight Canadian men’s doubles title together, and Sam gets his 6th for his career, by topping Iwaasa and Kurtis Cullen in the final.
  • Women’s Singles: PRS report: http://rball.pro/EEB08C
    Former LPRT #2 Dr. @Frederique Lambert won her fourth national singles title, defeating her doubles partner Michele Morissette in the final.
  • Women’s Doubles: PRS Report: http://rball.pro/7B7355
    Lambert gets the double on the weekend, winning both Singles and Doubles. Frederique wins her 3rd career national doubles title, Morissette her 3rd as well, but their first together.
  • Mixed Doubles: PRS Report: http://rball.pro/9685AF

David Serra and Disney Linares took the first ever Canadian Mixed doubles title and bring some fresh new faces to the National team, winning a small 3-team round robin event.

Junior events

  • Girls 21U: Cassie Prentice
  • Girls 16U: Ofelia Wilscam
  • Girls 14U: Lahni Buller
  • Boys 18U: Nathan Jauvin
  • Boys 16U: Asher Pocsai

There was some junior competitions at the event but some divisions went un-competed. We’ll have to adjust the junior matrix for the new U21 division.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend from Racquetball Canada, who brought in Timothy Baghurst and JT R Ball to do the streaming on the weekend. Always helps when you bring in the pros.

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

Capital City WOR, then LPRT Supermax in mid June in Kansas City.

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USA Nationals Wrap-Up

Carson has a huge weekend, winning both his draws. Photo Portland 2019 via Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners and US National team qualifiers on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Rocky Carson over Alex Landa
  • Women’s Singles: Erika Manilla over Rhonda Rajsich
  • Men’s Doubles; Rocky Carson/Charlie Pratt
  • Women’s Doubles: Holly Scott/Kelani Lawrence
  • Mixed Doubles: Alex Landa/Michelle De La Rosa

    These players qualify to represent the USA at the upcoming 2022 World Games in August in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and at the 2023 Pan American Racquetball Championships (PARC) to be held in April 2023 at a site yet to be announced. (Note: the 2022 World Games participants were determined from the finishes of last year’s Worlds).

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38797

Lets review the draws and give out the direct links into the database for the full draws of results.
Men’s Singles Recap:
PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/F7A26D
Seeds held to the quarters (though #6 seed Thomas Carter was a no-show), with only one close match in the 16s, that being #7 Sam Bredenbeck going the distance to take out #10 Danny Lavely in five.
In the quarters, no real surprises as the top 3 seeds advanced. #5 Manilla got a mid-game injury retirement after #4 Horn pulled something in his leg.
In the semis; chalk. Manilla kept it close but #1 Carson won in three, while #2 Landa dominated #3 Bredenbeck to return to the US National team.

In the final, Carson secured his 9th ever US National title, most ever for American Men, by topping Landa in 4. Click here http://rball.pro/455001 for a list of all National title winners across all countries.

Women’s Singles:
PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/173522
7 of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarters without dropping a game; the sole upset by seed was #10 @Shane Diaz, who took out #7 seed @Graci Wargo in three.
In the quarters, chalk, as only one top four seed was extended by a game. Up and coming junior @Annie Roberts took a game off of Manilla, otherwise the top US women cruised into the semis as expected.
In the semis, Manilla was taken to 4 games but advanced past Scott, who continues to look for her first US title. On the bottom side, a big upset as #2 Lawrence (who had made the final of the last three nationals) was taken out by #3 Rajsich. These two had met as recently as the last LPRT stop, where Kelani dominated Rhonda, but the tables were turned today.
In the final, Manilla finished her official ascension to the top of US racquetball with her first National title, a dominant 7,8,1 win over Rhonda.
See here http://rball.pro/8C6DC2 for a list of all US national titles.

Rajsich made her 13th national singles final, and guaranteed making the team yet again.

Men’s Doubles:
PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/92C865
The top 4 seeds advanced to the semis without dropping a game.
In the semis….chalk, but not without some excitement. #1 Carson/Pratt advanced in four over Manilla/Horn at the top, while #2 Bredenbecks’ staved off three match points in games 4 and 5 to shock the 2020 National titlists and tournament favorites Landa/Monchik 13-11 in the fifth.
In the final, the veterans dropped the first game but took the next three to repeat as champions, take their 3rd title together, and for Rocky secure his 13th US doubles title.

Click here for a list of all USA Men’s Doubles champs, dating to 1968: http://rball.pro/589110

Women’s Doubles:
PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/B31897
Seeded teams 1,2,3, and 5 advanced into the semis; the sole upset in the opening round was #5 @Lexi York/@Michelle De la Rosa taking out the #4 seeded U21 team of @Annie Roberts/@Alondra Canchola in four games.
In the semis, the #3 seeds scored a mini upset when the 2020 champions @Aimee roehler and @Erika Manilla upset the #2 seeds @Rhonda Rajsich/@Sheryl Lotts. The #1 seeded team of Scott/Lawrence, who eneted the event ranked #1 and #2 in USA Women’s doubles, dropped a game but advanced over York and De La Rosa.
In the final, #1 took out #3 in four games, giving Scott her first ever National doubles title.

Click here http://rball.pro/8F8065 for a list of all USA Women’s Doubles champs dating to 1972.

Mixed Doubles:
PRS Match Report: http://rball.pro/04FD8B
Seeded teams 1,2 and 4 advanced to the semis with relative ease, but a big upset in the 3/6 quarter final, as my pre-tournament favorites #3 @Sudsy Monchik and @Kelani Lawrence were upset 11-9 in the fifth by #6 @Sam Bredenbeck and @Lexi York.

In the semis and finals, seeds held to form as #1 Landa/De La Rosa took out the Manilla siblings to claim the first ever Mixed doubles USA crown.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters @Tony Prater and newly elected USAR Board President @Stuart Soloman , plus Team Dovetail’s @Kyle Artzman, who streamed the secondary court for us at home all weekend, plus a shoutout to everyone else who broadcast live off their phones.
Thanks to the Tourney Director and USAR National events coordinator Connor Shane for putting this event on!

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

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Next weekend is the big Capital City WOR championships in Stratton Woods outside of DC, and then the week after is the big Supermax LPRT Grand Slam in Kansas City, the final event of the 2021-22 LPRT season.

We’ll recap Canadian Nationals tomorrow!

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USA Nationals Preview

Can Sudsy double qualify at the age of 47? Photo 2020 USAR Doubles via Kevin Savory


Welcome to the 53rd Annual USA Racquetball National Singles championships!
2019 was the 52nd, then Covid knocked this event out for the last two years. Prior to that, it had been held every year since the first one in 1968 in Milwaukee.
But we’re back, and so are the players. 246 participants are entered in Texas, which is the highest National Singles turnout since 2016. That’s great news and a nice sign that perhaps tournament players are ready to come back.
The qualifying team draws are stacked, and the event should be a ton of fun with the inclusion of Mixed doubles and the return of some big names.
Reminders:

  • the national team qualifiers will play IRF rally scoring rules, including the “immediately stop on appeal” rule, as much as we may not like them. 3 out of 5 games to 11, win by 2.
  • the rest of the tournament still plays classical USAR rules.
  • Seedings were done in singles purely by rank, while Men’s/Women’s doubles gives priority to last year’s finalists if they have returned as a team. There’s no “last year” for Mixed, so its seeded entirely by rankings.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38797

Lets preview the draws. I talked through the draws with @Sudsy Monchik on Monday 5/23/22 (see here for that link:
https://www.facebook.com/RacquetballGuy/videos/1451019748650331 )

So, I’ll do some quick predictions here instead of re-hashing an hour long conversation.

Men’s Singles
19 entered, headlined by last year’s finalists #1 @Rocky Carson and #2 Alex Landa .
There’s some intriguing round of 16 matches to watch for: look for close matches in the 8/9 Robbie Collins / Nick Riffel match, and in the 7/10 match between Sam Bredenbeck and Danny Lavely , an accomplished player who hasn’t played US Nationals in more than a decade.
In the quarters, a potential 4/5 match between @Bobby Horn and @Adam Manilla looks really tough; the two are doubles partners here and are also business partners in their new online training/coaching venture. I think Manilla gets the upset.

Semis and Finals: I’m going chalk, with a repeat of last year’s final between Carson and Landa. I can’t quite see either Manilla or Horn topping Rocky, nor can I see @Jake Bredenbeck beating Landa. Rocky to repeat, since getting onto the team is seemingly more important than winning the title.

Women’s Singles:
The US Women’s game has four top competitors in Manilla, Scott, Lawrence, and Rajsich … then a gap to the rest of the field. While there’s some compelling early rounders (Ros vs Roberts and Diaz vs Wargo in matches of rising juniors), the semis were always going to be the “big four” here.
Matchups matter: in the 1/4 Scott and Manilla will battle it out in a match that could go either way; the two have split their only two adult meetings, and despite Manilla’s run into the LPRT top 10 she lost badly in the last pro event. Meanwhile in the 2/3 matchup Lawrence has the upper hand against long-time rival Rajsich. Rhonda beat Kelani in 8 of their first 9 meetings, but Kelani has won the last three, including an 0,9 beating at the SC pro stop a few weeks ago.

Look for Manilla vs Lawrence in the final and a first ever national title for Manilla.

Men’s Doubles review
Last year’s finalists (Carson/Pratt and the Bredenbeck brothers) are back as the #1 and #2 seeds, with 2020’s champions (Monchik/Landa) pushed to #3. The Bredenbecks may be pushed a bit in the quarters against Diaz/Hansen; Diaz and Jake were long-time playing partners and know each other’s game well, but the seeds should hold to the semis.
In one semi, Manilla/Horn have a great shot at upsetting Carson/Pratt; all four players are accomplished veterans, cerebral on the court. In the other semi, we should see a return to the final for Monchik/Landa.

Finals prediction; a repeat of the 2020 semis, with Monchik/Landa topping Carson/Pratt in a tight one.

Women’s Doubles Preview:
This draw is all about who’s coming in second, because the #1 seed are the top two female doubles players in the land right now in Scott & Lawrence, and they’re going to win this draw.

The 2/3 semi to determine who makes the final will be intriguing, with Manilla and hall-of-famer Roehler (she the owner of 13 national doubles titles) taking on the veteran Rajsich and Lotts. I like Manilla/Roehler here to make the final, but not to realistically push Scott/Lawrence once t hey get there.

Mixed Doubles Preview
Perhaps the most fun draw to preview in a while, since there’s almost no history of these players playing mixed doubles at a high level. We just do not know how the teams will gel, who is better at Mixed than their ranking may indicate, and who isn’t.
The quarters will be interesting from the top down, with #1 Landa/De La Rosa getting challenged by Jake and Roehler and #2 Manilla Siblings projected to face veterans Diaz/Rajsich. While we could see some breakers here, i’d expect the top four seeds to the semis.
From there, we could see some upsets. I can see #4 Horn/Scott taking out Landa/mDLR, and I can see #3 Monchik/Lawrence topping the Manillas. But I can also see the reverse; we could see 1 v 2 in the final, or 3 v 4 in the final.

I’m picking Monchik/Lawrence to take it over Horn/Scott in the final.

Look for Streaming on USA Racquetball’s page, with a rotating crew of broadcasters for this event to include current USAR board member @Stuart Solomon at the lead.

We’ll preview the other big National event in Canada later this week, once they get through their RRs and have a knockout bracket set.

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PARC Recap

Barrios with the surprise win at PARC. Photo via Barrios’ facebook page.


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Conrrado Moscoso, Bolivia
  • Women’s Singles: Angelica Barrios, Bolivia
  • Men’s Doubles; Samuel Murray & Coby Iwaasa, Canada
  • Women’s Doubles: Maria Jose Vargas & Natalia Mendez, Argentina
  • Mixed Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya & Samantha Salas, Mexico


    Links to “Category Reports,” which show a history of all current and past PARC finalists, so you can see all 33 such tournaments that have happened since inception in 1986.
  • Men’s Singles: http://rball.pro/F5F5D2
  • Women’s Singles: http://rball.pro/9BC953
  • Men’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/68D315
  • Women’s Doubles: http://rball.pro/6F9E9F
  • Mixed Doubles: http://rball.pro/BA46DA

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092


Men’s Singles:
Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/486271
The quarters gave us some unexpected results for sure.

  • #1 @Conrrado Moscoso took out the upstart Argentinian Diego Garcia in 3.
  • #5 @Rodrigo Montoya got a very solid win over USA’s @Jake Bredenbeck in three straight. Montoya always seems to play well in these structured international competitions. This sets up a juicy Moscoso-Montoya match that has some interesting history.
  • Huge upset: #3 @Carlos Keller , 2-time defending champ and playing on home soil, was taken out by Costa Rican @Andres Acuna , and it wasn’t particularly close (11,6,12). I thought Keller was a great bet to three-peat.
  • – #2 Alejandro Landa held serve against his tough doubles partner, Canadian @SSamuel Murry to setup a rematch of the 2021 World’s final with Acuna.

In the Semis

  • #1 Moscoso outlasted fellow hard hitting IRT regular #5 Montoya in three close games.
  • #11 Acuna took the latest salvo in his rivalry against #2 Landa, beating him in four games to move into his second successive major international final.
    In the Finals… the two players traded 15-14 games to start, then Conrrado turned on the heat in game three, racing to a 15-6 win before finishing off another close game four to take the title. This is his first “major” IRF title in his career.

Fun side note: the two Men’s finalists both came from the group stage of the #1 pre-tournament seed.


Women’s Singles:
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/9C2A60
The knockout quarters featured some HUGE upsets, with both the #2 and #3 seeds going down early.

  • #1 Maria Jose Vargas cruised past the Bolivian junior @Micaela Meneses to move into the semis.
  • #4 @Carla Munoz took out the veteran #5 Rhonda Rajsich in four games. Great solid win by Munoz to take out a competitor in Rajsich who always plays tough in these IRF competitions.
  • #6 @Ana Gabriela Martinez upset #3 Natalia Mendez in a 5-game thriller. Even though these two are very close talent wise, this was a surprising result for me for Mendez to lose on home soil.
  • The biggest upset of the round on either side though was #2 @Alexandra Herrera , winner of the last two LPRT events and the odds-on favorite here, losing to Bolivian @Angelica Barrios in four. Never underestimate the Bolivian, who made a run to the semis of the Bolivian Iris event as an unknown and typically flies under the radar at these events.
    In the semis
  • #1 Vargas continued her quest to win the title in her home town, overcoming a game 1 loss to down Chilean #4 Carla Munoz .
  • #10 Barrios continued her upset ways, getting her third straight upset-by-seed win, this time against former World champion #6 Guatemalan Martinez. Barrios makes a major international final on home soil to setup an intriguing all-native Bolivian final.
    In the final…a fantastic back and forth affair that wasn’t settled until 12-10 in the fifth. Barrios gritted out a comeback win in game 4 to push it to a 5th, then kept the ball in play and took advantage of a slightly tight Vargas to win 12-10 and claim her first ever IRF title.

Fun side note: As with the Men, the two Women’s finalists both came from the group stage of the #1 pre-tournament seed.


Men’s Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/E4307D
A shocking result in the quarters, with the home-town Bolivian team of @Carlos Keller and @Kadim Carrasco both top doubles players, both of whom are regular IRT touring pros, falling in 3 straight (albeit close) games to the Ecuadorian pair of @Juan Francisco and Jose Daniel Ugalde. Cuevas and Ugalde have been representing Ecuador for a long, long time; Ugalde first played in the 2006 Worlds, Cuevas in juniors since 2011 and this is a great win for them. Otherwise, the #1, #2 and #4 seeds advanced as expected.
In the semis …

  • Team Canada took out #1 USA in three games; despite their seeding they’re the pre-tourney favorites and make it to the ifnal.
  • Team Ecuador upset #2 Costa Rica to move into the finals. its the first Men’s doubles final in an IRF event since 2016 for Ecuador.
  • In the final … I thought for sure this was a cake-walk for Canada, but Ecuador won the first and pushed it to a 5th game before falling 11-5 to team Canada. Great showing by Ecuador, making a major IRF final for the first time in years, and congrats to team Canada for returning to the throne.

Women’s Doubles:
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/B73598
No surprises in the quarters, as the top 4 teams (Mex, USA, Bol, Arg) advanced as expected, each in three games.
In the semis, two very close matches between the four top Women’s doubles teams resulted in the top two seeds advancing to the final. #1 Mexico dropped the 2nd game but beat Bolivia in four, while the experienced Argentina team squeaked out a win against team USA with two games going 15-14 their way.

In the final … the four LPRT top 10 players, who are quite familiar with each other from years of touring together, battled it out to the very end. Team Argentina made the clutch shots in the 5th to win 11-9 and take the title.


Mixed Doubles:
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/78C637
No surprises in the 16s or quarters really, even though the #3 and #4 seeds lost to lower seeded competition. We knew going in that one of the groups was weaker than the other two, and no Group 3 mixed teams advanced into the semis here.
In the semis, some fireworks:

  • #1 Bolivia blasted #5 Argentina 5,4,5. Just a complete dominant win.
  • #6 Mexico took got revenge for a RR loss to #2 team USA and advanced to the final by virtue of a technical forfeit for accumulated technical fouls. The IRF referees are very pedantic, and team USA was penalized once too often. The final play that led to the disqualification was arguable, as most hinder calls end up being, and its a shame the match was decided on what I thought was a referee error, but passions must be held in check and referee arguing isn’t as tolerated on the IRF as it is on the pro tours. Landa (per the US Team handbook) may face a lengthy suspension after this incident.
  • In the final … team Mexico (my pre-tourney favorite) eked out a win over the hard hitting Bolivian team to take the first ever Mixed IRF title.

Despite my publishing this wrap-up … the event continues. After these brackets are done, the “Team Event” commences, returning to IRF competitions for the first time in years. This can be confusing for those who query the Pro Racquetball Stats site: we keep “Team stats” but that’s not the same as a “Team Competition.” Team stats are driven by the accumulated individual accomplishments. We do not track the team event results in the database.
Speaking of Team results, here’s the unofficial team winners (based on my working xls):

  • Men’s Team: Bolivia, Costa Rica, USA. This is by far Costa Rica’s best ever team finish; the only other time they placed was in 1990’s regional competition. Amazingly, Mexico did not place. Costa Rica eked out a 4-point win over USA to claim 2nd.
  • Women’s Team: Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico. Argentina gets 1st in doubles, 2nd in singles and easily wins. No USA on the podium.
  • Combined/Overall Team: Bolivia, Argentina, USA. Bolivia runs away with the combined title, with a singles win and a finals mixed appearance. Mexico finishes 4th despite taking the Mixed title and one has to wonder how these results would have gone had Mexico #1 Longoria played.

I’ll load up the full Team Results once they’re blessed by the IRF.

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?
After this weekends team competition in Bolivia …
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/

IRT returns to action in two weeks time in Canoga park.

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International Racquetball Federation

PARC Knockout Stages Preview

Can Keller 3-peat? Photo US Open19 via Kevin Savory


We’re through the group stage at the 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball championships, being held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and have whittled the field down to just the top finishers per group for the knockout stage.


Here’s a preview/prediction of each bracket plus some quick observations about the group stage results.

r2sports site: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092

For streaming, follow the IRF on Facebook and sign up for live video notifications.

Men’s Singles
Group Stage thoughts: No surprises for me in the first four groups, as the top 4 seeds advance with relative ease, and the “expected” players finished in second place.
Group 5 and 6 though had some shockers. In group 5, #5 pre-tourney seed @Rodrigo Montoya topped the group, but in a shock IRT top 10 player and Nov 2021 IRT tourney winner Mario Mercado was taken out by Argentina’s recently matriculated junior @Diego Garcia and failed to advance to the knockouts. Garcia represented Bolivia until his age 17 season, then converted to Argentina and had to sit out a couple years. But he’s back, and he’s quite good. He could be a regular representative for Argentina for the next 15 years, and we hope to start seeing more of him on the IRT.
Group 6’s shock was at the top, when IRT top10 player @Samuel Murray was dominated by Mexico’s #2 Elias Nieto 13,3,(3),7 to fall to 2nd place in the group. Nieto tops the group and grabs the #6 seed in the knockouts.
Here’s how I see the knockouts going:

  • In the 16s, Nieto’s #6 seed gets him #11 @AndAAndres Acuna , a really tough draw and a likely upset.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 Conrrado Moscoso over #8 Garcia; they met in 2021 Worlds and Moscoso crushed him, but it will be a good all South American test.
  • #4 @Jake Bredenbeck over #5 @Rodrigo Montoya . This will be close, as both hard hitters can make deep runs in tournaments. Jake has topped Rodrigo the last three times they’ve played and I think he’ll do it again.
  • #3 @CarloCarlos Keller over #11 Acuna. They have not played in years (last meeting 2017), and both players have improved significantly over the past year. Keller made the finals at the 2021 US Open, Acuna made the finals at 2021 Worlds. Keller always seems to rise to the occasion at this event (and, lest we forget, is the 2-time defending PARC champ, having won in both 2018 and 2019), and is playing on home soil so we’ll go with the Bolivian here.
  • #2 @AlAlejandro Landa gets his pro doubles playing partner @Samuel Murray , who he has traded results back and forth with on the singles court recently. However, Landa is here to win. Landa in 3.
    Semis prediction:
  • #1 Moscoso over #4 Jake; I just think Conrrado is too good on these courts.
  • #3 Keller over Landa. They’ve only met 3 times, but its been years since they’ve played and they’ve never played internationally. I think Keller’s familiarity on these courts gets him the win over the mercurial Landa, who has a tendency to start slow in his matches and that might mean the difference in a rally scoring match where every point counts.
  • Final: Moscoso over Keller in an all-Bolivia final that will have the crowd pulsating.

Women’s Singles
Group stage review: No real surprises in the group stage for me; The top seed in group 4 should have been one of the top Mexican pros, but instead the seed went to Chile’s @CCarla Munoz , who topped USA’s @Kelani Lawrence in a 5-game thriller on the competition’s opening day to claim the 4th seed in the knockouts. The best player to not advance is Cris Amaya, who finished 3rd of 3 in the group of Death, falling to two top-10 LPRT pros.
Knockout predictions:
In the 16s, a really tough matchup between #7 @Kelani Lawrence and #10 Angelica Barrios looms; Advantage Barrios here.
Quarters prediction:

  • #1 @MariMaria Jose Vargas over #8 Micaela Meneses . Meneses is pulling triple duty here as a junior but doesn’t yet have the firepower to topple Vargas.
  • #5 @Rhonda Rajsich over #4 Munoz: on paper Munoz is the better player right now, but Rhonda always plays “up” at these competitions.
  • #3 Natalia Mendes over #6 @Ana Gabriela Martinez ; Gaby may have the world title, but Mendez is the one on her native soil (she grew up in Bolivia before converting to represent Argentina). Plus, Mendez has topped Gaby 2 out of their last 3 meetings.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrera over the Barrios/Kelani winner. There’s no easy matches from the quarters on, so Herrera will get a top 10 touring pro from here on out despite being the #2 seed#1s
    Semis prediction:
  • #1 Vargas over #5 Rajsich
  • #2 Herrera over #3 Mendez
  • Final: Vargas tops Herrera on her native soil. She may represent Argentina, but Vargas was born in Santa Cruz and will take the title in her hometown.

Men’s Doubles
Group stage thoughts: Great win by the Bredenbeck’s to take the #1 seed in their group of death. Likewise, really solid win by the Costa Ricans to seize the #2 seed over the Mexicans.
Knockout round preview:

  • Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 best teams are in the upper bracket so we’re going to get what should be the final in the semis. Look for #4 Canada (Murray and @CoCoby Iwaasa ) to take out #1 Team USA to make the final.
  • From the bottom, I think the Bolivians (Keller and @Kadim Carrasco ) will bounce back on home soil to advance to the final as the #6 seed.
  • Final: Canada over Bolivia.

Women’s Doubles:
Pool play reaction: no surprises for this observer, despite the seeding not going as expected. The top LPRT pros in both groups rose to the top.
Knockout predictions:

  • Mexico over Bolivia in one semi. I like the Herrera/ @Samantha Salas Solis team to cruise past the @Yazmine Sabja Aliss and Meneses team, though the home town will cheer them to at least one game win.
  • Argentina over USA in the other semi. I just think the two native Bolivians (Mendez and Vargas) are too good on the court together, despite the international heroics of @RRhonda Rajsich and @ErikErika Manila .
  • Final: Mexico over Argentina: Herrera/Salas are just too good at Doubles to lose here.

Mixed Doubles
Pool play reactions: Chalk in Group A, but a huge win for Team USA (Landa and Manilla) to upset my pre-tourney favorite Team Mexico (Montoya/Salas) to claim the #2 seed. I was slightly surprised to see team Colombia (Mercado and Amaya) finish 3rd in their group, being the solid doubles players they both are.
Knockout predictions:

  • From the top half, Team Bolivia (Moscoso and Meneses) seem like they have the easier path to the final and may have a harder quarter vs Colombia than semis versus Argentina (Valeria Centellas and Diego Garcia).
  • From the Bottom half, we probably get a rematch of the group stage Mexico vs USA … and I like the passion of Landa/Manilla to advance. They beat them once, they can do it again.
  • In the final? I think the Bolivia – USA matchup favors the Americans. Landa can hang with Moscoso, while Manilla would out-perform Meneses on the right hand side. USA for the inaugural international Mixed title.

Should be great matches this week. Can’t wait.

Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
International Racquetball Federation
International Racquetball Federation

33rd PARC Tourney and Group Stage previews

Landa is set to defend his 2021 World title in Bolviia. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


The 33rd annual Pan American Racquetball Championships kicks off this weekend with a slew of singles round robins, new rules, and new divisions.
It is back after two years of cancellations due to Covid.
We’ll hold off until the RRs are competed and the knockout brackets are determined to do predictions, but did want to highlight some interesting items at this juncture.

  • First off, the IRF has FINALLY FINALLY decided to use R2sports.com to coordinate the tournament. For years (decades?) they’ve depended on hand creating PDFs and uploading them to Dropbox, but could never seem to keep the results updated in a timely manner mid-tournament, and the Dropbox links constantly change so I can’t embed sources for tournaments … So everyone can be happy that this tournament will be in the same platform as every other racquetball tournament.
  • R2sports home page: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39092
  • Rally scoring is now in play. A reminder that the IRF went to rally scoring because they claimed it would shorten matches (it doesn’t), or that its because they want to be presentable to TV (a TV contract they don’t have), or so they can hold team events (which they’ve always been able to do). Other than that … yay! can’t wait for rally scoring so that we can not have any epic comebacks or fantastic back-and-forth tiebreakers or any semblance of a match that doesn’t look like its being competed in a rush because the participants are late for a dinner reservation….
  • Reminder on seeding: the seeding is done based on the COUNTRY, not the PLAYER. So, you might have someone like a top 10 touring pro (Mario Mercado) seeded below someone ranked outside the top 1000 in the world thanks to the prior success (or lack thereof) by their countrymen in previous IRF events.
  • New event here: Mixed Doubles. Should be fun. The Mexican Nationals mixed event was great, and i’m sure this one will be fun too.
  • They have junior divisions here, including an U21 division. They seem to be competed basically by Mexican players and South American players. This is not an official IRF junior international event, so only countries that can afford to send players are doing so.

Now for some thoughts on each main draw:

Men’s Singles:

  • there’s 22 players competing. A bit light as compared to past PARC events (in 2019 they had 30 men competing)
  • There is a definitely has a “Group of Death” so to speak, with defending Pan Am games gold medalist @Rodrigo Montoya , top IRT pro @Mario Mercado , and dangerous argentine young player @DDiego Garcia all joined by Canadian #2 @Trevor Webb in one RR group. Wow; i’m not sure i’ve seen such a strong international group stage collection in a while.
  • The draw overall is good: there’s some solid players here; the quarter finals will be epic here if they play out to seeds in that eight regular touring players are present, many of whom have won IRT events.
  • Mexico’s #2 player is a name maybe not as well known to fans in Elias Nieto. He earned this spot by making the semis in last June’s Mexican Nationals event, an event won by Montoya over Parrilla in the final, and with Portillo topping Nieto in the 3rd place game. With both Parrilla and Lalo begging out of the event, the slot went to Nieto.
    Women’s Singles:
  • 17 players entered, also a light draw. 25 entered the 2019 version of the PARC.
  • Shockingly … no Paola Longoria, who lives for these international competitions to add to her astounding count of titles (21 at current). I’ll have to get some insight as to why she’s not here.
  • Clearly Mexico had some issues filling the spot, because the Mexican #2 female is junior Angela Ortega, who is competing in her age 17 season and who has never appeared on the LPRT. Very odd, in that there’s probably 10 other Mexican touring pros who would have been a more competitive entrant here (just off the top of my head …. Mejia, Parrilla, Enriquez, Salas, Lucia Gonzalez, Flores, Groves, Acosta, Perez, Rico, or Aguilar). Interesting. Salas is here, but already competing in both doubles events, and adding a third event probably was a non-starter.
  • In fact, I might be wrong, but it doesn’t seem like any player is playing in all 3 events; maybe that was a purposeful limitation on the entrants.
  • The group of death seems to be Group A, with @Maria Jose Vargas, @AmAmaya C , and @Angelica Barrios. A top 3, top 10 and top 15 player.
  • Despite no #1 Longoria, 6 of the top 10 are in the singles draw plus another 3 from the top 20.
  • – Another notable absence; no @Maria Renee Rodriguez from Guatemala, who has been a mainstay at these events for the better part of a decade representing her country alongside Gaby Martinez.

Men’s Doubles:

  • There’s 10 teams/countries represented here.
  • Interestingly Moscoso is NOT playing with his typical doubles partner Roland Keller; instead its Carrasco and Carlos Keller representing Bolivia.
  • The Bredenbeck brothers are representing the USA, which should be fun.
  • Acuna is not playing with his regular partner Camacho from Costa Rica.

I think your two early favorites here are Canada (Murray and Iwaasa are tough) and USA (the Bredenbecks have played together a lot).

Women’s Doubles

  • 8 teams here, split into two RR groups to start.
  • Group A is stacked, with three teams I think could win this all together (Bolivia, Mexico and USA).
  • Group B is … well, significantly weaker than Group A, and its 4th seed is clearly the best team in Argentina. They’ll get a cakewalk into the #2 seed in knockouts.
  • I just don’t see how these groups/seedings make sense: you have clearly the top four racquetball playing countries (USA, Canada, Mexico, and Bolivia) in one group, then Columbia, Guatemala, Chile, and Argentina in the other. That just doesn’t seem balanced at all. Even if the past results support it.

I think your favorites are clearly Mexico (Herrera/Salas), but Argentina (Vargas/Mendez) have been playing together regularly for most of the last few LPRT seasons and should make it a compelling final if they get there.

Mixed Open

  • A first time through for Mixed and we have some intriguing teams for sure.
  • 10 teams here and it seems like players have prioritized Mixed over Gender doubles; the better players are here.
  • – My early favorites are Mexico (Montoya and Salas, who just won Mexican Mixed), USA (Landa and Manilla are both great doubles players), and Colombia (Mercado and Amaya are both highly experienced doubles teams). Don’t sleep on Bolivia, who has Moscoso hitting bombs on the right hand side, always a challenge in doubles.

Streaming apparently doesn’t start until next week. But maybe we’ll get some of the players streaming their matches in the interim.
More to come next week on this event when we get to the knockouts.

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!

tags

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.

2022 Beach Bash Preview

Benny Goldenberg is the defending Beach Bash pro doubles champ with Ryan Lopez; can they repeat? Photo from 2021 Stratton Woods by Ken Fife

After a 2 year hiatus, Beach Bash is back! The best one-wall players in the land are descending as we speak to South Florida to join the Spring Breakers and to play some racquetball on the historic Garfield Street courts, right off the Boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida.


This will be the 14th iteration of what was first called “Beach Bash for Cash,” which started in 2007. It was the follow-on tournament to the seminal 2004 WOR One-Wall National Doubles Championships held on these same courts, which was a formative event in the history of WOR and Outdoor Racquetball in this country in general.
It is great to have this tournament back … and judging by the talent of players entered, so is the community at large.


A huge number of regular “indoor” touring pros are entered this week, including 5 of the current top 10 on the IRT and a slew of regular touring LPRT pros. They are joined by a literal who’s who of top one-wall outdoor players from DC, NY, and FL to compete for the pro titles. This weekend’s event shall be great.
Further adding to the import of the year’s first outdoor “major” is the inclusion of the new Outdoor Cup Series for 2022. Winners here this weekend will have a big leg-up on the competition for the “Road to Vegas” year-long cup series.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=31509

Lets preview the draws. There’s a ton of pro draws, singles and doubles, so we’ll run through them with some thoughts given in each competition.


Men’s Pro Doubles


A stacked Men’s pro doubles draw is headlined by the #1 seeds and defending champs Ryan Lopez and @Benny Goldenberg. Seeded #2 is the top outdoor doubles team of @Daniel de la Rosa and @Alvaro Beltran , who together have won six Major outdoor pro doubles titles, including the last five straight Vegas 3-wall pro titles. But, Beltran injured his hip in the IRT event last weekend … and this is one-wall, not three-wall (where all their titles together are), so DLR/Beltran may not be the favorites here.
The rest of the draw is littered with top pairs with past titles. The top half features @David Blatt and William Rolon as the #4 seeds (they were the 2018 Beach Bash champs), the hard hitting #5 seeded team of @Sebastian Franco and @Joe Young (the 2015 Beach Bash champs), the 2021 Vegas one-wall pro doubles champs as a #12 seed (that being @Adam Manilla and @Nick Riffel ), and then we throw in top outdoor one-wall player @Rick Koll playing with perhaps the land’s best paddleball player in @Emmitt Coe.
That’s a stacked draw … and its just the top half of this bracket.
Challenging DLR/Beltran from the bottom half include the #3 seeded team of Sostre and David Horn (Sostre has 4 Beach Bash titles and another 4 finals), teams comprised of top IRT touring players like Conrrado Moscoso , Mario Mercado , and @Javier Mar, and long-time outdoor player @Tito Montanez playing with the legend himself Ruben González. Lastly there’s #6 seeded team of @Nelsen Dieda and @Richie Miller … Miller and Dieda together made 5 straight Beach Bash pro doubles finals between 2013 and 2018, winning three of them, and Miller himself made the final of every Beach Bash pro doubles event for 8 straight years.
Whoever comes out of the bottom will have more than earned it.

Predictions? I like Lopez/Benny from the top to beat Franco/Young in the semis. From the bottom, whoever wins the 3/6 matchup between Sostre/Horn and Miller/Deida runs to the title. I’m leaning Miller/Deida, but wouldn’t be surprised if the strength of Iceman on the one-wall court pulls them to the final.


Women’s Pro Doubles
There’s several tough teams in this Women’s pro doubles draw, each of whom you could make an argument for winning. Scott (the 2018 winner) is playing with the most decorated women’s outdoor doubles player in the land in @Michelle De La Rosa: they’re the #1 seed. But they have to get by the Zerega-veteran team of Ramos/Guinan to make the final.
On the bottom half two-time Beach Bash champ and outdoor legend @Anita Maldonado is playing with three-time winner @Jasmine Suarez ; they’ll likely face the very tough doubles team of Hall of Famer Aimee Roehler and LPRT touring pro @MasieMasiel Rivera in the bottom half.

Great matches ahead; my money is on Roehler/Rivera to top mDLR/Scott in the final.


Mixed Pro Doubles


Its tough not to look at this draw and immediately predict a #1 vs #2 final, given who is there and how they generally fare in these events. #1 Seeds and defending champs the De La Rosa husband/wife pair
will be pushed in the semis by 2015 Mixed pro champs Maldonado/Deida, while the #2 seeded team of Sostre/Rivera will face a gauntlet of interesting pairings of experienced outdoor players playing with solid indoor-only partners (teams such as Portillo/Scott, or Riffel/Neils, or Pagan/Roehler, or even the Manilla bro/sis combo).

At the end of the day though, i’m going chalk to the finals with another title for the De La Rosas.


Men’s Pro Singles:

19 players are entered into Men’s pro singles, trying to dethrone the two favorites and two top seeds in 2019’s finalists @Daniel de la Rosa and @Robert Sostre. DLR took out IceMan in the 2019 singles final, breaking Sostre’s streak of four straight titles in the event.


From the top side of the draw, DLR will face an immediate threat from a seasoned one-wall expert in @Tito Montanez in the 16s, before having to navigate possibly against 2019 semi finalist @William Rolon in the semis. That’s if Rolon can get past the winner of @Thomas Gerhardt and Conrrado Moscoso , who is playing one-wall for the first time and could be a dark-horse thanks to his extensive experience playing Fronton in his native Bolivia.
From the bottom side, #2 Sostre may face a heavy challenge in the quarters from #7 @Andres Acuna , who topped two excellent outdoor singles players in 2019 en route to the 3WB outdoor final. Otherwise, the projection would be for Iceman to meet his long-time doubles partner Freddy Ramirez in the semis for a shot at the title.

Despite all the talent in the draw, look for a rematch of the 2019 final when all is said and done and for DLR to retain the title. He’s just too strong on the outdoor courts and is in the peak of his playing years.


Women’s Pro Singles .


Two time defending Beach Bash pro singles winner Hollie Scott is here to defend her title. She’ll take on a round robin of fellow LPRT touring pros and Outdoor veterans, trying to dethrone her.

My prediction: Scott rolls to another pro title.


Look for Streaming on the LPRT feed for the weekend, with JT R Ball flying into town from Southern California to man the mike with a series of guest stars all weekend.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors @Peggine Tellez and the @3WallBall Outdoor World Championships team (Mike Coulter) for putting this event on! Thanks to @Abel Perez and the title sponsor of Apcon/MZ Companies for your patronage.
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2022 IRT Wintergreen Classic Wrap-Up

DLR wins the 2022 Wintergreen classic as a tune up for Atlanta. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your major division winners on the weekend:
– Pro Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
– Open Men’s Singles; Alan Natera
– Open Doubles; Eduardo Portillo & Sebastian Franco
– Mixed Doubles: Erika Manilla & Mario Mercado

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38089

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

The Men’s Pro draw basically went chalk in the round of 32 and 16. #9 @Jaime Martell upset #8 @Mauricio Zelada as the only upset by seed, but Martell might be the best player in the world who does not regularly feature on the IRT, so this is no surprise to regular followers of the sport. #4 @Sebastian Franco was pushed to a breaker in his round of 16 match by Ohio-based up and coming player @Victor Migliore but persevered 11-7 in the breaker to move into the quarters.

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In the Quarters
– It looked for a hot second like #1 @Daniel De La Rosa was going to get upset by Martell, losing the second game 15-14 and then going down early in the tie-breaker, but he flipped the script in an instant and cruised to the 11-4 breaker win.
– #5 @Andres Acuna got a solid win against #4 Franco in two games. This is another excellent example of why Acuna is a player to watch going forward; he’s beating the players he should beat, and is starting to get top-8 wins.
– #3 @Mario Mercado cruised past #6 @Alan Natera 11,7
– #2 @Lalo Portillo took out #7 Bolivian @Kadim Carrasco in two 9,8.

In the Semis, a couple of interesting results.
– #1 DLR labored to get past Acuna in a breaker 11-6. Perhaps its still just a bit of rust for the #1 player, or perhaps its another sign that Acuna is a player to be reckoned with. Or perhaps its a bit of both.
– #3 Mercado continued his hot streak of late, dispatching #2 Portillo with a streaky score line of 2,,(8),2. A really nice win for Mercado.

In the Finals, Mercado took the first game and was up big in the second game, and the broadcasters & viewers were wondering if DLR would even *score* in the second game. Well, not only did he score, he basically stopped Mario in his tracks and took game two 15-10 (going on a 15-2 run to do so), then took the tie-breaker to claim the title. Never count out the #1 player in the world. DLR takes the win here as a great tune-up for next week’s Grand Slam in Atlanta.

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Men’s Open Singles review

The Open Singles had 20 players, including one touring LPRT pro in @Erika Manila . Here’s a recap of the action.

From the top side, #1 seed Martell cruised into the final without dropping a game. He topped Migliore in the semis. Victor had topped Thomas Gerhardt in the quarters, a solid win for him.

In the bottom Half, an under-seeded Manilla took out New Yorker @Anthony Armaneuse in the round of 32 opener, then upset #3 seed @Kyle Ulliman in the next round. She couldn’t move forward though, losing a nail-biting 11-10 breaker in the quarters to Maryland local open player @Dylan Pruitt. But it was #2 Natera who advanced to the final, beating NY junior @Josh Shea and then Pruitt in the semis.

In the final, Natera had a nice run to finish off a game 1 win that looked for a while like it was lost, then blew away Martell in game two to take the title 12,6. Natera wins the open draw without dropping a game.

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Men’s Open Doubles review

The 13-team Men’s Open draw went completely chalk to the semis. From the top side of the draw, #1 Portillo/Franco took out #4 Natera/Acuna, while on the bottom #3 home-town favorites Mercado/Zelada took out the Bolivians Keller/Carrasco to move into the final.

In the final… Franco/Portillo drove the action and dominated play against the Maryland-based FormulaFlow brothers, and won going away 9,4 to take the title.

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Mixed Open Draw

The Mixed open draw was mostly competed on Sunday, and featured a 5-team RR draw of top competitors mostly with DC-area ties. And, unfortunately, the looming snow storm took a toll on this draw, as the traveling NY-team forfeited to get a jump on the weather, and a couple hours later the Junkin/Weinberg team did the same.

In the end though, the top two seeds ended up going undefeated and met in the Sunday final, with the #1 seeded pairing of Erika Manilla & Mario Mercado squeaking out game one over #2 Brenda Laime & Zelada and advancing to the title 14,9.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer and Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew, who braved the weather forecast to travel into the area this weekend.

Thanks to the Tourney Director @slemo Warigon for putting this event on and for your continued patronage of the sport.

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Next up?

Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMbIP9S…/

Next weekend is a big one: the 2022 Suivant Consulting IRT Grand Slam in Atlanta. The draws look fantastic and it should be a barn burner. And, by the time you read this we may have a big-time announcement related to the IRT draw. How’s that for a teaser?

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tags

Associations
@International Racquetball Tour

Countries
USA Racquetball
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