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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2022 Wintergreen Classic Preview

Zelada competes on home soil this weekend at the Wintergreen. Photo from US Doubles 2020 via Kevin Savory

The first appearance of the top IRT pros of the new year is set to happen this coming weekend, at the annual Wintergreen classic held in Severna Park, located halfway between Baltimore and Washington in Maryland. This year’s event, run by long-time racquetball benefactor and IRT investor Slemo Warigon , has been upgraded to be a tier 3 event for the first time, which has attracted a slew of top IRT regulars for a solid draw.

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

Lets review the major draws on the weekend, which will feature some solid women’s draws, fun doubles matchups, and even some pro-level mixed doubles.

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IRT Pro Singles

There are 20 players entered, including three top-10 players, another 5-6 regular touring players ranked in the teens, and a slew of top east coast open players. It should be a fun draw.

Fun round of 32 and 16s to look for:
– #8/#9 is MoMo Zelada versus @Jaime Martel Neri , in what should be a very interesting match. Zelada has been playing regularly and has some good wins, while Jaime rarely travels outside his native Mexico but has been known to make noise when he does play. Look for Martel to upset Zelada here (they met in 2015 and Jaime won in 3 easy games).
– #6/#11 Alan Natera takes on NY junior @Josh Shea in what could be a closer match than Natera may want. Shea has been improving his results lately and has been facing better and better competition.
– #7/#10 Bolivian vet @Kadim Carrasco takes on Maryland’s own Dylan Pruitt in what should be a stiff test for the local player playing on courts he knows pretty well.

projected quarters.
– #1 Daniel de la Rosa faces the winner of the Martell/Zelada match, but should have no problems moving on.
– #4 Sebastian Franco projects to face #5 @Andres Acuña , an interesting matchup of mid-teens IRT regulars. Franco is 3-0 lifetime against Acuna, never really being pushed, but all their past meetings are in the 2016-18 range. Acuna is a different player right now, and I sense an upset here, even though these courts are well known to the long-time Maryland resident Franco.
– #3 @Mario Mercado versus #6 Natera. Mercado is fresh off a tier 1 win late last year and an excellent showing at Worlds. He beat Natera twice heads up on tour last year, but both times were really close. I expect Mercado, a long-time DC area native who is quite familiar with this club, to advance in a close match again.
– #2 @Lalo Portillo projects to face #7 Carrasco. They have played once; in 2017, when Lalo was a shell of the player he is now. Portillo moves on in two.

Projected Semis and Finals:
– DLR over Acuna
– Lalo over Mercado

Final: Lalo upsets DLR, but not without DLR putting up a fight. He didn’t fly here from Arizona to not get the top prize. Lalo took the IRT component at this tourney last summer, taking out Franco and Zelada along the way, so he is not unfamiliar with the courts. And Lalo upset DLR in Sarasota last November, so he’s got a playbook for winning. How motivated is DLR in his first tourney back? We’ll see.

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Men’s Open doubles

13 teams are entered into Open doubles, and the top four seeded teams are all touring regulars, which should make for some great semi finals action.

From the top half, look for #1 seeds Portillo/Franco to advance to the final, vanquishing teams that include top Maryland amateur @Dylan Pruitt playing with top junior from New York @Josh Shea, the #4 seeds Acuna/Natera, and the voice of the IRT Dean Baer , playing with fellow New Yorker @Anthony Armanuse.

From the bottom half, I like the #3 seeded team of @FormulaFlow players Zelada & Mercado to upset the #2 seeds from Bolivia Keller/Carasco to make the final. They’ll advance out of a quadrant that includes top teams from Virginia (Peter Appel and Ross Weinberg), Texas (@Richard Eisemann and @Cole Sendry), and frequent east coast tourney players @Brent Walters and Thomas Gerhardt.

In the final, Lalo/Franco win to give Lalo a double on the weekend and some serious confidence heading into the 2022 season.

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Mixed Open doubles features five teams and some top women’s players. @Erika Manila is in town; she’s teamed up with the excellent mixed doubles player Mercado as the #1 seed in the RR draw. They’ll be challenged by fellow LPRT touring pro Brenda Laime at the #2 spot (teamed with house-mate and fellow FormulaFlow player Zelada) for the title. Also competing are two top-level Virginia mixed pairings in Kristin Junkin & Weinberg and two outdoor regulars @Aime Brewer and Gerhardt.

I like the draw to play out chalk; with Manilla/Mercado taking the title.

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

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LPRT 29th Xmas Classic Wrap-Up

Erika Manilla is really starting to make a name for herself on tour. Photo 2021 US Open via Kevin Savory


Congrats to Paola Longoria, who was the double pro winner on the weekend yet again. She adds to her already amazing pro title history; this is her 105th pro Tier 1 singles title and her 49th Pro Doubles title since we started tracking pro doubles on the women’s tour in Aug 2014.
Paola won the doubles title this weekend with Maria Jose Vargas Parada, and not her regular doubles partner Salas (who was absent this week).


Singles Match report: http://rball.pro/5819A5
Doubles match report: http://rball.pro/6AAF40

Here’s a quick run-through the notable singles matches this weekend for me:

  • Great win for Erika Manilla in the 16s, controlling the powerful Mexican player Montse Mejia in two games. Mejia won a grand slam earlier this year, but has several head scratching losses since. Not to take anything away from Manilla, whose US Open performance and subsequent playing has her firmly in my world top 8 right now.
  • Also a great win for Carla Muñoz Montesinos in the 16s, taking out #9 Valeria Centellas in the round of 16 with ease. Munoz is close to breaking back into the top 10 and this was a solid win that will help cement her return.
  • Kelani Lawrence got another win over her American rival Rhonda Rajsich, and had to come back from a game down to do so.
  • Maria Renee Rodríguez took #6 Jessica Parrilla to a breaker after a somewhat disappointing Worlds showing.
    The seeds held from the quarters onward, with the draw going perfectly chalk. But there were some closer games and matches.
  • Lawrence nearly took game one in the quarters from #2 Vargas before losing 14,6
  • Herrera could not repeat the feat of downing Vargas twice in a row and fell in the semis in a breaker 7,(13),8. However, it does seem like we’re starting to see a real rivalry for the #2 spot on tour, which means great projected semi finals each week.
  • #4 Natalia Mendez Erlwein cooled the hot Manilla in the quarters to play to her seed once again.
  • In the final, Vargas really pushed Longoria in game one 15-13 before falling. Would like to see some consistent competition for the #1 player.

On the doubles draw, the #1 seeds of Alexandra Herrera and Mejia advanced to the final as expected, where they faced the tough Vargas/Longoria pairing. The two top teams split games before Longoria/Vargas blew away their young Mexican counter parts in the breaker to take the title.

In Mixed doubles, we had some excellent play. A number of the top LPRT pros teamed up with the pros and top amateurs playing to give the draw a really solid mixed feel.
The semis featured Lalo Portillo and Alexandra Herrera taking out two local players in Ben Bleyer and Masiel Rivera Oporto, while on the bottom Mario Mercado and Erika Manilla made for a formidable pairing and topped Lawrence, playing with lefty North Carolinian Jacob Matthews.

In the final though, Mercado/Manilla could not overtake the excellent doubles players in Lalo/Herrera and lost in two.

Men’s Open draw
A healthy 17 player draw featured four top pros who held to their seeds and advanced into the quarters.

Local amateurs Josh Shea (NY), Joe Kelley (PA), Austin Cunningham (GA) and Dylan Pruitt (MD) advanced into the quarters and put up good fights against the top touring pros; indeed, three of the four quarters went to breaker. However, the top seeds advanced to the semis for some quality late-round pro action. At the top, Portillo cruised past local favorite MoMo Zelada 11,0, while at the bottom Mario Mercado​ lost a Worlds quarterfinal rematch against USA’s Jake Bredenbeck, but then was given an inj fft into the final. Unfortunately, no final was held; Mercado got the walkover win despite losing the semi.

Great last tournament of the 2021 from all involved; thanks to the Grisz clan Karen Grisz and Mike Grisz for running the 29th version of this long-running tournament.

What’s next?
After an incredibly busy month, the ladies get a break. The next scheduled pro stop on the LPRT isn’t until mid February, when Sudsy Monchik is hosting the tour in Vero Beach, FL. We hope for a January event for the ladies pros.

Arizona Open LPRT and Mixed recap

Longoria wins again. Photo 2020 3WB by Steve Fitzsimons


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Women’s pro Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Mixed Doubles; Longoria and Alex Landa
  • Women’s Open: Angelica Barrios
  • Women’s Open/Elite Doubles: Diaz/Ros

R2 Sports App home page for event:https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37835

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/FBCB63

In the 32s: some fun matches and some upsets

  • #16/#17 went tie-breaker, because of course it did. #17 Erika Manilla took out her country-woman Sheryl Lotts in a breaker to setup an anticipated rematch with Longoria.
  • #8 Valeria Centellas took out #25 Naomi Ros, notable because Ros is playing in her age 15 season (!). Ros recently moved to San Antonio after winning a couple of junior titles for Mexico in the late 2010s.
  • #12 Carla Muñoz Montesinos was pushed by the young Mexican Daniela Rico but advanced. Rico is another young player to watch for going forward.
  • #6 Angelica Barrios was pushed in game one by Michelle De La Rosa but then cruised to a two game win 13,3
  • Ireland #1 Aisling Hickey continues to impress, taking a game off of #7 Jessica Parrilla before falling in a breaker. If I’m reading the r2sports profile correctly, Hickey is now living in California, so we should be seeing a lot more of her on the tour.
  • The #15/18 match was as close as the 16/17, with #15 Maria Renee Rodríguez advancing past Erin Slutzky in a breaker.

In the 16s:

  • Well, if you thought you’d see another close one between #1 Paola Longoria and Manilla … Paola had other plans. She put a statement out there with an utter domination, beating Erika 0,1. Manilla did not score until it was 0-9 in the second game. Between singles and her doubles performances so far, Longoria looks as locked in as I’ve seen her in a while.
  • #9 Rhonda Rajsich got an excellent win over #8 Centellas in the breaker to move on to the quarters.
  • #4 and #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein and Gaby Martinez each cruised past LPRT regulars Carla Muñoz Montesinos and Amaya Cris to get to their expected quarter final matchup.
  • #3 Alexandra Herrera faced a common foe in Kelani Lawrence, and each time they play it seems to get closer. This time around, Kelani took a game from the top Mexican lefty before Alexandra fought back for the 11-9 breaker win.
  • #6 and #7 Angelica Barrios and Parrilla each cruised past LPRT veterans in Brenda Laime Jalil and Nancy Enriquez. Laime was not able to build on her US Open momentum … but also ran into a player in Barrios who has made multiple pro finals.
  • #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada was pressed in game one by LPRT vet MRR, but advanced 10,2

In the Quarters

  • #1 Longoria downed her longest rival Rajsich, but was pressed to do so like no other player in this draw.
  • #4 Martinez took out #5 Mendez with a well played 10,12 win.
  • #3 Herrera held serve against the young Bolivian Barrios, who had topped her the last time they met.
  • #2 Vargas fought off a match point against against #7 Parrilla to move on. A tough break for Leoni, who has STILL yet to advance to a pro semi since her knee injury 3 years ago.

In the Semis

  • #1 Longoria blew out #4 Gaby 6,5 to move to the final. She continues to play lights out ball this weekend.
  • #2 Vargas held serve against #3 Herrera 10,6 to setup a 1-2 final

In the Finals, Longoria continued her complete dominance over the tour at present, topping the #2 player Vargas 7,3 to take her 103rd career LPRT Tier1 title. She now has more than a 1,000 point lead atop the LPRT rankings, a gulf that could take quite a while for even the #2 to overcome.


Mixed Pro Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: none. I have the data captured locally but there’s so few mixed pro doubles matches that we have not build out a section off of www.proracquetballstats.com.
Here’s a recap of some of the fun Mixed pro matches:

  • #1 Longoria/Landa came out configured interestingly against #16 Patrick Allin/Katie Neils, with Longoria on her backhand side. It seemed to flummox Allin and Neils, who switched back and forth to try to stem the flow of points against. In the end, the two top pro players advanced with ease 4,2.
  • #8 Jake Bredenbeck/Lawrence went tiebreaker to advance past the husband/wife pair of Alan Natera Chavez and Munoz.
  • #12 Andres Acuña/Vargas, with Acuna stepping in for original partner Moscoso, helped power the team to an “upset” over Lalo Portillo and MRR in a breaker.
  • The #4 bro/sis Parrilla team destroyed team Formulaflow ( MoMo Zelada and Laime) 5,9.
  • The biggest upset and shock of the round was the utter domination by the Manilla brother/sister team over #1 Samuel Murray/Gaby Martinez. The Manillas completely outplayed both sides of the top doubles pair and cruised to an 11,5 win.
  • the underseeded #11 De La Rosa team upset #6 Carlos Keller Vargas and Centellas 10,11 to move into the quarters.
  • The also-underseeded #10 team of Sebastian Fernandez and Herrera (who made the mixed pro doubles final in Denver), cruised past the #7 seeded team of Mario Mercado and Amaya.
  • #2 Alvaro Beltran fought off an injury sustained earlier in the evening to move into the quarters with Mendez with a close win over Jake Bredenbeck and Lexi York.

Quarter final review:

#1 Landa/Longoria continued to dominate, winning 1,10 over Bredenbeck/Lawrence. They’re going to be tough to beat.

#12 Acuna/Vargas upset the Parrilla bro/sis team in two straight to move on.

The #11 DLRs cooled the red-hot Manilla team to move on.

#10 Fernandez/Herrera upset #2 Beltran/Mendez.
So your quarters are #!, #10, #11, and #12. Which goes to show you why its so hard to predict Mixed pro doubles, or to seed it based on player rankings.
In the semis:

#1 Longoria/Landa dominated the Acuna/Vargas team to move into the final. They’re going to be tough to beat.

The DLRs got a solid comeback win, topping the Denver Finalists Fernandez/Herrera to return to the final of a mixed pro doubles major.

In the final, Longoria/Landa blew out the DLRs in game one, then hung on to take the title 3,13.

Women’s Open Singles:
The top 4 seeds advanced to the semis as expected; all four are regular LPRT touring pros.
In the semis, #1 Barrios edged #4 Munoz 11-10, while Enriquez took out #2 Centellas in a breaker. In the final, Barrios took a tight two game win over the veteran Mexican.
Women’s Open/Elite Doubles:

The San Antonio based junior pair of Shane Diaz and Naomi Ros cruised through the 5-team RR to take the title.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr.., and Tj Baumbaugh.

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

IRT is in Sarasota, LPRT is in Chicago next Weekend!

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Arizona Open LPRT & Mixed Previews


Welcome to the big Arizona Open, hosted by the one and only Jim Winterton on the grounds of Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.
This weekend is a rarity in pro racquetball; a combined tour event with both Men and Women that features a major Mixed Pro doubles draw! Today we’ll preview the women and mixed doubles, tomorrow the IRT.
We don’t get to see mixed pro doubles much; the only tourneys i have tracked are from 2018 in Denver (won by the De La Rosas), 2019 in San Antonio (won by Natera/Mejia), 2019 in Syosset (won by DLR and Salas), and 2021 in Denver earlier this year (won by Montoya/Salas). But it is back, and we have a fantastic draw for the weekend.
We also have a full Women’s pro singles draw (31 players) and a full Men’s pro draw (with 46 players), so get ready for some great racquetball this weekend.
R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37835
top20 players missing on the women’s side: just 3 of the top 20.

Women’s top 20 players missing: #5 Mejia, #19 Riveros, and #20 Scott.


Women’s LPRT Singles.
We have nearly a full 32 here; only #1 Paola Longoria gets a bye into the 16s. Here’s some round of 32s to watch for:

  • #16/#17 should be great: two top Americans in Erika Manilla and Sheryl Lotts battle it out for a shot at #1. Look for Manilla to move on; she’ll build on her US Open finish.
  • #9/#24 features two more Americans duking it out with Rhonda Rajsich facing Lexi York.
  • Amaya Cris and María Paz Riquelme have an intra-household battle, as they have to face off on the court for the first time.
  • Kelani Lawrence takes on veteran Susy Acosta, competing in her 24th pro season.
  • #6 Angelica Barrios has a tough 1st rounder against part time tour player Michelle De La Rosa.
  • #7 Jessica Parrilla has her hands full against Ireland’s Aisling Hickey, who turned some heads with her play in Minneapolis.
  • Like with the 16/17 match, the 15/18 between Maria Renee Rodríguez and Erin Slutzky could be tight.
    projecting the 16s:
  • As if karma was making the draw, we seem set to get a rematch between #1 Longoria and #16 Manilla. Lest anyone forget, these two met in a contentious semi in Minneapolis, marred by Longoria taking a reckless shot that hit Manilla in the side of the head. All eyes will be on this match to gauge the temperature early.
  • I like the possibility of a tiebreaker between #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein and #12 Carla Muñoz Montesinos.
  • #3 Alexandra Herrera and #14 Kelani Lawrence always play tight matches, and this should not be any different.
  • #6 Angelica Barrios and #11 Brenda Laime Jalil will have a battle; they met in the quarters in Minnesota, with Barrios ending Laime’s run, but the Colombian will be looking for revenge.
  • #7 v #10 is a classic battle of Mexican veterans in Jessica Parrilla and Nancy Enriquez. They have traded off wins back and forth, but Jessica is in better form right now.
    Projecting the Quarters:
  • #1 Longoria over #8 Centellas; The Argentine took a game off the champ in 2019 PARC, but otherwise it has been smooth sailing for the #1.
  • #4 Martinez over #5 Mendez: Mendez has toppled Gaby the last two times they have played … but Martinez seems on a mission to live up to her seeding here.
  • #6 Barrios over #3 Herrera: Barrios is too tough to beat here, and beat the lefty the only other time they played.
  • #2 Vargas over #7 Parrilla: Parrilla can’t hang with Vargas game, which is all the way back to her pre-pregnancy state.
    Semis:
  • #1 Longoria outclasses #4 Martinez. Gaby still trying to get her second win over the top player in the world (she topped Paola for the 2018 world title).
  • #2 Vargas over #6 Barrios: This is a rematch of the US Open semi, where Barrios cruised to the first game then collapsed under the weight of Vargas’ power. Expect a similar result here.
  • Final: Longoria over Vargas

Mixed Pro doubles.
There are 17 teams here this weekend, and the seeding may leave some people grumbling. But the seeding exactly matches the pro doubles rankings for the teams, so there is a methodology. Unfortunately, this method underseeded several really strong teams, which could lead to a very wide-open draw. I feel there’s at least 5 or 6 teams here that can win it. It seems like it will come down to match-ups.
In the play in, I like the outdoor specialists Patrick Allin and Katie Neils to remember how to play with a back wall and advance to face the #1 seeds.
Projecting the 16s:

  • #1 Landa/Longoria present a formidable team and should move on initially.
  • #9 Moscoso/Vargas seem under-seeded, especially since she’s the #2 player in the world and Moscoso has major doubles titles to his credit (2019 PARC, 2019 Bolvian Grand slam). They move on.
  • Another underseeded team is the De La Rosa husband/wife pair, seeded 12th. They get the upset over #5 Portillo/MRR to move on.
  • The #4 Brother/Sister Parrilla team should topple team Formulaflow Zelada/Laime.
  • #3 Murray/Martinez are my team to beat here; they start out by handling the lefty-righty brother-sister Manillas.
  • #11 features the finalists from Denver in Sebastian Fernandez and Herrera; they should “upset” #6 Keller/Centellas, though it will be very close. Centellas has long been a doubles pro, winning the 2018 worlds as a 16yr old.
  • Husband/Wife pair #10 Natera/Munoz should handle Mercado & Amaya, even though Mercado has proven how good a doubles player he can be.
  • #2 Beltran/Mendez get their tourney started by topping the younger Bredenbeck brother playing with York.
    Quarters:
  • The #1 vs #9 could be the final; it features the top two Women’s singles players and two of the top six men’s players in the world. I like the upset here; I think Moscoso will play with some passion, and I think Vargas can hang with Longoria on the forehand side. Landa regularly plays the forehand side when he plays Nationals with Sudsy Monchik or pros with Murray, and Moscoso can out shoot him on the backhand side.
  • I like the Parrillas to take out the De La Rosas in an upset. While DLR can take over a match (as we saw in Vegas), Jessica can outhit Michelle on the forehand side. It will be a close one, but look for the bro/sis to move on.
  • Murray/Martinez lost to Fernandez/Herrera in the semis in Denver 14,10. They get a rematch here, but I like the same result. If they both play forehands, the Patata/Alexandra team creates a serious strategic issue for opponents. Do they drive serve to her forehand and attempt to steal points with Gaby serving the powerful Patata on his forehand? Do they mix it up and force Gaby to play her backhand against Alexandra’s forehand?
  • #2 Beltran/Mendez are too experienced to lose to the newlyweds Natera/Munoz at this juncture; both the #2 seeds are incrementally better than their opponents and the result will show through in the score.
    Semis:
  • Moscoso/Vargas will over power the Parrillas on both sides of the ball.
  • Patata/Herrera’s matchup problems will take out Beltran/Mendez.
  • Final Herrera can’t hang with Vargas’ power, and Moscoso the shooter puts away pinch after pinch to win it for the South Americans.

Look for Men’s Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live. Look for Dean DeAngelo Baer, @Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!
Look for Women’s Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for @ [554433128:2048:Timothy Baghurst], Jerry J Josey Jr., JP Edwards and @ [1254655965:2048:Tj Baumbaugh] on the mike, calling the shots!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
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World Singles & Doubles Preview Pt 1

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

In the round of 64, some great potential matches:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Projected Qtrs:

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

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

LPRT Pro Singles Review


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

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

Some great projected round of 16s here:

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

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


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


Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
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2020 Wintergreen Wrap-up

Zelada captures a strong Wintergreen pro field. Photo via youtube screenshot capture of Formula flow promotional video

While the International Racquetball Tour was in Austin this past weekend for the Longhorn Open, one of the longer continuously running events in the land was happening back in my neck of the woods, with an IRT Tier 5 draw plus a solid Women’s open draw that saw some great matches and contributed to some great Mixed Open play.

Here’s a wrap-up of the 2020 Wintergreen Classic from Laurel, Md this past weekend.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=30705

——————
In the Men’s Pro:

Seeds when chalk to the semis, where the top four seeds advanced in #1 Maurice Miller, #2 MoMo Zelada, #3 Troy Warigon and #4 David Austin. We saw all these players in action in Laurel when the IRT visited in September, and they were all back here for this event.

Other notables in the draw: LPRT touring pro and Momo’s wife Masiel Rivera Oporto competed in the draw, upset the 5th seed and fell in the quarters. Top east coast junior Dylan Pruitt, who represented the USA playing doubles in the World Juniors last November, was the 6th seed and fell to home-town player Warigon in the qtrs.

In the semis:
– #1 Miller defeated New Jersey’s #4 seed Austin 5,7
– #2 Zelada went tie-breaker with #3 Warigon as they often do, with Zelada coming out on top again 11-4.

In the final, Zelada outlasted Miller for the third time in the last year in east coast events, blanking him in the breaker to take the title.

—————
Women’s Open:

Virginia’s Kelani Lawrence was the 3rd seed of three LPRT pros in this round robin, but beat both Valeria Centellas and Masiel Rivera in dominant fashion to take the title. It was definitely a statement by Kelani, who has now broken into the LPRT top 20.

Interesting side note: Centellas’ home town in r2sports was listed as Buenos Aires, Argentina. I had heard rumors that she was considering a country switch from Bolivia to Argentina and I wonder if it is now official. This is an interesting development for the international game; Argentina has long been represented by two top LPRT pros in the international game (Maria Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez, ironically themselves both Bolivian-born and naturalized as well). We’ll see if this gets officially announced at some point.

—————-
In Men’s Open Doubles; the 2nd and 3rd seeded singles players Miller and Warigon teamed up to dominate long-time Virginia-based tourney players Ross Weinberg and Raul Berrios in the final. Good showing by the veteran team to oust the #2 seeded youngsters of Pruitt/Austin to advance.

—————-
In Mixed Open Doubles: the presence of a number of top women’s players made the Mixed Open draw fabulous.

In one semi, #1 seeds Warigon & Lawrence took out top dc-area doubles players Weinberg and Kristen Junkin Jones, and in the other semi #2 seeds Miller and Centellas defeated Rivera and Pruitt.

In the final, the reigning world doubles champion Centellas helped spur her team to victory, with Miller/Centellas winning a tight two-game match against Warigon/Lawrence.

—————-
Great play all around

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Asociación Argentina de RacquetballRacquetball Tournament in Laurel, MD USA at SportFit Total Fitness Racquet Club. 1/17/2020 – 1/19/2020 2020 Wintergreen Classic.R2SPORTS.COM

10th WOR Vegas 3-wall Wrap-up

Daniel De La Rosa a 3-time pro winner on the weekend. Photo via GameChangerPhoto/Mike Augustin

Congrats to the winners on the weekend:

Men’s 3-wall Pro Singles: Nick Montalbano
Women’s 3-wall Pro Singles: Rhonda Rajsich

Men’s Pro Doubles 3-wall: De la Rosa/Beltran
Women’s Pro Doubles 3-wall: De la Rosa/Munoz
Mixed Pro Doubles 3-wall: De la Rosa/De la Rosa

Men’s Pro Doubles 1-wall: Rolon/Sostre
Women’s Pro Doubles 1-wall: Maldonado/Stephen
Mixed Pro Doubles 1-wall: Montalbano/Munoz

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=30648

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As you can see from the winner’s list, a fantastic weekend for, in particular, Daniel De La Rosa, who takes home three pro titles (plus a fourth Combined 75+ title with Mike Peters). Its always a good weekend when you don’t lose. Also congrats to Nick Montalbano, Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Munoz, each of whom took home two pro titles.

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Quick review of the 8 draws (the Match report for the event out of the PRS database is the rball.pro URL listed in each case)

Men’s 3-wall Pro Singles: http://rball.pro/E09A46

Relative Outdoor newcomer Andres Acuña proved himself to be a quick study, defeating 2018 outdoor national champ Luis R Avila in the quarters then dominating outdoor legend William Rolon in the semis to make the final from the bottom half. Defending champ and #1 seed Nick Montalbano took out Virginia-based Thomas Gerhardt in the semis of the top half to return to the one-wall final.

In the final, Montalbano split the first two games against Acuna, who was playing just his second outdoor tournament ever and acquitted himself pretty well. In the tiebreaker though, the experience of Montalbano wore down Acuna and he defended his Vegas title from 2018.

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Women’s 3 wall Pro Singles: http://rball.pro/F95463

Ceci Orozco upset two higher seeds in tiebreakers to make the singles final from the bottom half, defeating outdoor specialist Michelle Herbert in the quarters then LPRT vet Adriana Riveros in the semis. Rhonda Rajsich was taken deep into a tiebreaker to oust former LPRT top-4 player Jessica Parrilla in the top half.

In the final, Rajsich dominated Pratt to take the singles Vegas title 1,2. This is Rhonda’s first ever Vegas singles title, and her first WOR singles title in any major since 2015.

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Men’s Pro Doubles 3-wall: http://rball.pro/082B26

Huge upset right out of the gate in the bottom half, as the #2 seed of Rick Koll and Emmett Coe was upset 11-10 by the team of IRT veteran Charlie Pratt and Vegas resident Thomas Moore. Pratt/Moore then went out 11-10 themselves to outdoor legend Greg Solis and Joe Young. This opened the door for the #3 seeded team of Robert Sostre and Chris McDonald to get to the final. There, they met the #1 seeded Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran, who cruised past two talented teams to get to the final.

In the final, Sostre/McDonald saved match point in the 2nd to force a tie-breaker, but DLR/Beltran ran away with it to win the title 11-3 in the breaker. The Mexican duo repeat as champs here and take their 3rd major WOR doubles title in the last two years.

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Women’s Pro Doubles 3-wall: http://rball.pro/57847B

Seeds held to the final, setting up the anticipated rematch of last year’s 11-10 final between the #1 seeds Rajsich and Michelle Herbert versus #2 Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Muñoz Montesinos.

In the final, another tiebreaker and another tough match, but t his time mDLR/Munoz came out on top. Final score 13,(10),6. They win their 3rd major outdoor title in the past two seasons.

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Mixed Pro Doubles 3-wall: http://rball.pro/2D1CE5

The draw was completely chalk to the final, with #1 seeds/defending champs Koll and Rajsich ousting #4 seeded Jacqueline Paraiso-Larsson and Coe in the top half semi, while #2 seeded husband/wife De La Rosa pairing took out #3 Sostre/Munoz pairing in the bottom semi.

In the final, the DLRs turned the tide from last year’s final and swept to a 4,12 win over Koll and Rajsich.

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Men’s Pro Doubles 1-wall: http://rball.pro/144D5C

The #1 seeds and one-wall specialists Sostre/Rolon cruised into the final by virtue of a walk-over and a dominant semis win. There, they met the #6 seeded team of Floridians Jeffrey Palmer and Garry Smith who upset the 3rd seeds in the quarters then took out the 7th seeds in the semi.

In the final, the New York duo won a solid match over the upset minded Florida pairing, taking the title 11,13.

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Women’s Pro Doubles 1-wall: http://rball.pro/E03013

This was the first event competed, and was done in a flash Thursday afternoon. All three RR matches were played and the first champion was awarded on the tourney’s first day.

The Brooklyn-based duo of Anita Maldonado and Susan Stephen took out the top seeded team of Munoz and Michelle Herbert to take the title.

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Mixed Pro Doubles 1-wall: http://rball.pro/673E67

Seeds held to the final, but not without some drama. #1 Seeds Koll/Rajsich got dominated in game one of their semi and had to save match point against before advancing in a tiebreaker over Coe and Katharine Neils. In the bottom half, #2 Montalbano & Munoz got stretched to a tiebreaker by Young/Stephen but blanked the #6 seeds 11-0 to move onto the final.

In the final, Montalbano & Munoz blitzed to the title, beating the #1 seeds 7,2 to take the title.

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Congrats to all who competed; it looked like a great event and great weather from all the streaming.

Next up! The big one. The UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships. I cannot be in attendance this year, but hope to do more than just a preview and wrap-up of this huge event. I hope to do daily posts to review the qualifying and the rounds as they happen. The draws look amazing; more than 90 men and 40 women entered into the pro draws. Awesome!

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WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
USA Racquetball
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Fecoracquet Fecoracquet

10th Annual 3Wallball World Championships Preview

Welcome to the last major WOR event of the year, the big outdoor event held in the shadow of the Stratosphere hotel in Las Vegas, NV. There’s 280 players from 6 different countries represented and competing this weekend, and the massive draw includes most every major name in the outdoor game today.

The Vegas venue is primarily 3-wall courts, but some one-wall events are included this weekend, so we’ll note the court type both below and in the results.

@R2 R2 Sports Tournaments home page for the event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=30648

Lets review the draws.

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Men’s Pro Singles:
Men’s 3-wall singles is just a 6-man draw, but it includes the defending champ Nick Montalbano, the defending runner up in William Rolon and the 2018 Huntington Beach outdoor nationals champ Luis R Avila. Throw in a top east coast amateur in Thomas Gerhardt and a top indoor touring pro in Costa Rican #1 Andres Acuña and we should expect some solid matches.

I’ll predict a rematch of last year’s singles final, and a repeat win for #1 seed Montalbano.

click here for a list of all past Men’s Singles major WOR tourney winners: http://rball.pro/AA519C

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Women’s Pros Singles:

Women’s 3-wall singles features 7 pros with solid outdoor creds. #1 seed Rhonda Rajsich has multiple outdoor national championships to her name, but has never won Vegas. 3-time defending singles Vegas champ Janel Tisinger-Ledkins is ineligible to compete this year, so we’ll have a new champ. The #2 seed is one-wall specialist Floridian Michelle Herbert; she’ll be challenged in the semis by a hard-hitting LPRT vet in either Bolivian Masiel Rivera Oporto (fresh of a semis appearance in Chesapeake) or Colombian Adriana Riveros (who made the semis at the Pan American Games in August).

I’ll predict its Rhonda vs Rivera in the final, with Rhonda finally taking home a Vegas singles title.

click here for a list of all past Women’s singles major WOR tourney winners: http://rball.pro/0FE709

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Enough about singles; lets get to the doubles draws…there’s full slates of both 1-wall and 3-wall doubles events. We’ll start with the 3-wall previews.

Men’s Pro Doubles 3-wall

Huge draw; 16 teams here to compete, headlined by the #1 seeds and top Mexican pairing of Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran. These two are the defending Vegas doubles champs, the defending Outdoor Nationals champs, and have a slew of major pro and international titles to their credit. They’re easily the most accomplished Men’s doubles team today and are the favorites here as the #1 seed.

DLR and Beltran have their work cut out for them though: they could face Rocky Carson with partner Alejandro Barcelo in the quarters, then top California outdoor players Brandon Davis and Jesus Ustarroz in the semis.

On the other side of the draw, a slew of teams with top outdoor players are present, and it could be a shootout. Top one-wall guru Robert Sostre is teamed with Chris McDonald as the #3 seed, Vegas outdoor legend Rick Koll is teamed with Paddleball legend Emmitt Coe, and you have the likes of Montalbano, Charlie PrattGreg Solis and others in the mix.

I like the #1 seed to make the final and win, but have no idea who to predict out of the wide-open bottom draw. We’ll go chalk and predict the 2-seeds make it through to the final.

Click here for a list of all past Men’s doubles major WOR tourney winners from 2006-present (we don’t have older data right now): http://rball.pro/4C7C5B

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Women’s Pro doubles 3-wall

Six teams here, and the top two seeds are the finalists from last year who competed to an 11-10 tiebreaker contest.

#1 Rajsich/Herbert should force a rematch in the final with #2 seeds Michelle De La Rosa and Chilean Carla Muñoz Montesinos, who won the Outdoor nationals in dominant fashion in California earlier this year. Standing in their way are teams featuring top LPRT player Jessica Parrilla, Hall of Famer Jacqueline Paraiso-Larsson, and an all-Virginia team of Carrie Handfinger Hoeft and Amie LeBrun Brewer in the 4th seed.

I’m predicting mDLR/Munoz take the title in another tiebreaker over #1 Rajsich/Hebert.

click here for a list of all past Women’s doubles major WOR tourney winners from 2008-present: http://rball.pro/37AA13

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Mixed Pro doubles 3-wall

A solid 8-team draw featuring both of last year’s finalists plus the finalists from Florida Beach Bash (Sostre/Herbert) as the 3-seed and the 2018 outdoor nationals finalists (Coe/Paraiso) as the 5th seeds.

I like a rematch of last year’s final and I like a repeat title for Koll and Rajsich over the husband-wife duo of DLR/mDLR.

click here for a list of all past Mixed doubles major WOR tourney winners from 2008-present: http://rball.pro/95A44A

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Now for 1-wall.

Men’s 1-wall Pro Doubles:
A 9-team slate headlined by the #1 seed duo of two of today’s best one-wall players, New Yorkers Sostre and Rolon. On the bottom half, #2 seeded DLR teams with Florida one-wall specialist Ignacio Espinal.

Hard to root against Sostre/Rolon to win this draw, but they’ll have to work for it, as t he likes of Carson and Montalbano are in the top half of this draw.

Women’s 1-wall Pro Doubles:
Three teams here, headlined by one-wall Florida specialist Herbert teaming with LPRT veteran international Munoz; they’re the favorites in a small draw that may be over by the time this publishes 🙂

Mixed 1-wall Pro doubles:
#1 seeds Koll & Rajsich the favorites to do an unprecedented second straight double (winning both the Mixed 3-wall and Mixed 1-wall doubles at this event). Standing in their way are the #2 seeds Montalbano/Munoz and #3 seeds Israel Torres/Herbert looking to get the upset.

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Be on the lookout for streaming notifications starting as soon as you read this; the tourney is already underway.

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WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
LPRT
International Racquetball Tour
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Fecoracquet Fecoracquet
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball