IRF Worlds Knockout Draw Preview

Acuna with the big upset in the RRs. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory


XX World Racquetball Championships Guatemala 2021


We’re through the RRS, and with no rest for the weary the knockouts start today at 9am Central.


Here’s a quick preview of the four draws:
Men’s Singles:
There was just one major upset in the Men’s Singles RR, which led to the inevitable question: which top seed would get screwed by having Rodrigo Montoya Solis drop to a low seed? The answer is: USA’s Jake Bredenbeck, who gets Montoya as a #14 seed in the round of 16 later today (presuming Rodrigo advances out of the 32s of course). These two have not met since the last of their 6 WRT meetings and they’re 3-3 h2h …but I think i’m favoring Jake here this weekend. Montoya has been nursing a shoulder injury and I don’t think he can hang with Jake’s power right now.
Other 16s that could be interesting include a possible all Guatemala matchup at 8/9 between @Juan Jose Salvatierra and Javier Martinez, #5 Conrrado Moscoso versus his former country-man Diego Garcia Quispe (who now plays for Argentina), and an all-Costa Rica matchup between doubles partners #2 Andres Acuña and #15 Felipe Camacho.
Predictions: I’m going Chalk to the quarters; hard to see any of the top 8 players getting upset. In the quarters:

  • Alex Landa over Martinez
  • Moscoso over Andree Parrilla; a great quarter final of contrasting styles. Parrilla has a win over Moscoso on the IRT, so this is no cakewalk for the most recent IRT pro champ. Look for this to go tie-breaker.
  • Mario Mercado over Jake: Mario really gets up for international competitions, and will be a dark-horse to advance.
  • Acuna over @Luis Aguilar, if he gets here. Aguilar is the most vulnerable of the top 8 seeds to get upset early, but if he beats Jose Daniel Ugalde Albornoz in the 16s he’ll face an uphill challenge to top Acuna.
    Semis:
  • Moscoso over Landa: Moscoso is hot, Landa is still not back to 100% form from his ailments of the summer.
  • Acuna over Mercado: wow; last time I have these two guys playing is in 2014 Junior Worlds 18u, when Acuna topped Mercado in the group stage before Mario raced to the junior 18U world title over none other than Moscoso, his likely opponent in the final. This is a tough one to predict, but i’ll go with Mercado.

Final: Moscoso over Mercado. They met recently in Sarasota, a very close 14,13 win for Moscoso, so this is no gimme. Look for an entertaining match as the spirited Mercado pushes the more talented Moscoso the entire way.

Women’s Singles preview
The women’s RRs featured a couple of group seeds fall, but not unexpectedly, since (for example) Chile’s Carla Muñoz Montesinos was seeded 17th despite being nearly a top 10 LPRT player. So the knockout se eds look pretty straight forward.
In the 32s, USA’s Kelani Lawrence faces the improving Ireland #1 Aisling Hickey in what looks like the toughest play-in of the bracket.
In the 16s, a couple of fun matches await:

  • Defending World champ Ana Gabriela Martínez projects to face tough Ecuadorian vet Maria Pazita Muñoz Albornoz.
  • Both Bolivians are drawn into the same 16, with Angelica Barrios set for a Bolivian Nationals final rematch with Micaela Meneses Cuellar.
  • #6 Munoz, for her troubles in winning her group likely gets fellow LPRT regular Lawrence … who beat the Chilean at the 2019 Pan Am games.
  • two long-time LPRT touring pros in Maria Renee Rodriguez and Amaya Cris face off in the #7/#10. MRR beat her 11-10 at the US Open a few months back, but generally Amaya has held the upper hand in the head-to-head. We’ll give the nod to the home-town favorite here.
  • Lastly, Rhonda Rajsich projects into the #2 seed Maria Jose Vargas Parada, a tough first rounder for the Argentine.
    My projected quarters:
  • Paola Longoria over her doubles partner Samantha Salas Solis
  • Gaby over Natalia Mendez Erlwein
  • Barrios over the winner of Munoz/Lawrence (who i sense will be Munoz)
  • Vargas over MRR. She may be on home soil but beating the #2 player in the world is tough.
    Semis; here’s where the rubber meets the road.
  • Longoria over Gaby; so, Gaby topped Longoria to win the 2018 Worlds in a huge shock, and Gaby is on home soil. But these two have played 19 times, that one win in 2018 remains Gaby’s sole victory over Paola, and the last few times they’ve played it has been a beat down, with Paola winning by scores like 6,5 or 1,7 or 2,5. Paola is very sharp right now and is destined to win this tournament.
  • Vargas over Barrios: another interesting matchup between two native Bolivians with really contrasting styles. In their last meeting, Barrios won the first game before Vargas figured something out and raced to the next two games. I’m guessing with hyper-involved coaching and national team members cheering her on, she won’t make that mistake twice.

Final: Longoria blitzes past Vargas like she generally does for the title.

Men’s doubles:
I’m liking Team USA vs Team Mexico in one semi; that’ll be great theater. I’m favoring Mexico to the final; they’re a more experienced team and did not struggle with inferior competition in the RRs like USA did.
On the bottom side, Team Canada is going to get a rematch with team Bolivia just to get back to the semis, and Team Colombia has a chance at revenge against team Argentina for the same. The bottom half is wide open, but i’ll go out on a limb and put team Canada in the final.

Mexico over Canada in the final.

Women’s Doubles:
I’m liking team Mexico over team Guatemala in the top half. In the bottom half i’m liking team USA for the upset over Bolivia in the quarters but then to lose the rematch against team Argentina in the semis.

Mexico over Argentina in the final

So far we’ve depended a ton on individuals streaming, such as Malia Kamahoahoa Bailey on the Team USA coaching staff or the individual players (Meneses, Barrios, Moscoso are always good for live streaming their matches). But the IRT crew has just arrived in town so look for Pablo Fajre and Dean DeAngelo Baer to get setup and start broadcasting today.

IRF Worlds Round Robin Preview

Landa is the #1 men’s seed at the IRF Worlds. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


Welcome to the 2021 IRF World Championships, the 20th iteration of this tournament, one year delayed and oft-moved, but now upon us.
Draws are available from https://www.internationalracquetball.com/ , as the IRF continues to not use R2sports to run its events.
The format features several days of round robins with preliminary seeding done by virtue of the Country, not the individual player, who then compete for the actual seeding that’s done for the knockout stages. So, while RR losses are not fatal, they are impactful.
There’s a number of curious decisions by players who are here not to play singles versus doubles, especially since this tournament is a qualifier directly into the World Games event next summer. There’s also some interesting absences that we’ll note along the way.
Singles RRs to look for. Here’s some matches that look compelling in the early stages:

  • #1 Alex Landa vs #15 Felipe Camacho; these long-time IRT buddies are drawn into the same RR group.
  • #2 Rodrigo Montoya Solis vs #13 Andres Acuña; these two IRT regulars are neck and neck in the IRT standings, and Acuna is coming off of a big upset of Landa at the last pro event. Montoya has missed a number of IRT events lately but is here and always flourishes at international events, where he has structure and coaching resources.
  • #4 Andree Parrilla vs #18 Diego Garcia Quispe; so, Garcia was a junior international champion for his home country of Bolivia before switching allegiances, now playing for Argentina. He briefly played on the IRT before switching and impressed those who saw him; he’s a dark horse here.
  • #8 Set Cubillos Ruiz vs #22 Javier Martinez: both these players have been frequent participants on the IRT lately, and they get an interesting group here that includes Luis Aguilar, who surprisingly represents Bolivian here instead of one of several other more accomplished players.

Interesting omissions here.

I generally don’t like to dwell on who is NOT at an event, instead wanting to focus on who is there, but it is definitely curious who is in Guatemala from an international perspective. Reigning US national champ Rocky Carson bowed out due to Covid quarantine concerns; we knew this earlier and it costs him a shot at next year’s World Games. Curiously, Canada’s reigning national champ and #3 player on tour Samuel Murray has chosen only to play doubles here. Bolivia’s #2 singles player is Luis Aguilar … and not the national finalist Carlos Keller Vargas or regular IRT touring player Kadim Carrasco or even someone like MoMo Zelada, who competed in Bolivian nationals this past summer. Odd. Lastly, the #2 Colombian is not someone like Sebastian Franco or Eduardo Garay Rodriguez or even someone like Alejandro Herrera Azcarate, who continues to play at a high level. Lastly we’re missing delegations from places like Venezuela, Honduras, and Cuba, who normally would be present and have players playing. Hopefully we get back to normal sooner than later.


Women’s Singles RR to watch for:

  • #12 Micaela Meneses Cuellar versus Maria Pazita Muñoz Albornoz; an interesting matchup between the up-and-coming Meneses and the veteran pro Munoz. Meneses is representing Bolivia in both adult and juniors here.
  • #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada vs #11 Kelani Lawrence: Lawrence has played Vargas tough before in the pros and this will be a good early test.
  • #3 Samantha Salas Solis versus #10 Angelica Barrios; the drastically underseeded Barrios will look to top this group by taking out its top seed Salas.
  • All 6 matches in the women’s group D will be compelling, as it features three LPRT regulars in Natalia Mendez Erlwein, Rhonda Rajsich, Amaya Cris, as well as Ireland’s #1 Aisling Hickey, who has really impressed in the last couple of LPRT events. I sense some upsets in this group, especially since Rhonda relishes international competition.

On the women’s side, also some interesting choices. Reigning Canada national champ Frederique Lambert choses only to play singles. Chile’s Carla Muñoz Montesinos is ridiculously underseeded at #17 but has a great chance to win her group. Colombia is not represented by Adriana Riveros for the first time in years, but also could have had Brenda Laime Jalil in the mix. Bolivia is represented by Meneses instead of Yazmine Sabja Aliss, who bowed out last minute (though I believe Meneses earned her spot at National singles by making the final against Barrios). We’re missing the top female Costa Ricans like the dangerous Maricruz Ortiz and @melania sauma (who is in college and might not be able to miss this much time).


Doubles preview: Because of the compactness of the draw, the doubles on both sides should be amazing. I especially look forward to these Doubles RR matches:

  • Mar/Montoya versus Wer/Galicia; one of the top doubles teams in the world gets its first test against two battle-tested Guatemalans.
  • Mercado/Gomez versus Manzuri/Garcia: two Bolivian natives now playing for new countries face off.
  • Murray/Iwaasa versus Moscoso/Keller: wow, great first rounder for both teams.
  • Longoria/Salas versus Martinez/MRR: the #1 women’s doubles team faces off against the Guatemalans, who have played together forever and are a formidable veteran team.
  • Rajsich/Manilla vs Lambert/Iwaasa: two former top LPRT players anchoring USA vs Canada.
  • Rajsich/Manilla vs Mendez/Centellas: another great matchup of four top LPRT pros.
  • Mendez/Centellas vs Lambert/Iwaasa: the last of three great RRs from this group of death.
  • Barrios/Meneses vs Amaya/Riquelme; four LPRT regulars face off.

Looking forward to the matches! Streaming announcements to come.

LPRT Turkey Shoot Wrap-up

Herrera pushed Longoria to the limit in the pro final. Photo Denver 2021 KenFife


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Doubles; Longoria & Salas

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37340

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/3CCEC1

In the 16s:

  • #1 Paola Longoria gave Ecuadorian former top 8 pro Vero Sotomayor little room to operate and moved on 5,5.
  • #9 Rhonda Rajsich took out #8 Valeria Centellas at this juncture for the second straight weekend.
  • #5 Angelica Barrios held serve against American #12 Kelani Lawrence.
  • #4 Natalia Mendez Erlwein was pushed but held off an upset challenge from #13 Erika Manilla in a tiebreaker.
  • #3 Alexandra Herrera blew out her fellow lefty Mexican rival Ana Laura Flores 2,8.
  • #11 Carla Muñoz Montesinos got a well-earned upset over #6 Samantha Salas Solis 9,11
  • #10 Brenda Laime Jalil got yet another upset of a top-8 player, this time vanquishing #7 Jessica Parrilla by the always-fun margin of an 11-10 tiebreaker.

– #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada crushed LPRT veteran Adrienne Fisher Haynes to move into the quarters.

In the Quarters

  • Longoria moved past her most frequent rival in Rajsich, 8,11.
  • Barrios got a solid win over #4 Mendez to move into the semis.
  • Herrera crushed Munoz 1,3 to get a statement win against the upstart Chilean
  • Vargas similarly crushed Laime 2,3 to put down the budding challenge of the up and coming Colombina.
    In the semis, a big upset.
  • Longoria moved into the final with a straightforward 4,12 win over Barrios.
  • Herrera got a career best win over Vargas, topping her for the first time in 9 tries on tour.

In the final, Herrera played some of her best ever racquetball, taking the first game off of the #1. Longoria blitzed the lefty in game two, and then the tie-breaker was a back and forth affair that looked like it could go either way. In the end, Paola got a quick lead and then ended the match on an avoidable, a bummer of an ending for a great match.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/A67933
Two upsets in the quarters; one expected and one not. The underseeded team of Vargas/Sotomayor took out the #2 seeds Herrera/Munoz in a tie-breaker, while the pairing of Flores/Lawrence shocked the regularly teamed up Parrilla/Perez in a tie-breaker to earn a semis spot.
In the semis….#1 Longoria/Salas were pushed by the upstart Flores/Lawrence team but advanced in a breaker. #3 Mendez/Centellas took out Vargas/Sotomayor in two straight.

In the final, the #1 team won again, claiming their 35th pro doubles title together.

Women’s Open, other draws
An odd Women’s Open draw was robbed of any drama on the top side, as both top seeds Barrios and Centellas forfeited. This gave Lawrence a free shot into the final, having only to play one match against a local player who she vanquished 0,0.
On the bottom side, it was a different story, as four top LPRT players duked it out. Munoz got a solid win over Flores, and Sotomayor got a solid win over Manilla, and then Munoz took out the tiring Sotomayor in the semis 11-8 to earn a shot against Kelani in the final.

In that final, Lawrence got a very solid win over Munoz in a breaker.

Men’s Pro draw

A 13-player IRT pro draw featured a couple of traveling pros in @Maurice Miller and Rodrigo Rodriguez, who met in the final. There, the young lefty downed the veteran IRT touring pro 9,12 for the title.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., JP Edwards and @Tj Baumbaugh]
Thanks to the Tourney Director Geoff Peters for putting this event on and generally being one of the biggest racquetball benefactors out there.

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…/

Worlds! we take a week off for Thanksgiving, then head to Guatemala for Worlds.

tags

IRT Sarasota Open re-cap

Big win for Moscoso in pro singles this weekend. Photo unk from Bolivian IRIS


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Conrrado Moscoso
  • Doubles; Rocky Carson & Lalo Portillo

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=37424

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/14339C

In the 128s and 64s, here was some of the notable results for me:

  • 18U New Yorker Josh Shea took out Canadian-turned-Chilean Pedro Castro, but then couldn’t overcome #17 Sam Bredenbeck, falling 11-9 in the 64s.
  • Floridian Alex zamudio got a solid win over Bolivian Roland Keller in the first round before falling in a tiebreaker to another Bolivian in Kadim Carrasco.
  • Little known Bolivian Esteban Reque Zambrana took out two IRT regulars in Juan Pablo Rodriguez Castrillon and Scott McClellan to move into the round of 32.
  • Erick Trujillo had flight issues unfortunately, which gave Guatemalan Javier Martinez a walk-over into the 32s.
  • Top Florida player @Nolsen Jimenez took out two Guatemalan regulars in Edwin Galicia and Christian Wer to move into the 32s.

– Long-time Costa Rican touring pro Felipe Camacho took out Guatemalan Geovani Mendoza to earn a spot in the 32s.

In the 32s:

  • In the always close #16/#17 match, Sebastian Fernandez was stretched to a tiebreaker by the younger Bredenbeck brother before advancing.
  • Forced down into the round of 32, #9 Alvaro Beltran played a very tight match over Guatemala’s @Juan Jose Salvatierra, advancing 13,14.
  • #12 Sebastian Franco advanced past an improving Erick Cuevas 8,12.
  • #14 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez was really pushed to the limit by Carrasco, advancing 11-8 in the breaker.
  • #11 Carlos Keller Vargas really had to dig deep to advance past Guatemalan #1 Martinez, splitting the first two games close 14 and 13 before breaking away in the tie-breaker.

– Floridian Jimenez stayed close with last week’s winner Mario Mercado, losing 13,13 to the IRT touring pro

In the 16s:

  • #1 Daniel De La Rosa made quick work of #16 Fernandez, as compared to last week.
  • #8 Jake Bredenbeck made even quicker work of Beltran, crushing the veteran Mexican 6,3
  • #5 Lalo Portillo99 dominated #12 Franco 11,0 to move on.
  • #4 Andree Parrilla gave little room for the red-hot Adam Manilla to operate, advancing 11,3.
  • #3 Samuel Murray staved off a late game two challenge from Garay to move on 3,14.
  • #6 Rocky Carson made quite a statement in his win over Keller, absolutely dominating the vastly improving Keller 1,4 to move on. There might have been an injury issue here, as Keller;s doubles team forfeited later in the evening.
  • #7 Conrrado Moscoso reminded the tour of his presence, beating last weekend’s winner Mario Mercado in two very close games to move on.

– The sole upset of the round was one that’s been months in the making, as the oft-seen grudge match between #2 Alex Landa and #15 Andres Acuña finally turned in an upset. After a close game one, a seemingly disinterested Landa fell rather quickly in game two to lose 14,7. There might have been an injury involved; Landa has had a nagging back issue for months, but this party did not see any evidence of it on the court (though later in the evening the Landa/Murray doubles team forfeited due to “injury” so… maybe that was a factor). This is just he second ever quarter final for Acuna, the first being in Sept 2019.

In the Quarters

  • #8 Jake certainly made it closer than it was last week in Arizona, mounting a furious comeback in the breaker to have match point on his racquet before losing 11-10 to #1 DLR.
  • #5 Portillo got a rare win against his former doubles partner #4 Parrilla, cruising to an 11,6 win.
  • #3 Murray cruised past #6 Carson 13,8 to move into the semis.

– #7 Moscoso won an international tinged matchup against Costa Rican #1 Acuna in two to move closer to the finals.

In the Semis

  • #5 Portillo topped #1 DLR in an 11-10 thriller to advance to his 2nd ever finals. The two were locked in a tight tiebreaker when DLR jumped to a 10-7 lead, but Lalo got the serve back and then ran out the match. Great comeback and a career win.
  • #7 Moscoso took care of business in an 11-8 tiebreaker huge comeback over Murray to make the final.

In the Finals, we got the close match that was expected and hoped for, given two underdogs both fighting for something they rarely have a chance at. The two players played a great , entertaining match; the tiebreaker was awesome, featuring some really great rallies back and forth. Moscoso found a little strategic tweak on his serve towards the end of the breaker and it seemed to make the difference, as he broke away for an 11-9 tiebreaker win and the title. Portillo is thwarted in his attempt to get his first career win, while Moscoso adds title #2 to his resume.

Points Implications of results; i’m not entirely sure how the points are being calculated right now. But at some point the tour will have to expire points from the fall of 2019, and when they do Daniel is going to have a monstrous lead in the rankings. He has definitely sewn up the year end title, and when that becomes official nearer to Dec 31st we’ll be covering it of course.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/36DE6B
There were no real surprises in the 16s, as seeds held. The real fun started in the quarter finals, where all four top seeds fell.

  • #8 Parrilla/Fernandez, a newer pairing after Parrilla had played most of the last two seasons with Portilo, took out #1 DLR/Beltran 14,8. After a close game one, game two was not nearly as close as the score indicated.
  • In a projected rematch of the Bolivian national doubles final, the reigning champs Keller/Carrasco forfeited with injury to the dangerous and multi-international champion Moscoso/Keller pairing. We’re not sure which party was injured, but wonder if it was a factor in Keller’s blowout pro singles loss.
  • #6 Carson/Portillo just crushed team Zurek Construction, LLC Franco/Garay 7,3. Carson played the forehand side (a rarity for him in indoor, though he’s well accustomed to playing forehand in doubles due to his decades of outdoor experience), and Lalo is becoming a formidable doubles team.
  • #7 Mercado/Manilla, two excellent doubles players and a great lefty/righty pairing, got a walkover against Landa/Murray.
    In the wide open Semis:
  • Moscoso/Keller saved match point against in game two and then took the breaker.
  • Carson and Portillo also saved match point against, winning an 11-10 breaker.

In the final, Carson reminded everyone why he’s a top doubles player and led his team to a dominant 12,3 win for the title.

Men’s Open, other draws

It was the top 4 seeds into the semis in Men’s Open. There, Acuna topped Cuevas, while Sam Bredenbeck got a solid win over Camacho to make the final. There, Acuna took out Bredenbeck for the title. Acuna is a frequent Men’s open finalist/champion in the last few IRT events.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew
Thanks to the Tourney Directors X and X for putting this event on!

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

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

Worlds! Is happening in Guatemala in two weekends. It will be great to have the international community back in action. We’ll take a break for Thanksgiving weekend, then kick into gear for both World Adults and World Juniors in Guatemala City.

tags

LPRT Turkey Shoot preview


Like the men, the women’s pros are back in action one week after a pro stop.
There was a huge draw in Arizona … but the second of two LPRT events back to back this close to the Worlds event in Guatemala in two weeks time has impacted the attendance in Chicago this weekend.


There’s 17 players entered into the singles draw, and 7 teams in the doubles draw. Here’s a preview.

Former top 10 player Vero Sotomayor is in the draw, but she is seeded dead last and plays into Paola if she advances past #16 Montserrat Pérez in the opener.
In the 16s, here’s some fun matches to watch for:

  • #1 Paola Longoria takes on the Perez/Sotomayor winner, who I assume will be Vero. Its a good test for Sotomayor’s comeback.
  • #8/#9 features a rematch of last week’s 16 matchup between Rhonda Rajsich and Valeria Centellas. Rajsich upset the young Argentinian last week; can she make it two in a row?
  • #5 Angelica Barrios takes on USA’s #12 Kelani Lawrence in an interesting matchup. Lawrence pressed Herrera last week; can she press Barrios this week?
  • #4 Natalia Mendez Erlwein takes on the red-hot #13 Erika Manilla; upset watch here.
  • In a rare battle of lefties, #3 Alexandra Herrera takes on #14 Ana Laura Flores
  • #11 Carla Muñoz Montesinos has upset #6 Samantha Salas Solis in the past; she gets another shot at Samantha this week.
  • #7 Jessica Parrilla meets another hot player in #10 Brenda Laime Jalil. Parrilla can’t seem to catch a break with matchups in her struggle to get back to the top 5, and Laime has a great upset chance here.
  • #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada takes on long-time LPRT touring vet Adrienne Fisher Haynes.
    Projecting the quarters:
  • Longoria over Centellas
  • Barrios over Manilla
  • Herrera over Munoz
  • Vargas over Parrilla
    Semis:
  • Longoria over Barrios
  • Vargas over Herrera.

Finals: another Longoria over Vargas.

Doubles preview: Just 7 teams, but a slew of tough players here. Should be a fun little draw.

  • #4 Perez/Parrilla, who have started to form a more frequent partnership, take on the lefty/righty duo of Lawrence/Flores.
  • #3 Argentinian national team of Mendez/Centellas takes on Manilla/Laime. Manilla played really well in the mixed pro in Arizona, and Laime is a dangerous up and coming player.
  • #2 Herrera teams with Munoz, to form an experienced doubles team; they start off against a really fun team of Vargas/Sotomayor. Upset watch here.
    Projected semis:
  • #1 Longoria/Salas over Perez/Parrilla
  • #7 Vargas/Sotomayor upsetting #3 Mendez/Centellas .

final: #1 team takes the title.

No rest for the weary; look for the LPRT streaming team led by Timothy Baghurst to be back in action in Chicago this weekend.

IRT Sarasota Open Preview

Moscoso is back; can he get a win? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


A quick back to back from last week’s Arizona open is this coming weekend, as the tour moves from west coast to east coast and picks up a bunch of Florida players for the 2021 IRT Sarasota Open.
This is the last event of the 2021 season … and with the IRT going to a calendar year season, this is the last chance for anyone to catch DLR for the year end title (spoiler alert: it isn’t happening; he’s got nearly a 600 point lead on Landa and his expiring 2019 points are miniscule).
Anyway, 42 IRT players are entered into the singles draw, and there’s a full doubles draw here as well, so lets preview the matches to watch for. Furthermore, with Sarasota’s proximity to Worlds (just a couple weeks
away), this tourney has a ton of international players getting in last minute practice ahead of Guatemala. The full Guatemalan team is here (the Martinez brothers, Mendoza, Salvatierra, Wer, Galicia and Julian Cruz), the Chilean representatives are here (Castro, Gatica and Salgado), and the full Bolivian team is here (Moscoso, both Kellers, Carrasco and Reque). So we should see some great international matchups this weekend.
The seeds did not appreciably change from last weekend, so we’re set to see a lot of the same potential matchups that we saw last week.
In the 128s:

  • 18U up and comer Josh Shea comes down from NY and gets a shot at a long-time Canadian international vet Pedro Castro, recently repatrioted to represent Chile.
  • Marylander Dylan Pruitt gets a challenge against another Chilean, Rafa Gatica.
  • An intriguing matchup between two youngsters in Colombian Juan Pablo Rodriguez Castrillon and Bolivian Esteban Reque Zambrana.
  • The two Martinez’ from Guatemala have to play first round.
  • Floridian Matt Fontana takes on Guatemalan Geovani Mendoza for a shot at Costa Rican veteran IRT player Felipe Camacho.
    In the 64s:
  • Sam Bredenbeck v Josh Shea could be a fun match of Americans who might be evenly matched.
  • Bolivian vet Kadim Carrasco could face off against top Florida player Alex zamudio.
  • Mexican 18U champ Erick Trujillo returns to action and faces the winner of the Martinez clash, likely top Guatemalan Javier Martinez.
  • Reigning Florida state champ @Nolsen Jimenez, if he can take out Guatemalan veteran Edwin Galicia in the first round, projects to face another Guatemalan vet in Christian Wer.
    Projecting 32s:
  • Sebastian Fernandez is set to face the Bredenbeck/Shea winner
  • Eduardo Garay Rodriguez projects to face Carrasco yet again; they’ve met a couple times recently and always play a hard-hitting match.
  • The loser of the “who has to face Trujillo” lottery ticket is none other than Bolivian Carlos Keller Vargas. Really tough match-up for both players at this juncture; everyone is looking at Trujillo right now as the “next big thing” to come from Mexico, but in the meantime Keller is pushing to be “the next guy to win a tourney.”
  • The champion from last weekend Mario Mercado projects to face top Floridian Jimenez.
  • Fly all the way to Florida to play your doubles partner: Andres Acuña projects to face Camacho in the 32s.
    Looking ahead at the 16s:
  • #1 Daniel De La Rosa has to face #16 Fernandez again; he was pushed but advanced 11,13 last week.
  • #8 Jake Bredenbeck projects to face #9 Alvaro Beltran, who bowed out of last week’s singles event with an injury and more and more seems to want to transition to be mostly a doubles player.
  • #5 Lalo Portillo99 gets a winnable match against #12 Sebastian Franco, though Sebastian took out #3 Murray last week.
  • #4 Andree Parrilla gets the red-hot #13 Adam Manilla in the 16s; they met in the quarters last week and Andre needed a tiebreaker to mvoe on. Can Adam get a win?
  • #3 Samuel Murray will look to avoid another one-and-done, this time against Garay.
  • #6 Rocky Carson will not like his chances here; he is set to face the winner of Keller/Trujillo. Keller should move on from the 32s, and should represent a difficult challenge for Rocky here. Upset watch.
  • #7 Conrrado Moscoso, who bowed out of Arizona last minute, is back in action here and is set to face none other than last week’s winner in Mercado. Tough break for Mercado, who has not had success against Conrrado lately.
  • #2 Alex Landa , once again, faces Acuna in the 16s. These guys must be tired of playing each other. Landa needed a breaker last week to advance and may need another one here.
    Projecting the quarters:
  • #1 DLR blasted #8 Jake last weekend; can Jake make more of a match here?
  • #4/5 Parrilla/Portillo has been close lately; can Lalo push through and get a signature win?
  • The #3 v #6 quarter could just as easily be #10 v #11, but if its Murray/Carson I like the veteran over the Canadian.
    In reality i’m thinking it will be Murray vs Keller, and I like Keller.
  • #2 Landa vs #7 Moscoso; Landa has been struggling lately, while Moscoso is looking for a win. I see Moscoso dominating and moving on here.
    Semis:
  • #1 DLR over #4 Parrilla; like I said last week, these two play basically the same game… but Daniel is much better at it.
  • #7 Moscoso over #11 Keller; yes I know Keller shocked Moscoso in Minneapolis; he won’t get shocked again.
    Final:

– #7 Moscoso finishes the season win a win over DLR, who might not entirely care about this title once he figures out he’s sewn up the year end #1.

A great doubles draw is set for Sarasota: 15 teams and a ton of talent.
The #1 seeds DLR/Beltran have their hands full; they project to face a tough all-mexican team of Parrilla/Fernandez in the quarters, then a top Bolivian team in the semis (whoever survives teh rematch of the Bolivian national
doubles final from earlier this year).
From the bottom half, some new teams are set to compete with top veteran doubles players Carson and Mercado playing with Portillo and Manilla respectively. But they’ll be facing against a very good #2 team of Landa/Murray.

In the end, i’m predicting a 1 v 2 final, with the top seeds winning.

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 IRT Re-cap

Mercado with his first ever IRT title! Photo from 3WB in 2020 courtesy of Steve Fitzsimmons

(see other re-cap for LPRT and Mixed Doubles review coming tomorrow).
Congrats to your Men’s winners on the weekend:

  • IRT Singles: Mario Mercado
  • Open Singles: Alan Natera
  • Open Doubles; Sebastian Fernandez/Rodrigo Rodriguez
    Mario Mercado earns his first ever IRT win, and becomes the 42nd player ever to win a tier 1 IRT event. He becomes the second player representing Colombia (after Sebastian Franco), and the second native Bolivian (Conrrado Moscoso) to take a title on tour. Bravo!
  • 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/EE9595

In the 128s and 64s:

  • Gerhardt and Brennen Jennings had the expected close match in the 128s, with the Arizonian advancing 11,13 before getting dominated in the 64s by regular touring pro Alan Natera Chavez.
  • Rodrigo Rodriguez got a great win over former IRT touring pro Jose Diaz 11-8 in the breaker.
  • Arizonian intercollegiate player Ben Baron got a solid win over Californian Majeed Shahin.
  • Roland Keller took out “the Ref” Scott McClellan in a breaker in one of his rare singles appearances.
  • Guatemalan Javier Martinez had to go breaker to top SoCal’s Joel Adler.
    In the 64s:
  • Edwin Galicia topped his fellow Guatemalan Juan Salvatierra to advance into the 32s.
  • Rodriguez got his second solid win in a row over veteran IRT competition, topping Costa Rican’ #2 Felipe Camacho in a tiebreaker. Excellent showing so far by the lefty Mexican.
  • Utah’s Anthony Martin squeaked by Bolivian Roland Keller in an 11-10 tiebreaker
  • #18 seed Sam Bredenbeck went the distance to get by Guatemala’s Martinez 11-8 in the breaker.

In the 32s, two upsets by seeds and some other interesting results:

  • #16/#17 featured two Mexican players who last met in 2020 in Sebastian Fernandez and Alan Natera. Fernandez played his typical athletic and smooth game and controlled the match throughout,
  • #20 Kadim Carrasco pulled off one of his better career wins, upsetting #13 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez in a breaker. Solid win to put Carrasco into the main draw for just the second time in his career.
  • #14 Sebastian Franco was played tough by #19 Rodriguez, but was able to move on 7,12.
  • Maryland’s MoMo Zelada got the upset by seed over #11 Thomas Carter, going breaker to move on.

In the 16s, several upsets and several strong performances.

  • #1 Daniel De La Rosa was really pressed by #16 Fernandez, who was hitting the ball with significant pace but didn’t quite make all the right decisions on the court, which DLR took advantage of to win a tight 13,11 match. Fernandez was in control in game one but DLR ran off 10 straight points to win it, then stuck ahead most of game 2 to move on.
  • In a battle between the two losing finalists in the last two IRT events, Minnesotan Jake Bredenbeck came to play and moved past #9 Carlos Keller Vargas 12,7 to get a repeat shot at DLR.
  • #12 Adam Manilla is on absolute fire this weekend, and hot on the heels of his upset win in mixed doubles he took an 11-9 win over #5 Lalo Portillo. Manilla is showing the same kind of form he had when he raced to the semis at the 2020 Longhorn Open as a #19 seed.
  • #4 Andree Parrilla handled #20 Carrasco to move on.
  • The round’s biggest upset was the #3 seed Samuel Murray falling at this juncture to long-time IRT vet Franco. An all-around disappointing event for Big Canada, losing in the 1st round as a top seed with high expectations.
  • #6 Rocky Carson blitzed the upset-minded Zelada 0,6 to have his easiest opener in some time on tour.
  • #10 Mario Mercado was the benefactor of a hobbled #7 Alvaro Beltran, who retired in the second set to save himself for doubles.
  • In the latest version of the leading IRT grudge match, #2 Alex Landa and #15 Andres Acuña faced off at this juncture yet again. Acuna cruised to a game one win, but Landa turned the tide to take the breaker. Acuna seems like he’s ready to make a big move, but just needs to get out of that #15-18 range where he constantly plays into one of the two top guys. If that happens, look out because he’s playing solid ball.

In the Quarters

  • #1 DLR dominated #8 Bredenbeck 9,2 to move into the semis. This is a stark contrast in performance from the last time the tour was in DLR’s home state, when he suffered a shock round of 16 loss in Oct 2019.
  • #4 Parrilla held off the upset-minded Manilla, but needed a breaker to do it. After getting dominated in the first game, Parrilla made adjustments and cruised to win the next two games.
  • #6 Carson stayed unbeaten for his career against Franco, moving past the Colombian with relative ease after a close game one 13,6.
  • In the shock of the singles tourney so far, #2 Landa was destroyed by #10 Mercado 5,9. Mercado has beaten Landa in the past; in fact the last time they played professionally was a Mercado win, and Mario has been playing really solid ball lately, but 5,9 loss by the #2 player in the world is a shock. Landa has not made the finals of an IRT event now in more than 2 years.

In the Semis

  • DLR continues to look like a man on a mission, blasting #4 Parrilla 7,2 to move into the final. DLR is playing with such amazing confidence that it seems hard to fathom him taking a loss right now.
  • Mercado made his third career pro final, and got his first ever win over Rocky, with an 11-10 thriller Saturday night.

  • In the Finals, It looked like DLR was going to take his 4th successive tourney and really put a dominant stamp on this season … but then after cruising to a first game win, Mercado figured something out. He took a tight game two then ran away with the tiebreaker, giving DLR a 11-0 donut to take the title.

Points Implications of results
It remains to be seen; if the IRT decides to “catch up” on points expiration, then three tourneys from Oct/Nov 2019 will come off the books. If that happens, then DLR will take an absolutely commanding lead atop the IRT rankings table.
Murray and Landa would flip spots, giving Sam his highest ever ranking at #3. Jake and Mario would rise to #7 and 8 respectively, while Moscoso would tumble out of the top 10.
But, this is all speculation until we see the updated rankings.


Men’s Open Singles review

As generally happens with big IRT draws … the open singles was also huge and well competed. 34 players entered. On the top, Sam Bredenbeck took advantage of Acuna’s withdrawal (he’s won the last few Open singles draws at IRT events) to cruise to the final with wins over Anthony Martin, Julius Ellis, and Felipe Camacho. On the bottom, Alan Natera took a walkover against Mercado (who forfeited the Open semis to focus on the IRT final), then beat Sam in the final 12,13 to win the Open title.

Men’s Open Doubles review
It wasn’t a sanctioned/ official IRT pro doubles draw, but 19 teams competed in it anyway, including a ton of pro players, Here’s a quick recap:

  • From the top-side of the draw, up and coming Mexican doubles pair Fernandez/Rodriguez advanced to the final by topping two top Arizona pairs of players (including Genhardt and @charlie stadler in the quarters) and the top Guatemalan pair of Salvatierra/Martinez in the semis.
  • From the bottom-side of the draw, top doubles player Diaz playing with NorCal’s Will Reynolds cruised to the final with little trouble.
  • In the final…Fernandez/Rodriguez took the title and took the next step in perhaps being the next big Mexican doubles team to watch out for.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew
Thanks to the Tourney Director Jim Winterton for putting this event on!

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

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

IRT is in Sarasota next weekend for a back to back. Meanwhile the LPRT heads to Chicago. So both tours in action; it will be a great weekend.

tags

Arizona Open IRT Singles Preview

Carson has a chance to get back to the finals this weekend. Photo Portland 2019 via Kevin Savory


Here’s part 2 of the previews for this weekend: the IRT draw.
We have a a full Men’s pro draw (with 45 players), so get ready for some great racquetball this weekend. Instead of a men’s pro doubles draw, we have big money in mixed doubles but still a huge Men’s Open doubles draw (38 teams), so we’ll run through that as well.


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

top-20 players missing on the men’s side: A last minute withdrawal from #6 Moscoso caused some last minute draw adjustments. He misses the event along with 3 other top 20 players: #2 Waselenchuk, #17 Montoya and #18 Mar.


Here’s a preview of qualifying, with matches to watch for:

In the round of 128:

  • #32/#33: A very interesting first rounder between Texan Brennen Jennings and Arizonian Thomas Gerhardt. Gerhardt plays a ton of outdoor, but he’s also got a ton of indoor experience. This should be an intriguing match to follow.
  • #44 @Julius Ellis, son of IRT legend John Ellis, makes his pro debut on the heels of making the US junior national 18U final earlier this year. He faces Colombian veteran Set Cubillos Ruiz in an fun first rounder.
  • Former touring pro and 209-veteran Jose Diaz returns to the IRT for the first time since Nov 2019. He faces off against a dangerous up-and-coming lefty from Mexico Rodrigo Rodríguez.
  • 18U player Cody Elkins makes his pro debut here as well, and he gets long-time IRT player from Maryland MoMo Zelada for his troubles.
  • #23 Scott McClellan faces off against an interesting competitor in Bolivian Roland Keller, who is a doubles specialist and normally doesn’t play singles

Projecting the round of 64: if my predictions go as I think they will, here’s some interesting possible round of 64:

  • we might see an all-Guatemala grudge match between @Juan Salvatierra and Edwin Galicia for a shot at the main draw.
  • #19 @Felipe Camacho faces the winner of Diaz/Rodriguez in what could be a fun match.
  • An all-south American possibility between Kadim Carrasco and team Zurek’s Juan Pablo Rodriguez Castrillon is in the offing.
  • #18 Sam Bredenbeck will be pushed by Guatemalan Javier Martinez.

Projecting the 32s: here’s some possible matchups for a shot at the main draw.

  • #16/#17; thanks to two top10 players missing, we finally get a different 16/17 match from the past couple of events. This time Sebastian Fernandez is back to being “stuck” at #16, and he projects to play #17 Alan Natera Chavez in a battle of Mexicans.
  • Adam Manilla has gotten bumped up to #12 and likely faces Colombian veteran Cubillos for a shot at the main draw.
  • Eduardo Garay Rodriguez projects to face off against Bolivian veteran Carrasco, if he can get by the young Rodriguez.
  • An old-school IRT veteran matchup between Sebastian Franco and Jose Diaz projects in the #14/#19 spot.
  • #11 Thomas Carter will have his hands full to hold off an upset by #22 Zelada.
  • Lastly, #15 Andres Acuña gets a new match up in the round of 32 and projects to face the younger Bredenbeck brother.

round of 16: The first round will have some fun ones

  • #1 Daniel De La Rosa gets just his second ever #1 overall seed in an IRT event (first one was in march of 2018) having ascended to the #1 spot on tour after the US Open. He projects to face the winner of Patata and Natera, not the easiest opener he could have hoped for.
  • #8/#9 features two guys who have both been trending up this year in Carlos Keller Vargas and Jake Bredenbeck. Both players made pro finals in the past two events, and now they face off in the 16s. They’ve played twice, with Jake topping Carlos at the 2015 PARC and Keller topping Jake at the 2019 Iris open. I’m favoring Keller here.
  • #5 Lalo Portillo should cruise by Manilla here.
  • #4 Andree Parrilla will handle Garay’s pace and advance.
  • #3 Samuel Murray projects to face Sebastian Franco in the 16s again; these two met at the US Open at this juncture and Murray dominated.
  • #6 Rocky Carson will be favored to move on against the winner of Zelada/Carter.
  • #7 Alvaro Beltran, who I know hates it when i pick against him in these writings, has his hands full with #10 Mario Mercado. These two met in Denver and Mercado blitzed Alvaro 12,6 to move on. I’m predicting the upset here as well.
  • #2 Alex Landa is set to face none other than Acuna. Again. They played at this juncture in both Denver and Chicago earlier this year and there’s famously history here. These two have set to play a money match later this year and promotional videos have laid out all the past conflicts. Will this match prove to add another chapter to their story?

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 DLR over #8 Keller. A rematch of the final of the US open happens two rounds earlier in Arizona, with Keller getting another shot at Daniel. DLR knows the game plan and will stick to it at his “home” tournament.
  • #4 Parrilla over his doubles partner #5 Lalo. The last time they played was at Mexican Nationals, a tie-breaker win for Andree. The gap between these two is closing though; and the last time they played professionally was a Lalo win. I expect a close breaker here, but like the way Andree has been playing and favor him to move on.
  • #6 Carson over #3 Murray. Carson is 11-0 lifetime over Murray, is not playing any doubles this weekend, and should have a somewhat easier time of it to get to the quarters. I like his chances here.
  • #2 Landa over #10 Mercado. Mercado can beat Landa; in fact the last time they played was a Mercado tight 2-game win over Landa. So this is no gimme for Alejandro. The question will be; is Alex healthy? He’s struggled with some physical issues lately, and has struggled to live up to his seeding for more than a year now.

  • Semis:
  • DLR over Parrilla. I think Daniel still has Andree’s number. They both play a similar style … Daniel just does it better right now.
  • Carson over Landa. Landa has not made a pro final since March 2020, the last event before Covid19 shut down. And even though Landa has a number of wins over Rocky in his career, he’s lost the last two times they played (both times for a USA national title). Landa is doing double duty this weekend as the #1 seed in Mixed, and I suspect it might just be enough of a toll on him physically to cost him in singles.

  • Finals;
  • DLR over Carson. An old-school meeting: these two have played no less than 31 times (29 on the IRT). Carson leads professionally 17-12 (19-12 including two IRF wins). But DLR has won 5 out of the last 7 times, dating to january 2018, sometimes impressively so. This could be a statement win for DLR, vanquishing a long-time rival when the stakes are highest.

Open Doubles review
Not an official “IRT pro doubles” draw, but there’s a massive Open doubles draw with a number of top team. here’s a quick preview:
From the top half, I like #1 Franco/Garay to top the young mexican lefty-righty team of Fernandez/Rodriguez in one semi. From the bottom half I’ll go chalk, with the #2 brother/brother Keller team topping #3 Diaz and Will reynolds.In the final, its Colombia over Bolivia, as Garay/Franco overpower the Kellers.


Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the IRT on facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for Dean DeAngelo Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!
Thanks to the Tourney Director Jim Winterton and to Arizona State for putting this event on!
Reminder to Players! Please like and follow this page so that when I tag you, you see it. Facebook will only retain tags of people that like/follow a page, which means lots of you are not getting the notoriety of getting tagged and noticed on FB. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but FB stripped it.
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2021 Florida State Longwall Championships Recap

Roy Hernandez (pictured here on the L with tournament host Marcos Gravier) was the double winner this weekend. Photo Tropical Park 2021


Hot on the heels of the 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships event in Vegas, some of the state (and country’s) best long-wall outdoor players gathered at the famous long-wall courts at Waterford Park in Davie, Florida for one of the biggest long-wall only outdoor events each year; the Florida State Long-Wall championships.
Waterford Park houses 8 long-wall courts, four of which are lit, and its tucked into a residential neighborhood in the suburbs north of Miami.

86 players entered and competed in both singles and doubles. Here’s some highlights from the top divisions.

In the Men’s Pro Doubles division, 7 teams entered, highlighted by the #1 seeded team of Roy Hernandez and @Marcos Gravier. They advanced to the final by topping the upset-minded team of @Tony Gonzalez and @Nicola Chafloque, who took out the #4 seeded team of @Yelandi Rivero and Robert Sostre in the quarters.
On the bottom half, #2 seeds and long-time top Florida indoor players Jonathan Burns and Mike Harmon showed they have some outdoor chops too, taking a 11-10 nail biter in the semis over the tough outdoor team of Joe Young and @Carlos Bravo to make the final.

In the final…The #1 seeds held serve and Hernandez/Gravier topped Burns/Harmon 10,12 to take the title.


In the Men’s CPRT 40+ pro division, 11 teams entered, highlighted by the #1 seeded team of Aaron Metcalf and Ross Greenberg. Metcalf is among the best long wall players in the country, a long-time indoor star and former IRT touring pro who turned to outdoor when the last of the indoor racquetball clubs closed in his native Jacksonville, and he’s been a force at long-wall ever since.
However, the #1 seeds were toppled in the semis by Burns and Gravier, who advanced 12,7 to make the final from the top half. In the bottom half, Rivera and Young took a tie-breaker win over #2 seeds @Thomas Gerhardt and Sostre to make the final.

In the final….Young used his pace to help drive his team to the title, with Young/Rivero topping Burns/Gravier 14,4.


In the Women’s Doubles Pro, the #1 seed was the traveling team from Virginia of @aime Brewer and Carrie Handfinger Hoeft, who earned their long-wall chops on the long-wall courts at Stratton Woods Outdoor Racquetball in Herndon VA. They were challenged by 3 all-florida teams in a RR for the title.

The Virginia team swept its three round robin games without dropping a game to take the title Saturday morning. The #2 seeds Teri Delgado and @claudia Andrade finished 2nd.

In the Mixed Pro Doubles, 6 teams challenged for the title.

The all-Florida team of Harmon and Luanne Pazos Bryant defeated the #2 and #1 teams en route to the title. In the semis they toppled Gerhardt and @Aime Brewer, and in the final toppled Roy Hernandez playing with Carrie Handfinger Hoeft.


Four brave souls entered the Men’s Pro singles division. Singles in long-wall is a test of racquetball shot-making and endurance, with players not only having to cover pinch shots up front but long bounding shots to the deep of the court.
In the semis, #1 Iceman Sostre took out long-time Florida outdoor player Mike Blackney, who grew up playing at the famous “Spanish Monestary” courts in North Miami. On the bottom side, Hernandez got a solid win over multi-state champion Harmon.
In the final…Hernandez dominated the New York Hall of Famer and took the title 8,7.


Thanks to tournament organizers Rob Mijares (who does so much for Florida outdoor racquetball) and Gravier.
tags
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball
Splathead Sportsgear
USA Racquetball