LPRT Sweet Caroline Open Recap

Jessica Parrilla returns to the pro semis for the first time in years. Photo US Open 2019 via Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Doubles; Alexandra Herrera/Jessica Parrilla
    Longoria reverses the script from the last two finals against Herrera and wins her 106th career LPRT tier1 event.
    See http://rball.pro/6CB839 for a list of all LPRT singles tour winners
    Both Herrera and Parrilla get their second pro doubles title of the season, each done with different partners.
  • R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=38854

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/9FD2AF

In the 32s:

  • I was shocked by Lotts’ 2,2 win over Meneses, considering that the Bolivian junior had bested Lotts handily the last two times they played. Lotts played lights out and took it to the up and coming Micha.
  • – Naomi Ros continues to look for a breakthrough win, playing Scott tough before losing 9,10

In the 16s:

  • Salas trounced Centellas in the 8/9 game 4,6. Centellas seems to be lost on the court lately.
  • Mendez forced to a breaker by Scott before advancing in a match that looked like an upset for a while.
  • MRR took Vargas to a breaker before falling.
  • Lawrence handed Rhonda a donut in the first before moving on.
  • – Biggest shock of the round: Munoz absolutely dominated Manilla 7,4 to move into the quarters. Manilla had been riding high all season but came out flat today.

In the Quarters

  • Longoria took out Salas in what is now the 2nd most frequent rivalry in tour history.
  • Mendez’ luck ran out as she was taken out by Parrilla, who amazingly returns to a Pro semifinal for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
  • Lawrence advanced to her first ever pro semi with a career win over Vargas in a close tie-breaker 11-9
  • – Herrera cruised past Munoz 7,2 to slide into the semis for the 7th time in her last 8 pro events.

In the Semis, the #1 and #2 players showed their dominance on tour, each winning their semi finals in dominant fashion; Longoria 2,6 over Parrilla, and Herrera 8,3 over Lawrence.

In the Finals, we got the third straight meeting of 1v2, and the fans got another compelling back and forth close match. This time though the GOAT Longoria prevailed in the breaker and ended Herrera’s 2-tourney win streak.

Points Implications of results
So, the 2022 SC event should expire off the 2020 KC and 2021 SC events (if they’re continuing to do a 12-month rolling calendar of points), which will mean a significant tightening at the top of the race for the top of the tour. But, with just one more LPRT event on the books, Longoria’s lead is insurmountable for the 2021-22 season, meaning irrespective of the KC events she will capture the year end title, which will be her 12th.
See this link for a list of all LPRT tour winners. https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_year_end…
Herrera trails Longoria by a bit more than 500 points, which is a lot, but which represents her cutting that lead in half just since the last LPRT event thanks to the way the points work. A couple more good results for Alexandra and we’ll have a real good race for the 2022-23 title.

Elsewhere notable, Mendez should return to #4 by virtue of Gaby’s missing this event, and Barrios will drop a couple slots with her absence. Despite an early loss, Manilla will move up to #9 (her career best), and Lawrence’s big semis should propel her up to #11 (also her career best). It is good to have a couple of American’s returning to the top 10 just as the long-standing stalwart of American racquetball (Rajsich) begins her gradual falling out of the top 10.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/EE4945
Herrera and Parrilla gave the Longoria/Salas team a rare pro doubles loss in the final, and game two wasn’t that close.
Four of the top US women’s doubles teams heading into US nationals all played with each other as practice for the event in Texas in two weeks:

  • Diaz/Ros took the veteran Roehler/Manilla team to a breaker
  • Roehler/Manilla lost to the #1 pro team Longoria/Salas 6,9
  • Scott/Lawrence took out the #4 seeds and took the #1 seeds to a breaker before losing
  • Rajsich/Lotts were unlucky to lose against the #2 seeds, going down 11-10.

Based on these results, Scott/Lawrence look like the team to beat.

Women’s Open, other draws
Centellas rebounded from a disappointing pro event to take the Women’s open title, downing Munoz and Amaya along the way. #1 Seed Meneses lost to Amaya 7,2, another shocking result that indicates to this observer that something was amiss with Micha this weekend.

Maurice Miller cruised to the Men’s Open title as the #1 seed, topping Alabama #1 Destry Everhart in the final. However Miller couldn’t convert the Men’s open double, losing the doubles final with his twin brother Marquis to Everhart playing with Shane Karmelin.

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 Facebook. If your name is here and it isn’t tagged … it probably means I attempted to tag you but Facebook stripped it.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
We have a rare break in the calendar next weekend… then the final weekend of the month is Nationals! US in Texas, Canada in Brossard.

IRT New York Open Recap

Kane was cruising towards another title before court conditions halted play. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winner on the weekend … well, there was no Pro winner this weekend. For just the 2nd time in recorded pro tour history, an event was started but not completed. #1 Daniel de la Rosa and #7 Kane Waselenchuk had just finished game one of the singles final when the viewers saw them talking with the IRT commissioner @Pablo Fajre on the court … and then we saw nothing but commercials for what seemed like 10 minutes straight before the feed cut out. We eventually got the explanation; wet courts and safety concerns.

IRT statement on the situation: https://www.facebook.com/racquetballtour/posts/10159763607656737

It’s a bummer, because Kane was as dialed in as I’ve ever seen him this weekend and had just taken the first game 15-4. But, the court conditions (which by all accounts were already sketchy all tournament) turned unbearable after an HVAC issue overnight turned the courts into skating rinks. The players will split the points and money, and we’ll have a ? for the winner in the database for the rest of time.

What was the other IRT tournament that never finished? That would be the 2005 Summer Cooler traditional season opener that used to happen in New Orleans every season. But in August 2005 … Hurricane Katrina bore down on the town and the players had to get out of town after completing the quarters on Friday night. The tourney was never finished, Katrina decimated the area … and there’s never been another tournament in New Orleans since.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38842

Lets review the notable matches in the Pro Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/5BBBF2

In the 128s and 64s: Here were some of the eye-brow raising results for me in the first day of qualifying:

  • Bravo to the traveling Ecuadorian pros, who fared very well this weekend. Cueva won a round before losing to Horn, and Ugalde made the round of 32s before playing Fernandez tough and losing 13,10.
  • Bolivian junior Ezequiel Subieta got two solid qualifier wins over Warigon and Salvatierra before falling to Garay.
  • Flight issues took Cardona out of the event, giving Iwaasa a clearer path to the 32s.
  • – Mexican junior Guillermo Ortega Jr. got a couple of solid wins over established international pros Gomez and Cuevas to get into the 32s.

In the 32s:

  • Horn upset #9 Jake Bredenbeck with relative ease 7,10.
  • #12 Manilla was pushed to a 11-9 breaker by Guatemalan Galicia
  • Acuna and Iwaasa played a very close match, with Acuna advancing 10,14. Iwaasa could absolutely be a mid-teen ranked player on tour if he played regularly.
  • Bolivian junior qualifier Hector Barrios got the biggest win of the round, taking out #10 Franco 14,11.
  • Another top 16 seed upset was #15 Robbie Collins, taken out by the young Mexican Ortega.

Three qualifiers into the round of 16.

In the 16s:

  • #1 DLR calmed the upstart #16 Alonso
  • Underseeded Horn gave Mercado everything he could handle.
  • #12 Manilla took out another top 8 player, this time the #5 seeded Portillo in a breaker.
  • Fernandez was just a couple points away from an upset of #4 Landa … but couldn’t convert and Landa squeaks by 14,13.
  • Murray and Garay played a close game one, and a not-so close game 2 as the Canadian advances 13,0.
  • #6 Moscoso made fast work of his oft-difficult rival Acuna 6,4
  • #7 Waselenchuk put on a clinic against the young Bolivian Barrios, winning 3,5
  • – #2 Parrilla was made to work for it by his young Mexican rival Ortega, but advanced 9,12.

In the Quarters

  • DLR held off the mercurial Mercado in a breaker.
  • Landa cruised past Manilla in two.
  • Murray put another loss on Moscoso. This is the third time in five meetings that Murray has controlled Moscoso and put a loss on him, something that observers continually seem shocked by.
  • – Waselenchuk made a statement against Parrilla, donuting him in the first and ensuring that there would e no repeat of Atlanta.

In the Semis

  • DLR survived match point against his long-time rival Landa and moved into the final.
  • Waselenchuk crushed his Canadian rival Murray 1,1 in another statement win.

In the Finals … as mentioned above Kane was cruising. DLR’s points all came on aces or service winners, which is a difficult strategy to maintain when that’s the only way you can score.

Points Implications of results
Kane and DLR split the points, getting 350 each, which doesn’t make much of a change in the standings. The top 8 should stay the same after this event, which expires the 2020 Lou Bradley.
DLR (who didn’t play the Lou Bradley in 2020) only expands his lead at the top of the points; he now leads #2 Parrilla by 1400 points, a huge margin. The rest of the top 8 tightens: the difference between #2 and #8 is now less than 500 points, and we’ll see some major jostling in the 2-7 spots after every event going forward.

Acuna should rise to #11, his career best. Manilla should also see a big jump to #12. Beltran will drop, possibly to #15 by virtue of his absence here and expiring points. The other big mover will be Alonso, who will jump from in the 30s to in the 20s.

Men’s Open and other draws

  • Men’s Open Singles had 33 players, and the final featured two veteran international competitors in Canada’s Iwaasa and Ecuador’s Ugalde. They played the “perfect” match, with Iwaasa winning 14,(14),10.
  • Men’s Open Doubles featured more of the tour regulars with no pro doubles component, and the competition was fierce. The final was won by Acuna/Alonso topping Fernandez/Ortega Jr in two close games. Great event for Ortega jr.
  • – The U21 was a new event here, with players representing SEVEN different countries competing. In the end #1 seeded Bolivian Hector Barrios took out #2 Cuevas in the final, but lots of top young players competed and fared well.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew

Next up?
We’ll recap the LPRT event tomorrow, then talk about what’s next on the calendar

IRT NY Open Preview

Fernandez gets a #13 seed; can he get a first round upset? Photo US Open 2019 via Kevin Savory

After a couple year’s hiatus, the IRT returns to Long Island for the 2022 New York Open.
The tournament has a rich 47-man draw, including a ton of players we don’t normally see on tour, which I’ll call out in the “interesting matches to watch” section below.
Top20 players missing: #8 Carson misses a rare event; he went nearly 20 years without missing a tournament. Word is he’s avoiding the cross-country trip ahead of Nationals. #11 Beltran is not here; he was clearly hurt at the last tournament and has mentioned he won’t play in tournaments that don’t have doubles anymore. #13 Keller misses his second straight pro event. #16 Montoya is not here, nor is #17 Carter (a rare tourney missed as well). Interestingly #20 Trujillo, who was making a big move, is missing the event after a strong run. Maye he has finals.

All these missing top seeds have meant that Fernandez is finally out of the 16/17 seed range and can get a more winnable first rounder, and Mercado gets a top8 protected seed, among other players ranked in the teens moving up.

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 128:

  • Arteaga vs Ecuadorian national team member Cuevas should be interesting.
  • Sam Kelley versus Canadian national team member Leduc is a solid match.
  • Another Ecuadorian Ugalde takes on Cubillos in an intriguing all-South American match.
  • toughest first rounder: Canadian #2 Iwaasa versus the very good Joe Kelley.
  • Gomez vs Ortega Jr could be interesting too.
  • Bravo to all the NY local players who entered and will duke it out in this round of 128. Punjari, Puggioni, Galvez, Sullivan, Meguerditchian, and Behm all representing the tri-state area.

In the round of 64, we have some projected battles worth watching:

  • Floridian Zamudio versus Galicia could be great.
  • Ugalde versus Sam Kelley would be a good match.
  • Warigon versus the Guatemalan #1 Salvatierra would be great.
  • Iwaasa once again is in the toughest potential match of the round, projecting to face Cardona. Both these guys can make the 16s with the right draw, but one is going home in the 64s.
  • – Young Bolivian Barrios gets a test against veteran Wer.

Projecting the 32s:

  • #16/17 Alonso vs Zelada. Alonso has been on fire, but Zelada is no slouch. A nice test for the Mexican who has been hot lately.
  • #9 Bredenbeck vs Horn; all American matchup sends one team USA member home early. In their WRT peaks i’d favor Horn, but now i’m favoring Jake.
  • The best projected match of this round will be #11 Acuna versus the winner of Cardona/Iwaasa. Acuna should hold serve against both players, but both will press him as better than their seedings.
  • – #15 Robbie Collins is the most vulnerable of the 9-16 seeds, but the winner of Cuevas/Behm/Gomez/Ortega Jr quadrant may not have enough firepower to do so.

round of 16:

  • I Like DLR-Alonso for some fireworks. Alonso can score some points, but DLR will advance.
  • I think #9 Jake upsets #8 Mercado with better current form.
  • Can #13 Fernandez upset #4 Landa? Yeah, I think he can, especially if Landa gets off to a slow start. Fernandez has the explosive game to press Landa unless he’s 100%.
  • #14 Garay has the firepower to top Murray but will need to play a complete match. Murray is a model of consistency and rarely loses to upstarts.
  • #6 Moscoso vs #11 Acuna: these two always play close.
  • – If Kane shows up, he has a straightforward winnable first rounder against Franco.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 DLR over #9 Jake.
  • #5 Lalo over Landa/Patata winner; i think Lalo is poised to take the next step and Landa is beginning to show some wear and tear. If Sebastian gets the upset win, I still think Portillo can top him in a battle of 20-somethings.
  • #6 Moscoso over #3 Murray, even though Murray has a number of wins over the Bolivian in their career. It nearly always goes breaker.
  • #7 Kane over #2 Andree. Again, if he shows. This would be a rematch of the epic 11-10 Andree win from Atlanta in January.
  • #1 DLR over #5 Lalo; Lalo doesn’t have what it takes to beat DLR yet.
  • #7 Kane over #6 Conrrado. But, if Kane no-shows I like Andree over Conrrado in a rematch of two weeks ago.
  • Finals;
  • – If he shows, Kane takes out DLR in a highly anticipated matchup of the current #1 and the long-time #1. If its DLR vs Parrilla, its a rematch of last week, a easy DLR win. If its DLR- Moscoso? Tough one: DLR has the better game and Moscoso would need a game-plan/strategy to counter it.

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, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots!
@International Racquetball Tour

LPRT Sweet Caroline Grand Slam preview

Meneses gets a winnable round of 32; can she capitalize? Photo Severna park 2021 via Ken Fife

The LPRT is back in South Carolina, and at the club that houses their Hall of Fame. Legendary 70s player Shannon Wright is set to be inducted this weekend, and the ladies pros will compete for one of the largest purses of the season.
There’s a relatively small draw this weekend, but the absences will give us a compressed draw with new and exciting matchups.

Top20 players missing include #4 Gaby Martinez, #5 Angelica Barrios, #7 Montse Mejia, #11 Laime (weird b/c she can drive to SC). So the top 8 seeds all get bumped up a ton.

Lets preview the draw.

Round of 32: we have 5 play-in matches, with a couple of compelling ones:

  • #16/17 @Michaela Meneses vs @Sheryl Lotts: the Bolivian youngster gets a great test against a long-time touring USA pro.
  • #12/#21 @Nancy Enriquez vs @Naomi Ros. I like Ros to really push her veteran countrywoman in this one. Upset alert.

– #14/#19 MRR vs Riveros: an international flavor match between two long-time touring Vets. Riveros has not played a ton lately; can MRR get the win and hold serve?

Round of 16: notables i’m looking forward to:

  • #8/#9 Centellas vs Salas: two players who have both not gotten recent results they want. I suspect Salas’ power is the favorite here; what can Centellas do to reverse her recent slide?
  • #5/#12 Parrilla/Enriquez: they’ve traded blows and wins against each other over the last year. who wins here?
  • #4 Mendez vs #13 Scott: this is the perfect kind of match for Scott to try to make a statement; can she press the Argentinian?
  • #6/#11: Rajsich vs Lawrence; a rematch of multiple US nationals matches over the past few years; Lawrence is the favorite irrespective of seed.

– #7/#10 Manilla vs Munoz; they’ve never played in a top-level match. Manilla is the favorite based on form and recent results.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Longoria over #8 Salas for the 57th time on tour.
  • #4 Mendez over #5 Parrilla
  • #3 Vargas over #10 Lawrence; they’ve played some close games but there’s still a bit of a gulf between them.
  • #2 Herrera over #7 Manilla; they met in the 32s twice last year … this time should be different. Upset watch.
    Semis: chalk: #1 Longoria over #4 Mendez, #2 Herrera over #3 Vargas.

Finals; Can Herrera make it three in a row? I think so.

Doubles review

All kinds of weird teams in the pro doubles this time around, as missing players change the regulars. #1 Longoria/Salas are still there, but I like #3 Herrera/Parrilla to make the final and push them.

Look for Streaming in the regular places; follow the LPRT on Facebook and sign up to get notifications when they go Live.
Look for Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr., and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

IRT SoCal Open Recap

DLR wins his 8th career title. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your pro singles winner Daniel de la Rosa for his win in Canoga Park on Saturday 4/30/22.

He secures his 8th career Tier1 title, which moves him into a tie for 13th all time with newly inducted Hall of Famer John Ellis . 12th on the list is 1981-82 pro tour champion and fellow Hall of Famer @Dave Peck , who won 11 tier1 titles.

See this link for a list of all 42 historical Tier1 IRT pro tourney winners: http://rball.pro/1D09B4

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38996

Lets review the notable matches in the Pro Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/22795E

In the 128s and 64s:

  • Great showing this weekend from Bolivian Junior @Hector Barrios, who won twice on Thursday, including an upset of IRT regular @Erick Cuevas Fernandez, to get into the round of 32.
  • @Alejandro Cardona ‘s return to the IRT started out well, with two quick wins over seeded competition.
  • @Jim Douglas secured his first career IRT win in the round of 128, taking out @Brad Levine in a breaker.

In the 32s, some big upsets.

  • #17 upset #16 when @Sebastian Fernandez took out @Thomas Carter in two. Patata can’t seem to get out of the #16 seed at IRT events and will shoot for the big upset on Friday.
  • #9 Mario Mercado almost fell to former IRT touring pro @David “Bobby” Horn, but outlasted him 11-8 in the breaker. Its hard to win three matches in a day.
  • #21 @Jordy Alonso got the biggest upset of the day, continuing his excellent streak of play lately and beating #12 @Sebastian Franco in two 6,13. Alonso is making a statement lately, now with wins in the last few months over Horn, Franco, and Bredenbeck.
  • Cardona made quick work of a hobbled #11 @Alvaro Beltran 13,2 to move into the round of 16
  • #18 Mexican junior phenom @Erick Trujillo staved off match point against in game two versus #15 fireballer @Eduardo Garay, then raced to a 11-3 tiebreaker win. Trujillo continues to get solid wins against solid pros.

In the 16s, two upsets by seeds and a couple other notable matches:

  • #8 @Rocky Carson made quick work of #9 @Mario Mercado 6,11 in the 8/9 spot that generally sees really competitive matches. Mercado won his first Tier 1 recently, but has scuffled as of late both professionally and internationally.
  • #13 @Adam Manilla got one of the best wins of his career, topping #4 Alejandro Landa in an 11-8 tiebreaker.
  • #3 @Andree Parrilla was pushed to the edge by the improving @Andres Acuna but prevailed 10,14
  • #6 @Conrrado Moscoso shook off the jet lag after falling behind big in the first, then raced to a two game win over Cardona 14,4.
  • In the always competitive 7/10 match, #7 @Eduardo Portillo took a solid win over #10 @Jake Bredenbeck in a tiebreaker
  • #2 @Kane Waselenchuk was a no-show, reportedly having “flight issues,” which gave Mexican reigning 18U World champion @Erick Trujillo a walkover into the quarters, his career best.

In the Quarters

  • #1 @Daniel de la Rosa reversed his previous result against #8 Carson, topping him in a breaker. These two had met in the last event at this juncture and Carson upset the #1 player; not this time.
  • #5 @Samuel Murray cruised past the upset-minded Manilla in two games. It is difficult to come back after a career win and compete in the next round, especially when its just a few hours later.
  • #3 Parrilla showed pretty sturdy mental game against #6 Moscoso, coming back from 10-0 down in the first to win 15-12. He then ground out a 15-13 game two win against the talented Bolivian to get a really solid win and move into the semis.
  • #7 Lalo put his foot down against his junior Mexican rival, topping Trujillo 8,4 in a dominant showing to move into the semis.

In the Semis

  • #1 DLR improved to 5-1 lifetime against Murray, playing a solid match to advance despite Murray’s best acrobatic efforts 13,9.
  • #3 Parrilla played a masterful tactical match against #7 Portillo, frustrating his young San Luis Potosi rival to advance 8,8.

In the Finals, DLR improved to 9-2 career against Andree and took care of business, driving the action and out playing Parrilla en route to a comfortable 8,11 win.

Points Implications of results

The IRT for the time being is doing the ranks on a rolling 11 Tier1 basis, dropping the lowest Tier1 showing and any other events that add up to more than 11 played events. That means this tournament “retires” two Jan 2020 events, where DLR had a win and a final, so he had 700 points to defend. This means his lead at the top will shrink, but he will remain #1 by a sizeable margin.

The big move will be Kane dropping; he had a win in Austin in January 2020 to defend, and earned zero points here, so he’ll drop at least a few spots (my projection shows him dropping to #5 on tour). This means that Parrilla will ascend back to the #2 spot, Landa moves up to #3, and Murray to #4.

Men’s Open Singles and Doubles draws
No pro doubles here, so a lot of the non top 8 also entered Open Singles … and then a lot of them dropped out, giving a bad look with a ton of WBF-ns on the sheet. Four of the top 8 seeds forfeited out at the round of 16.
The semis featured a very international flavor, with two Bolivians, a Guatemalan, and a Colombian competing. Bolivian 16U payer @Ezequel Subieta took out Colombian vet @SeSet Cubillos in one semi, while Mexican youngster @Miguel Arteaga Guzman got a walkover against Guatemalan vet @Juan Jose Salvatierra in the other. The final thus was #15 versus #16, with Arteaga taking out Subieta 11-10 in a thrilling match.
In Open Doubles, seeds held to the semis, which was full of IRT touring regulars. #1 Garay/Franco (a good representation of the top Colombian doubles team) beat the young team of Trujilo/Rodriguez in one semi, while the excellent pairing of Acuna/Alonso topped the NorCal duo of Antone/Horn.

In the final, Acuna/Alonso prevailed over the hard hitting Colombians, winning easily 13,5.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer and Leo Vazquez , who flew in specially for this event. We also got to see a ton of streaming from @JTRB , thanks as always for all you do. Thanks also to @Wayne Antone who did some great work on the mike and reffing.

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

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

We have a break next weekend, then on the 5/15 weekend both pro tours are back in action. IRT is in NYC, while LPRT has its Grand Slam in South Carolina.


IRT 2022 SoCal Preview

Cardona returns to the IRT for the first time in 3.5 years. how far can he go? Photo unk

The IRT returns to Southern California and its rich player base for the first time in 2.5 years with the SoCal Open. The tournament will be held at the Canoga Park club, which hosted an annual IRT event recently and is now back in the fold.

Play starts today 11am PDT/2pm EDT.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=38996

There’s a huge draw: 42 singles players are entered in to the pro singles draw, with a good chunk of them also playing in the “Open Doubles” draw.
top20 players missing; #13 Bolivian @CarloCarlos Keller did not make the long trip from Bolivia for this one. #15 @RodriRodrigo Montoya and #20Javier Mar are both missing (they may have burned their available vacation for long PARC trip). Otherwise the full top 20 is here plus a ton of guys ranked in the next 10.

Notably, #2 @Kane Waselenchuk was a very-last minute commit, which sets up back end of this tournament well and should be a boon for neutrals and Kane fans.

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 128:

  • Colombian @JJuan Pablo Rodriguez takes on NorCal’s Wayne Antone IV in a fun opener.
  • Bolivian junior @Hector Barrios has a solid opener against Texas’ DJ Mendoza
  • Former WRT #1 @Alejandro Cardona returns to the IRT for the first time in more than 3 years and faces IRT regular @Anthony Martin in his opener.
  • – top SoCal amateur @Iain Dunn takes on Colombian international veteran @Set Cubillos

In the round of 64:

  • @Jordy Alonso should face a tough qualifier against the winner of the Rodriguez/Antone match.
  • @Erick Cuevas will face a stiff challenge from the Barrios/Mendoza winner for a spot in the main draw.
  • Top Guatemalan @JuanJuan Jose Salvatierra has the tough task of facing Cardona, assuming Alejandro wins his opener.
  • – An international-heavy quadrant in the draw will see the Colombian Cubillos challenged by Mexican up and comer @MiMiguel Angel Arteaga for a spot in the main draw.

Projecting the 32s: some guys face a third singles match on Thursday, a difficult proposition for any player… so factoring that in, here’s some interesting round of 32s to get into the main pro draw:

  • #16/17: Patata versus @Thomas Carter . Carter has been playing well, but Fernandez is better.
  • #9 @Mario Mercado faces a very tough draw against #24 @Bobby Horn … who is 7-1 lifetime against him. But, Horn will be playing his third singles match of the day. Mercado is coming off a relatively disappointing PARC event on his native soil … will he bounce back against an opponent he’s struggled against historically?
  • #12 @Sebastian Franco has serious upset potential versus #21 @Jordy Alonso. Alonso took out Bredenbeck with relative ease at the last event and may get the upset here as well.
  • #11 @Alvaro Beltran is the unlucky recipient of Cardona’s qualifying spot … but again, Cardona will be on his third match of the night. Can he muster enough juice to top the hobbled Beltran? He may. Upset watch here.
  • – Lastly, in the 15/18 spot we have a great potential match, with @Eduardo Garay set to take on the up and coming Mexican @Erick Trujillo . Trujillo is fresh off his U21 wins at PARC and his first real big win on tour in Chicago. Look for Trujillo to move on here.

Round of 16: I’m predicting a couple of upsets, otherwise chalk.

  • #17 Fernandez pressures but fails to supplant the #1 Daniel de la Rosa
  • #21 Alonso continues his run and takes out #5 Samuel Murray .
  • On the back of his big run at PARC, #14 @Andres Acuna takes out #3 @Andree Parrilla
  • – While not necessarily an upset, #7 @EduaEduardo Portillo takes out #10 @JaJake Bredenbeck to setup a meeting with the King.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 DLR over #8 @Rocky Carson; It’ll be two matches on Friday for these two, and I think DLR can get some revenge from his upset loss in the last event
  • #4 @Alejandro Landa halts the Cinderella run of Alonso
  • #14 Acuna falls to #6 @ConrradoConrrado Moscoso in a rematch of the PARC final earlier this month.
  • #2 @Kane Waselenchuk wipes out Mexican youngster Trujillo in a rematch of their Atlanta meeting in January.

  • #1 DLR over #4 Landa: DLR is 10-5 career over his Mexican compatriot and moves on here.
  • #2 Kane over #6 Moscoso; these two have met several times and the matches can be super-fun, but the Bolivian needs a better strategy than he had in Chicago.

  • – #2 Kane over #1 DLR. Odds are we won’t get this matchup but this is what all the neutrals want. Kane is still the king, but how far has DLR come?

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, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew all weekend on the mike, calling the shots! @Leo Vasquez is also flying in this weekend to help broadcast, and of course the venerable JT R Ball is based in Southern California, so he should be in the streaming mix too!

PARC Recap

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

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

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

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

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

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

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

In the Semis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up?
After this weekends team competition in Bolivia …
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

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

International Racquetball Federation

PARC Knockout Stages Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

33rd PARC Tourney and Group Stage previews

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

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

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

Now for some thoughts on each main draw:

Men’s Singles:

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

Men’s Doubles:

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

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

Women’s Doubles

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

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

Mixed Open

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

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

Mexican Nationals Recap

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

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the 32s and 16s:

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

In the Quarters

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

In the Semis

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

Women’s Singles recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …

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