2022 US Open Recap

Moscoso takes the US Open crown, writing his name into the record books Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory


Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Conrrado Moscoso
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
  • Men’s Doubles: Daniel De La Rosa & Alvaro Beltran
  • Women’s Doubles: Natalia Mendez & Erika Manilla
    All results now uploaded to the PRS datbase. Here’s the Match Report links:
  • Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/lsu
  • Women’s Singles: https://rball.pro/pb5
  • Men’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/sq4
  • Women’s Doubles: https://rball.pro/t72
    On the Men’s singles side, a brand new US Open winner in Moscoso, who blew through the draw to capture his 3rd career title and really make a statement on the tour. Paola wins her 12th career US Open title but had to work to do so. DLR/Beltran win their 3rd US Open doubles title together and defend their title, maybe the last time doing so if Beltran retires. And we have a brand new team and brand new faces on the US Open women’s pro podium.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39683

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

In the qualifying, only a couple of surprises for me (from my preview) making the main draw:

  • Christian Wer gets a walk-over against Alejandro Cardona , a bummer b/c I thought he’d really press Portillo in the 32s.
  • Tough win for the up-and-coming Bolivian Miguel Angel Arteaga over tough NJ player @Joe Kelley to advance.

– U21 up and coming Mexican @Guillermo Ortega Jr. took out top American player @Maurice Miller in two.

In the 32s, just three upsets by seed (and we predicted two of them)

  • #19 Mar topped #14 Beltran 1,0, a score line that indicates that Beltran probably was going through the motions or protecting against injury to focus on doubles.
  • #18 Garay took out #15 Carter in a tie-breaker.

– The biggest upset though, was #54 Garcia taking out #11 Sebastian Franco 11-8 in the breaker. Franco has been on a rough stretch on tour lately, and Garcia is a sneaky good player who’s gotten wins in the past.

In the 16s, 7 of the 8 matches went chalk, but one massive upset and a couple of surprising results to this observer:

  • #16 Rodrigo Montoya upset the #1 seed and Defending champion @DaDaniel de la Rosa in a tiebreaker (10),14,9. DLR had match point on his racquet in game two, then missed a slew of shots in the breaker to really squander this match. No offense to Rodrigo, but for me this was more DLR losing than it was Rodrigo winning. Montoya utilized a high lob Z to DLR’s backhand throughout the breaker that DLR uncharacteristically did not attack, leading to setups and setbacks. After bailing out of the Virginia event with little notice and little information, one has to wonder what DLR’s level of commitment to the sport is at this point, given his rising Pickleball stature (he is on a @Major League Pickleball team and competes often on the PPA tour).
  • #5 Landa gave #12 @Andres Acuna no room for drama with a straightforward win.
  • My big upset pick was a repeat of #19 Mar over #3 Samuel Murray , but after a first game loss Murray found the solution and ground out an 11-8 tiebreaker win. All credit to Murray for a huge comeback in the breaker, going down 0-7 before coming back to win; that’d never happen in rally scoring folks!
  • I thought #10 @Adam Manilla had a shot against #7 @Rocky Carson, and took game one. But Carson bounced back to win the breaker.

Its the second straight IRT event with a #16/#17 seed upsetting the #1 in this round, and unless Carson makes a huge run it guarantees a new US Open champion for 2022 (here’s a summary of the first 25 US Open finishers: http://rb.gy/cifvcf )

In the Quarters, my predictions went out the window.

  • Montoya improved to 6-3 h2h against Bredenbeck in top-level events by winning two close, sometimes controversial games 13,14.
  • Landa reversed the result from two weeks ago in Maryland, beating Lalo 14,10 to move on and continue to fulfil @Sudsy Monchik ‘s bold predictions.
  • In a stunning result, #6 Moscoso destroyed #3 Murray 7,2 to move on. Clearly the Bolivian has tired of losing to Big Canada and found a game-plan to counter Murray’s in a big way.

– #2 Parrilla quietly moved into the semis by moving past Rocky.

In the Semis:

  • Montoya crushed Landa 6,5 to advance to his first pro final.
  • Moscoso similarly crushed Parrilla 5,6 to move into the final.

In the Finals, Montoya really had no answers for Moscoso on the day. The second game was a complete blow out, and Conrrado really made a statement here winning the title 8,4.

Points Implications of Men’s Singles results
This event will expire the March 2020 Chicago event, the last event before Covid shut the sport down, and the points ramifications are large:

  • Moscoso should move up to #2 on tour, though still 700 points or so behind DLR.
  • Kane drops to #8; he won Chicago in 2020 and loses all those points.
  • Montoya should move up to #12, finally getting out of that 16/17 range and making it easier on himself to continue to get to back ends of tournaments.
  • Franco and Beltran now project to #15 and #16 on tour, putting significant questions on their continued participation on tour.

– We should also see significant rises from the two long-shots who advanced into the main draw, Garcia and Barth.

LPRT Pro Singles Review
Here’s a recap of notable matches in the Ladies singles draw.
In the 32s, almost no surprises but a couple of good matches.

  • Cristina Amaya got a solid win over Nancy Enriquez 4,12
  • Jenny Daza won a very tight match over @Maria Renee Rodriguez (14),13,7.
  • #15 Sheryl Lotts overcame a first game loss to blank #18 @Micaela Meneses in game 2 and survive the tiebreaker.
    Nearly half the round of 32 matches were complete blow outs: 8 of the matches played featured score-lines where the losing player scored 6 or fewer points TOTAL in the match. There’s definitely a line of delineation on tour right now.
    In the 16s: 100% chalk. All top 8 seeds advanced, though there were a couple of surprising results for me, and several close matches
  • In the 8/9, Brenda Laime setup a rematch with Longoria by taking out #9 @KelaLawal Kelani in a breaker.
  • #5 Jessica Parrilla went breaker to down #12 Valeria Centellas
  • The shocker of the round for me was #4 @Natalia Mendez holding serve and downing #13 Ana Gabriela Martinez in two close games. Based on form and talent, I thought for sure Gaby was making the semis here.
  • Great win for #7 Carla Munoz , downing #10 and frequent rival Samantha Salas Solis to earn her first ever US Open quarter final.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 @Paola Longoria pasted the player who defeated her in Virginia two weeks ago in Laime 1,8 to make a statement and move on.
  • #5 Parrilla got another solid win, this time over #4 Mendez, to move back into the US Open semis for the first time since 2016.
  • #3 Erika Manilla turned the tables against @AANgelica Barrios (who defeated her at Worlds a few months ago) and moved into the semis by edging the Bolivian 13,14.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrera made fast work of the #7 Chilean @Carla Munoz 5,2.
    So, nearly chalk into the semis, with 1,2,3 and 5 seeds.
    Semis:
  • Longoria was not troubled by her long-time Mexican rival Parrilla, winning 4,5 to get back to the US Open final for the 14th straight time
  • Manilla got her best ever professional win, crushing Herrera 6,6 to get to her first pro final.

In the Final, Manilla took a scintillating first game, then Longoria made some adjustments and cruised to the title, her 12th. Final score (13),5,3. Manilla has definitely put her name into the ring among the sport’s elite players as someone who absolutely could take the crown from Paola, but has her work cut out for her to vanquish the GOAT.

Points Implications of this event:

  • At the top of the LPRT, these results won’t change much. Vargas still held a sizeable lead on Manilla for #3 and it will take a couple more results for that lead to evaporate.
  • Longoria and Herrera still hold a huge lead at the top of the tour.

– Mejia will drop a couple of slots, especially once the 2021 US Open expires off.

Men’s Pro Doubles review
Chalk in the 16s, with all 8 top seeds advancing without any even being pressed to a breaker.
The big story of the Men’s Doubles was the amazing play by the Bredenbeck brothers, who beat the presumptive favorites Mar/Montoya and then handled the excellent #3 seeds Murray/Parrilla to get to the final.
From the top, all credit due to DLR/Beltran, who beat the excellent Bolivian pair of Moscoso/Keller to get to the final themselves.

From there, DLR/Beltran overcame a 15-14 first game loss to win t heir 3rd title.

Women’s Pro Doubles review:
No real surprises in qualifying; the only qualifier upset was the solid Bolivian doubles team of Barrios/Daza taking out the relatively new partnership of Lotts/Enriquez to get into the main draw.
In the quarters, the Guatemalan national team of Gaby/MRR took out the reigning US National champs and the winners of the last pro stop Scott/Lawrence in the 4/5 seed matchup. Otherwise the top 3 seeds moved on with ease.

The big story was the play of Mendez/Manilla, who took out the top two seeds en route to the title.

U21, Open, other notable draw results:

  • The IRT U21 was won by Diego Garcia, who took out presumptive favorite Trujillo in the semis and then held serve against hte improving Ortega in the final. Great win.
  • The LPRT U21 was taken by Centellas, who ground out a win against 18U Bolivian champ Meneses.
  • Men’s Open was taken by #1 seed Jordan Barth, who took out former IRT touring pro Costa Rican Felipe Camacho in the final.
  • Women’s Open was taken by Chilean Carla Munoz, who took out precocious Costa Rican MariCruz Ortiz in the final.
  • Men’s Open Doubles was taken by Mexicans Romano/Trujillo over Californians Torres/Reynolds.

– Women’s Open Doubles was won by Kaiser/Ros.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Dean Baer, Favio Soto, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew , as well as the LPRT crew led by @Tim Baghurst and Sandy Rios.
Thanks to the Tourney Director @Connor Shane for all the work for putting this event on!

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

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
We have a super fast turnaround for the IRT pros, who immediately head to the Bay Area to play in Manilla/Horn’s Golden State Open.

After that, a break until 3WallBall in Vegas, which i’ll be at all weekend! If you’re there definitely come say high.

tags

US Open Preview!

can DLR defend his U S Open title? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

We’re at the US Open, the biggest event of the year.

I wrote up a huge preview for @USA Racquetball with “odds” of winning for each of the two pro singles draws, so I don’t want to write a ton here. Instead, go to the below link, open the Event Program, and read it there. The program has a TON of useful information on top of what i’ve written.

https://www.teamusa.org/…/19/US-OPEN-Program-Daily-Racquet

In this post, i’ll talk about some of the matchups I’m looking forward to in the opening rounds of the draws (i.e., Wednesday and Thursday), then i’ll cruise through some players to watch with some light predict ions.

IRT Singles:

I think your 128 and 64 round qualifiers will be:

– #17 Sebastian Fernandez , who continues to be “stuck” right in that 16/17 seed range, making it tough on him to move forward in main draws.

Rodrigo Rodriguez , who I think will get a win over former IRT touring pro and veteran Costa Rican Felipe Camacho

– Erick Cuevas fresh off his Mexican Junior Nationals appearance, who I think will top Maryland’s @Troy Warigon . But this could go either way.

– 9-time Junior national champion Jordan Barth, who is playing his first top-level racquetball to urnament in 5 years.

– Jaime Martell to take out talented USA junior @CCole Send .

– @MoMo Zelada to take out tough Colombian player @Andres Gomez.

– Former WRT top pro @Alejandro Cardona to take out Guatemalan veteran Christian Wer.

– Mexican Junior phenom @Erick Trujillo

– Last week’s IRT finalist #19 seed @Javier Mar, who I think will have another surprising run here.

– New Jersey tough lefty Joe Kelley over Arteaga

– USA national team member Sam Bredenbeck over Mexican junior @EzEzequiel Subieta

– Bolivian turned Argentinian @Diego Garcia to upset IRT regular @RoRobbie Collins

– @Sam Sam Brede , who looked so good at Worlds playing doubles.

– Veteran Bolivian power player @Kadim Carrasco

– Guatemalan regular Edwin Galicia

– Atlanta’s own and USAR board member Maurice Miller

– #18 Team Zurek member Eduardo Garay .

From there, here’s some of the round of 32 matches i’m looking forward to:

– 16/17 @Rodrigo Montoya vs Fernandez: two of the most athletic guys on tour battling it out. Could go either way.

– #9 Jake Bredenbeck versus former 9-time national junior champ Jordan Barth could be an interesting matchup of fellow Minnesota natives who have met plenty in local events in the past.

– #12 Andres Acuña versus Zelada; these two just met in Maryland, and Zelada upset the Costa Rican with relative ease. Could he do it again?

– #13 @Carlos Keller Vargas vs Trujillo; this could be a real interesting meeting, and an upset watch.

– #4 Eduardo Portillo versus Cardona: Cardona can and will score points against his young Mexican rival.

– #14 @AlvAlvaro Beltran cannot be happy about seeing Mar feeding into his round of 32 match.

– #11 Sebastian Franco projects to face a very tough former Junior world champion in Garcia.

– #15 @TThomas Carter versus Garay is an upset to look for.

In the 16s, a couple of possible upsets to look for:

– #1 Daniel de la Rosa versus Montoya; not the round of 16 that DLR would want; Montoya can win this.

– #5 @Alex Landa vs Acuna; if this comes to pass, these two have quite a bit of history.

– #19 Mar vs #3 @SSamuel Murray , a rematch of the semis from the Maryland IRT event, won by Mar.

– #7 Rocky Carson vs #10 @Adam Manilla , who I wonder if he could get an upset win.

My semis: DLR, Portillo, Parrilla, Moscoso. I think Lalo can beat Landa again, I think Moscoso takes care of Mar (though if Murray advances, Moscoso could be in trouble).

My final: Moscoso over Portillo.

———————————

Men’s Doubles:

15 teams are here, but the top 4 seeded teams have really separated themselves in both pro and international competitions oer the past year.

I like #4 Moscoso/@Roland Keller to upset the #1 DLR/Beltran team, #2 Montoya/Mar over Parrilla/Murray, and to eventually win the title.

———————————

Ladies Singles

31 Ladies entered into the singles draw.

In the 32s … look for some tough openers:

– #16 Cristina Amaya draws #17 @Nancy Enriquez in a super tough opener for both these long-time LPRT vets.

– #5 @Jessica Parrill gets USA national @Lexi York , who has been training with the Bredenbecks and will be a tough out.

– #14 @Maria RMaria Renee Rodriguez gets the tough Bolivian veteran @Jenny Daza in an upset watch.

– #15 @Sheryl Lotts takes on Bolivian junior national champ @MMicaela Meneses in a fun one for both players.

In the 16s:

– 8/9 @Brenda Laime vs US national team member Kelani Lawrence could be a barn burner. Laime famously took out Longoria in Virginia, while Lawrence only exited at the hands of eventual winner Herrera 14,14.

– #5 Parrilla vs #12 @Valeria Centella could be closer than Leoni prefers.

– #4 @NNatalia Mendes draws Gaby in an upset watch by seed.

– #3 US National champ @EErika Manilla will have her hands full with Daza.

– US National Hollie Scott has to come up with a game plan to beat the consistent Bolivian @AngelAngelica b .

– Salas-Munoz is a frequently seen matchup lately, with the two players splitting wins

My semis: Longoria, Martinez, Barrios, Herrera. I don’t think Laime can win twice in a row, I think Gaby takes out Leoni, I think Barrios upsets Erika, and I think Herrera beats either Salas/Munoz.

My final: 1 vs 2, with Longoria securing the biggest title in the sport.

———————————

Ladies Doubles Preview:

The absence of Mejia robs the draw of the Herrera/Mejia team that would normally press for the title. In their absence, I think #1 Longoria/Salas cruise to the title. They’ll likely face the most recent LPRT pro double champions from Virginia Lawrence/Scott in the semis, a fun match. On the bottom, Herrera replaces Mejia with excellent doubles player Parrilla and will make the final.

———————————

Follow USA Racquetball, IRT, LPRT on FB to get live streaming updates.

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.

Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. Both the IRT and LPRT are running fantasy competitions this year. The winner each week gets free swag!

@International Racquetball Tour

LPRT

@usUSA Racquetball US OPEN Championships

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IRT 2022 Capital Classic Preview

Parrilla is the #1 seed for the first time in his career. Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory


Welcome back to Men’s Pro Racquetball! It seems like it has been ages since the last IRT event, in May, in New York. We’ve had two international events, multiple nationals, outdoors, and ladies pro events in the interim … but now we’ve got the Men’s tour back in action.
And the tour returns to the Washington DC/Baltimore area for a Tier-1 for the first time since 2019, when the old Valentine Open was held at the former Laurel SportFit club (since closed, a Covid casualty unfortunately).
This weekend we’re at the legendary Severna Park Health and Racquet, roughly halfway between Washington and Baltimore, a club that has run tournaments for decades and still has a old-school stadium seating behind its show court.. The IRT did run a lower tier event at this club in May of 2021, so some of the pros are familiar with the setting.
R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=39163
There’s 40 IRT men’s pros entered into the singles draw this weekend, and we have a couple of curious missing players which will make for interesting seeding. #1
Daniel de la Rosa is not here, meaning that Andree Parrilla is the #1 seed, a career first for him. Also missing for one of the rare non-injury times in his life is #8 @Rocky Carson , perhaps “travelled out” after multiple IRF trips this summer and looking to avoid a cross-country trip so close to the US Open. This puts both @
Mario Mercado and @Jake Bredenbeck into top 8 seed placement, giving them guaranteed byes into the round of 16.

Other top 20 players missing include Fernandez and Trujillo (who is at Mexican Junior Nationals this weekend along with a few others who normally would be here). Interestingly, @Alvaro Beltran is here, and will be playing Pro Doubles with someone not named De La Rosa for the first time in recent memory (he’s playing with Landa as the #1 seeds).

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

  • A rare singles appearance by Bolivian doubles specialist Roland Keller , facing New Jersey’s @
    David Austin in the opening round.
  • Junior U16 Texan @Cole Sendry is here and starts his tourney against local open player @Troy Moore.
  • Top New England player John Behm has travelled down I-95 for the event and faces off against one of the Kelley Brothers in Sam.

– Two of the better Maryland-based open players (@Dylan Pruitt and @Ben Bleyer are entered and have their work cut out for them against @Abraham Mercado and former IRT touring pro @Kyle Ulliman respectively

In the round of 64:

  • #17 overall seed @Javier Mar gets a tough one in Roland Keller to get into the main draw.
  • Bolivian veteran @Kadim Carrasco returns to the tour and likely faces Texan youngster Sendrey to move on. This will be a great test for Sendrey if he makes it here in the opener.
  • Mexican dark-horse @Jaime Martel is here and kicks off his event against the Pruitt/Mercado winner.

– A tougher opener than #18 @Jordy Alonso deserved, likely facing Ulliman.

Projecting the 32s: here’s some possible matchups, which should be great.

  • #16 @Eduardo Garay projects to face Mar, a really nice matchup and contrast of styles. Mar is the better player, but has been out of singles action for a while. Can Garay grind out a win against the veteran control player?
  • #12 @Carlos Keller versus #21 @Alan Natera; Keller should advance here, but Natera can surprise.
  • #11 @Andres Acuna , who has now put himself squarely in the conversation of “man I’d least like to see in the qualifying draw,” faces local pro
    MoMo Zelada in the 32s. Zelada will get home-town bounces and fan support, but Acuna should advance.
  • #10 @Adam Manilla gets perhaps the toughest qualifier draw in #23 @Jaime Martel. I’ve got Manilla higher on the pecking order, but Martel can get wins. This will be an upset watch for sure.
  • #15

Thomas Carter has his work cut out for him against #18 Alonso. Another upset watch: Alonso has been on a hot streak lately, with 2022 wins over Horn, SFranco, and Jake.

Round of 16: Here’s some interesting projected matches for me in the 16s, which start Friday afternoon.

  • #1 Parrilla vs #17 Mar: wow, not the easy opener the #1 seed would normally expect. Up until quite recently I rated Mar as the better overall player than Parrilla, and these two go back a long ways. I don’t see an upset, but I do see a close match.
  • In the always-close 8/9, we get @Sebastian Franco on his (sometimes) home courts versus @Jake Bredenbeck . These two have split their last few meetings, dating to 2018, but Jake topped Sebastian easily the last time they met. Edge to Jake.
  • #5 @Conrrado Moscoso projects to face his country-man Keller, the mane he’d least like to see here. With DLR out of the top of this draw, Moscoso has to like his chances to get to the final (especially on the back of his great run at Worlds). But first he has to get past a player he’s played dozens of times in the past, and who knows how to beat him. Carlos beat Conrrado handily at last year’s US Open on the way to the final; Conrrado needs to find a way to mentally win this.
  • #3 @Alex Landa versus #14 @Rodrigo Montoya. Tough one for the #3 seed, as Montoya just beat Alex at the World Games rather handily. Montoya’s only losses this entire year have come against Kane, Moscoso, De La Rosa, and Acuna (in the World Games final). I think Montoya moves on here, and is starting to really take his place at the top of the pro food chain.

– #6 Lalo Portillo versus #11 Acuna: first time they’ve ever met in a top level setting, and I’ve got them neck and neck in my pure talent rankings. Tough one to predict, but I’m leaning towards Acuna, who has been hot lately. Lalo won the 2021 event on these courts so he’s a fan favorite, but Acuna has really turned it up a notch lately.

Projected Qtrs:

  • Parrilla over Jake: they just met in Birmingham and Andree handled the American easily.
  • Moscoso over @Samuel Murray. Yes I know Murray had a couple of recent wins over the Bolivian; to me Moscoso is the 2nd best talent in the world and blew out the Worlds draw, and seems like he’s on fire right now. That being said … sometimes its about the match-up and not about the talent; if Murray can control Conrrado’s power and force him to play impatiently … this could be a loss for the Bolivian at the hands of Big Canada once again.
  • Montoya over Acuna: even though Acuna topped Montoya at World Games final .. it was rally scoring. I think longer non-rally scoring games will favor Montoya, who can grind out points and wait for opportunities.
  • Waselenchuk over Mercado: Mario’s goal will be to not get donuted in either game at the hands of the GOAT.
    Semis:
  • Moscoso over Parrilla. Parrilla is a grinder, but Moscoso is a phenom.
  • Kane over Montoya. Montoya has the power and talent to get some points … and has had some impressive showings against Kane before, but he cannot keep up flawless shot-making for the entirety of a match, which is what it takes to beat Kane right now.
    Finals: Kane over Moscoso, in what hopefully is a more enjoyable match than the last time they met, where the Bolivian didn’t seem to have any semblance of a game-plan and got wiped out attempting to lob serve one of the best shooters in history.

(Note: I really hope t his turns out to be the progression of matches, because my semis features 3 of my 4 favorite players to watch in terms of athleticism, power, and shot-making.)

Doubles review
As noted at the top, DLR is not here, so the usual #1 seeds are now different. Beltran has teamed up with Landa and they’re #1. But they’re going to face some serious challenge; the #4 team is Moscoso/Keller, who have three IRF titles to their name and are coming off a finals appearance at Worlds.
From the bottom, #2 Montoya/Mar are the 2021 Worlds champions and are also a tough team to beat, but they’ve got to contend with a relatively new team of Acuna/Portillo as the #3 seed, both of whom are excellentdoubles players.

In the end, I like Montoya/Mar to top Moscoso/Keller in the final.

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! Also look for @Gary Mazaroff on the mike this weekend, as well as yours truly Todd Boss, coming in for Saturday’s action.
Thanks to the Tourney Director Slemo Warigon and regular helpers Grisz and Milbach et al for putting this event on!
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LPRT at the Beach recap

A career weekend for Brenda Laime, making her first pro final. Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Singles: @Alexandra Herrera
  • Doubles; Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Rae Scott
    It was an interesting weekend in Chesapeake. Lets read on for some thoughts.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=32188

Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/o32

In the 16s:

  • #8 Brenda Laime crushed #9 Scott 3,9, a result that portended the rest of the weekend.
  • #4 Erika Manilla needed a breaker to get past the veteran tour player Cris Amaya .

– In the 7/10 match-up, home town fans were rewarded with a solid win by Kelani Lawrence , who got an excellent win over Argentinian Valeria Centellas

In the Quarters

  • #8 Laime sent shockwaves across the landscape by upsetting #1 Paola Longoria 11-10 in the breaker. Laime’s classical game has gotten her big wins in the past (she has career wins over multiple top-4 players in the past couple of seasons), but never as big of a win as this. Longoria’s quarter-final loss was the first time she’s lost that early in a pro event since February of 2008, a pretty amazing feat.
  • #4 Manilla outlasted #5 Jessica Parrilla in a breaker. After losing 14 in the first, she cruised to a 15-2, 11-3 win.
  • #6 Carla Munoz upset #3 Mendez and returned to the pro semis for the first time since April of 2017 with a solid 11,14 two game win.

– #2 Herrera squeaked out a 15-14, 15-14 two game win over Lawrence. Not much between these two players on the day.

In the Semis

  • Laime rebounded from a first game let-down to move past Manilla in a breaker to get to the final. This tournament represents the first time Laime has advanced to the semis in her career, and now its the first time she’s made a pro final.
  • Herrera cruised past Munoz 6,7 to get to the final.

In the Finals, Herrera took her 3rd career title by topping Laime 7,12.

Points Implications of results
There are no 2021 points to expire, so there’s not a ton of changes with these results.

  • #2 Herrera closes the gap a bit on #1 Longoria, thanks to her early loss. She still leads by nearly 1,000 ranking points at the top.
  • Mendez and Mejia switch places at 4/5, with Mejia missing the event.
  • Parrilla and Barrios switch places at 7/8, again with Barrios missing the event.
  • Lawrence moves into the top 10 I believe for the first time.

– Laime bumps up her ranking from 13 to 11 with the finals appearance.

Doubles review
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/7gv

A small pro doubles draw was taken by USA reigning national champs Scott and Lawrence, a first pro doubles title for Scott and second for Kelani. They crushed Longoria/Centellas 1,12 in the final.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst , Jerry J Josey Jr. ., and Tj Baumbaugh
Thanks to the Tourney Director @Malia Bailey for putting this event on!

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

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Next weekend, the pro tour moves slightly north from Virginia Beach to Severna Park (outside of Baltimore) for the first IRT pro stop of the new season, and the first time we’ve seen the Men’s pros since May. There’s 42 pros entered into the Singles draw as of this writing, so it’ll be a big tourney.

Yours truly will be onsite, probably on the mike for some of the Saturday action.

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LPRT

LPRT at the Beach Preview

Can Kelani make a run at her home club? Photo 2019 US Open via Kevin Savory


R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=32188


The LPRT is back in action, this time on the East coast, returning to the Virginia Beach area for the first time since 2019. Held at the Chesapeake YMCA, this is the home club of USAR hall of Famer @Malia Bailey ,who also serves as your tourney director.


Last time the LPRT was in town, Longoria was upset in the final, giving @Maria Jose Vargas one of her 5 career titles. #3 Vargas however is not here however, taking some time off to have her third child. Also missing is #4 Mejia, #7 Barrios, and #10 Rajsich, who went decades without missing a pro stop and now misses her second in a row, perhaps an tacit admission that she’s stepping back from the tour. Also missing is Salas, who has been making a comeback lately, and Gaby, whose ranking has plummeted due to these early season absences.

All these top 10 absences in Virginia give Manilla a career high #4 seed and will make for some unexpected quarter final matchups.

Lets preview the draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:
In the round of 16:

  • The #8/#9 seed Hollie Scott versus @Brenda Laim matchup looks solid: I think these two are neck and neck talent wise, play different styles, and it could go either way .
  • #5/#12 Jessica Parrilla vs @Sheryl Lotts is a trap game for Leoni; Lotts has been playing really tough lately and could get an upset here.
  • #6/#11 @Carla Munoz versus the improving Maria Renee Rodriguez ; MRR can push Munoz here, but look for the Chilean #1 to move on.

– #7/#10 Kelani Lawrence versus Valeria Centellas : great matchup. On paper Centellas is slightly favored h2h, but this is Lawrence’s home club. Will that play to her advantage, or will the presence of family and friends put too much pressure on her? Last time they played in Va Beach, Kelani nearly upset Vargas, so odds are on the home town favorite to advance here.

Projected Qtrs:

  • #1 Paola Longoria over the Scott/Laime winner.
  • #4 @Erika Manilla is favored over #5 Parrilla … but has started slow this season with some unexpected losses in the first LPRT stop in Mexico and at Worlds. Upset watch here. This is the kind of match she needs to win though to establish her presence in the top 4 on a more ongoing basis.
  • #3Natalia Mendez projects to play #6 Munoz, which could be an interesting match. On paper this is a win for Mendez, but she’s taken some upsets lately. Look for an upset here.
  • #2 @Alexandra Herrea projects to play the winner of the Centellas/Lawrence match, and will be a heavy favorite. With no Mejia or Gaby in the draw, Herrera is the favorite to make the final.
    Semis:
  • Longoria over the Parrilla/Manilla winner, neither of which is likely to press the world #1.
  • Herrera to cruise over the Mendez/Munoz winner.

Finals: we should get a rematch of #1 vs #2, which we got several times last season and resulted in two straight titles for Alexandra. This time though, Longoria comes in on a hot streak, having blown through the competition in the season pro opener and last month at Worlds, and she’s the heavy favorite to cruise here.

Doubles review
An interesting doubles event should be seen, as the top teams are all missing half of the partnerships, meaning all sorts of new/different teams are h ere.
The consensus #1 doubles team in the land (Longoria/Salas) is missing Samantha, so Longoria is playing with Centellas, who normally plays with Mendez, but she’s playing with Manilla, who doesn’t have a regular partner but has been playing with Parrilla … but Parrilla is playing this weekend with Herrera, who normally plays with Mejia, but she’s missing. Meanwhile, Rodriguez usually plays with Gaby, but she’s not here, so she’s playing with Amaya, who has been playing with Riquelme but Maria isn’t here.
The only “regular team” I see here is the US #1 team of Scott/Lawrence, which perhaps portends well to their chances of beating these teams who don’t regularly play with each other.

All that being said .. i like Herrera/Parrilla from the top half and Longoria/Centellas from the bottom half to advance to the final. From there, I think Herrera/Parrilla will win a close one.

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!
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.
Coincidentally, if you’re interested in playing Fantasy Racquetball for this event, the links to the brackets are advertised on LPRT’s main page. The winner each week gets free swag!
LPRT

2022 Outdoor Nationals Wrap Up


Micah Rich (pictured) and Jason Geis win their 2nd straight Outdoor Nationals men’s pro doubles title. Photo 2022 Marina Park shootout via Stephen Fitzsimons

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Pro Doubles: Jason Newberg and @Micah Rich
  • Women’s Pro Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Munoz
  • Mixed Pro Doubles: Michelle De La Rosa & Daniel de la Rosa
  • Men’s Singles: @Andres Acuna
  • Women’s Singles: Carla Munoz
  • CPRT: @Josh Tucker and @Greg Solis

    Executive Summary: Geis/Rich hold off DLR/Beltran in the final for the 2nd year in a row, the DLRs continue to dominate in Mixed, mDLR gets another weekend outdoor double, as does Munoz, and Acuna goes back-to-back titles in indoor and outdoor, and a HoFamer takes the CPRT with a future outdoor HoFamer in Tucker.

    R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38652

    Triple Crown Reports: These links list the “triple crowns” of Outdoor racquetball majors; its a nice way to see all the past winners in one place.
  • Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/j47
  • Women’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/2vv
  • Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/y43
  • Men’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/86z
  • – Women’s Pro Singles: https://rball.pro/x8g

Lets do a quick recap of the pro draws.
Men’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/i2u
Thanks perhaps to the new outdoor player ranking system in place, the seedings were un-assailable at this event, and the draw was almost entirely chalk. Out of the 13 pro doubles matches played on the weekend, there was just one upset by seed (#10 @Robert Sostre and Andree Parrilla over #7 Thomas Gerhardt and Danny Lavely in the round of 16.

1 seeds and defending champions Gies/Rich destroyed the indoor-pro team and finalists at Beach Bash of Acuna/Portillo 1,3 in the quarters to set the tone for the rest of the weekend. They advanced frequent Marina Park shootout rivals @Rocky Carson and @Jesus Ustarroz in the semis to advance to the anticipated final.

From the bottom-side, #2 DLR and Alvaro Beltran (the 2019 winners here) defeated the 2018 winners in Josh Tucker and Brandon Davis in two games to advance to the title match.
DLR/Beltran came out firing, winning the first game 15-3 and giving the crowd a buzz; this is the third time in two years these two teams have met in a 3-wall outdoor pro doubles final. However, Rich/Geis came back and took game two 15-12 … but not before some real drama. At game point against, a ball came across the court to Alvaro on the right-hand side, who prepared to take a backhand. However, Geis was pinned and moved off the court. Beltran took the shot and hit Geis, looking for an avoidable hinder, but the referee (and line judge) ruled the ball was struck in a way that it wouldn’t have made the front wall; point against DLR/Beltran and game two. DLR and Beltran were furious, and had to be separated from the referee. Not a great look for two veteran pros.
Once everything settled down, the tiebreaker was a back and forth streaky affair, with DLR/Beltran taking the early lead but Rich/Geis running a few points at the end to take the title.

The expected Las Vegas rematch should be interesting.

Women’s Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/gfq
Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Munoz won their 4th straight Outdoor Nationals women’s pro doubles event, and 6th outdoor pro major together, by twice holding off the reigning USA indoor national doubles champions Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott . The 7 ladies teams played a double elimination draw, and thus in the match report the winner’s bracket final is listed as the “semis” and thus it looks like the semis and finals were a duplication in the database. We don’t get too many double elimination draws (I can count on one hand the number I’ve seen across all federations doing data entry for 20+ years), so the code/database isn’t built to handle it perfectly right now.

Bravo to @Angela Veronica Ortega and @Victoria Rodriguez, who advanced to the loser’s bracket final and finished 3rd by defeating some seasoned outdoor and pro teams.

Mixed Pro Doubles: https://rball.pro/8q6
The De La Rosa husband-wife team continues their dominance over Mixed Pro racquetball, winning this event for the 6th time in the last 7 years, and winning their 17th mixed pro outdoor major doubles title together. They remain on track to do the “triple,” winning all three outdoor major titles in one year.

They topped up-and-coming outdoor regulars Eduardo Portillo and Hollie Scott in a close final, but were given a scare in the semis by the Parrilla bro/sis combo, who beat them in game one 15-4 before the DLRs made the inevitable adjustment and blew them out 2,3 from there on.

CPRT Doubles:

@Josh Tucker and @Greg Solis, who have a combined 9 outdoor nationals pro doubles titles between them (but never one together), took the CPRT 40+ pro draw as the top seed. They beat SoCal expert 40+ players @Scott St Clair and Tony Burg in the final.

Men’s Singles: https://rball.pro/3cu
Andres Acuna , who won this event last year at Outdoor Nationals and was the #1 seed, took out #2 IRT player Andree Parrilla and then #2 seed veteran outdoor player Danny Lavely to repeat as singles champion here. It’s been a nice two weeks for Andree, who took the World Games in Birmingham on Tuesday, hopped on a plane, then took the title here in a completely different racquetball discipline. Oh and apparently he got married recently.

A nice month for the Costa Rican. Bravo.

Women’s Singles: https://rball.pro/3it

@Carla Munoz , the #1 seed and defending champ, defended her title here by ousting the improving Ortega, then two fellow LPRT touring vets in Lawrence and Scott to take the title. After missing Beach Bash, Munoz had some catching up to do with the cup series, and she took the double this weekend. She took out Scott in the final, fitting in that Hollie won the Beach Bash singles title.

Outdoor Cup Series status: we’ll do a separate post later this week on the machinations of this weekend’s results on the Cup standings.

Wor HOF class of 2022 Induction

On Saturday afternoon, the latest WOR Hall of Fame class was inducted. 1979 champs Dave Trenton & Steve Fey were added to the Hall; these were important transitional players who helped get outdoor Racquetball from its Paddleball roots of the 1970s into the power game dominated by Southern and Hawkes in the 1990s.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, headlined by the LPRT team with SoCal’s JT R Ball often on the mike, bringing on outdoor legends to help commentate. It is always a treat to listen to these specialists.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
… we’re in the dead of summer now; no events next weekend, then in two weeks time there’s a tier 3 IRT event in Alejandro Landa ‘s name in Juarez that should get some big names.

August is shaping up to be super busy: Worlds, the return of the Paola Longoria experience in Mexico, and a big Outdoor event in Chicago.

Thanks to your tournament directors this weekend @Geoff Osberg and @Jesus Ustarroz. Thanks to @3wa3Wall Ball ‘s @PeggiPPeggine Tellez and @Mike Coulter for all your support for the event and for your weekend experience help. Thanks of course to title sponsor @RaRandy r and his company Team Root for underwriting the event, to the presenting sponsor Pro Kennex, and to all the other sponsors who make this event possible.

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WOR Outdoor Nationals preview

Jason Geis (and partner Micah Rich) are the defending pro doubles champs. Photo: Steve Fitzsimons


Welcome to the 2022 Outdoor Nationals!
The 48th annual event runs from July 14th – July 17th 2022 at the Marina Park outdoor courts in Huntington Beach, California.
This tournament was first held in 1974, on the grounds of Orange Coast College in nearby Costa Mesa, California. It was the brainchild of two kinesiology professors by the names of Bob Wetzel and Barry Wallace, who had converted from playing handball to outdoor 3-wall racquetball in the early 1970s and were so enamored of the sport that they began teaching it at the college.

They organized the first ever “National Championship” to be held on the July 4th weekend in 1974, and convinced all the top indoor pros of the day to compete in it as well. After much cajoling, Bob Kendler (head of the NRC, which was the main “pro tour” of the day) signed off on the event and encouraged his players to attend.
The first Outdoor Nationals included a who’s who of the top “indoor” pros of the day, including historic names like Charlie Brumfield, Bill Schmidtke, Steve Keeley, Steve Serot, Craig McCoy, Dr. Bud Muehleisen, and a precocious 16-yr old named Marty Hogan, who was just about to take over the pro tour and forever transform the sport. These top NRC pros competed with the best outdoor players of the day, a list that included Wallace and Wetzel, Jim Carson (who would later become the director of this tournament for a number of years), R.O. Carson (father of Rocky Carson), Rich Carson (R.O.’s brother and Rocky’s uncle), and Mark Susson. In the end, Brumfield topped Serot to take the first ever Outdoor Nationals singles title. Brumfield also teamed with his long-time doubles parter Dr. Bud to win the first pro doubles title.
After some time, the tournament moved from the Orange Coast college to nearby Golden West College, and then in 2006 moved to its current location in Marina Park. This will be the 16th iteration of this event that has been held at Marina Park, and the pink and green courts are now the de-facto home of outdoor racquetball in Southern California.
The courts are big, very big: the front wall is nearly 23’ tall, the courts are 22 1/2 ‘ wide, and the back line is an inch short of 46 feet, making these courts the largest regularly-played courts in the country. The size of the court (and the height of the front wall) makes for some very specialized strategies, and you’ll see these strategies in play all weekend.
The 2022 event is shaping up to be a very strong field, thanks in no part to the two Outdoor Cup Series going on. Outdoor Nationals is the second leg of the LPL Financial LPRT Outdoor Cup, and is also the second leg of the KWM Gutterman Men’s Pro Outdoor Cup. With thousands of dollars on the line going to the best finisher amongst the three Outdoor “Majors,” interest in competing is high.
R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=38652
Here’s a quick preview of the Men’s and Women’s pro draws (doubles, mixed, and singles). Play starts 9am PST Friday 7/15/22.

The Brackets are not yet available as of this writing so we’ll talk about the leading teams in each draw.

Men’s Pro Doubles
Last year, the talented team of Micah Rich/Jason Geis topped the presumed “best doubles team in the world” in Alvaro Beltran/Daniel De La Ros en route to taking the title. However, Alvi and Daniel got some revenge a few months later, beating Rich & Geis in the Vegas final. Both teams are back for 2022 (presumably as the #1 and #2 seeds), and they’ll be joined by a dozen other top pro teams competing for the title.
Some of the teams to watch for this year include:

  • Andres Acuna/Lalo Portillo : Acuna has proven to be a quick study on the outdoor courts, and Lalo is recovered from a knee injury and should be in full form. These two made the final of the 2022 Beach Bash and are a formidable team.
  • Rocky Carson/Jesus Ustarroz are a long-time pairing and are 2-time winners here. They continue to play together in the regularly held shootouts on the court and are usually found in the back end of the draws. But they’ve been bedeviled in the latter stages of this event the last few years, losing in the final of 2018 and the semis in both 2019 and 2021. They’ll still be a top seed and will look to get an upset on Saturday of the event.
  • Brandon Davis/Josh Tucker won this event together in 2018, and Tucker is a constant presence in the semis of this event. He’s been a semi-finalist or better ten times since 2007, with three titles. Davis is no slouch either; he’s been in the semis or better five times since 2011. This is the team nobody wants to see in the quarters, or perhaps at all in this tournament. They’re both frequent players on the Marina Park courts and are cerebral tacticians when it comes to the outdoor genre.
  • Greg Solis/Scott Davis: Solis has 6 Men’s titles dating to 1995, and made the final last year with Tucker. This year he’s entered with Brandon’s brother Scott, himself also a mainstay in the quarters and semis of this event and a finalist in 2014.
  • Andree Parrilla/Robert Sostre: Parrilla doesn’t have much outdoor pedigree, but Sostre certainly does. He’s won no less than 11 Men’s Major outdoor titles in his career, and is now teamed up with one of the most skilled indoor pros out there.
  • Don’t forget about solid pairings such as Natera/Fernandez, Coe/Koll, and Lavely/Gerhardt, all of whom are solid teams.

From the round of 16 onwards, there are no easy matches at Outdoor Nationals. This will be a neutral’s paradise to watch from afar.

Women’s Pro Doubles
Last year, Michelle De La Rosa/Carla Munoz cruised to the Women’s doubles title, dominating the 5-team round robin. This year the draw will be significantly deeper, with a number of LPRT players pouring into the draw. Here’s some teams to watch for:

  • Kelani Lawrence/Hollie Scott: the newly crowned USA National indoor champs are teaming up to give it a go in outdoor, and Scott’s one-wall pedigree should help power this team.
  • Jessica Parrilla/Maria Renee Rodriguez are teaming up for the first time to compete here this weekend. Parrilla has competed in outdoor before, while this is a first for MRR.

– Heather Mahoney/Jazmine Trevino bring some California presence to this draw. Mahoney is fresh off Junior Nationals, where she captured the 18U title with ease.

Mixed Doubles
The mixed draw is of course headlined by the husband-wife pair of Daniel & Michelle De La Rosa; they’ve now won 14 major outdoor titles together since 2014, and they have not lost a match together since the final of the 2018 3WB event in Las Vegas. Who can challenge them? Here’s the teams shooting for an upset this weekend:

  • Rick “Soda Man” Koll/Maria Renee Rodriguez: Koll always competes well in Mixed and has a number of titles to his credit. MRR is newer to outdoor but may prove to be a quick study.
  • Micah Rich/Kelani Lawrence: this could be my pick to make some noise this weekend. Rich of course is one of the best outdoor players out there, while Kelani can hold her own against any female player on the right side.
  • Alan Natera/Carla Munoz: for years Munoz has played with Sostre in mixed and was a regular finalist. Now she’s trading the hall of famer for her husband in Natera (understandable), and will look to make it an all husband-wife affair in the finals against the DLRs.
  • Andree & Jessica Parrilla: perhaps the best brother-sister combination in the history of the sport teams up to play mixed in California; these are two top 10 touring pros who both can play.
  • Eduardo Portillo/Hollie Scott: Scott is quickly becoming an outdoor force, and Portillo can hang with most any player.
  • Robert Sostre and …. A game day decision to see who pairs with Sostre. As of this writing, the hall of famer and multi-mixed titlist was seeking a partner. Sostre can carry a player to the final; can he find a partner to break through and win it?
    Men’s Singles features 8 brave players battling it out on the massive Marina Park courts. And there’s some big-time names in this draw. World Games champ Acuna, IRT #2 Parrilla, Hall of Famer Sostre, and fellow Hall of Famer Greg Solis are the favorites here. Solis is searching for that elusive singles title; he’s been a runner-up several times.

Women’s Singles: Carla Munoz is back to defend her 2021 singles title, and she’s got a slew of regular touring pros challenging her for the 2022 title. Lawrence, Parrilla, Rodriguez, and Scott are in the draw, along with outdoor specialists Victoria Rodriguez and Mexican Junior Angela Ortega. Scott has won the last three Beach Bash singles titles, but 3-wall is a different beast in singles than one-wall. This should be a competitive draw.

Look for Streaming on 3Wall Ball , led by the invaluable @jt rball.
Thanks to the Tourney Directors @Jesus Ustarroz and @geoff Osberg for putting this event on! They’ve been running Outdoor Nationals for 10 years now and continue to do a fantastic job. Thanks to @3WBall and Mike Coulter and Peggine Tellez for your help as well.
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.
Associations
@WOR – World Outdoor RacqueWoR
@USA Racquetball
onewallball / Ruben Pagan
3wallball / Mike Coulter / mc vegas
AGE Solutions / Andy Gomer
team root / Randy Root
KWM Gutterman / Keith Minor
APCON/MZ Companies / Abel Perez
Team Dovetail / Mike Kinkin
Daily Racquetball
Hashtags #racquetball #proracquetball #outdoorracquetball #irt #lprt #wor

World Games 2022 Wrap-Up

Acuna with the big win! Photo US Open 2019 Kevin Savory


Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

  • Men’s Singles: Andres Acuna
  • Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria


    A fantastic result for Acuna, who wins his first major title of any kind, and he beat a number of solid players to do so. Meanwhile, Longoria crushed the draw absent of her two closest rivals to take her third straight World Games title.
    Click here for the list of all World Games Quarters/Semis/Finals from 1981 to present, Men’s Open: https://rball.pro/9xe
    Same for Women’s Open: https://rball.pro/edc
    R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39815
    Interesting tournament notes: for one of the few times that i can recall … we could not get live streaming for part of the tournament due to sport ownership/broadcast licensing issues. We’re so used to free streaming on FB that it was a shock to the system of most viewers when we found out that the broadcast rights were exclusive to … someone else for the Semis and finals. CBS Sports? Olympic Channel? It was not clear at the time of the match. Eventually we found that the semis were broadcasting live on the Olympic channel’s youtube feed … would have been nice to have the IRF actually tell us that.
    Then, in an apparent massive gaffe, the two semis ran so far over on time (gee, thought rally scoring was supposed to solve that!) that the professional broadcast team left, meaning no streaming or recording of the final? That seems inexplicable. Lets just hope we actually see these matches on a CBS sports network TV feed or somewhere in the future. Since that was kind of the whole point of standing up the portable court in the first place.

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

Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/2il

In the 16s, because of the nature of this format, there were mostly blowouts. Only a couple of the opening matches were legitimately competitive:

  • in the 8/9 match, Argentina’s @Diego Garcia got a game off of @RoRodrigo Montoya but couldn’t push it any further, losing in four.
  • In the 7/10 match, Guatemalan #1 @JuJuan Jose Salvatierra took a very, very close 3-game win from Costa Rican @Felipe Camacho 14,14,13.
  • – #13 Canadian @Lee Lee Connell , who got into this event just in the last week, pushed #4 Jake Bredenbeck in a couple of games but fell in three straight.

In the Quarters, some major upsets.

  • #9 Montoya took out a visibly fatigued #1 Landa in four. Landa reportedly was ill heading into the tournament, and looked fatigued on longer rallies throughout the match. Montoya’s power and retrieving was on full display, and he ground down Landa over the course of four games.
  • #5 Parrilla “upset” #4 Jake in three, though this was certainly not an upset by IRT rankings.
  • #3 Mercado handled the tough Ecuadorian #1 Ugalde in three straight.
  • – #2 Acuna took care of business against hte Guatemalan #1 Salvatierra in three.

In the Semis, we got two solid matches with predictable results:

  • Despite Parrilla being #2 in the world, his bugabu is Montoya. Rodrigo improves to 6-3 in post-Junior results against Parrilla, taking him out in four.
  • Acuna solidly advanced past the dangerous Mercado in four to secure his third straight IRF men’s singles final.
  • In the Finals, Acuna won three close games 12,13,14 to take the title. Not that anyone could see it.

Lets review the notable matches in the Women’s Singles draw.
Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/z7x
In the 16s, as with the Men, only a couple of matches were really close:

  • in the 8/9, two LPRT foes squared off with Chilean @Carla Munoz holding off Guatemalan Maria Renee Rodriguez in four games.
  • – In the 7/10, Two LPRT veterans faced off for the 20th time in their careers, with Mexico’s @Samanatha Salas taking out @AmaCris Amaya in three.

The quarters saw some solid action:

  • #1 Longoria handled #9 Munoz in three
  • #5 Barrios got a really solid win against #4 Mendez, winning in four games. This portends well for Angelica’s attempts to move up in the LPRT standings, if she can get a win against the current #4 ranked player.
  • #6 Gaby made fast work of #3 Rajsich 8,9,8, another “upset” by seed but certainly not by current LPRT ranks.
  • In the best match of the quarters, and the only match so far to go five games, #7 Salas upset #2 Lawrence in a great comeback. Lawrence was up 2 games to 1, but Salas dominated the 4th to force the tiebreaker, which she took 11-9.
    No Americans into the semis on home soil.
    In the Semis:
  • Longoria won a straightforward, if slightly closer than you may have expected, semi over Bolivia’s Barrios 12,12,9.
  • Gaby took down the red-hot Salas in four games to setup a rematch of the 2018 Worlds final against Paola.
  • In the final, Paola came out on fire to win the first game 15-2 before Gaby pulled back one for respectability. From there, Paola ground out the expected win to take her 3rd straight title.

Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from primary broadcasters Gary Mazaroff and Alexis Iwaasa, your lead broadcasters. Thanks to the IRT crew (@Pablo Fajre) for heading to Birmingham to setup the streaming equipment; it looked fantastic all weekend.
A comment on the streaming: once the Olympic channel people got in, with their million dollar equipment and high-bandwidth capabilities … man did the sport look good. From here on out, I’ll be using what we saw on youtube as my defacto response to people who ignorantly claim that hte sport is “too fast to broadcast.” No it isn’t; you just need the right equipment.

An additional observation: perhaps we should have re-thought the qualification for this event. The top 4 racquetball playing countries are USA, Mexico, Canada, and Bolivia. You know who was not here on the Men’s side competing? All four of the current reigning champions from these four countries. Carson, De La Rosa, Murray, and Moscoso. It was only half as bad on the female side, with Manilla (USA current champ) and Lambert (Canadian champ) not here. If this is the biggest showcase the sport has had in decades (when was the last time the IOC president showed up to watch Racquetball??), if it was worth the tens of thousands of dollars of expenditure for a MASSIVE IRF staff, a slew of referees, the portable court, etc … maybe we should have had our best players there? The round of 16 was an abomination as compared to what we see day in and day out on the pro tour, and less than half the current pro top 10 on either side competed. Opportunity Lost.

Thanks to @BoBob Frazer and all the staff who helped setup and breakdown the portable court; it looked amazing and the setup was awesome.

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

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Outdoor Nationals 2022 is this weekend! Its the second outdoor major of the year, the second leg of the Outdoor Cup series, and one of the longest running tournaments in our sport.

2022 World Games Preview

Kelani is the #2 seed in Birmingham. Photo USAR Singles 2019 via Kevin Savory


We have a rather unique tournament coming up this weekend; its the Racquetball Component of the World Games.
The World Games is a sporting event comprised of sporting disciplines that are NOT competed in the Olympics. Its meant to be the Olympics of non-Olympic sports. And that certainly includes our sport, which endeavored for decades to try to get into the Olympics and never succeeded.
The first World Games was held in 1981 in Santa Clara, CA. Racquetball as a sport used this platform as a way to initiate our own version of an international championship, therefore we also called the 1981 event the first ever IRF “Worlds” Six countries sent players (USA, Mexico, Japan, German, Ireland, and the Netherlands, but curiously not Canada, the 2nd biggest playing country at the time) and the tournament was not surprisingly dominated by American players. The top 3 Men’s and Women’s seeds at the event were all team USA, and the finals were both all USA affairs.
On the Men’s side in 1981, #1 seed @Ed Andrews defeated #3 @Mark Martino 15,18 to win the inaugural title. On the Women’s side in 1981, #1 seed @Cindy Baxter defeated #2 @Barbara Faulkenberry 6,(18),2 in the final (games back then were played to 21). Both Andrews and Baxter are now enshrined in the USAR Hall of Fame.

  • Click here for the Match Report from the 1981 World Games Men’s Open: https://rball.pro/4nn
  • And click here for the Women’s Open: https://rball.pro/bvd
    Since 1981, the World Games have been held every four years in spots rotating around the world … but the Racquetball component has not always been present. In 1985 future IRT star @AAndy Robert topped long-time Canadian #1 @Roger Harripersad in the final, while Baxter repeated as champion, topping Canadian Carol Dupuy in the final.
    However, the racquetball component was cancelled in multiple World Games events in the 80s and 90s due to the selection of sites with no racquetball courts. In Germany in 1989, in Finland in 1997, Japan 2001, and Germany 2005 all cancelled the racquetball components. In fact, the most recent World games from 2017 also cancelled racquetball when Poland couldn’t get the budget to build new courts. So, since 1981 there’s been just five events played …. and 2022 will be the sixth.
  • Click here for a full list of World Games Men’s Open finals: https://rball.pro/2ig
  • And click here for the full list of Women’s Games Women’s finals: https://rball.pro/tjb
    In 2022, @Paola Longoria has a chance to win her 3rd ever World Games title; she was the winner in 2009 over Rajsich and in 2013 over Amaya; all three of these players will be competing at the 2022 event.

Meanwhile on the Men’s side, the last winner of the World games in 2013 was @Polo Gutierrez, who defeated his countryman @Gilberto Mejia in the final 11-10 . Both these players retired from full-time play years ago, so we’ll definitely have a new champion this time around.

Here’s a preview of the 2022 event. We waited until the day of the event since the draws were just released. They’re also on R2 here:
https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39815
The 16 Qualifiers on each side were determined by their exact finish at the 2021 IRF World games. The top 12 by all non-European/Asian countries, then the last 4 spots reserved for Europe and Asia’s top qualifiers.
However, on both the Men’s and Women’s side we did see some qualifiers decline the invites, and thus we had to go to the 13th and higher placing players to fill this event. They slotted into the seeding ahead of the European/Asian players in the draw. Here’s the replacement players:

  • #4 Moscoso was replaced by the 17th place finisher Cueva from 2021 Worlds, and Cueva slots into the #11 seed here.
  • #12 Manzuri was replaced by the #18 finisher from the DR Ramon De Leon; he becomes the #12 seed here.
  • Korea’s auto qualifier Mingyu declined to come, so the organizers went on down the line form Worlds and ended up with Canada’s Lee Connell, who slots into the #13 seed here.
  • Just one woman qualifier declined to come; that being the quite-pregnant Vargas; she is replaced by the 13th place finisher from Worlds, Bolivian junior @MMicaela Menese
    Unfortunately … they only have time for a single-elimination draw. So all these players are flying in for a one-and done draw. So tensions will be high. Here’s my preview:
    On the Men’s side, here’s how I see the competition going. round of 16:
  • #1 Alejandro Landa faces Ireland’s #2 @Eoin Tynan.
  • #2 @Andres Acuna faces South Korea’s #2 @LeeGunhee Lee
  • #3 Mario Mercado takes on Ireland #2 Ken Cottrell
  • #4 @Jake Bredenbeck , who gets the bump up with Moscoso’s absence (as well as everyone else here on down), now faces Canadian Connell in the opener.
  • #5 @Andree Parrilla will take on the DR’s De Leon in the opener.
  • #6 Ugalde will take on Cueva in a ridiculous situation where two players from the same country are flying thousands of miles to play a one-and-done tournament against each other.
  • #7 An interesting Latin American battle between Guatemala’s #1 Salvatierra and former IRT touring pro Costa Rican Camacho.
  • In the best match of the opener, Bolivian turned Argentinian Diego Garcia takes on the vastly under-seeded former Pan Am Games/World champion @Rodrigo Montoya. I like Garcia’s game, but Montoya should move on here.
    As you’re about to see, the seedings will end up giving us finals-quality matchups in the quarters. If I was re-seeding this event from scratch i’d probably go Landa, Parrilla, Montoya, Acuna, Mercado, Bredenbeck, Garcia, and then probably Camacho.
    Quarters preview:
  • #1 Landa vs #9 Montoya: Well, on paper this is a projected win for Landa. Landa is on “home” soil as the USA rep. However, Montoya always plays well internationally and has proven he can beat Landa time and again in their careers. I think this is going to be close, but Landa pulls it out in a 5th game thriller. Would not be surprised in the least if Montoya wins.
  • 4/5 Parrilla vs Bredenbeck: a tough draw for Jake, pulling the now-#2 ranked IRT player in Parrilla. Andree moves on.
  • 3/6 Mercado will take out the surviving Ecuadorian winner of Ugalde/Cueva.
  • #2 Acuna likely faces his countryman Camacho, who he’s played a thousand times before. Acuna should move on.
    Semis:
  • #5 Parrilla over #1 Landa: I think Parrilla has the confidence and the game to take out Landa at this juncture. However, if this is Montoya and not Landa … watch out for a very competitive coin-flip of a match.
  • #2 Acuna over #3 Mercado: these two faced off in the semis of 2021 Worlds, a fascinating 11-9 thriller taken by the up and coming Acuna. I think the result goes the same.

Final: Parrilla over Acuna. Acuna’s game has taken light year steps forward in the last two years, but Parrilla is the better player

Women’s preview:
The round of 16 for the women will give us a couple of fun matches.

  • #1 Longoria over Japan’s Hanashi
  • #9 Munoz over #8 MRR: these two LPRT regulars have met a few times over the years and Munoz has never lost.
  • #5 Barrios vs #12 Meneses: both the Bolivians meet in the first. A real bummer for the junior, who got in as a “lucky loser” but now will go down in the first to a player she plays a lot back home but cannot yet beat.
  • #4 Mendez over Korea’s Lee
  • #3 Rajsich vs #14 Hickey. This should be a win for Rhonda … but Hickey can play.
  • #6 Gaby Martinez should advance over #11 Canadian Morisette.
  • #7 Salas over long-time rival #10 Amaya
  • #2 Lawrence should advance over Ireland’s Haverty.
    In the quarters:
  • #1 Longoria is 18-0 over Munoz for their career and will make it 19-0. Carla will push for some points to make it close.
  • #5 Barrios over #4 Mendez: these two are 1-1 career, but Barrios took their last meeting on the pro tour. I like Barrios in rally scoring; she defends well and gets sneaky points.
  • #6 Gaby over #3 Rhonda: seedings aside, Gaby is one of the top women in the world right now and should advance past Rhonda, even though Rhonda always plays well internationally.
  • #2 Lawrence will have her hands full with #7 Salas; this could be an upset in the making here. They’ve only played twice, both dominant Salas wins, but they were both prior to 2020 when Samantha’s game took a downturn and Kelani stepped up. This will be a fascinating match. Salas got a ton of solid wins to make the semis in the KC Super max … can she continue that trend? Salas in 5.
    Semis:
  • #1 Longoria is unstoppable and will dominate Barrios to move to the final.
  • If Salas advances … she just beat Gaby in KC, and beat her handily 5,12. If Kelani ekes it out in the quarters, she’s never beaten Gaby. So its a hard one to predict. I’m going to go Salas in a continuation of her current form, making the finals.

Finals: Longoria tops her long-time doubles partner and rival Salas to win her 3rd straight World Games.

Follow IRF and IRT on Facebook for streaming: they’ll be doing early rounds. Its unclear what happens for the latter rounds; it may be on the IOC feed or somewhere else.
Looking forward to some international racquetball!

USAR Junior Nationals wrap-up

Annie Roberts captured the first ever Girls 21U singles title. Photo 2019 Jr Nats via Kevin Savory


r2sports home page for all the brackets:
https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39341


Congrats to your @USA Racquetball Junior National winners on the weekend. Champions were crowned in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles for six age groups on the weekend, so lots of champions to recognize.


This post is official notification that we’ve added the data to the database at www.proracquetballstats.com . This is the first time we’ve had a 21U junior division, so we’ve also made a bunch of coding changes to the behavior of the site. Please let us know if you see any issues or cannot see data as expected.

A reminder on our data entry policies for juniors: we put in full brackets for 14+ and older divisions, just the finalists for younger divisions, and just the finalists for doubles.
The finalists of each Singles division and the Champions of each Doubles division qualify for the US Junior National team, and have first right of refusal to compete at Worlds in November.
Singles

  • Boys 21U: Micah Farmer
  • Boys 18U: Josh Shea
  • Boys 16U: Nikhil Prasad
  • Boys 14U: Nathan Rykus
  • Boys 12U: Vaishant Mangalampalli
  • Boys 10U: Noah Jakola
  • Girls 21U: Annie Roberts
  • Girls 18U: Heather Mahoney
  • Girls 16U: Naomi Ros
  • Girls 14U: Andrea Perez-Picon
  • Girls 12U: Aarya Shetty
    Boys/Girls Doubles
  • Boys 21U: Assuan Castaneda & Micah Farmer
  • Boys 18U: Josh Shea & Paul Saraceno
  • Boys 16U: Gatlin Sutherland & Nikhil Prasad
  • Boys 14U: Eshan Ali & Nathan Rykhus
  • Boys 12U: Lucas Frost-Biskup & Vaishant Mangalampalli
  • Girls 21U: Graci Wargo & Shane Diaz
  • Girls 18U: Heather Mahoney & Julia Stein
  • Girls 16U: Ava Kaiser & Naomi Ros
  • Girls 14U: Aarya Shetty & Sarah Bawa
    Mixed Doubles
  • Mixed 21U: Shane Diaz & Micah Farmer
  • Mixed 18U: Heather Mahoney & Timmy Hansen
  • Mixed 16U: Naomi Ros & Cole Sendrey
  • Mixed 14U: Montserrat Torres & Axel Lopez
  • Mixed 12U: Aarya Shetty & Vaishant Mangalampalli

The best ways to see all the winners in one place are via the Junior Matrix Reports at the website.
Click here: https://rball.pro/mey for the Boys Junior winner’s matrix for all USA junior titles, dating back to 1974.
Click here: https://rball.pro/cpf for the same report for the Girls.

However, for each of the singles draws you can see all the match results by pulling down the event at the main Junior home page. Go here, then hit the event pulldown: http://rb.gy/rnps1f

Here’s some commentary on the Boys singles divisions one by one.
Boys 21U: Micah Farmer held serve as the #1 seed and held off #4 Castenada in a 5-gamer in the semis and then Elkins in the final for the win.
Boys 18U came down to #1 vs #2 as predicted, and they played a barn burner. NY’s Josh Shea cruised to the first two games to make it look like it’d be laugher, but defending champ @Timmy Hansen took the next two to force the 5th. There, Shea ground out an 11-7 win for his first Junior National title.
Boys 16U came down to 1v2 in the final, and #1 Nikhil Prasad had to come back from 2-1 games down to secure the title over #2 @Gatlin Sunderland. Prasad repeats as 16U champ and secures his 7th career junior national singles title.
Boys 14U has a new titlist, as #2 Nathan Rykhus moved up from 12U and defeated the defending champion #1 Eshan Ali in a 5-game barn burner. This is Rykhus’ third junior singles title, and interestingly his 3rd in a row in new age groups.
Boys 12U was 1v2 in the final, with Fremont’s Vaishant Mangalampalli taking his first junior national title over #2 seed Alejandro Robles Pico.

Boys 10Udb’s RR group was taken by Texan Noah Jakola. Fellow Texan Fernando Miguel Carpena finished 2nd.

Here’s some thoughts on the Girls Singles draws:
Girls 21U: @Annie Roberts took the solid RR group, with wins over fellow LPRT part timers like Diaz, Wargo, and Perez-Picon. Solid win.
Girls 18U Heather Mahoney returned to the winner’s circle, topping #2 Julia Stein in the final to secure her 9th Junior National title and her first since 2019. She can’t reach the all-time record for junior titles by a US Female (@Adrienne Haynes with 11) but she can get close with one more 18U title.
Girls 16U was taken by #1 @Naomi Ros to repeat as 16U titlist. She topped #2 Ava Kaiser in the final. Ros now holds 2 US junior national titles and at least 2 Mexican Junior National titles in younger ages (our records are incomplete).
Girls 14U was taken by #1 Andrea Perez-Picon in dominant fashion, without dropping a game. She secures her 6th US Junior National title and has a chance at the all-time record if she can run the table here on out.
Girls 12U was taken by Arya Shetty, who won the 4-person RR.
Girls 10U was won by Anum Mitha, who topped Anna Sikorski h2h for the title.

Girls 14U

We also capture Junior Doubles data, but only the winners of the draws going back in time.
https://rball.pro/o0y

Click on the PRS home page for Junior Doubles results and you can pull up winners by division.

Congrats to all the new members of the Junior National team. They qualify to represent the US at World Juniors in November, which apparently will be at the new facility in Guatemala City (though the IRF has not officially announced the site).

Thanks to @Connor Shane for running the event, thanks to Leo Vazquez for streaming and broadcasting all weekend.

Next up?
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
https://docs.google.com/…/1V6OTid6rZ356voXVkoV2sN7KMMb…/
Next up on the Racquetball calendar is a break for the 4th of July weekend, then the World Games happen in Birmingham from 7/10 to 7/13, then the big Outdoor Nationals happens in Huntington Beach!