Congrats to your Pro winners on the weekend:
– Singles: @conrramoscosoortiz
– Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya and Javier Mar
Moscoso secures the last event of the 2023 season, his 8th career title. This moves him into a tie for 14th overall with none other than @John Ellis , who was recognized this weekend for his induction into the USA Racquetball hall of fame. See https://rball.pro/2fg for a full list of title winners in the history of the tour.
However, the story line of the weekend was @DaDaniel De la Rosa , losing finalist but who wrapped up his 3rd year end title in a row. The other story line, of course, was the return of the Glass Court to the pro sport. Congrats to tournament organizers Adam Manilla and Bobby Horn for securing the funding and expending the effort to make this happen. The IRT draw was one of the largest we’ve seen since the last time the court was in use, and it looked awesome. Thanks as always to @Keith Minor and Kwm Gutterman for your ongoing support of the sport, and for housing the court.
R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=41282
Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.
Singles Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/l2k
In the qualifiers, some interesting/surprising results:
– Up and coming Mexican 18U Cristhian Sanchez took out top amateur Martin Anthony to move into the main draw.
– Former WRT #1 Alejandro Cardoza topped Guatemalan international Edwin Galicia to get into the main draw.
– 13-time title winner @Kane Waselenchuk moved into the main draw as expected, topping fellow Texan Craig Clements .
In the 32s:
– @Sam Bredenbeck got a nice win over Bolivian vet Kadim Carrasco to force his way into the 16s.
– 2-time IRT champ Rocky Carson reminded current tour players that he can still ball, topping #12 @Javier Mar in a breaker to move on.
– Guatemalan #1 @JuJuan Salvatiera surprised #13 Robert Collins to move on.
– Kane, seeded 19th in this event, cruised past Mexican 21U @Erick Trujillo 7,7 to get into the 16s and setup a rematch of Boston’s showdown with Moscoso.
In the 16s:
– @Andres Acuna dominated Alan Natera in the 8/9 match 6,10, setting up the expected quarter final battle with DLR.
– Rocky shocked #5 Andree Parrilla 11,9 to move into the quarters.
– In a very highly anticipated match, #3 Moscoso faced off against Waselenchuk. To this observer, Kane wasn’t looking nearly as sharp in Pleasanton as he did in Boston, as evidenced by Trujillo’s ability to get points on him in the earlier round. The glass court plays slow as well, which contributes (along with the slower ball) to balls being up and gettable to an extent that wasn’t the case on Boston’s cement walls. Kane controlled game one for long stretches, but Moscoso kept it close and ended up losing 15-10. I was critical of Moscoso’s lack of serving diversity and his game plan being exposed by the tactical genius of Kane ahead of this match, but all credit to Conrrado here; he came out firing in game two and blitzed Kane 15-4 in a one-way traffic game that continued into the tiebreaker. Final score: (10),4,4. I believe we saw the Bolivian get over a mental hurdle and just gain confidence as the match wore on, freeing him to go for his typical “shoot with abandon” mentality and, once he started hitting those shots, there was nothing anyone could do.
– @Eduardo Portillo topped @Alejandro Landa 10,3 in what was Landa’s final pro singles match as a full time touring pro. We’ll do a career retrospective of Landa in this space at a later date.
In the Quarters, we got some match results with historical implications.
– #1 Daniel DE LA Rosa , who went into this event knowing that a semi finals appearance would seal the 2023 title, took the court knowing that the results before him already sealed the deal (more on that later). Perhaps distracted, he dropped a game to #8 Acuna but ground back to take a close breaker 11-8.
– #4 Rodrigo Montoya blitzed Carson 15-1 in the first and then held on 15-13 for the two game win to send the veteran Cinderella home.
– #3 Moscoso sent home your host on the weekend Manilla 6,11
– #2 @Jake Bredenbeck , who went into this event knowing that he needed a tourney win plus some help, was shocked by #7 Portillo 10,13 to end his season. This result ended up officially sealing the 2023 title for DLR and sent Jake home with a bitter taste.
In the Semis
– DLR made fast work of Montoya 8,7
– Moscoso blasted Lalo 6,2 to setup an entertaining final.
In the Finals, Moscoso played a comprehensive lights out match, crushing the new #1 DLR 4,3 to take the title. Daniel had little response to Moscoso’s dominance, and the Bolivian made a bit of a statement with the win. Despite finishing #2, Moscoso actually out-titled Daniel this year 4-3 (though Daniel made 4 other finals to Moscoso’s two, demonstrating a bit more consistency throughout the year).
In the post-game interview, Daniel announced that he will not be “touring full time” in 2024, alluding to his commitments to “another sport.” There’s little surprise here; he signed an exclusive 3-year contract with the Professional Pickleball Association in August which guarantees a salary, benefits, and expense reimbursement to an extent where DLR could not say no. His main sponsor Pro Kennex and Mike Martinez tried to manage the situation on social media by noting that DLR is a “multi sport” sponsored player and has expectations of continuing to play and compete in racquetball, but as they say, we’ll see how it goes.
A quick glance at the 2024 known schedules for Racquetball and Pickleball right now shows that
– DLR is free to play the Lewis Drug (no conflicts)
– may have a conflict for USA Nationals on 2/11/24 weekend if he plays the MLP,
– would have a MLP conflict for Minnesota HoF tourney
– Definitely has a PPA conflict with 3/17 Papa Nicholas event (which is also Beach Bash in 2024)
So we’ll see. The biggest question may just be how many tier1s can the IRT get in 2024. We’ve lost the Longhorn Open, I’ve seen no word from the Atlanta guys (Suivant and Williams) about their regular February event, the SoCal Open isn’t on the books for April, Denver is not happening this year, Tracktown & Boston were first time events in 2023 that may or may not return, there’s no guarantee of a US Open in 2024, we’ve seemingly lost the Sarasota/Dovetail open, the organizers of the DC-area Capital Classic have pulled back. NY Open is gone along with its sponsor from the sport, and the Pelham TOC downgraded to a satellite. So, DLR may not have to “tour full time” to play a full slate of 2024 events if there’s only a handful.
Points Implications of results
As noted above, DLR sealed the year end title (his 3rd) with Jake’s quarter final loss. More interestingly is that Moscoso’s win coupled with Jake’s early loss has jumped Conrrado up to #2 for the season. The only other last minute moves in the top 10 saw Acuna bump up to #8, pushing the absent Murray back to #10 for the year. Landa’s final season ends with him just getting pushed out of the top 10.
We’ll do a full comprehensive recap of the season later on this month.
Match report in the PRS database: https://rball.pro/wsi
Montoya and Mar captured another doubles title as a team. Its their 3rd pro doubles title this season and their 7th together professionally. This is on top of their 2023 Pan Am games gold, their 2022 Worlds, and their 2019 Pan Am gold medals as a partnership.
Open Singles, other notable draws
– @Diego Gastelum took an all Mexican U21 final against Rico. Both players got walkovers from Guatemalans in the semis, possibly due to travel issues.
– Alan Natera / Victor Koliczew got a win in the Open Doubles final when NorCal duo Torres and Reynolds withdrew.
– Christie Noler took the 4-player Women’s Open RR
– Sonya_Shetty_/_Victoria_Rodriguez took the women’s Open draw
– Shane Diaz / Will Reynolds: took Mixed Open
Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Favio Soto, Steve Schulze, Pablo Fajre and the IRTLive crew . Thanks to guest broadcasters all weeked like @Brian Pineda and @Sudsy Monchik , who make it great to watch along from home.
Per our handy master racquetball calendar …
We’ll cover the LPRT and WOR events later this week, then that’s a wrap for 2023!