TeamRoot.com Super Max LPRT Wrap up

2019 World Junior 18U champ Barrios takes a huge step up in the LPRT world. Photo via Barrios’ facebook page.

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:

– Singles: Paola Longoria

– Doubles; Natalia Mendez & Valeria Centellas

In Singles, this is Longoria’s 100th career Tier 1 or higher pro win, and its the biggest pay day of her career (she has an additional 6 satellite tour wins, which is why last year’s US Open was advertised as her “100th pro win”). After her tough opener, she basically destroyed the field, allowing 32 points in four games from the 16s onwards, and has opened up a massive lead over #2 Vargas for second place in the rankings.

On the doubles side, This is Mendez’ third career pro title, with her third different partner. Centellas, who famously won the 2018 World Adult doubles title with Yazmine Sabja Ráquetbol] as a 16yr old, continues to show off her doubles chops playing for her new country, and the Mendez/Centellas partnership may be a pretty solid one going forward.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=36519

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.
Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/2A42D4


In the 32s, we had some solid matches but no surprises.
– #1 Paola Longoria had perhaps the toughest round-of-32 match she’s ever had, getting pressed by her young country-woman Lucia Gonzalez 10,11 in the first round. Gonzalez played well and was not awed by the #1 player, but superior fitness and consistency of the world’s top player shown through in the end.
– #16 Masiel Rivera Oporto held serve against #17 Erin Nocam Rivera Groves, advancing in two tough games 10,13.
– #21 Guatemalan #1 Ana Gabriela Martínez] upset #12 Colombian #1 Adriana Riveros Racquetball 7,8 to advance.
– #20 Hollie Rae Scott downed fellow American #13 Sheryl Lotts in two 3,9 to move on. Scott continues to show why she may be in line to race up the pro rankings with a full season of events, and why she’s currently the #1 ranked American woman.
– #11 Nancy Enriquez advanced by the skin of her teeth, saving two match points against and squeaking out an 11-10 tiebreaker win against Bolivian junior #22 Micaela Meneses Cuellar. Enriquez cruised in game one to win 15-8, then Meneses just steamrolled to an 15-5 win in game two. In the breaker, Enriquez got up early, then Meneses crawled her way back. For a bit it looked like an upset in the making, but at the end-game both players made critical misses and Enriquez utilized a backhand drive to close it out. Great match. It was the sole match to go breaker in the opening round.
– #23 Angelica Barrios played consistent and conservative racquetball to down #10 Amaya Cris 7,10 and move on. Amaya had the power, but Barrios kept calm and kept the ball in play over and again, and ground out a win.

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In the 16s, we got 5 tiebreakers and a lot of close matches.
– #1 Longoria made short work of #16 Rivera 3,1.
– #8 Jessica Parrilla and #9 Carla Muñoz Montesinos were the last match of the night to finish, and gave the tournament perhaps its best match of the day. An 11-10 nail-biter that was back and forth in the tie-breaker, with both ladies having serves for match point saved against twice. Parrilla advances (10),13,10.
– #21 Martinez got her second upset of the tournament’s opening day, downing #5 Rhonda Rajsich 6,10. Martinez did not look troubled in the match and could be a dark-horse for further upsets. Rajsich suffers some unlucky seeding to face Martinez in the 16s and exits.
– #20 Scott got the biggest win of her career, downing #4 seed Samantha Salas Solis in a tiebreaker to move into the quarters. Scott was able to keep pace with the tour’s hardest hitter, and kept her composure as the match got tight at the end. Salas did not show much ill effect from her off-season shoulder surgery; she just ran into a hot player at the wrong time. Final score 11,(11),7
– #3 Alexandra Herrera came from a game down to top the resurgent #14 Maria Renee Rodríguez (11),11,2. MRR has stepped up her game, but Herrera (sitting at what I believe is her career best ranking #3) battled back to move on.
– #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein played a tight game one with #11 Enriquez, then turned on the jets and cruised to a two game win. Mendez looks like she’s been working on her drive serve technique and aced Nancy repeatedly in the 2nd game to race to a win. She looks like another upset special in the quarters.
– #23 Barrios defeated #7 Valeria Centellas in a tiebreaker in a rematch of 2019’s junior world 18U title final to move on. An unlucky match-up here between two of the best young players in the world, both of whom look like they could be major factors in the sport moving forward.
– #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada and #15 Montse Mejia played the first two games as close as one might have expected, splitting the games 12 and 14, but in the tiebreaker Vargas blitzed to a 7-0 lead and made it stick, taking advantage of some tentative shots in the breaker from Mejia to advance.Seed report: your 8 quarterfinalists are 1,2,3,6 … and 20,21 and 23. Three seeds in the 20s advance to the quarters.

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In the Quarters, we saw some more tiebreakers and more upsets, with two players seeded in the 20s advancing to the semis.
– #1 Longoria faced off against #8 Parrilla, in a rematch of the finals of the 2020 Mexican Nationals. Paola left little doubt who the top player in the world is, blasting Parrilla 5,1 to move into the semis.
– In a battle of 20-something seeds to get to the semis, former World Champ Martinez cruised to a game 1 win, then lost her drive serve accuracy and allowed top American Scott back into the match. In the breaker though, she re-found her weapon and raced to an 11-1 win to move into the semis. Final score: 4,(12),1
– #3 Herrera held serve and moved into the semis over the resurgent #6 Mendez 9,14. Herrera has been consistently making the semis as of late, advancing to this gate in the last four pro events in which she’s appeared. It is one of the reasons she’s elevated to #3 on tour.
– In one of the more startling turnarounds i’ve seen on the pro tour lately. Bolivian junior Barrios came back from a game one drubbing 15-1 to dominate in game two, then hold on in a tight tiebreaker to beat the #2 seed Vargas and advance to the semis. Final score: (1),8,10. Barrios found a serve that vexed Vargas for most of game 2 and 3, and got a lot of 3-shot rally points off of it, enough to drive Vargas to frustrations. At the tail end of the breaker there were a couple of avoidable hinder calls, heightening the tension at the end. The 17-yr old advances to the semis.

Seeds in the semis: 1,3, 21 and 23. A tale of two populations of players right now in the world. The regulars and those talented players that are not playing full-time but which are equally as good as the top touring pros.

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In the Semis; one blow out, one more upset.
– #1 Longoria dominated her frequent international rival #21 Martinez 1,7 to move into the final. Martinez could not get anything going against the GOAT, and Longoria looks unstoppable. Martinez famously topped Longoria for the 2018 world title … but it remains her sole win in 14 tries against the world’s #1.
– #23 Barrios pulled off yet another upset in a tournament filled with them, and moved to the finals with a hard-fought two game win over #3 Herrera. Barrios was fatigued from her efforts on the day; she walked straight out of a tie-breaker win in the Women’s Open and onto the court to play this semi, and it showed in her play. But, she held on in game one, saving game points against, then pulled out game two. Final score 14,10. A #23 seed into the final is the 2nd highest seed on record ever to advance that far (behind only Rajsich’s amazing run in the 2000 US Open, where she reached the final as the #44 seed).

In the Finals

Barrios was talked into bowing out of the Women’s open draw, where she would have had to play two singles matches before her noon sunday pro final. Thus, she played the biggest match of her life fresh. Barrios was able to hang with Longoria early in each game, standing up to the champ and putting balls away, but Longoria’s tenacity and aggressiveness on the court wore down the young Bolivian, and the final score showed: Longoria took the match 5,7.

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Points Implications of results.

The re-start of the tour after so many months had drastic effects on the tour ranking, and, with a huge influx of points from the “super max” grand slam and surprising quarter and semi-finalists, we’re going to see huge shifts again. If i have my points projections right:
– Barrios jumps from #32 to #8 thanks to the massive influx of points making a Grand Slam final.
– Mendez jumps her two closest rivals to rise to #4, a career high ranking for the Argentina representative.
– Martinez jumps from #26 to #13 and would be well positioned to make more deep pro tourney runs.
– Scott jumps from #25 to #15 with her excellent showing.

The top 30 pros who missed the event all lost at least 4-5 ranking slots as a result of the big jumps above them. They’ll have to make up ground the next time we have an event.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/8FF6BA

15 teams battled it out for the huge doubles purse here. Seeds held in the first round.

In the quarters:
– #1 Longoria/Salas cruised past #8 Laime/Rivera in two.
– #4 Herrera/Mejia held serve against their Mexican counter parts #5 Parrilla/Rivera, but it took a tiebreaker to move on.
– #6 Martinez/Rodriguez took out Munoz/Enriquez in two games. The Guatemalan national team looks tough.
– #2 Mendez/Centellas ran past the Colombian national team of Riveros/Amaya. The newly-formed Argentinian team did not skip a beat and both players are excellent doubles specialists.

In the semis
– #1 Longoria/Salas held on after dropping the first game against their frequent rivals, #4 Herrera/Mejia, and moved into the finals with an 11-8 win.
– #2 Mendez/Centellas continued to dominate, crushing the Guatemalans in game two to advance 13,4

In the final…The Argentine doubles specialists split the first two games, but got really hot in the breaker and raced to the title win in an upset over the #1 Mexican team.

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Women’s Open: The Women’s Open draw had a huge purse, and a large draw of players competing for it.

The quarters went to seeds, mostly top non-top 8 touring pros.

In the quarters, Barrios upset top seed Munoz, Parrilla ousted Riveros, Centellas crushed Scott, and Enriquez took a tiebreaker win over Amaya.

In the semis, Parrilla got a walkover when Barrios withdrew, while Centellas topped Enriquez in two. In the final, Centellas topped Parrilla in two close games to take the title and finish off an impressive event.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, Jerry J Josey Jr.., and Tj Baumbaugh . Also shout out to Sandy Rios who did a great job on the mike all weekend, and to Leo Ray Vasquez who flew in to help with dual-court streaming.

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Next up? The next known pro tournament on the books will be the IRT Suivant Consulting Grand Slam in Atlanta in early January.

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TagsInternational Racquetball TourLPRTInternational Racquetball FederationInternational Racquetball Federation – IRFPan American Racquetball Confederation – PARCUnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball ChampionshipsUSA RacquetballRacquetball CanadaFederación Mexicana de RaquetbolFederación Boliviana De Raquetbol – FeboraFederación Boliviana de RacquetballRacquetball ColombiaFederacion Colombiana de RacquetballAsociación Argentina de RacquetballFederación Chilena RacquetballRacquetball Rancagua, ChileASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALAReaching Your Dream FoundationHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#lprt

Teamroot.com Super Max LPRT tourney Preview

The first Tier1 pro event since March is happening this weekend, and it looks set to be a fantastic event. Racquetball enthusiast and major sponsor Randy Root has sponsored a Grand Slam LPRT event for the weekend and its invitee list is a who’s who of women’s racquetball right now.

R2sports home page: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=36519

There’s 33 ladies in the Singles draw and a 15-team pro doubles draw.

top20 players missing; #12 Kelani Lawrence, still recovering from the eye injury she suffered in an assault in Las Vegas. #18 Cassandra Lee is the only other missing top 20 players, making for an astoundingly deep tournament.

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Lets preview the singles draw.

Round of 32: here’s some notable matches to watch for.

– #1 Paola Longoria vs #32 Lucia Gonzalez: right out of the box, a compelling match-up. Longoria is of course the #1 player in the world, but Gonzalez is a 7-time junior world champion who beat two top-10 women’s pros at the 2020 Mexican Nationals and probably would be pushing into the top 4 if she played the tour full time. A tough draw for Lucia and a tough opener for Paola.

– #16/#17 matches are always close and this will be the same. #16 Masiel Rivera Oporto takes on #17 Erin Nocam Rivera Groves in the opening round. These two met at the 2019 US Open, a tiebreaker win for Masiel.

– #12 Adriana Riveros Racquetball vs #21 Ana Gabriela Martínez; They’ve never met professionally, but have faced off four times internationally (Martinez leads 3-1). Martinez’s seed is no indicator of her talent; she’s taken significant time off recently for schooling. Look for Gaby to move on here and is a dark-horse in this tourney.

– #13 Sheryl Lotts v #20 Hollie Scott ; a match up of two of the best American women out there. Scott has been playing well lately and dominated Lotts at the 2019 qualifying event in Tempe when they last played. Look for the upset-by-seed here.

– #14 Maria Renee Rodríguez vs #19 Adrienne Haynes; an intriguing match-up between two veteran pros.

– #11 Nancy Enriquez vs #22 Micaela Meneses Cuellar; The layoff has not been kind to Enriquez’s ranking; she finished last season ranked 8th and was seeded 6th in the last tourney she played. Now she’s bounced all the way out of the top 10. For her troubles she gets the precocious Bolivian Meneses, playing in her age 16 season and who owns several world junior titles. Enriquez should advance but Meneses should play strong.

– #10 Amaya Cris vs #23 Angelica Barrios; these two faced off in the 2019 Pan Am Games, with the youngster Barrios taking an 11-10 win. She finished her junior career in Nov 2019 by taking the 18U title but has had few opportunities to play the pro tour since. I think this will be close but look for the upset.

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Projected round of 16 matches to watch for:

– #8/#9 Carla Muñoz Montesinos vs Jessica Parrilla; they played at this juncture in Jan 2020 in Florida, a closer 2-game win for Parrilla. They’re both back in the top 10 after big grinding efforts to get there, and expect a dogfight to get into the quarters.

– #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs #21 Martinez: Rajsich kicks off her 21st season of touring, still in the #5 slot, but runs into former world champ Martinez in a brutal round of 16 match. These two have met no less than 9 times over the years and always play close. I’ll guess this goes tie-breaker and watch for the second successive upset by the Guatemalan.

– #11 Enriquez vs #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein; thanks to their general seeding over the past few years, there’s scant little history between these two perennial top 10 players; two split meetings in two months between Dec 2017 and Jan 2018. I’ll go with the Argentine in a breaker.

– #23 Barrios vs #7 Valeria Centellas; Centellas has rocketed up the rankings thanks to two big-time finishes last season, but runs into her former countrywoman in Barrios here. This is a rematch of the 2018 World 18U juniors championship just a year ago, a match Barrios won. I think Centellas is the better player, but Barrios has her number. Look for the upset.

– #2 Maria Jose Vargas Paradavs #15 Montse Mejia; what a round of 16 match; two of the four best women in the world face off two rounds too early. Mejia finished last season ranked #7 but tumbles all the way to #15 here thanks to ranking points machinations. Mejia played four events on tour last year; she lost to Paola all four times, beating everyone else in her path (including Vargas). But Mejia can be mercurial, losing early in internationals and at the 2020 Mexican nationals as the defending champion. I’ll go on a limb here and predict the upset because I like going with upsets. It may be a long trip for a one-and-done for Vargas, who isn’t playing doubles with her regular Argentine partners.

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Projected Qtrs:

– #1 Longoria over #8 Parrilla, a rematch of the 2020 Mexican National final

– #4 Samantha Salas Solis over #21 Martinez: we have not mentioned Salas’ name yet; the Covid layoff has enabled her to have surgery on her non-throwing arm, but she seems to be in playing shape. This may be a tough draw though if Martinez has been playing regularly.

– #3 Alexandra Herrera vs #6 Mendez; the lefty ascends to her highest career ranking to start the season, and she’s well positioned to advance to the semis as she leads 6-1 h2h over Mendez.

– #15 Mejia vs #23 Barrios: Mejia handled Barrios en route to winning both the 2018 and 2018 Junior World 18U girls championships, and I think she’ll handle her here again.

Semis: I’m predicting an all-Mexico semis … and two matchups of doubles partners.

– #1 Longoria over #4 Salas. Amazingly, Longoria leads the pro h2h over Salas 51-3. Salas struggled through last season, dropping all the way to #4, and now faces playing into Longoria a round earlier than expected. Longoria steamrolls into the final.

– #15 Mejia over #3 Herrera; Mejia has beaten her the last three times they’ve played professionally and will beat her again here.

Finals

– #1 Longoria over #15 Mejia. Mejia has a win over Longoria, the 2019 Mexican Nationals final … but has lost the other 9 times they’ve played, including 4 times last season, often in dominant fashion. Longoria knows how to beat Montse, and beats here again here for the Grand Slam title.

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Doubles review.

There’s 15 teams in the draw, with some familiar teams and some new ones. Lets take a look at how the draw may play out.

upset watch in the 16s;

– I like Rajsich/Neils over the #8 seeds Laime/Rivera.

– I like the Scott/Gonzalez pairing to push the Guatemalan national team of Martinez/Rodriguez.

Quarters:

I like the Colombian team of Amaya/Riveros to upset the all-Argentinian team of Mendez/Centellas in the quarters, otherwise for the seeds to hold.

In the semis,

– we get what should be the final: Longora/Salas vs Mejia/Herrera. These two teams faced off four times in pro doubles finals last season, splitting their encounters. They’ve also met in the finals of the last two Mexican Nationals, with the world’s top team taking the honors each time. It should be tightly contested but #1 moves on in this big money event.

– I like #3 Munoz/Enriquez to take out the Colombians and advance to the final.

In the final, #1 cruises to a win over the #3 seeds.

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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., JP Edwards and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots! Randy is also flying in Leo Ray Vasquez to help out, which is great.Can’t wait for the matches!

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Tags

International Racquetball TourLPRTInternational Racquetball Federation – IRFPan American Racquetball Confederation – PARCUnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball ChampionshipsWOR – World Outdoor RacquetballUSA RacquetballFederación Mexicana de RaquetbolFederación Boliviana De Raquetbol – FeboraFederación Boliviana de RacquetballRacquetball ColombiaFederacion Colombiana de RacquetballAsociación Argentina de RacquetballFederación Chilena RacquetballRacquetball Rancagua, ChileASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALAReaching Your Dream FoundationHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#outdoorracquetball#irt#lprt#wor

There’s 15 teams in the draw, with some familiar teams and some new ones. Lets take a look at how the draw may play out.upset watch in the 16s;- I like Rajsich/Neils over the #8 seeds Laime/Rivera; they played together at 3WallBall- I like the Scott/Gonzalez pairing to push the Guatemalan national team of Martinez/Rodriguez.I like the Colombian team of Amaya/Riveros to upset the all-Argentinian team of Mendez/Centellas in the quarters, otherwise for the seeds to hold.In the semis, – we get what should be the final: Longora/Salas vs Mejia/Herrera. These two teams faced off four times in pro doubles finals last season, splitting their encounters. They’ve also met in the finals of the last two Mexican Nationals, with the world’s top team taking the honors each time. It should be tightly contested but #1 moves on in this big money event.- I like #3 Munoz/Enriquez to take out the Colombians and advance to the final.In the final, #1 cruises to a win over the #3 seeds.———————————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., JP Edwards and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots! Randy is also flying in Leo Ray Vasquez to help out, which is great.Can’t wait for the matches!———TagsInternational Racquetball TourLPRTInternational Racquetball Federation – IRFPan American Racquetball Confederation – PARCUnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball ChampionshipsWOR – World Outdoor RacquetballUSA RacquetballFederación Mexicana de RaquetbolFederación Boliviana De Raquetbol – FeboraFederación Boliviana de RacquetballRacquetball ColombiaFederacion Colombiana de RacquetballAsociación Argentina de RacquetballFederación Chilena RacquetballRacquetball Rancagua, ChileASOCIACION DE RAQUETBOL DE GUATEMALAReaching Your Dream FoundationHashtags #racquetball#proracquetball#outdoorracquetball#irt#lprt#wor

LPRT 2019-20 season Officially Complete

Longoria secures her 11th pro title. Photo US Open 2019 by Kevin Savory

With the last potential scheduled LPRT event on the schedule cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the LPRT has officially declared the 2019-20 season complete.

This is our season-ending post for the Ladies Pro tour.

Now updated at www.proracquetballstats.com for the end of the season:

– 2019-20 Rankings online: http://rball.pro/5DC5C8

– LPRT Tour History in bullet points: https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_tour_history.html . Updated for the end of hte season

– LPRT List of Year End title winners: https://www.proracquetballstats.com/…/lprt_year_end_titles.…

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A note about the points at season’s end: there’s a rolling 12-month period of points, and then a season-to-date points total. In some cases they do not show the players in the same order. Thanks to the sudden end of the season there likely will be a decent reshuffling of player seeds upon the restart of next season. Where it mattered, I’ll note it in the write-up below.

See https://www.ladiesprofessionalracquetballtour.com/rankings for the current Singles rankings online.

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Congrats to Paola Longoria, who secures her 11th year end pro title. She went 32-1 on the season, winning 7 of the 8 events she entered and making the final in her sole loss (in Virginia in September of 2019). Her career W/L record on tour is now 472-31, an astounding 93.8 Winning percentage. She holds 99 tier 1 titles plus an additional six satellite titles for 105 pro titles for her career. She’s just turned 30 and seemingly has many more years of dominance ahead.

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Here’s some analysis of the rest of the top 10 and beyond.

– #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada dominated this season, making 6 of 8 pro finals and downing Paola Longoria in Virginia for her 5th career LPRT title. She holds a significant lead now over #3 Salas heading into next season.

– #3 Samantha Salas Solis had an inconsistent season, making just one pro final on the season after making the final 9 times in 9 tries last season. She still holds a significant points advantage over #4 though, but has to be facing some questions in this off-season as to why her season went off the rails and what she can do to get it back on track.

– Alexandra Herrera holds steady at #4 for the third straight season. She made 4 semis, 2 quarters and missed 2 events in the 8-event season.

– #5 Natalia Mendez improved her year end standing for the fourth straight season, just barely pipping #6 Rajsich for the 5th spot on tour. She made two semis on the season.

– #6 Rhonda Rajsich finishes off her 20th straight season on tour ranked in the top 6 or better. She had an up and down season, getting upset in the 16s four times, but also making two semis. She seemed to improve as the season went on.

– #7 Montse Mejia finishes 7th on tour despite only playing half the events, and she made statements whenever she did play. This is her first career pro top-10 finish. In each of her four appearances, she exited at the hands of #1 Longoria and has a slew of wins over top 8 players. She actually led #6 Rajsich in season-to-date points and will likely jump up quickly next season. It is relatively safe to say that if Mejia played the tour full time, she’d be pushing for #2 just behind Longoria.

– #8 Nancy Enriquez held onto the #7 seed for most of the season, getting knocked out of it thanks to two late-season round-of-16 upsets to finish ranked 8th.

– #9 Amaya Cris survives a mid-season injury without too much rankings damage thanks to the abrupt end of the season, but she loses her long-held foothold on the #8 spot for the time-being and would face a tough opponent in Enriquez in the 16s just to face Longoria. Its hard to get out of the 8/9 spot.

– #10 Masiel Rivera Oporto takes the 10th spot by the skin of her teeth, pipping #11 Parrilla by just four points. This is Rivera’s first career top 10 finish.

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#11 Jessica Parrilla just missed out on a return to the top 10, but she had a great 2nd half of the season to build upon in her attempt to regain her former lofty ranking. She also made up some of the most ground on tour rankings wise, finishing last year ranked 37th after missing most of the season with a serious knee injury.

A side note here; the difference in points from #12 to #15 is just 33 points this season; that’s basically one additional quarter final appearance. One result can vault these players up the rankings significantly.

#12 Carla Muñoz Montesinos also made a great jump this season after finishing #20 last year. She had a couple of solid wins this year over top-8 players and should push for a top 10 spot next year.

#13 Brenda Laime Jalil repeats at #13 from last year’s season ending rankings. She made two quarters on the season and proved to be a tricky opponent all year.

#14 Ana Laura Flores also repeats at #14; she had a couple of solid wins on the year after blowing through Mexican 18U last summer.

#15 veteran Adriana Riveros takes a step back from touring and falls from #10 to #15 this season.

#16 Sheryl Lotts played top 10 pros tough all season, was seeded as high as #10 at one point but settles in at #16 on the season.

#17 Erin Nocam had a couple of solid wins and made a pro quarter this year, improving to #17 for the season.

#18 Maria Renee Rodríguez grinded (ground?) her way through the season to improve from last year’s #23 finish.

#19 Cassandra Lee played 6 of the 8 events on the season and played top-8 seeds tough all year. She falls slightly from last year’s #15 finish.

#20 Bolivian turned Argentine Valeria Centellas only played 4 events but made a quarter and a semi. She had wins over four of the current top 10 players on tour as well as the reigning US national champ. She’s also got one more year in juniors, which should send shudders down the spines of ladies pro players as she gains confidence and power.

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Notables in the 20-30 range:

#21 Adrienne Fisher Haynes finishes ranked on tour for the 21st straight season. The tour veteran got a solid win at the US Open and played top 8 players tough all season.

#22 Kelani Lawrence played 6 of the 8 events on tour this season and made a quarter-final after a solid win over Enriquez in Florida. The reigning US National champ seems poised to make a run up the rankings.

#23 Susy Acosta Racquetball finishes her 23rd season on tour.

#24 Frederique Lambert falls from 9th last season and 2nd the season before now that she’s a practicing medical doctor. The tour misses having such a talent involved on a regular basis.

#25 Hollie Scott continues to tour part time while in college and is a dangerous player when she does play.

#27 Ana Gabriela Martínez came out of “retirement” to play a few events, but falls precipitously from last year’s #11 spot. I’m hoping she returns to full time touring when her school commitments allow and competes for a top 10 spot.

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Other Notables the rest of the way

#35 Cheryl Gudinas earns ranking points in her 27th straight season, every season since 1993-4.

#33 Graciana Wargo was a pro debutant this season, as was #37 Megan Shelton, #46 Kathy Nells, #54 Ayoko Hanashi and #54 Annie Roberts . Wargo and Roberts are US junior national team members who played pro events for the first time this season.

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What’s next for the LPRT?

The team is working on rescheduling the TeamRoot.com classic to be the opener for the new season. No word yet on when that might happen. But the next time the ladies take the court it will be to start the 2020-21 season.

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Tags

International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
Jugadores Racquetbol Guatemala
Ferac Racquet
Reaching Your Dream Foundation

LPRT 2020 Boston Open Wrap-Up

Longoria the double winner on the weekend. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
– Singles: Paola Longoria
– Doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas

Longoria wins her 98th career Tier 1 or higher event (105th title overall). See http://rball.pro/65DCE3 for a list of all LPRT tourney winners. Longoria beats her doubles partner in the final, then they turn around and take their second tournament in as many weeks (they won Mexican Nationals last weekend). They improve to 96-5 as a team since we began tracking LPRT pro doubles data in Sept 2013. click here for Longoria’s pro doubles history W/L by partner report; http://rball.pro/F5E61D

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31948

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Lets review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/4B764C

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In the 32s, a bunch of surprises to me, which in and among itself is NOT surprising in that this draw was stacked from the get-go:

– #12 Ana Laura Flores got a solid win over #21 Hollie Rae Scott 11-5 in the breaker. I thought this was an upset special waiting to happen but the lefty Flores recovered from a game one loss 15-14 to take the match and on.
– #14 Valeria Centellas flipped the script from a few weeks back in Laurel and topped #19 Kelani Lawrence in a tie-breaker.
– #10 Brenda Laime Jalil trounced #23 Ana Gabriela Martínez 13,5 to move on in a pretty surprising result for me. I’d love to have seen this match to gauge whether Martinez is rusty, or if Laime played out of her mind.
– #18 Maria Renee Rodriguez got a solid win over #15 Erin Nocam (i.e. Erin Rivera)11-8 in the breaker. Really solid win for MRR, who was stuck on several straight one and dones in the past few pro events.

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In the 16s, a lot of upsets.
– In the 8/9 game, a tie-breaker. After losing the first game 15-1, Masiel Rivera Oporto rebounded to force a tiebreaker but eventually fell to #9 Jessica Parrilla. Parrilla closes the gap a bit on the #10 ranking on tour but probably cannot get there this season.
– #5 Rhonda Rajsich overcame a strong upset bid from lefty youngster #12 Flores before advancing in a tie-breaker.
– In the biggest upset of the round, veteran #13 Adriana Riveros took out #4 Natalia Mendez in two games 8,10. Mendez was all out of sorts on the match, really seemed off from the get-go and Riveros took full advantage. This loss may end up costing Mendez the #5 spot on tour as Rhonda’s result moves the two players basically even on ranking points.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis had a pretty amazing turnaround in her match against junior phenom #14 Centellas. She dropped the first game 15-3 and was essentially getting beat with 3-shot rallies over and over (serve, return, kill). Then mid-way through the second she found the light and dominated from there out, winning the second game and eventually the tie-breaker 11-4. A common refrain in these recaps is the sudden loss of form for Salas this season; can she build on this rebound and move forward?
– #11 Carla Muñoz Montesinos gets her second win over a top-10 player on the season, coming from a game down to top the #6 seeded Mexican veteran Nancy Enriquez in a breaker. She advances to her second quarter of the season and faces a player she beat the last time they played.
– #10 Laime gets a walk-over over #7 Amaya Cris; I thought her name in the draw indicated that she was going to attempt to play through her injury, but instead it just indicated that her hand injury occurred too late to change the draw. Reports indicate that she’ll be out of action for 6 weeks, which may put her participation in April’s PARC championships at risk. Amaya has represented Colombia at every PARC event (save one) since 2008.

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In the Quarters, the three top seeds plus a surprise advanced.

– #1 Paola Longoria dominated #9 Jessica Parrilla in a rematch of last week’s Mexican National singles final 6,3 to move on.
– #2 Maria Jose Vargas blitzed past #10 Laime 1,9 to advance to the semis.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis turned the tables on #11 Munoz from their last meeting, advancing in two games 10,6
– The big surprise of the round was #13 Riveros beating her second top-8 player in a row, moving past #5 Rhonda Rajsich Fan Club in two solid games 13,10. Riveros makes just her second ever pro semi final; the only other time was more than four years ago (Jan 2016 in Cincinnati).

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In the Semis
– #1 Longoria trounced #13 Riveros 4,1 to advance to the final. Its been nearly 3 years since Longoria failed to make a LPRT final and this tournament was no different.
– #3 Salas got a well-earned win over #2 Vargas to make her first final of the season. It was a streaky match, with Salas racing to a huge first game lead before Vargas took it, then Salas saving off match point against and gutting out a second game win. From there, Vargas’ spirit seemed broken and Salas cruised to a well earned win.

In the Finals, Salas hung with Longoria early, running out to a lead even, and had some wondering if it was an upset-special … then Longoria turned it on and cruised to an 8,3 win.

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Points Implications of results: There’s only two remaining LPRT stops on the schedule right now: a tier 1 in San Antonio.in April and a “super max” grand slam in Kansas in June. While there could be more events added last minute, based on the fact that there’s just 2 events left…
– Irrespective of results at the remaining 2 events, Paola has a large enough lead over #2 Vargas (782 points) that she has guaranteed the #1 year end spot. It will be her 11th year end title.
– Despite Salas’ win over Vargas here, she remains well behind Maria for #2. Far enough behind that the only way Salas could catch Vargas for #2 is if she wins both remaining events (worth 500+ points) and for Vargas to miss them. That seems pretty unlikely, so we’re ready to declare that Vargas has sewn up #2 on the season.
– Salas seems pretty locked into #3 as well; she’s got a huge lead to #4 that would take some unlikely scenarios to overcome.
– #5 and #6 on tour may flip b/c of this event: Rhonda and Natalia both have nearly identical points right now.
– #7 and #8 might flip as well: based on my records Mejia and Enriquez also have identical number of points right now.
– thanks to a relatively large points gulf between 10 and 11, it seems likely that the year end top 10 has been sewn up for all participants; its just a matter of the order in the latter half.

The only other significant moves in the rankings would be Riveros moving up one spot, and MRR moving up two spots thanks to their results on the weekend.

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Doubles review

Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/352057

The top 2 seeds cruised to the final with little difficulty. There, the #1 seed continued their dominance over the doubles tour, beating the Argentines Vargas/Mendez in two. Longoria/Salas have never lost to Vargas/Mendez, and they continue the streak.

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Other Draws in Boston:
– Munoz topped MRR in the Women’s Open final
– Connecticut’s Jose Flores Jr. won a 20-man Open draw, topping Massachusetts’ Orlando Cabana in the final.

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Thanks for all the streaming on the weekend, especially from broadcasters Timothy Baghurst, great technical work and streaming graphics/replays by Jerry J Josey Jr., and mike work/tour leadership from Tj Baumbaugh.

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Next up on the schedule? we’ll publish wrap ups of the two IRT events that went on this past weekend tomorrow, then the IRT returns to Tier 1 action with the 35th annual Shamrock Shootout in Chicago next weekend.

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tags

LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Jugadores Racquetbol Guatemala

LPRT 2020 Boston Open Preview

2018 World Champ Ana Gabriela Martinez makes a rare LPRT appearance.

Hot on the heels of Mexican Nationals last weekend (which involved a good percentage of the current LPRT regular touring squad), the LPRT returns after a five week break in the schedule.

We’re in Boston this week for the 2020 Boston Open. The Boston Open first popped up on the schedule in Oct 2016, was held three years running, missed 2019 but its great to see them back on the schedule for 2020.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31948

24 Pros in the draw, a good sized draw and one of the bigger turnouts of the season so far. Notables playing this week include Amaya Cris, who just had hand surgery on her non-playing hand but will gut it out and play on the weekend. #12 Ana Laura Flores is here after curiously missing Mexican Nationals last week.

Notables missing this week: #4 Alexandra Herrera and #7 Montse Mejia. Herrera’s absence is odd; she has missed just two pro events in the last 5 seasons combined. Mejia continues to balance school and travel and probably could not miss two straight weeks of time.

From the 11-20 ranked players, only tour stalwart Adrienne Fisher Haynes is missing, meaning that the event is stacked, with 17 of the top 20 players present.

And, just to make this an even deeper draw, we have 2019 US champ Kelani Lawrence, the 2020 US qualifier champ Hollie Rae Scott, and 2018 World Champ Ana Gabriela Martínez making a rare appearance to make this one of the best LPRT draws in some time. All these top non-regular touring players will make the opening rounds brutal.

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Lets preview the singles draw. Here’s some notable qualifying matches that i’m looking forward to:

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In the 32s, here’s some matches to look for:

– #21 Scott versus #12 Flores: Great opener; Scott defeated Flores in the sole h2h match I have on record … in 2017. Flores started off the 2019-20 season with a bang, making the quarters, but has been one-and-done in 3 straight pro events since. Scott is hot (hey! I’m a poet and i didn’t even know it), is coming off a great showing in Tempe to take the qualifier title and essentially guarantee herself a spot on the US National team, and will be looking to make noise here. Look for Scott with the “upset” here.
– #13 Adriana Riveros vs #20 Susy Acosta; interesting match here; they met earlier this season and Acosta got the upset win, but otherwise Riveros has a ton of really solid wins lately on her resume. She was fantastic at the Pan Am Games in Lima, downing Centellas and Rajsich to make the semis. I’d favor Riveros here but the match-up with the veteran lefty may make for an upset as it did earlier this season.
– #14 Valeria Centellas vs #19 Kelani Lawrence; Centellas has raised some eyebrows on tour this year, with multiple wins over top 10players, but to get there in Boston she’ll have to go through a player who just topped her dominantly in a local event a month ago in Lawrence. This should be a really competitive match.
– #11 Carla Muñoz Montesinos vs #22 Lexi York; Munoz keeps climbing up the rankings on tour, now on the brink of the top 10. She’ll have a tough younger opponent in York to start her tournament this weekend.
– #10 Brenda Laime Jalil vs #23 Martinez: The presence of Martinez in the draw is the ultimate wild-card; when she’s playing regularly, she’s a top 4-5 player in the world and a threat to make the semis or better of any event she enters. But since “retiring” to go to school she’s played sporadically with mixed results. Here she runs into Laime, who has had a hit or miss season, missing more events than she’s played but making a quarter final in Virginia Beach in September. I think Martinez moves on here.
– #15 Erin Nocam vs #18 Maria Renee Rodriguez; An intriguing match between Rivera, the righy with an unconventional swing path and a number of solid wins this season, versus MRR, who seems stuck in a rut right now with five straight one-and-dones. I think Rivera moves on.

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Round of 16; here’s a look at the round as it may play out if my round of 32 predictions come to pass:
– #1 Paola Longoria vs #16 Sheryl Lotts; 9 times they’ve played, mostly in the 2012-13 time frame, Longoria is 9-0 against the American. Paola is fresh of a double win in Tijuana and hopefully shows no ill-effect of the nasty-looking turned ankle.
– #9 Jessica Parrilla vs #8 Masiel Rivera Oporto: Rivera unfortunately draws Parrilla, who took out defending Mexican champ Mejia en route to the final and qualified for the Mexican national team for the first time in years. Rivera beat Parrilla handily at the US Open earlier this season, but has suffered some early upsets since, while Jessica has been red-hot. Look for the upset here.
– #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs #22 Scott; Hollie didn’t have to play Rhonda at the doubles qualifier but won it by defeating the player who downed Rhonda in the final. Is it a changing of the guard in US Racquetball? Every time Rhonda does NOT win a title we have the same talk. But Scott is candidate 1-A right now to take over the mantle of the “Best American” based on results. This will be a good test for both player, and I think Scott moves on.
– #4 Natalia Mendez likely takes on #13 Riveros: a nice south american matchup; Mendez leads 4-1, Riveros beat her in jan 2019 but not since, and the matches are often close.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis vs the Lawrence/Centellas winner: Salas has never lost to either player, and crushed Lawrence when they played in Greenville in January. Look for Salas to move on here in a close match.
– #6 Nancy Enriquez vs #11 Munoz: these two played three times in 2017, never since. Munoz has been creeping up the rankings, now sitting at #13 while Enriquez has been showing some vulnerabilities in earlier rounds this season. I think Munoz can get the upset here.
– #7 Amaya vs likely #23 Martinez: On paper Martinez is the better player, but she’s not playing full time. Meanwhile Amaya just had surgery and isn’t 100%. Not knowing just how sharp Martinez is … i’ll go out on a limb and predict the upset here.
– #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada likely takes on #15 Rivera, in what I believe is a debut meeting for the two players. Vargas to move on.

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Projected Qtrs:
– #1 Longoria over #9 Parrilla: a rematch of last week’s Mexican National final, won by Longoria in two.
– #4 Mendez vs #22 Scott: these two are nearly the same age and have prior junior worlds meetings. But that was a while ago. I see a tough match here that could go either way, but I’ll go with the higher ranked Mendez to move on.
– #3 Salas vs #11 Munoz; if this meeting comes to pass, Munoz has a win already over Salas this season and should be able to repeat the feat. Salas took a slight knee knock last weekend; not sure if it was serious or not (it did not seem to affect her in the doubles final), but something to look out for.
– #2 Vargas vs #23 Martinez. Great match-up. They met at 2018 worlds (a Martinez win) and 2019 PARC (a Vargas tiebreaker win). I like Vargas here over the non-touring Martinez.

Semis:
– #1 Longoria over #4 Mendez; Natalia has never beaten the #1 player, and that won’t change here.
– #2 Vargas over #11 Munoz: Argentina vs Chile, a battle of two of the best Syrah-growing countries in the world. Oh, and two solid players. I have Vargas 8-0 lifetime over Munoz in pro and IRF competitions; she makes it 9-0 here.

Finals: #1 over #2 Longoria over Vargas.

6 of the first 7 finals this season have been Longoria v Vargas, might as well make it 7 of 8.

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Doubles review

13 teams entered. Some interesting teams this time around trying to dethrone Longoria/Salas. We have a number of internationally flavored teams: the #2 Argentinian national team pairing of Vargas/Mendez, a promising all-american team of #6 Lawrence/Lotts, the Guatemalan national team #9 Martinez/Rodriguez, and an interesting “all veteran” team of Rajsich/Acosta, with more than 40-years of pro experience between them. One last team of note: María Paz Riquelme steps in for Amaya to partner with Riveros this time around; Riquelme and I used to play at the same club in Arlington VA. If you’re reading this Maria … hello!

In the end, I’m going with the #1 team to prevail over the #2 Argentines in the final.

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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., JP Edwards and Tj Baumbaugh on the mike, calling the shots!

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LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Racquetball Colombia
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Jugadores Racquetbol Guatemala

LPRT Xmas Classic wrap-up

Longoria wins again. Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
– LPRT singles: Paola Longoria
– LPRT Doubles: Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas

Longoria the double winner on the weekend, but she definitely had to work for it (both finals went breaker). With the win, Longoria takes her 95th Tier1 or higher pro title and continues her dominance over the rest of the tour.

@ [275417952877375:274:R2 Sports App] link: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31661

Here’s the notable matches (to me) by round in pro singles:

PRS singles match report: http://rball.pro/8743AB

In the 32s:
– #16 @ [1537006408:2048:Kelani Lawrence] stretched the reigning world champ #17 seed @ [967286746619683:274:Ana Gabriela Martínez] to a tie-breaker but fell.
– #18 reigning intercollegiate champ Hollie Scott dropped the first game but rallied to advance past #15 Maria Renee Rodríguez.

In the 16s:
– #1 Paola Longoria blasted #17 Martinez 2,5. More and more, the upset at 2018 worlds seems like a one off as Longoria improves to 16-1 lifetime against the Guatemalan across all competitions.
– #8 Amaya Cris took out home-town favorite Masiel Rivera Oporto 7,9 to move on. This match-up continues to be one sided, and this match wasn’t nearly as close as their last one.
– Continuing to prove me to be an awful prognosticator, #4 @ [775189319225691:274:Alexandra Herrera] recovered from a 15-14 game one loss to take out #13 @ [459203580867542:274:Jessica Parrilla] in a tie-breaker to move on.
– #14 Carla Muñoz Montesinos got perhaps the best win of her career, topping #3 @ [189216717815799:274:Samantha Salas Solis] in a tiebreaker. After a come-back win in game one and a closer game two Salas win, Munoz ran away in the tiebreaker by forcing the action with lob Zs to Salas’ backhand and a patient approach waiting for a mistake. Salas continues her frustrating season; she’s now failed to reach the finals in the season’s first 6 events, often getting bounced well before them … after reaching all 9 of the finals she played in last year.
– #10 @ [500057236758842:274:Sheryl Lotts] nearly pulled off a career win over a top8 player, but ended up losing by the slimmest of margins 11-10 in the breaker to #7 Nancy Enriquez.

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In the Qtrs:
– #1 Longoria advanced over #8 Amaya in two straight.
– #4 Herrera got a rare win over #5 Rhonda Rajsich.
– #6 Mendez took advantage of #14 Munoz and advanced to just her 3rd ever pro semi. Munoz misses a great opportunity after her career win over Salas to make her first semi in several years.
– #2 Vargas dominated #7 Enriquez to make the semis.

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In the semis: #1 and #2 Longoria and Vargas demonstrated the gulf in class by each advancing in two quick games.

In the final, Longoria and Vargas met for the fourth time in five tourneys this season … and it was a barn burner. Longoria won the first game 3, then Vargas found some new approach midway through the second to push to a tie-breaker. There, she raced to a dominant lead and it looked like she’d get the upset … but Longoria found another gear and took the match 11-8.

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Doubles recap

PRS doubles match report:

It was a lot of chalk in the women’s pro doubles, but the final is where the fireworks were. In the end, Longoria and Salas won their 32nd pro doubles title since we began tracking pro doubles data, but needed a come-back win over the Argentines Vargas/Mendez to do it.

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Next up on the schedule: a @ [447961672301858:274:RKT] event in Juarez next weekend, then we get a holiday break until the LPRT returns to action 1/12/20 weekend in Ft. Lauderdale.

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@ [477520325593928:274:LPRT]

28th Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Preview

World Champ Ana Gabriela Martinez makes a rare LPRT appearance.

Here we are; its the last domestic pro tournament of the calendar year. And the LPRT is back at a frequent location, the Sportfit Laurel club in Laurel MD for 28th annual running of this event.

R2 Sports App link for the event: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-website.asp?TID=31661

The brackets are up (for the Pro events) as of this writing.

20 LPRT pros entered into the draw, a step down from the 28 who played the Chicago event a few weeks back. Missing from the top 10 this time around is #8 Montse Mejia, which bumps #9 Amaya Cris into the 8th seed.

Missing from the 11-20 range of regular touring pros include Adriana Riveros, Brenda Laime JalilAna Laura Flores and Erin Rivera, which will bump up a lot of regulars into seeds in the upper teens and will give us some intriguing round of 16 matches (as we’ll see in a moment).

The draw also sees a rare appearance by 2018 World Champion Guatemalan Ana Gabriela Martínez, perhaps taking geographical advantage of an East coast tour stop to her home country.

Lets preview the draw:
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In the play-ins:
– #16/#17 is always fun, and this time is no different. Reigning World Champ Martinez as the #17 seed faces off against reigning US National champ and Virginia native Kelani Lawrence. Lawrence has been trying to make some traction on the pro tour this year, and has played some top 4 players tough in early round matches, and now has quite a challenge on her hands to even get to the round of 16.

– #13 Jessica Parrilla vs #20 Graci Wargo: 18U junior Wargo makes her pro tour debut, coming off of a quarterfinals result in Junior Worlds in November in her last event as a junior. She runs up against a resurgent Parrilla, who got a solid win in Chicago to advance to the Quarters.

– #14 Carla Muñoz Montesinos vs #19 Lexi York; a fun match that we would have seen last year possibly in Intercollegiates; now we see York making the cross-country trip to compete. This could be a closer match than Munoz may like.

– #15 Maria Renee Rodriguez vs #18 Hollie Rae Scott: a tough match-up for MRR, who runs into Scott, who won Intercollegiates, made the finals of USA Nationals in June and who just topped Rajsich at the Portland LPRT exhibit. I like Scott to move on here.

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Round of 16 matches of note:
– #1 Paola Longoria vs the Martinez/Lawrence winner: either opponent will make for an interesting show. Martinez of course topped Longoria at Worlds but otherwise has generally been dominated by the #1 (1-15 lifetime across pro and IRF events). Lawrence has played here a handful of times, including in this event last year.

– #8 Amaya vs #9 Masiel Rivera Oporto; 8/9s are always fun, and this should be no different. Amaya is 4-0 lifetime over Rivera … but the last time they played it was 11-10 (in Chicago a few weeks ago), and … this is basically Rivera’s home court, living just a few miles away. Will a strong rooting interest spur her to victory? Look for another tiebreaker here.

– #4 Alexandra Herrera vs #13 Parrilla: they met in the first event of the season, an 11-9 win for the lefty. Since, Parrilla has gained more of her game back. I like Parrilla’s chances here of an upset.

– #2 Maria Jose Vargas vs #18 Scott: I think Scott can hang with Vargas, make it a bit close, but still expect Vargas to advance.

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Projecting the Quarters:
– #1 Longoria over #9 Rivera
– #13 Parrilla over #5 Rhonda Rajsich: these two haven’t played since before her knee injury, and in the 2017 timeframe they were neck and neck, with a bunch of 5-game marathons. I think Parrilla continues her run.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis over #6 Natalia Mendez; because of their relative seedings over the past few years … they have relatively few meetings on tour. Just two LPRT meetings and none since Apr of 2018. Salas has never lost to Mendez, and I expect her to advance here.
– #2 Vargas over #7 Nancy Enriquez; they met for the first time in September, an easy Vargas win. I expect the same here.

Projected Semis: Longoria over Parrilla, Vargas over Salas.

Projected final: Longoria over Vargas.

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Quick doubles preview:

The top team of Longoria/Salas looks set to run through the draw and face the #2 team of Mendez/Vargas, who will not have to deal with the power of the Herrera/Mejia team this time around. I like the #1 team to win.

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Reminder, there’s also a nice little IRT Tier 5 at the same time, with a solid east coast draw. We’ll recap that at the end of the weekend.

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LPRT
Jugadores Racquetbol Guatemala
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Federacion Colombiana de Racquetball
International Racquetball Federation – IRF

2019 World Juniors Preview

Welcome to the biggest stages for Juniors every year; its World Juniors. Every country in the IRF can send two representatives to compete for the title of Junior World champion.

Click here for a Matrix of all past World Junior Boys titlists: http://rball.pro/043BA8
Click here for the same for Girls: http://rball.pro/BCE571

Draws for the Round Robins are now available via www.internationalracquetball.com, with RRs having started Saturday morning 11/9/19.

The structure of the event is as follows: several days of round robin competition, with pre-tournament seeds dictated by last year’s results-by-country (in other words, if a Mexican 18U boy won last year, which is what happened with Lalo Portillo took out countryman Sebastian Fernandez in the Boys 18U final, then Mexico would be seeded #1 in this RR draw, which is the case this year as we’ll discuss).

Once the RRs are complete, then the draw is re-seeded based on the results of each RR group and a knockout competition is played to its completion a week from today, Saturday.

In this post, we’ll preview the big names to watch for, then we’ll do another “preview” predicting the knockout draw. Thanks to the late release of the draw, some of these key RR match-ups may have already happened.

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Boys 18U:

18 players in the 18U boys draw.

Top seeds: #1 Emir Martinez (Mex), #2 Gerson Miranda Martinez (Bolivia), #3 Jose Carlos Ramos (Mexico) and #4 Charlie Chavez (Bolivia). In 2019, the semis were both Mexican players and both Bolivian players, hence the top four seeds here.

Unfortunately, this draw is significantly weaker than it should be: presumptive top 18U player in the world Fernandez (last
year’s runner-up, the reigning 18U Mexican junior champ and currently ranked 16th on the IRT who just made the quarters at the US Open) is not present. Nor is US 18U champ Antonio Rojas, who announced his decision not to attend this event earlier this year.

Emir Martinez was the losing Mexican finalist and ascends to the #1 seed here, but you have to think Miranda (who made the semis last year as a 17yr old) is the favorite in this draw. USA’s two representatives are seeded 5th and 7th in Micah Farmer and Ben Baron respectively, and they’ll have their work cut out for them in the knockouts if seeds hold. Baron in particular has a nice chance of improving his seed in the RRs; he has a group with 4th overall seed Bolivian Chavez, who is newer to this stage and gets in by virtue of Garcia’s absence. #3 Ramos was last year’s losing 16U finalist and could be a sneaky force here to watch for.

One last post-publishing correction: I had thought mistakenly that Diego Garcia Quispe​ was missing from the draw; upon looking closer he’s there … he’s seeded dead last 18th out of 18 and is representing his new country. Garcia is the reigning 16U world junior champ and switched countries this year; he’s going to be a force in this event and I wouldn’t put it past him to make the final and face off against his former country-man Miranda.

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Girls 18U

There’s 13 players in the 18U Girls draw.

tops Seeds: #1 Maria Gutierrez (Mexico), #2 Nikita Chauhan (USA), #3 Ana Rivera (Mexico) and #4 Graci Wargo (USA). Both the Bolivian players are outside the top 4 ( Angelica Barrios and Valeria Centellas).

A big changing of the guard in 18U from last year, when two of the world’s best young players ( Montse Mejia and Ana Gabriela Martinez) met in a final that looked more like the back end of a pro event than a junior title.

Missing from this draw is the USA 18U champ from earlier this summer Briana Jacquet, who won the title w/o dropping a game. And also missing is the Mexican 18U champ Ana Laura Flores Saavedra, who beat Gutierrez 1,1 in the Mexican 18U final. So like with the Boys, we’re missing both the reigning Mexican and USA champ from this draw.

I have to question the seeds in this draw. I fail to understand why neither of the Bolivians are seeded in the top 4, based on Barrios’ 2018 performance (she was the #2 seed last year and made the semis). Both the Bolivian players entered here have made serious impressions in major pro events: Centellas lost 11-9 in the 5th to eventual Bolivian Grand Slam winner Maria Jose Vargas Parada and is the current reigning World Doubles champion, while Barrios made the semis in that same event, defeating two current LPRT top-8 pros in the process.

Going into this RR stage, I think both under-seeded Bolivians (seeded 5th and 7th respectively) will be forces to reckon with. Centellas is in #2 Chauhan’s group and could easily be #2 in the knockouts, while Barrios may very well upset Wargo in their group to improve her knockout seeding as well. The first couple of days of knockouts here will be telling. Gutierrez is last year’s losing 16U world junior finalist and has the chops to compete but I think she’ll fall before the final.

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Boys 16U

18 boys in this draw.

Top seeds: #1 Sebastian Longoria (Mex), #2 Hector Barrios (Bol), #3 Aldo Caraveo (Mex) and #4 Adrian Jaldin (Bol). As with the Boys 18U, all four top seeds from Mexico or Bolivia. But the next 4 seeded players all come from either Ecuador or USA, thanks to strong showings in last year’s 16U event.

Mexico’s 16U finalist Erick Trujillo and USA’s 16U champion Rojas (also the 18U winner) miss this event, weakening the draw. But Longoria and Jaldin (who made the semis last year) should be strong candidates to make the final. USA’s entries Andrew Gleason and Timmy Hansen should prove tough outs too: Gleason made the world 14U final last year, and Hansen won USA 14U last year.

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Girls 16U

17 girls in the draw.

Top seeds: #1 Guadalupe Griffin (Mex), #2 Michaela Meneses, #3 Ximena Martinez (Mex) and #4 Fernanda Mendez (Bol).

The two top Mexican seeds were the 16U finalists this year. #2 seed Meneses was last year’s 14U winner and is a strong candidate to take the title here. Also in this draw: #6 Maricruz Ortiz, who made the final last year in 16U yet somehow only rates a #6 seed; rough path for the seeds in her way. USA 16U champ Annie Roberts is seeded 9th, probably a bit low. Missing is USA’s Heather Mahoney, who was the work 14U runner up and 16U USA runner-up (she’s competing only in 14Us at worlds); she’s replaced in the 16U draw by Erin Slutzky, seeded 11th.

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Notables in the younger draws:

– In Boys 14U #1 Nikhil Prasad and his countrymate #3 Vedant Chauhan both just competed ably in the IRT Tier 4 Bay club open pro tournament; they run a good chance of meeting again in the final. Standing in the way though are a couple of solid Bolivian juniors (as always) and #5 seed Luis Renteria, who just made the semis of the IRT Tier 5 Bi-national event in El Paso.

– In Girls 14U, Heather Mahoney goes for her 3rd junior world title since 2015.

– In Boys 12U, both the 2017 and 2018 Boys 10U world champions are in the draw, both from Mexico in Eder Renteria and Sebastian Ruelas. Neither is the #1 seed; that goes to American Joseph Marshall.

– In Girls 12U: 2017 10U world champ American Sonia Shetty is the #2 seed behind Mexico’s Fernanda Trujillo.

– In Boys and Girls 10U, the draw is dominated by Bolivians and Mexicans, all new to the world Junior stage.

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Word on the street is that streaming won’t officially start til the knockouts; we’ll be on the lookout for parents and associations doing streaming on the side. As always, follow the Facebook group “live streaming of Racquet sports” for notifications.

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International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Racquetball Canada
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Fecoracquet Fecoracquet
Federación Costarricense de Racquetball

US Open LPRT Pro Doubles Wrap-Up

Mejia/Herrera take their first US Open title. Photo via US Open FB page/Kevin Savory

Congrats to Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia on their win at the 2019 US Open.

Lets review the Q/SF after the last post ran through the 32s and 16s.

PRS match report: http://rball.pro/835FD7

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Quarters wrap-up:

– #1 Paola Longoria / Samantha Salas Solis dominated the #8 team of Michelle De La Rosa and Kelani Lawrence to move into the semis.

– #4 seeded Masiel Rivera Oporto and Brenda Laime Jalil outlasted the #12 seeded Lexi York and Hollie Rae Scott combo to advance.

– #3 Montse Mejia and Alexandra Herrera, the sometimes Mexican national team representatives, were pushed to the limit by the strong #6 Guatemalan national team of Ana Gabriela Martínez and Maria Renee Rodríguez before advancing 11-8.

– #7 Jessica Parrilla / Nancy Enriquez surprised the #2 seeded Argentinian national team of Maria Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez Erlwein, dropping the first before running away with the match 15-6, 11-1 to finish it off.

Still on track for the all-Mexican final, which we’ve seen multiple times on tour, including last year’s 2018 US Open final.

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In the semis:

– the #1 team blitzed Rivera/Laime 6,4 to move to the final.
– the #3 team destroyed the upset-minded #7 team Parrilla/Enriquez to move to the final.

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In the finals, we got the match-up most had predicted. Longoria/Salas versus Mejia/Herrera is a rematch of multiple finals throughout the last couple of seasons. These two pairings met in the finals of the 2016 US Open, multiple pro finals in the 2017-18 season, the 2018 Mexican Worlds selection event, 2018 World Doubles, the 2018 US Open, 2019 Mexican Nationals, and at the SLP pro stop earlier this season.

It did not disappoint. The younger Mexican pairing won two closely contested games to vanquish the top-ranked veteran pairing to capture their first US Open title 13,12.

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LPRT
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
US OPEN Racquetball
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federacion Boliviana Tiro Deportivo
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Jugadores Racquetbol Guatemala
International Racquetball Federation – IRF

LPRT Pro Doubles qualifying and Quarters wrap

Here’s a quick wrap of the Ladies pro doubles qualifying and Qtrs, which featured some tough international-quality matches.

In the Qualifying, notable matches for me:

– #12 seeded Lexi York and Hollie Rae Scott won their play-in match then took out #5 seeded Carla Muñoz Montesinos and Sheryl Lotts in two games.

– #8 Michelle De La Rosa and Kelani Lawrence beat a solid Bolivian doubles pairing of Jenny Daza Navia and Angelica Barrios in a tie-breaker to move on.

– In a battle of international doubles teams, #11 seeded Guatemalan national team of Ana Gabriela Martínez and Maria Renee Rodriguez took out the #6 Colombian national team of Adriana Riveros Racquetball and Amaya Cristina in a tie-breaker. Team Guatemala regrouped after dropping game one to dominated the 2nd and 3rd games.

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Quarters wrap-up:

– #1 Paola LongoriaSamantha Salas Solis dominated the #8 team of mDLR/Lawrence to move into the semis.

– #4 seeded Masiel Rivera Oporto and Brenda Laime Jalil outlasted the #12 seeded York/Scott combo to advance.

– #3 Montse Mejia and Alexandra Herrera, the sometimes Mexican national team representatives, were pushed to the limit by the strong #6 Guatemalan national team of Martinez/MRR before advancing 11-8.

– #7 Jessica Parrilla / Nancy Enriquez surprised the #2 seeded Argentinian national team of Maria Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez Erlwein, dropping the first before running away with the match 15-6, 11-1 to finish it off.

Still on track for the all-Mexican final, which we’ve seen multiple times on tour, including last year’s 2018 US Open final.
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LPRT
UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Jugadores Racquetbol Guatemala
Asociación Argentina de Racquetball
Fecoracquet Fecoracquet
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora