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.
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.
—————– 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.
————— 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.
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.
—————- 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.
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 Jalil, Ana 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: ————————— 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.
—————————– 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.
—————————– 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.
—————————– 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.
—————————- 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.
Congrats to your pro winners on the weekend: – Singles: Paola Longoria – Doubles Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas
With this singles win, Longoria extends some of her own records: – 94th career Tier 1/Grand Slam LPRT title (101st overall pro title) – Improves to 455-31 career on tour – Improves to 16-1 on the season. – Extends her current lead at the top of the LPRT rankings to more than 800 points, which is the equivalent of four tier1 pro stops.
In the 32s: – Erin Rivera got the upset over her doubles partner for the weekend, #12 Ana Laura Flores11-8 in the breaker. Rivera avenges a loss to Flores in 2019 Mexican Nationals, and gets a second solid pro win in as many events (she topped Amaya Cris at the US Open). – Masiel Rivera Oporto topped former tour champ and home-town favorite Cheryl Gudinas in two straight. – In the round’s most anticipated match, reigning US Intercollegiates champ Hollie Rae Scott, who was a point from taking the US National title this past May, faced off against #11 seed Colombian Adriana Riveros. Scott ran away with game one 15-3, but Riveros held out to take a close game two 15-13 before running away with the tie-breaker to advance. I think a full-time tour playing Scott is nearly a top 10 player, making this a really solid test for both players. – 18U world junior finalist Valeria Centellas pressed former 18U junior champ Montse Mejia before falling in two 12,11.
in the 16s, a couple of significant upsets and close matches: – #8 Amaya and #9 Masiel Rivera played about as close a match as you can for an 8/9 match-up, with Rivera staving off match-points against in game two, and Amaya doing the same in game three before winning 11-10. – Erin Rivera got her second upset win in as many rounds, this time taking out #5 Rhonda Rajsich in a close tie-breaker. Its her second win over a top-8 pro in as many events and this is easily the best win of her career. – #19 Jessica Parrilla got the first significant win in her come-back attempt, taking out #3 Samantha Salas Solis in two 3,14. This game was not really even as close as the scores; Parrilla could not miss game one, and ran out to a similarly huge lead in game 2 before Salas went on a run to make a push for a tie-breaker. Its notable that Parrilla finished the 2017-18 ranked 3rd, made a final and four semis; its just a matter of time before she’s regularly making the quarters again. – #10 Mejia dominated #7 Nancy Enriquez 5,7 to move on to a juicy quarters match-up with the new #2 seed Vargas.
Salas continues her difficult season: she made 9 finals in 9 tournaments played last season. This season she’s been upset in the 16s and the quarters, and has been beaten twice at the semis stage by Vargas, which has resulted in the two ladies switching rankings spots. On the one hand she’s run into a number of hot hands … but on the other, she’s losing to players she normally dominates.
In the quarters… – #1 Paola Longoria made quick work of #8 Amaya 2,5 – #4 Alexandra Herrera also made quick work of #21 Erin Rivera 6,3, ending her great run. With this run, Rivera should improve her ranking on tour a few spots and get into the top 20. – #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein took out ##19 Parrilla in a tie-breaker. This surely was disappointing to Parrilla, who got just her 2nd pro win over Salas to get here, then lost to a player in Mendez that she previously had a career winning h2h record (3-1 before this loss). Mendez advances to just her third pro semi final in her career. Parrilla’s big win will jump her up four spots in the rankings, to #18 overall. – But the biggest result of the round was #10 Mejia taking out #2 Maria Jose Vargas Parada in a tie-breaker to move on to the semis for the third time in as many tries this season. Mejia’s season has been a significant departure from last season, when she was eliminated in the 16s five straight times.
In the semis: – #4 Herrera’s shot-making ability got her points against the world’s top player, but it wasn’t enough as Longoria advanced to the final 8,9. Longoria now has reached the finals of the last 21 pro events she’s entered, winning 18 of them with this weekend’s event pending. – #10 Mejia continued her run to make her first pro final, defeating #6 Mendez in a tiebreaker. The winner of this match was set to advance to her first pro final and it was Mejia who made it happen.
In the final… – #1 Longoria completely dominated #10 Mejia, displaying the gulf that exists on tour between herself and the next set of competitors, going on nearly unstoppable runs in both games to take the final 2,6.
With this result, Mejia should jump Masiel Rivera for #9 on tour, which (unfortunately for Montse) will have her routed right into Longoria in a possible quarter-final next event.
As we have come to expect in ladies pro doubles lately, the top two Mexican teams both advanced to the final with relative ease. Fans were treated to a commonly seen final between what seems to clearly now be the two top doubles teams in the world.
In the final, #1 Longoria/Salas took on #3 Mejia/Herrera. It looked like we’d see another upset by the younger pairing, who took the first game 15-4, but the veteran #1 pairing rebounded to take the next two games to make Longoria a double winner on the weekend.
This represents the 41st pro doubles title for Longoria and the 29th for Salas since we started tracking pro doubles in the fall of 2013.
—————– we’ll do a quick wrap up of the Men’s IRT Tier 5 event in a separate post.
After a month and a half hiatus, the Ladies pros are back in action this coming weekend, in Chicago for the 28th Annual Turkey Shootout. This is the 2nd year in a row that this event has had an LPRT component to it, and there’s a solid draw of 28 players in Lombard for the event.
18 of the top 20 players are present. Missing are #11 Brenda Laime Jalil and #17 Angelica Barrios (fresh of her win at 18U World Juniors). And a good chunk of the players ranked 20th-30th are present, for a very solid pro draw.
With 28 players, the top 4 seeds get byes into the 16s while the rest play a round of 32 match Friday morning.
One interesting seeding note: for the first time in more than a year, Salas has been pushed out of the #2 spot on tour. Vargas has eclipsed Salas for now; Vargas has opened a 79 point lead based on results so far this season. Salas will need an early-round upset of Vargas to have a chance of reclaiming the #2 spot this weekend.
Here’s some intriguing round of 32 matches to watch for: – #16/#17: Carla Muñoz Montesinos vs Maria Renee Rodríguez: 16/17 matches are always tight and this should be no different. Munoz is 4-0 in pro/internatonal events over MRR, but they havn’t played in a top-level event in 2 years. – #9 Masiel Rivera Oporto vs #24 Cheryl Gudinas; great to see the four-time title winner playing in her home-town. – #11 Adriana Riveros vs #22 Hollie Rae Scott; despite her lower seed, Scott is a tough player and this could be a pretty close match. – #10 Montse Mejia vs #23 Valeria Centellas: Mejia (last year’s world 18U champion) takes on this year’s 18U finalist and 2018’s 16U champion in a battle of two of the better young players in the world. Mejia has taken some serious steps forward professionally and is now in the top 10 on tour, and it seems like she’s poised to keep moving up. – #15 Sheryl Lotts vs #18 Susy Acosta; Lotts has a 1-3 career record against Acosta, but they last played more than 3 years ago. Since then Acosta has stepped back from full time touring while Lotts is stepping up. Still could be close.
— Projecting the round of 16. Assuming some earlier results here’s some round of 16 matches to watch for:
– #8 Amaya Cris vs #9 Rivera: Amaya is 3-0 career in top-level events against Rivera, including a 2-game win earlier this season. I see Amaya advancing here again. #4 Alexandra Herrera vs #20 Kelani Lawrence; i’m really curious to see how Lawrence, who doesn’t play the tour part time but is the reigning US National champ, plays against other top pros. She played Vargas really tough in Virginia earlier this season, but doesn’t often get chances at players in the top 8. I think Herrera advances but Lawrence keeps it close. – #3 Samantha Salas Solis vs #19 Jessica Parrilla: Parrilla keeps running into top players in her attempts to regain points on tour; this time running into Salas, who she also ran into at this juncture in Chesapeake earlier this season. – #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein vs #11 Riveros; if Riveros gets by Scott, we get a classic South American match between these two. Mendez knocked Riveros out of the US Open last month in a tie-breaker and leads h2h 3-1 across all tours. – #7 Nancy Enriquez vs #10 Mejia: These two Mexican Nationals have never played in an event our databases track, an interesting side note to the seedings and Mejia’s quick rise. I like Mejia’s chances here, but Enriquez’ power will be a factor.
— My projected Quarters: – #1 Paola Longoria over #8 Amaya – #5 Rhonda Rajsich over #4 Herrera: she’s 10-1 lifetime on LPRT, but Herrera won their last meeting. Is it the changing of the tide or a one-off? – #3 Salas over #6 Mendez: Mendez gets a break from running into Vargas in every pro quarterfinal … and instead gets the long-time #2 Salas on a mission. – #2 Maria Jose Vargas over #10 Mejia: they’ve only met twice on tour, most recently a 5-game marathon in San Antonio in april. While I think the 3-game format benefits a player like Mejia … Vargas has been on fire this season and I think advances here.
— Semis: – Longoria over Rajsich – Vargas over Salas
Final: Longoria over Vargas.
—– They’re also playing doubles in Chicago: 12 teams headlined by the #1 Longoria/Salas team, the #2 Argentinian team of Vargas/Mendez and the US Open champs Herrera/Mejia. Should be another great event.
Some fun players entered into doubles include 11-time USA National doubles champ and new member of the IRT team Aimee Roehler Ruiz, who is teaming up with Rivera to attempt to make some noise.
—- Streaming schedule already out: follow LPRT on facebook. Jerry J Josey Jr. and Timothy Baghurst should be onsite to broadcast all weekend.
we’re catching up on the LPRT action from yesterday; here’s a review of the 32s and 16s.
In the 32s, here was the notable results for me:
– #17 Adrienne Fisher Haynes took out #16 Sheryl Lotts in a tie-breaker for a surprising result (for me). Haynes turns the tide on Lotts from the last time they played at the 2018 Nationals and moves on.
– #9 Masiel Rivera Oporto made a statement with a dominant win over #24 Jessica Parrilla 8,4. I thought this was an upset special; instead it was a dominant performance by Rivera, who continues to impress this season and is racing up the LPRT rankings.
– Big upset by #25 Erin Rivera who took out #8 Amaya Cris in two close games 13,13.
– #12 Montse Mejia defeated #21 Maria Renee Rodriguez 12,4 to move on. Credit to MRR for staying in game one against a tough opponent, but Mejia ran away in game two.
– #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein dominated #27 Bolivian Jenny Daza Navia 4,3 to move on. No hiccup here for Mendez; she kept the pressure on Daza relentlessly and controlled the match from the start.
– #11 Adriana Riveros Racquetball dominated #22 Kelani Lawrence 6,12 in a somewhat surprising result to me. Lawrence played Vargas really tight in Chesapeake but couldn’t get anything going against the Colombian on this day.
– #7 Nancy Enriquez took on #26 Hollie Rae Scott in a tense, contested match that was tight all the way through. Enriquez fought off game-point against in game two when it was looking like this might go tie-breaker and won 12,14 to advance. Not much between these two players on the day.
– #9 Rivera held on and ousted upset-minded #25 Groves in a tie-breaker to move into just her fifth ever career quarter final.
– #12 Mejia wiped out #5 Rhonda Rajsich 6,8 in a match that seemed to take about 15 minutes. Mejia showed the whole arsenal today; power drive serves, touch in the front court, rally control, and Rhonda couldn’t get anything going. Mejia plays fast, Rhonda couldn’t slow her down and she looks pretty focused for this event.
– #4 Alexandra Herrera ended #20 Munoz’ run, taking a close first game then moving on in two 13,8.
– #3 Maria Jose Vargas dominated former world number two and #14 seed Lambert 4,9; we heard during the match that Lambert was working in the ER til 2am on the day of hte match, caught a same-day flight then played two pro matches. Yeah; i think we understand why she may have lost to one of the best players in the world.
– #6 Mendez showed some mettle and outlasted #11 Riveros in a tiebreaker to setup yet another showdown in the quarters of a pro event against her doubles partner Vargas.
– #7 Enriquez got a solid win over outdoor specialist #23 Michelle De la Rosa, who pushed her to 11-7 in the breaker but held on.
– In the dominant performance of the day, #2 Samantha Salas Solis made a statement by downing 2018 world champ #18 Ana Gabriela Martínez12,4. Salas has been “upset” early in both pro events so far this season and faced a stiff challenge here, but she made a statement in this win.
——– 16s seed review: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (seven of the top eight), then 9,11,12,14,17,18,20,23 … only one qualifier in #25 Groves into the 16s.
Then, the seeds into the qtrs: 1,9,12,4,3,6,7,2; mostly chalk, with #9 and #12 breaking in.
Same question for the men; is this the first time a US Open has not featured a single American into the quarters? here’s the QSF report by Nationality for LPRT: http://rball.pro/032ACA
Answer: yes it is the first time the US Open has not featured an American into at least the qtrs. It has happened multiple times before though (a LPRT event w/o an American into the quarters) before this; first time was Nov 2016 in Monterrey.
A busy weekend for racquetball includes the 2nd LPRT event of the season, the LPRT by the Beach in Chesapeake, VA.
Hosted by women’s racquetball legend Malia Kamahoahoa Bailey, its the first time the Ladies pros have ever been to the area, and the its the first time pro racquetball has returned to the Virginia Beach/Tidewater area since April 2006 (when the IRT had a stop for a couple years at the same host club).
Of note for this weekend: Paola Longoria goes for her 100th career Women’s Pro event win, an amazing accomplishment, and more than double any other known win total for women’s pros in the history of the game.
Who’s here and who’s missing: 9 of the top 10 are here (missing only #7 Amaya Cris), and then four from the ladies ranked 11-20 are present (missing several part-time players or Bolivian-based players who only sporadically travel). 20 total pros are in the singles draw,
Lets preview the singles draw:
Post publishing Note: clearly the hurricane has caused some travel issues; #4 Alexandra Herrera dropped out, basically forcing a complete redo-of the draw from #4 downward, so basically this post and analysis is now moot.
In the round of 32: – #16 Leona Parrilla vs #17 Erin Rivera: Parrilla continues to work her way back, this time setup to run right into #1 Longoria in the 16s. – #13 Adrienne Fisher Haynes vs #20 Malia Bailey; Malia finished in the top 3 three straight seasons in the early 1990s, including two tourney wins, and has just one pro appearance since 1993 (a round of 32 loss in Gaithersburg, MD in 2006). Can she take out the regular touring pro Haynes? Kelani says Malia’s still playing tough … – #15 Kelani Lawrence vs #18 Amie LeBrun Brewer: The reigning US national champ and daughter of Malia takes on a tough local Virginia player in Brewer, who’s working her way back from injury.
In the 16s: – #1 Paola Longoria vs #16 Parrilla: Longoria kicks off her run to 100 against former top 4 player Parrilla, a tougher match than normally expected in the 16s. – #8 Masiel Rivera Oporto vs #9 Adriana Riveros: these two met twice last year, with Rivera getting a career win over Riveros at the Bolivian grand slam. I think Riveros advances here. – #7 Nancy Enriquez vs #10 Brenda Laime Jalil; they’ve met in the 16s now three tourneys in a row; two weeks ago Enriquez triumped 11-7 in the breaker; can Laime break through?
Semis: – #1 Longoria over #5 Rajsich – #3 Vargas over #2 Salas: this is now suddenly the most compelling match on tour; Salas had been dominating the head to heads lately, including three straight semi finals wins in the last three pro events of last year, but Vargas took a tense 11-9 win in the semis of the season’s opener to make a statement on this season. Expect another barn burner, and i’ll go with another tight Vargas tiebreaker win.
Final: Longoria vanquishes Vargas for her 100th.
——————- Quick doubles preview:
The #1 world team of Longoria/Salas looms large over this 8-team draw, missing the 2nd best team of Herrera and Montse Mejia due to the latter’s missing this event. I’d expect #1 vs #2 in the final, with the Mexican pair taking on the Argentinian national team of Vargas/Mendez, with a Mexican victory.
——————– Look for streaming in all the regular places by following LPRT. Timothy Baghurst will be in town to broadcast, and I hope to get there for at least the friday matches, being that its in my home state and all.
In the 16s: – #8 Amaya Cris dominated #9 Masiel Rivera Oporto 3,9 to advance. This should be an interesting season for Amaya with her renewed training regiment. – #12 Montse Mejia got a solid 2-game win over #5 Rhonda Rajsich, reversing the result from their meeting in Lima a few weeks ago. – #4 Alexandra Herrera barely held off #13 Jessica Parrilla 11-9 in the breaker. Its the third straight defeat in the 16s for Parrilla at the hands of Herrera, but she keeps getting closer. – #19 Maldonado fared well against #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada losing in two 9,10. A good showing for the 20-yr old. – #11 Flores got the biggest (only) upset of the round, topping #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein in two. Its the 2nd year in a row they’ve met in this event … and the 2nd year in a row Flores upset the Argentinian. – #7 Nancy Enriquez was stretched to a tiebreaker by #10 Brenda Laime Jalil before advancing. Laime continues to make main events, solidifying her ranking in the 12-16 range, but she has yet to have a break through win.
In the quarters: – #1 Paola Longoria took out #8 Amaya 8,9 to advance. – #12 Mejia continued her upsetting ways, taking out #4 Herrera in two games and perhaps making a statement about the current heirarchy on the tour. – #3 Vargas advanced in two straight over 18U champ Flores. – #2 Samantha Salas Solis blitzed past #7 Enriquez 1,6.
In the semis; two heavyweight battles and two interesting matches: – #1 Longoria and #12 Mejia were neck and neck in game one, with Longoria pulling out a close one, then she broke away in game two to advance 13,5. – #3 Vargas got just her 3rd pro win over Salas in a tense, back and forth 11-9 tiebreaker win.
In the final, Vargas mounted a furious comeback in Game 1 but fell slightly short, then Longoria took over in game 2 to win her namesake title 13,6.
The two top Mexican teams advanced to the final as #1 and #3 seeds. #3 Mejia/Herrera downed the #2 Argentinian national team of Vargas/Mendez 12,13 to advance.
The final was a rematch of several major events in the last couple of years (these are all Finals); – 2016 US Open – 2017 Chihuahua Pro stop – 2018 Battle at the Alamo – 2018 World Doubles – 2018 Mexican Worlds selection – 2018 Paola Longoria Experience – 2018 US Open – 2019 Mexican Nationals – 2019 Kansas City pro stop.
The #1 team had won every one of these finals matchups save for the 2018 Worlds selection event.
On this day though, the younger team of Herrera/Mejia stuck with the hard-hitting veteran team, mounted a solid comeback in game 2 after letting game 1 slip away, then just out-shot the #1 team behind really solid serving from Herrera and took the title.
After an incredibly busy summer of events, the pro racquetball season is back. Welcome to the 2019-20 season; first up; the LPRT kicks off with a Grand Slam event; the Paola Longoria Experience in her home town of San Luis Potosi, SL, Mexico1
22 pros are in SLP for this event; lets take a look at the draws.
The top 8 players are here, setting up some frequently seen possible quarter finals from last season. We’re missing the 9th, 10th, and 11th ranked players ( Frederique LambertAdriana Riveros and Gaby Martinez), which has elevated Masiel Rivera Oporto all the way to a 9th seed. Its an odd absence for Riveros, who only missed three events in the last two seasons.
Lets preview the draw;
Interesting play-in/round of 32 matches: – #16/#17 Mexican lefty youngster Monserrat Perez Hellman takes on Guatemalan international Maria Renee Rodriguez, who is fresh off of a solid Pan Am Games showing (she and Martinez made the women’s doubles final). I like MRR here. – #12 Montse Mejia gets a chance to avoid the #1 seed in a pro event for the first time in a while, and starts out playing country-woman Carolina Rivera in the opener. – #14 Sheryl Lotts made the trip and gets an early test against another young Mexican player Denisse Maldonado. – #11 Ana Laura Flores , the reigning Mexican 18U champ, takes on the 2018 Mexican 14U champ Daniela Rico in a generational junior battle. – #15 Veteran Susy Acosta takes on a player nearly half her age in #18 Erin Rivera.
Possible Round of 16 matches of note: – #8 Amaya Cris vs #9 Rivera: these two played at the final LPRT stop of last season, a 4-game win for Amaya, who has not stopped traveling or playing this summer. I like Amaya here to advance. – #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs #12 Mejia: they just played each other in LIma, a beat-down by Rajsich. But this is a great opportunity for Mejia (who has the talent to challenge for the top) to make a run. Will she learn from her Pan Am Games early exit? – #4 Alexandra Herrera vs #13 Jessica Parrilla: Herrera has knocked Parrilla out in the round of 16 in both her top-level tournaments back so far, and likely does it again here. Despite it being more than a year removed from her knee injury, Parrilla still is not back to top form.
Projecting the Quarters: i like the top 8 seeds to advance with a lot of chalk here on out. – #1 Paola Longoria vs #8 Amaya: Longoria will be looking to win her namesake tournament as she did last year to kick off the season. – #4 Herrera vs #5 Rajsich: Alexandra finally broke her losing streak to Rajsich at the end of last pro season, while Rajsich is coming off a long two week period in Lima (where, to be fair, Herrera also was … but was merely on the Mexican team and did not play). I like Herrera here. – #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada vs #6 Natalia Mendez; as I frequently noted last spring, these two long-time Argentinian team-mates and doubles partners had not never met, now cannot stop facing each other. Vargas has never lost to Mendez, and I don’t see that starting here. – #2 Samantha Salas Solis vs #7 Nancy Enriquez: If Enriquez does not slip up against up-and-comer Brenda Laime Jalil, she’ll fall at this stage. Salas was shut out of the Mexican singles team at the Pan Ams, but raced to the doubles gold with Longoria.
Semis and Finals: Longoria over Herrera, Salas over Vargas, and Longoria over Salas, This was the semis and finals of the final LPRT event from last season, and I think they pick right back up where they left off.
———————- Doubles preview:
10 teams here; I like the top two Mexican teams of Longoria/Salas and Mejia/Herrera to meet in the final, with the Pan Am Gold medalists to take another title.
Reminder: LPRT has a new scoring system, and i’ll put up a post this weekend with a look back at the scoring systems used by the ladies pro tour over the years.
Congratulations to all the winners on the weekend:
Men’s Singles: Rodrigo Montoya Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria Men’s Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya/Javier Mar Women’s Doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas
A sweep for Mexico, establishing their dominance. Two double gold medalists in Montoya and Longoria. The finalists in the four categories: Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia and Guatemala, demonstrating how diverse the talent pool is in our sport. The two historically dominant countries of USA and Canada ended up with bronze medals at best.
We’ll cover the team results after they wrap-up in a separate post.
In the 16s, a few notable matches/surprises: – #8 Coby Iwaasa got another solid win, topping IRT top-10 player #9 seed Colombian Sebastian Franco in a tie-breaker. – #6 Samuel Murray took out #11 Bolivian Carlos Keller Vargas, ensuring that we’ll have a new IRF Men’s singles champion at this event (Keller was the PARC champ earlier this year). – #7 USA Charlie Pratt was taken to a breaker by Dominican #1 and 10th seed Luis Perez before advancing.
In the Qtrs: – #1 Alvaro Beltran advanced over the challenge of Iwaasa by the thinnest of margins, winning 14,13. Great showing by Iwaasa in a major yet again. – #4 Mario Mercado and #5 Jake Bredenbeck had a great back-and-forth match, with Mercado advancing 8,(8),8. Both players were blasting the ball and really making shots, but Mercado pulled it out in the end. – #3 Rodrigo Montoya Solis advanced in 2 solid games over #6 Murray 7,10. Montoya has quietly put together a really solid tournament, not yet dropping a game to this point and having Murray’s 10 points being the most scored against him in any game. – #2 Luis Conrrado Moscoso Serrudo got revenge against #7 Charlie Prattfor his loss in the qtrs of PARC19 by beating him handily 7,7 to move on.
So much for my predicting powers in this event: I predicted all four top seeds to fall here; instead all four top seeds advanced into the semis. In fact … the entire men’s knockout draw has gone chalk so far, with zero upsets into the qtrs and all four top seeds advancing.
In the Semis… – Beltran d Mercado 7,5 in a match that was far closer than the scores suggested. They were on the court for well over an hour for these two games. Mercado just couldn’t get his serves working against the shot-maker Beltran, and Beltran time and again put away shots and setups to pick away at the game. – Montoya d Moscoso 14,10. This is a match-up i’m always wanting to see; power versus power. Two of the best young talents in the world who rarely meet. I’ve got just one prior meeting: Montoya winning a tiebreaker in the qtrs of 2018 worlds en route to the title. Montoya holds on for game 1 and then gets the win to move to the finals again.
(Historical oddity of this match: Moscoso nearly forfeited the match after getting caught in 2+ hours of traffic; he hitched a ride with a motorcycle cop to get to the venue just in time; had the ladies semi finals before him not gone on as long, this would have been a walk-over).
In the finals:
It was an all Mexican affair … and also a generational one featuring Beltran at the age of 40 versus Montoya at the age of 23. Beltran first competed in an IRF event in 1996; Montoya was born in 1996. Montoya is 3-1 in my database over Beltran in his career, and the one loss was an 11-10 match.
Beltran took game one and then, with a diving hip check, slammed into the door in game two, shattering it. After recovering, he seemed to have the wind taken out of his sails, dropping game two and getting blanked in the tiebreaker. Montoya wins (9),6,0 to improve to 4-1 over his countryman and take the title.
In the 16s, a slew of great matches and surprising results: – #9 Kelani Lawrence eked out a strong tiebreaker win over #8 Carla Muñoz Montesinos 11-7. – #12 Colombian Adriana Riveros got a solid win over #5 Bolivian Valeria Centellas in a tie-breaker. – #3 Argentine Natalia Mendez got a career victory, topping the reigning World Champ Guatemalan Gaby Martinez in a tie-breaker. – #6 Ecuadorian Pazita Muñoz Albornoz got a great win over #11 Montse Mejia in a tie-breaker. Despite the seeding, I had Mejia favored in this match based on past results, including her defeat of Frederique Lambert in the RRs. – #7 Angelica Barrios advanced past Amaya Crisby the thinnest of margins, 11-10 breaker. Amaya managed to lose to both Bolivians in this event; one 11-9 and the other 11-10.
So, despite a couple of top-level players as double-digit seeds in the 16s, we had just two upsets by seed into the quarters.
In the qtrs: – #1 Maria Jose Vargas Parada advanced in two solid games over USA’s Lawrence 9,13. fun Fact: This was a rematch of the 2010 world Juniors 16U final. – #12 Riveros continued her great tournament, topping American veteran Rhonda Rajsich in two, ending Rhonda’s great tournament. – #3 Mendez topped #6 Maria Paz Munoz in a tiebreaker. – #2 Paola Longoria made quick work of the Bolivian youngster Barrios 6,4 to advance to the semis.
In the semis: – Riveros’ run ended at the hands of Vargas 8,9 – Longoria had to work for it a bit, but downed Mendez 10,10 to advance to yet another international tournament final.
In the final, the two top seeds faced off, also the two top LPRT pros represented here in Peru. Longoria improved her career record over Vargas to 33-1 across both IRF and LPRT by taking the final in two games 7,9.
Longoria wraps up her 19th career international title. Those 19 titles include 3 Pan Am games, 8 PARC titles, 2 World Games, 3 World Championships and 3 Central American/Caribbean games titles.
The draw went basically chalk to the semis, where the #4 seeded Mexican team of Montoya/ Javier Mar came from a game down to top the #1 USA team of Rocky Carson and Pratt. On the bottom half, the #2 Bolivian team of Moscoso/ Roland Keller also had to come from a game down to beat the quality Costa Rican team of Andres Acuña / Felipe Camacho to make the final.
In the highly anticipated final, the Mexican team dominated the Bolivians, winning 10,1 to take the title.