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

Copa Mexicano 2020 Wrap-up

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

Congrats to your winners on the weekend:
– Mens Singles: Daniel De La Rosa
– Men’s Doubles: Rodrigo Montoya/Javier Mar
– Women’s Singles: Paola Longoria
– Women’s doubles: Paola Longoria/Samantha Salas

The two singles finalists on the Men and Women’s side qualify to represent Mexico at upcoming IRF events. The Doubles winners also qualifies to represent the country at upcoming IRF events. I’m assuming this is for the 2020 PARC games to be held in April in Bolivia and for the 2020 World Championships, but as with prior years there may be additional qualification parameters for the 2020 World Championships team that come to light later on.

R2 Sports App home page for event: https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=31821

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

Men’s Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/279793

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In the 32s: no upsets to this observer; all 10 round of 32 matches were two-game victories for the expected winner. The three closest games all involved the three highest ranked players playing in the play-in round, who were likely playing themselves into shape for the next round.

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In the 16s, some notable results/upsets:
– #8 Christian Longoria topped #9 Andree Parrilla in a tie-breaker. This is a pretty significant upset, as Parrilla currently sits #5 in the world while Longoria (albeit in limited pro appearances) has yet to even qualify for a main draw. Parrilla continues his miserable tourney streak; he lost in the 16s of the last three pro events as well.
– #5 Gerardo Franco Gonzalez @got an excellent win over #12 Javier Estrada 6,(13),7 to move on. Franco continues to show he’s a tough out, and takes out the enigmatic Estrada.
– #11 Sebastian ‘Patata’ Fernandez dominated Alex Cardona 8,8 to move on. Solid win from Patata, who I thought had a chance to beat Cardona but certainly not in two dominant games.
– #10 Lalo Portillo took out reigning World and Pan Am games singles champ Rodrigo Montoya Solís with relative ease 9,11. Portillo frustrated Montoya with off-speed Z-serves that were quite effective, then matched Montoya’s athleticism to keep balls in play with diving gets and great retrievals.

By seeds, mostly chalk through the 16s with the seeds 1,8,5,4,3,11,10,2 advancing, but for me four of the eight matches were upsets or surprising results.

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In the Quarters
– #8 Longoria gave #1 Alvaro Beltran a scare, taking the first game and giving Alvaro a run in the second before fading in the breaker. Final score (12),12,3.
– #4 Javier Mar took it to #5 Franco, controlling the match and advancing in two games 12,5.
– #11 Fernandez got his second statement win in a row, topping #3 Alan Natera Chavez 11,11 to move on. Natera’s streak of making the semis at Nationals ends after two straight years, while Fernandez moves into the semis of Adult nationals for the first time (he made the quarters twice before, in 2017 and 2018).
– #10 Portillo pushed #2 Daniel De La Rosa, saving match point against in the second game to force a breaker, but DLR ran away with it there, advancing to the semis. DLR keeps his streak of making the semis alive; he’s made the semis or better in every Mexican Nationals back to at least 2014 (he did miss 2017’s event).

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In the Semis
– #1 Beltran gave credence to the old statement, “It only takes 26 to win” in dropping the second game to #4 Mar 15-1 but moving on by the final score line of 8,(1),9.
– #2 DLR put an end to #11 Fernandez’s run, frustrating the young Mexican at the precipice of the National team by the score line of 10,11.

With these wins:
– Beltran secures his singles spot on the Mexican National team for the second year running after a 3 year gap from 2016-2018.
– DLR returns to the singles Mexican team after a year absence (he was beaten by Landa in the semis last year). DLR has now qualified for the team 4 of the past 7 seasons.

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In the Finals; a rematch of the 2015 Mexican National Finals, won by Beltran for his last National title. But on this day, DLR ended up on top of a close but casual match between friends and doubles partners 14,11 to take the title.

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

Women’s Singles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/3480BB

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In the 16s, a couple of notable results
– #12 Lucia Gonzalez dominated LPRT top 10 player and #5 seed Nancy Enriquez 2,11 to move on. Gonzalez doesn’t have a top-level match in the database since Dec 2018, but makes noise every time she plays.
– #10 Erin Nocam “upset” #7 Maria Gutierrez in two to advance. Gutierrez was a finalist at 18U last summer in Mexican junior nationals and still has a year left in the junior ranks, while Erin continues her excellent season of results.

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In the Quarters, two pretty big upsets.
– #8 Jessica Parrilla returned to the semis of Mexican Nationals after a two year absence, and she did it by dethroning the defending champ Montse Mejia in two straight. Parrilla was in control for large parts of the match, taking advantage of Mejia’s mistakes throughout.
– #12 Gonzalez got her second upset in a row, downing #4 Alexandra Herrera in a tiebreaker. These two are familiar foes, often competing for junior national titles as they grew up, and Lucia was able to get past her in a major event yet again.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis cruised past veteran #7 Susy Acosta, improving to 12-0 in top-level/pro events over the lefty, to move into the semis.
– #2 Paola Longoria blitzed past #10 Erin Rivera 0,3, giving her younger countrywoman little chance to get some of the upsets she’s gotten lately on tour.

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In the Semis
– #8 Parrilla played solid ball and outlasted #12 Gonzalez to make the Mexican national finals 12,10.
– #2 Longoria survived an injury scare to move past doubles partner #3 Salas 14,9 to get to the final. Early in game on at 1-6 down, Longoria and Salas got tangled up and Longoria seemed to have landed on her ankle wrong; it did not look good, and a full injury time out was taken. She recovered though, Salas could not take advantage of the mobility issues, and Longoria seemed to gain strength and confidence as the match moved on. In the second game Salas had her own injury scare, tweaking her knee in a rally but persevering without an injury time out.

With these wins:
– Parrilla returns to the Mexican national team singles spot for the first time in years: she last represented Mexico internationally at the 2016 PARC event, and before that at the 2013 World Games.
– Longoria secures her spot on the National team, and extends her streak held since 2006 of representing Mexico in singles at IRF events.

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In the Finals, Parrilla really put up a fight but couldn’t convert in game one when it counted, dropping it 15-14, then collapsing in game two to lose 14,4. Longoria regains the title she lost last year and returns to the top of Mexican racquetball.

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Mens Doubles review

Men’s Doubles Match report in the PRS database: http://rball.pro/1D2489

In the Men’s competition,

In the early rounds:
– Seeds 1,2,4 and 6 advanced to the semis.
– #5 team of Fernandez/Miguel Rodriguez Jr. took out Cardona/Franco early and pushed Estrada/Natera before falling.
– The #6 team of Portillo/Parrilla “upset” the #3 seeds Sebastian Longoria/Erick Trujillo to advance.
– The #7 team of Christian Longoria and Cesar Barragan really pushed the #2 team DLR/Beltran, falling 14,11

In the semis:
– #1 Montoya/Mar moved into the final over #4 Estrada/Natera, but had to save off game point against in the second game to do so 4,14.
– #2 DLR/Beltran kept their qualification hopes alive … by by the skin of their teeth, taking a scintillating match over #6 Portillo/Parrilla 11-10. The tiebreaker was a shot-makers paradise, with rallies generally only ending with splat rollout kill shots. Fantastic racquetball.

At 10-10, with both teams having saved match point against and with DLR/Beltran re-gaining the serve … something weird happened. DLR/Beltran were assessed a technical for … i’m not sure. At 10-10 against Parrilla called a time out, and Beltran playfully hit the ball towards him. I’m assuming the referee deducted a point for it (based on DLR’s reaction when getting back the 10th point). Nonetheless, when play resumed it was 9-10. They gutted out the 10th point, then on match point rally DLR absolutely buried a reverse forehand pinch from 39′ feet to take the match with quite a statement.

In the final, these two teams went tie-breaker as expected. In the breaker Montoya/Mar jumped out to a bit lead but couldn’t close out at match point. DLR/Beltran quickly ran off several points and it looked like maybe they could pull magic out of a hat again, but Montoya/Mar got the serve back and the ended the match with an amazing winner from Mar.

Montoya/Mar repeat as Mexican National champions and get a chance to build on their 2019 Pan American Games title. Perhaps more importantly, they get a rare win over the veteran Beltran/DLR team in their increasingly exciting rivalry.

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Women’s Doubles review:

Women’s Doubles Match report in PRS database: http://rball.pro/D0916F

In the quarters
– #1, #2 and #4 teams advanced easily
– #6 Angela Veronica Ortega/Maria Gutierrez upset the #3 seeded team of Acosta/Sacristan in a tie breaker for the round’s only upset.

In the semis:
– #1 Longoria/Salas, both of whom picked up knocks in their singles semi final match against each other, gutted out a two game win over the #4 team of Parrilla/Rivera 9,10.
– #2 Mejia/Herrera cruised past the upset minded #6 team of Ortega/Gutierrez 3,4.

In the Final, we got the quite-frequently seen doubles final as of late: these two teams have now met in the finals of four LPRT doubles events just this season, three last season, last year’s World Doubles pro final, plus last year’s Mexican National final. While the Mejia/Herrera team has gotten a couple wins in this rivalry lately, on the day today the veterans held serve, winning in two games 7,13 to take the national title and the right to represent Mexico in the upcoming IRF events.

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Next up?

After a month’s break, the LPRT is back in action next weekend in Boston. The IRT has a couple of lower-tier events next week (in Minneapolis and in Pueblo, CO), and then returns to Chicago for the 35th annual KWM Gutterman classic the following weekend.

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tags
International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
International Racquetball Federation
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT

Copa Mexico 2020 Preview

Beltran is the #1 seed; can he make the team in 2020? Photo US Open 2019 via Photographer Kevin Savory

Its time for one of my favorite tournaments of the year; Its the 2020 Campeonato Nacional Selectivo de Raquetbol. This year the event is being held in Tijuana, not one of the hotbeds of racquetball in the country like San Luis Potosi and Chihuahua, which will be an interesting home-town advantage for some Tijuana based players and may also explain the dip in attendance from last year’s event.

There’s 26 in the Men’s open draw and 15 in the Women’s open: compare this to last year’s Nationals event in Chihuahua; 34 in Men’s Open, 19 in Women’s. Nonetheless, the draws are stacked and nearly every round of 16 match on the Men’s side (and all the quarters on the women’s side) are “back end of the tournament” pro-quality match-ups.

r2sports.com link:
https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=31821

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Lets preview the Men’s Singles draw.

First, some interesting players missing, and some similarly interesting players entered. First off, the elephant in the room; as most of the rball world knows, former Mexican #1 Alex Landa is not here; he entered (and won) US National Doubles a few weeks ago after having asked for his release from the Mexican team mid last year in the wake of the Pan Am Games Team selection controversy. So in his place, last year’s finalist Álvaro Beltrán ascends to the #1 seed in this draw.

We also see that Sebastian ‘Patata’ Fernandez is entered here, and specifically did NOT enter US National doubles a few weeks back. Fernandez (like Landa) has dual citizenship and has represented both US and Mexico in years past. However in a 3-week span in 2019 he played in both US national doubles and in Mexico National doubles, prompting some eligibility and access questions. No such issues this year.

Other notables missing: Ernesto Ochoa misses the event; he was the #11 seed last year. No Jaime Martell Neri here this year; he lost in the 16s last year and had a great run at the 2019 US Open. The draw also misses frequently seen players such as Jordy Alonso, former junior phenom David Ortega, last year’s #7 seed Edson Martinez and two of the top juniors in the land Emir Martinez and Jose Ramos.

Here’s some matches to watch:

In the 32s, there’s 10 matches, many involving top touring IRT pros. I don’t see much in the way of upset potential, but here’s a couple of interesting play-ins:

– @Miguel Rodriguez Jr. will give #9 Andree Parrilla (current #5 ranked IRT pro) an early run for his money.
– Mexican 18U top player Manuel Moncada faces off against Daniel Rodriguez.
– Mexican 18U reigning champ Sebastian Fernandez will face last year’s 16U finalist Erick Trujillo
– Two of the top players in 16U last year face off for a shot at #3 Natera in Sebastian Longoria and Guillermo Ortega. I like Ortega in his home town here even if there’s little between these two players.

The fireworks start in the 16s.
– #1 Beltran likely gets his tourney started against #17 IRT regular Erick Cuevas.
– #9 Parrilla likely takes on #8 Christian Longoria in a battle of SLP tour regulars.
– #5 Gerardo Franco Gonzalez gets zero favors from the draw, likely having to face an underseeded #12 Javier Estrada. Estrada has been giving the IRT a go this season and has a couple of solid wins, but no breakthroughs past the round of 16 yet. But we know what he’s capable of given his win last summer at the Black Gold cup. Franco has proven to be a tough out at times, with a quarter final appearance in the most recent IRT stop.
– #4 Javier Mar likely takes on the junior Moncada in the 16s here.
– #3 Alan Natera Chavez will kick off his latest Nationals event likely against the young Ortega, who will be spirited in defeat.
– #6 Former WRT #1 Alex Cardona gets a brutal opener against #11 Fernandez. I still think the part-time tournament player Cardona is the better player, but Fernandez has been improving and looked tough earlier this year. This could be a statement win for either player, and could go down to the wire in the breaker.
– #7 Rodrigo Montoya Solís] takes on #10 Lalo Portillo in another fantastic round of 16 match. Montoya crushed Portillo in Portland in December, but it was Portillo making a final in Sioux Falls a couple months later. its odd to see Montoya seeded 7th here, considering the fact that he’s the defending Pan Am Games and World Singles champ. He’ll have his work cut out for him again to make the team here unless we see more chicanery from the federation (see Landa, Alex).
– #2 Daniel De La Rosa will face a relative unknown (to me) either way to get his nationals tourney started; it should serve as a great warm-up for his brutal projected quarter final match. Read on.

Projected Quarters:
– #1 Beltran over #8 Parrilla. I know Parrilla finished last year higher than the elder Beltran, but he’s going through a really tough stretch. Andree lost three straight IRT round of 16 matches while Beltran held serve and eventually jumped him in the rankings last month. Beltran is 6-4 over Andree in their career, and i like Alvaro to rise to the challenge in his home town to move on.
– #4 Mar over #12 Estrada; in a battle of Javiers, i give Mar the upper hand. Estrada beat Mar h2h twice in two RKT events in Dec, but Mar gets up for these national events and I think handles Estrada.
– #6 Cardona over #3 Natera; yes I know Natera has made the semis in this event two years running with a slew of upsets. I like Cardona here if he can get past the bulked up Fernandez.
– #2 DLR over #7 Montoya: this is a rematch of the 2018 Nationals final AND the 2018 Selection event final. But its DLR who has had the upper hand in this rivalry lately, winning their last 3 meetings and 4 of 5. Some of their matches have been close … but often DLR really dominates Montoya, including a 1,4 stomping in the semis of the 2019 Lewis Drug. I think DLR builds off of some great recent results on tour and moves on here.

Great projected quarter finals here: it includes potentially four of the current IRT top ten players and another 2-3 players who are top 10 quality.

My semis:
– Mar over Beltran; if Mar gets to this point, I like his chances of taking out Beltran. Mar faced Beltran in the semis of the 2016 Mexican Nationals event and topped him then, and I like him to move to the final here.
– DLR over Cardona: Cardona’s run ends at the hands of DLR, who can handle his power and will outlast him from a fitness perspective on the court at the end-game. These two faced off in last year’s nationals in the quarters, and DLR advanced in a tie-breaker. I see a similar result here.

Final: DLR over Mar, a rematch of the 2016 National final also won by Daniel. DLR returns to the title seat of Mexican racquetball.

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Women’s singles draw preview;

15 women in the draw. All the major LPRT touring pros are present, meaning the quarters on should be action packed.

Notables missing:no Ana Laura Flores here after she dominated the Mexican 18U event last year. Also missing are periodic LPRT players like Montserrat Pérez, Denisse Maldonado, Eleni Guzman Velgis, Diana Aguilar, and Sofia Rascon (who I don’t have any tourney results for in more than two years now).

Round of 16s to watch for:
– #5 Nancy Enriquez takes on #12 Lucia Gonzalez in an upset-special. Gonzalez made the semis of the 2018 Mexican Nationals (she also made the semis of 2015 version just after graduating juniors), but missed 2019 so she gets a bottom seed. Nonetheless, she’s proven her ability to beat top LPRT players and Nancy should be on the watch here. I’m going to go with the upset; there’s always a 12 seed beating a 5-seed, right NCAA fans?
– #4 Alexandra Herrera takes on the 14U phenom Angela Veronica Ortega. Ortega was the 14U finalist in 2019 in Mexico, then made the Junior worlds 14U final as well. She’ll be playing in her home town against the touring pro Herrera.
– #10 Erin Rivera takes on the 2018 Mexican 16U champ Maria Gutierrez in the opener.

Projected quarters:
– #1 and defending champ Montse Mejia likely takes on Jessica Parrilla in a pretty tough quarter for the #1 seed. Mejia has never beaten Parrilla … but they also havn’t played since 2017, which means they havn’t played post knee injury. Parrilla continues to struggle to get back to her former lofty ranking; the talent pool is deeper and she has had really rough luck running into top players early in these draws. I think Mejia moves on but it could be a nail-biter tie-breaker.
– #12 Gonzalez takes on #4 Herrera; These two are familiar foes; they’re the same age and played on the junior circuit frequently, often in junior national finals. The last time they played was 2018 Mexican Nationals, a straight-forward 2-game win for Gonzalez. I’ll predict another upset.
– #3 Samantha Salas Solis vs #6 Susy Acosta Racquetball; Salas has really struggled on tour this season, but I don’t see her losing to the veteran Acosta at this stage. These two veterans have played more than a few times so they’ll know each other’s game well.
– #2 Paola Longoria who must feel odd not being seeded #1 in an event for the first time in perhaps a decade or so, likely faces up and coming LPRT player Rivera at this stage. Longoria is on a mission and isn’t stopping till she gets to the final.

My semis:
– Mejia over Gonzalez to end the run
– Longoria over her doubles partner Salas

Final: Longoria re-takes the title and downs Mejia in two quick games in similar fashion to their past few pro meetings.

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Doubles preview:

In the Men’s doubles, 13 teams headlined by two of the best doubles teams out there in the top 2 seeds. DLR/Beltran were upset in the semis last year and slip to the #2 seed, while Montoya/Mar are the defending champs and #1 seed. Despite the seeding, DLR/Beltran have never lost as a team to the Montoya/Mar team, so if seeds hold expect DLR/Beltran to retain the title.

Standing in their way are a couple of intriguing teams: #6 Portillo/Parrilla are a frequent pairing on the IRT and could make for an edgy semi against the veterans. The #4 seeds of Estrada/Natera are a frequent pairing that could make noise … but they face a dark-horse in #12 Franco/Cardona, an intriguing pairng that includes the very talented doubles player in Cardona.

In the Women’s doubles draw there’s 8 teams entered but really only 2 teams to talk about: the #1 seeded Longoria/Salas team is one of the most decorated doubles teams of all time, but the #2 seeded team of Mejia/Herrera has been pushing into their territory, taking a couple of pro doubles titles already this season, including the US Open title. Expect #1 vs #2 and for the Longoria/Salas team to push for the win and the international representation spot.

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Streaming options: there’s usually good streaming of these events, by following FMR or RKT on facebook and by following the specific players’ pages.

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Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
RKT
International Racquetball Tour
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
LPRT

3rd Bi-National Racquetball Tourney

Jaime Martell gets the double win on the weekend. Photo from US Open 2019. Photographer: Kevin Savory.

Here’s a quick recap of the Bi-National event that was held during last weekend’s busy slate of events. It was held in El Paso, TX and (as a lower IRT tier event) managed to draw some top talent into its pro divisions.

R2 Sports App link: https://www.r2sports.com/portfolio/r2-event.asp?TID=31122

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Here’s a quick recap of the Event:

– The expected final of #1 Eduardo Garay Rodriguez versus #2 Jaime Martell Neri came to pass; neither player was really challenged en route to the final.

Garay topped Jorge Trevino in one semi, while Martel took out Luis Renteria in the other. The lefty Renteria is the current reigning Mexican 14U champ and has a slew of junior national and world titles to his credit; he took out two adult Open players to make the semis. He’s one to watch for.

In the final:Martel outlasted the hard-hitting Colombian representative (though of Mexican descent) Garay, winning the singles title (14),13,7.

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LPRT pro Carla Muñoz Montesinos entered the Men’s pro draw here; she advanced a round but lost a close tie-breaker in the round of 16 (the tournament played all games win by two; Munoz lost the tiebreaker 14-12 to solid Mexican Mario Zamora

In the Women’s Open singles, Munoz ended up taking the small Women’s Pro/Open draw by winning both RR matches on Saturday over Lucia Gonzalez and El Paso’s hometown player Cristal Hernández

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In the Men’s Doubles: Munoz and partner Gonzalez upset two men’s teams to make the final. They had to default the final to the top Men’s team (comprised of the singles finalists Garay and Martell), making Jaime the double winner on the weekend.

27th Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-AM Wrap-Up

Longoria wins again.

Congrats to Paola Longoria on her win at the latest LPRT event. This is her 5th win out of 5 on the season, her 6th straight tournament win on tour, extends her current match winning streak to 25 matches, and she opens up an even larger lead on her two closest competitors (#2 Samantha Salas Solis, who reportedly had travel issues and did not attend, and #3 Frederique Lambert, who was upset in the round of 16). This win represents Paola’s 87th tournament win in our database.

Here’s a link to R2 Sports App website for the tourney: http://www.r2sports.com/website/event-results.asp?TID=29971

And here’s the PRS Match Report for the Singles draw.

http://www.proracquetballstats.com/cg…/print_results_new.pl…

Here’s a wrap-up of the notable matches (for me) in each round:

In the 32s:
– Lucia Gonzalez outlasted 16U world champ Valeria Centellas in four to advance in a battle of young up-and-coming players.
– In a battle of two long-time pro players, Laura Brandt (first pro appearance in 2005) outlasted Jennifer Mayadas-Dering (first pro appearance in 1996) in a five-game breaker.
– Danielle Maddux outlasted #11 Adrienne Fisher Haynes, the highest seeded player not getting a bye into the 16s, in a 5-game marathon.
– Michelle De La Rosa (DLR) also played a 5-game marathon, just eking by Hollie Scott 12-10 in the fifth in a back-and-forth encounter.

In the 16s, just one upset but several close matches.
– #8 Carla Muñoz Montesinos outlasted #9 Sheryl Lotts in four close games.
– #5 Rhonda Rajsich needed a 5th game tie-breaker to down home-town favorite Masiel Rivera Oporto
– #4 Maria Jose Vargas seemed to be battling leg or ankle issues but came back from a 2-game deficit to down Lucia Gonzalez in five.
– The big upset though was De La Rosa ousting #2 Frederique Lambert. This is one of the biggest upets of the season and the first time in more than a year that a top 2 seed was upset at this juncture. DLR dominated, winning 6,4,7 and is in a great position to challenge for her second ever pro semi final.

In the Quarters: 
– #1 Paola Longoria made quick work of #8 Munoz 4,1,0
– #5 Rhonda Rajsich took a 3 game win over the hobbled #4 Vargas.
– #3 Alexandra Herrera took a 3-game win over #6 Natalia Mendez Erlwein 
– #15 De La Rosa continued her great run, downing the #7 seed Amaya Crisin four games.

In the Semis:
– Longoria took out Rajsich in 3 straight games 4,5,7.
– Herrera ended DLR’s run by blitzing past her 1,0,8.

In the Final, Longoria improved to 10-0 lifetime on the pro tour against her country-mate Herrera 8,4,7.

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In the doubles.. Just one upset in the quarters (#5 over #4). In the semis the top two seeded teams advanced to the final. In the final. Longoria made it a double on the weekend, teaming with Virginia-based Kelani Lawrence to top #2 Lambert/Herrera 7,10.

Here’s the Doubles match report in the database.

http://www.proracquetballstats.com/cg…/print_results_new.pl…

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In the Men’s International Racquetball Tour Tier 5 event the top four seeds all advanced as expected to the semis:
– Sebastian Franco over Geoff Heskett
– MoMo Zelada over Brent Walters
– Maurice Miller over Thomas Gerhardt
– Troy Warigon over Mike Gaffney

In the semis, Franco took a close one over fellow local Zelada, while Atlanta-based Miller scored the upset over home-club favorite Warigon. In the final, Miller (who has been playing pretty tough lately) took a game off of the #5 ranked Franco but fell in a tiebreaker.

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Happy Holidays to you from PRS: next event isn’t until the new year, with the always popular Canoga Park event on the IRT.

27th Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-AM Preview

Welcome to the final pro tournament of the calendar year 2018. Its the LPRT Christmas Classic, being played in Laurel MD. This is the same club that held the IRT season-opener a few months back and is a great venue for playing and watching.

This is the 27th annual iteration of this event, making it one of the longer running tourneys in existence. Useless fact; I used to help organize this event, some 20 years ago. Since i’m a digital pack rat, I dug back and found the organizational docs and start times for the 7th annual iteration of this event in 1998. After a time, the mantle was passed to current tournament director Karen Grisz, who has taken it to different venues around the DC area and has made it a regular LPRT stop for years. This year also includes an 18-man IRT tier 5 draw that i’ll preview after the ladies info.

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LPRT Singles draw. 22 ladies are entered, but there are some significant absences. #2 Samantha Salas Solis is missing, as is #6 Nancy Enriquez and #9 Gaby Martinez. This gives several players bumps into the top 8 and out of qualifying matches.

Interesting players in the draw include several local players of note: Kelani Lawrence is in the draw, as is Amie LeBrun Brewer and Masiel Rivera Oporto. The tourney has also drawn a few New England-based players out of NY and CT.

Here’s the round of 32 play-in matches to watch for:
Kelani Lawrence vs Amie Brewer: two VA residents duke it out to face the #1 seed.
– 7-time junior world champ Lucia Gonzalez makes her first appearance on the LPRT this season and faces off against current World 16u champ Valeria Centellas in an interesting match. 
– Adrienne Fisher Haynes vs Danielle Danielle Maddux: Danielle Maddux (nee Key) makes her first pro appearance in more than 8 years. The former US and World junior champion joins her sister Michelle on the tour and will team up in doubles as well.
– Michelle De La Rosa vs Hollie Scott: De La Rosa makes her 3rd LPRT appearance this season, with a play-in to the #2 seed.

In the round of 16…
– #1 Paola Longoria likely faces her doubles partner for the event in Lawrence. 
– In the always competitive 8/9th seed match: two LPRT touring vets face off in Carla Carla Muñoz Montesinos and Sheryl Lotts. They’re 2-2 head to head on the LPRT, but all four matches were years ago (last meeting Sept 2016).
– #5 Rhonda Rajsich vs the home-town favorite #12 Masiel Rivera. Rivera has been playing solid and could push Rhonda here.
– De La Rosa vs #2 Frederique Lambert; DLR is a dangerous opponent, and Lambert has a couple of early upsets on her resume lately.

Projected Quarters: I’m going basically chalk for the back end of this tourney.
– Longoria over Munoz; she’s 10-0 over Carla on the LPRT
– Vargas over Rajsich: Vargas is 14-11 h2h lifetime over Rhonda on the LPRT but is having a solid season.
– Alexandra Herrera over Natalia Mendez Erlwein; Herrera is 3-1 lifetime over Mendez on the LPRT
– Lambert over Cristina Amaya: Lambert is 8-5 career over Amaya, but has won 7 of their last 8 meetings.

Semis:
– Longoria over Vargas: amazingly, Longoria is 23-0 over Vargas on the pro tour
– Lambert over Herrera: Frederique holds an 8-1 h2h advantage.

Finals: Longoria over Lambert; Paola is 26-1 career on the pro tour over Fred.

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LPRT Doubles

Salas’ absence means the dominant #1 team of Longoria/Salas cannot win this doubles event like they most often do. Instead, Longoria will team with Lawrence for this tourney. I think this may open the door for a team like #2 seeds Lambert/Herrera or Argentinian team of Mendez/Vargas to slip through and take the title.

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IRT Tier 5. Laurel is home to a couple of IRT regulars, so it only makes sense for them to compete on their home courts. I’m posting this before the brackets are available, but the top four seeds seem to be Sebastian Franco,Maurice MillerTroy Warigon, and Mauricio MoMo Zelada. Some good local east coast players are entered too (Ross Ross WeinbergThomas Gerhardt,Brent WaltersJordan Walters, Geoff Heskett, and others). Should be a good tourney.

Post publishing update: once the brackets were posted, we added this quick prediction:

  • Quarters: Franco over Heskett, Zelada over Weinberg, Miller over Gerhardt, Warigon over Gaffney
  • Semis: Franco over Zelada, Miller over Warigon
  • Finals: Franco over Miller