Sunday, December 10, 2023

Moscoso wins 2023 IRT Golden State Open

Conrrado Moscoso may not have finished as the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) this year, but he played like he did on Sunday in the final of the Golden State Open in Pleasanton, California, where he beat Daniel De La Rosa, 15-4, 15-3. De La Rosa will be the #1 player for the year, which is his 3rd straight #1 finish.

It was a dominant performance by Moscoso. Consider that De La Rosa served first in game one, and went up 3-0. Yet he only got three points over the rest of the match.

Number 1 and out

Speaking after the match, De La Rosa said “finishing #1 in the world means a lot to me,” but he announced that he won’t be playing the IRT full time next year, as he pursues another sport. De La Rosa never said the sport aloud, but it’s well known that he plays pickleball, so presumably that will be his main focus going forward.

De La Rosa added that “it’s tough to leave racquetball,” as “it’s been my whole life since I was 5 years old.” He said “I’ll be playing a couple events here and there,” suggesting he's not completely going away, but added “I’m going to miss you guys a lot,” so it’s unclear what his participation will be going forward.

Our big question is whether De La Rosa will try to qualify for Team USA. 2024 is an International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships year, so the USA will want to have its best players there, and De La Rosa just began competing for the USA this year. Is that going to continue?

Casting doubt on De La Rosa’s Team USA participation is the fact that Alejandro Landa, who has been his doubles partner the last couple years announced his IRT retirement yesterday.

The portable court reappears

The Golden State Open was made special this year with the use of the portable court that was created for the US Open with the funding help of Leo and Susan Klimaitis. It was last seen at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

There was a suggestion that the court would be used again at next year’s Golden State Open, but no word on if it will be used for other events.

The 2024 IRT season will begin in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with the Lewis Drug Pro-Am, January 25-28, 2024. If you missed any of the Golden State Open action played out on the portable court, check out the IRT YouTube channel.

2023 IRT Golden State Open presented by JMB
Pleasanton, California - December 7-10, 2023

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

3) Conrrado Moscoso d. 1) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-4, 15-3

Follow the bouncing ball….

Vargas wins singles, Herrera & Mejia doubles at 2023 LPRT Christmas Classic

Maria Jose Vargas, the #3 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), won the 31st Annual LPRT Christmas Classic in Millersville, Maryland Sunday by defeating LPRT #1 Montserrat Mejia, 15-11, 11-15, 11-3. It’s Vargas’s second consecutive win of the season, and leaves Mejia winless on the season.

However, Mejia did win doubles in Maryland, as she and Alexandra Herrera beat Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas, 15-10, 15-8. Herrera and Mejia were seeded 2nd and Longoria and Salas 1st, so both finals were won by the lower seeded side. Also as with Vargas, Herrera and Mejia’s win was their second consecutive LPRT title this season, and their third in a row going back to the end of last season.

The first game of the singles final was a serving fest, as both players hit multiple aces. They were close early, but Mejia took the lead in the mid-game, going up 11-6 with six of those points coming from ace drive serves. She had all the momentum and looked like she was going to win game one easily.

Yet, Mejia didn’t score another point, as Vargas got 9 unanswered points almost on consecutive rallies. Vargas only lost serve once in that stretch, but got it right back. Mejia called a timeout still leading at 11-9, and then another timeout down 13-11, but to no avail.

Indeed, after the second timeout, Vargas hit her fourth ace of the game, a drive serve to the left side. The game ended on the next rally, as Mejia skipped a backhand shot.

For most of game two, it looked like Vargas was going to win in two straight games, as she led early, 6-2, and even in the mid-game at 10-5 and 11-8. But Mejia kept at it, and tied the game at 11-11 prompting Vargas to call a timeout.

On the next rally, Vargas was assessed an avoidable, or penalty, hinder, which she appealed, but the line judges upheld the referee’s call. That put Mejia in the lead at 12-11 for the first time since 1-0. The last three points took nine rallies, but Mejia got them to force a tie-breaker.

Mejia may have had momentum going into the breaker, but that evaporated as Vargas stormed out to a 6-0 lead, helped by two aces and a service winner. Mejia called a timeout.

That didn’t stop Vargas, who got three more points to lead 9-0. Mejia called another timeout, which did lead to her first points. But she was only able to get three before Vargas closed it out at 11-3.

In the doubles final, Herrera and Mejia never trailed Longoria and Salas. In game one, they took a 4-0 lead, extended that to 7-2 and 10-6. Longoria and Salas called a timeout at that point.

When play resumed, Longoria and Salas got the serve back, and scored four points in a row to tie the game at 10-10. But a Longoria skipped forehand shot ended that run, and put Herrera and Mejia into the service box. They didn’t leave it, as they got the last five points without yielding the serve to win game one, 15-10.

In game two, Herrera and Mejia went up 3-0, and while Longoria and Salas got within one at 3-2 and 4-3, they never tied it, as Herrera and Mejia went up 9-3 and 13-4.

Longoria and Salas did get some points late in game two, so Herrera and Mejia called a timeout at 13-8. The next rally was a hinder, but they got the serve back on the second rally after their timeout, and proceeded to get the last two points to end the game, 15-8, and the match in two straight games.

The next LPRT events are the Arizona Open, January 12-14, 2024 in Tempe, Arizona, followed by the Boston Open in Marlborough, Massachusetts, March 1-3, 2024.

If you missed any of the 31st Annual LPRT Christmas Classic action - and there were several great matches, check out the LPRT YouTube channel.

31st Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-Am
Millersville, Maryland - December 8-10, 2023

Final - Sunday

3) Maria Jose Vargas d. 1) Montserrat Mejia, 15-11, 11-15, 11-3

Doubles - Final - Sunday

2) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas, 15-10, 15-8

Follow the bouncing ball….

No upsets at 2023 IRT Golden State Open as Mar & Montoya win doubles

No upsets on Saturday at the 2023 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Golden State Open in Pleasanton, California. The singles final on Sunday will be between IRT #1 Daniel De La Rosa and #3 Conrrado Moscoso. Regardless of the outcome, De La Rosa will finish #1 for the 3rd straight year, as the #2 player - Jake Bredenbeck - lost in the quarterfinals.

Neither of the semi-finals were close. De La Rosa defeated IRT #4 Rodrigo Montoya, 15-8, 15-7, and Moscoso beat IRT #7 Eduardo Portillo, 15-6, 15-2.

Doubles

It was #1 versus #2 in the doubles final, as top seeds Javier Mar and Montoya defeated 2nd seeds De La Rosa and Alejandro Landa, 15-12, 15-10. Both games were close the whole way, including ties late: 12-12 in game one, and 11-11 in game two. (note: De La Rosa was assessd a technical late in game two for smashing his racquet into the floor, and that's how there could be an 11-11 tie, but a 15-10 final score).

Landa announced that it was his last match on tour. He retires at age 35, with 4 career IRT singles wins and 4 doubles wins (two with De La Rosa and one each with Sudsy Monchik and Samuel Murray). His singles wins put into a tie for 21st all time on the IRT and is second most for a Mexican born player after De La Rosa’s 12 wins.

”I’m happy with my decision,” Landa said, thanking the IRT and everyone who put on the Golden State Open. “This was my life,” he added, but now it’s time for other things.

The singles final will be at 11:45 AM Sunday. You can see some of the IRT action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. All times Pacific.

2023 IRT Golden State Open presented by JMB
Pleasanton, California - December 7-10, 2023

IRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Daniel De La Rosa d. 4) Rodrigo Montoya, 15-8, 15-7
3) Conrrado Moscoso d. 7) Eduardo Portillo, 15-6, 15-2

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Daniel De La Rosa v. 3) Conrrado Moscoso - 11:45 AM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-9, 15-6
2) Daniel De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa d. 6) Andrés Acuña & Eduardo Portillo, 8-15, 15-9, 11-6

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Daniel De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa, 15-12, 15-10

Follow the bouncing ball….