Sunday, February 10, 2019

Carson & Rajsich win singles at 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships

Rocky Carson and Rhonda Rajsich won Men’s and Women’s Singles, respectively, at the 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. They play singles at National Doubles, because qualifying for the US Team involves singles results from three events: US Open, singles at National Doubles, and singles at the National Singles Championships in May, rather than team qualifying being dependent on one tournament.

In Sunday’s men’s final, Carson defeated Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 15-3, in what was a battle of doubles partners, as Carson and Pratt competed together in the US Team Qualifying Doubles division in Tempe, where they won the title on Saturday by defeating Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz in the final.

Rajsich won the women’s final by beating 3rd seed Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-7, 15-11. It was a remarkable performance by Rajsich, and perhaps a case of “what might have been” for Bailey Lawrence. In game one, Bailey Lawrence was up 7-3, and looked to be in control. But Rajsich scored 12 unanswered points to win 15-7. Bailey Lawrence served a few times in that stretch, but failed to score any points, and the the two timeouts she took weren’t effective in stopping Rajsich.

In game two, Rajsich took an injury timeout, leading 3-2. She seemed to injury her right knee chasing down the ball in the front court. Nothing seemed to be especially wrong, but 12 min went by before play resumed.

Bailey Lawrence scored five points to make the score 7-3, and it looked like she was going to take advantage of Rajsich’s injury. However, Rajsich is nothing if not a fighter, so there was no way she was going to go away quietly.

Rajsich came back and tied the score at 7-7, and then they were back and forth. Bailey Lawrence led twice and Rajsich once en route to an 11-11 tie. From there Rajsich scored three points to reach match point at 14-11. But she skipped a forehand shot to give the serve back to Bailey Lawrence.

However, Bailey Lawrence failed to take advantage, although she had a glorious chance with a backhand set up in the front court. She hit it cross court and left it up, so Rajsich was able to hit a forehand cross court shot for a winner. There are few times when a soft, drop shot is a good choice in racquetball, but that might have been a better option, given Rajsich’s condition.

With the serve back, Rajsich hit a backhand half lob serve to the right side as a second serve, and Bailey Lawrence stepped up to take an aggressive return, but hit it right into the floor. That was the last of too many unforced errors by Bailey Lawrence that helped Rajsich to victory.

If you missed any of the action from Tempe, check out the USA Racquetball Livestream site, where the matches are archived. The 2019 USA Racquetball National Singles Championships will be May 22-26 in Denver, Colorado.

2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men’s Singles


Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson d. 2) Charlie Pratt, 15-14, 15-3

Women's Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 3) Kelani Bailey Lawrence, 15-7, 15-11

Follow the bouncing ball....

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Carson & Pratt, Ruiz & Tisinger-Ledkins are the 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Champions

Rocky Carson and Charlie Pratt and Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger-Ledkins are the 2019 Champions in Men’s and Women’s Doubles, respectively, as they won their finals Saturday at the 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Carson and Pratt defeated 3rd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, 15-8, 5-15, 11-7, while Ruiz and Tisinger-Ledkins beat Michelle De La Rosa and Danielle Maddux, 15-7, 15-7.

Carson won the US National Doubles title for the 11th time, and with the sixth different partner. He’s won the last three years running, but with three different partners: Jose Diaz in 2017, Sudsy Monchik in 2018 and now Pratt. Carson won his first six doubles titles with Jack Huczek, but the last five have been with five different partners. In addition to Diaz, Monchik and Pratt, Carson has won with Ben Croft in 2012 and Jose Rojas in 2014. In contrast, Pratt won for the first time this year.

Ruiz and Tisinger-Ledkins are also no strangers to the winner’s circle. They won for the fifth time, and fifth time in the last seven years. In addition, Ruiz won the US National Doubles title for seven straight years from 2005 to 2011. The first two years were with Laura Fenton and the last five were with Jackie Paraiso.

Singles divisions

All four semi-finals in Men’s and Women’s Singles matches were won two straight by the higher seeded player. Men’s top seed Rocky Carson defeated 5th seed Jose Diaz, 15-11, 15-8, in one semi, with Charlie Pratt - Carson’s doubles partner - beat David Horn, 15-5, 15-10. Thus, doubles partners will face off in the Men’s Singles final.

In Women’s Singles, top seed Rhonda Rajsich beat Hollie Scott, 15-11, 15-8, in the semi-finals and advanced to the the final on Sunday. Rajsich opponent in the final will be Kelani Bailey Lawrence, who was a straight gave winner over Janel Tisinger-Ledkins, 15-6, 15-12.

They are playing singles also at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships, because qualifying for the US Team involves singles results from three events: US Open, singles at National Doubles, and singles at the National Singles Championships in May.

You can watch the action live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball Livestream site, and the matches are archived on that site for viewing later. The Men’s and Women’s Singles finals are on Sunday. Note the match times below are Mountain time.

2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles


Final - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt d. 3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-8, 5-15, 11-7

Women's Doubles

Final - Saturday

3) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins d. 5) Michelle De La Rosa & Danielle Maddux, 15-7, 15-7

Men’s Singles

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson d. 5) Jose Diaz, 15-11, 15-8
2) Charlie Pratt d. 3) David Horn, 15-5, 15-10

Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson v. 2) Charlie Pratt - 12:40 PM

Women's Singles

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 5) Hollie Scott, 15-11, 15-8
3) Kelani Bailey Lawrence d. 7) Janel Tisinger-Ledkins, 15-6, 15-12

Final - Sunday

1) Rhonda Rajsich v. 3) Kelani Bailey Lawrence - 11:30 AM

Follow the bouncing ball....

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday results from 2019 USA National Doubles Championships

There are 7 different finalists in the Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals at the 2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona with Rocky Carson being the only repeat. Carson and Charlie Pratt are seeded first in Men’s Doubles, and they defeated Adam Manilla and Nicholas Riffel, 15-11, 15-9, in the semi-finals Friday. They’ll play 3rd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, who were upset winners over 2nd seeds David Horn and Mauro Rojas, 15-9, 15-11.

The Women’s Doubles final will be completely different from last year, but exactly the same as 2013, when Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger won the title over sisters Danielle Key and Michelle Key. A few years - and some marriages - later and it’ll be Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger-Ledkins versus Danielle Maddux and Michelle De La Rosa in the 2019 final.

Both teams needed tie-breakers to get to the final. In the semi-finals, Maddux and De La Rosa narrowly defeated defending champions and top seeds Kelani Bailey Lawrence and Sharon Jackson, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10, while Ruiz and Tisinger-Ledkins came back from a game down to oust last year’s runners up Rhonda Rajsich and Sheryl Lotts, 6-15, 15-13, 11-2.

Singles divisions

There have been some great singles matches at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Singles at doubles? Yes, because qualifying for the US Team involves singles results from three events: US Open, singles at National Doubles, and singles at the National Singles Championships in May.

Both the Men’s #1 and #2 seeds needed tie-breakers to win their respective semi-final matches. Top seed Rocky Carson had to fend off match point in game two, as he defeated Erik Garcia, 14-15, 15-14, 11-3. Carson will play 5th seed Jose Diaz in the semis, as Diaz upset 4th seed Adam Manilla, 15-13, 11-15, 11-2.

Second seed Charlie Pratt was pushed to three games in the quarterfinals by 10th seed Thomas Carter, but managed to prevail in the breaker, winning, 15-12, 6-15, 11-2. Afterwards, Pratt said “I’m a streaky player,” and he started strong, then sagged a bit - Carter led 8-0 in game two - before pulling it out in three. “Today it was me,” said Pratt.

Third seed David Horn won a close match with Jake Bredenbeck, 15-9, 15-12, to set up a showdown with Pratt in the semis.

In Women’s Singles, Hollie Scott produced the result of the day, as the 5th seed was a decisive winner over 4th seed Sheryl Lotts, 15-0, 15-6. It’s an impressive result, especially as we thought Lotts played very well at the last Ladies Professional Racquetball Event (LPRT) in January. Scott will play top seed Rhonda Rajsich in the semi-finals, as Rajsich beat 8th seed Erika Manilla, 15-4, 15-11.

On the other side of the draw, 7th seed Janel Tisinger-Ledkins defeated 2nd seed Sharon Jackson, 15-6, 7-15, 11-10, and will play 3rd seed Kelani Bailey Lawrence, who was a straight winner over Adrienne Haynes, 15-3, 15-11.

You can watch the action live from Tempe via the USA Racquetball Livestream site, and the matches are archived on that site for viewing later. The Men’s and Women’s Doubles finals will be Saturday afternoon with the Singles finals on Sunday. Note the match times below are Mountain time.

2019 USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships
Tempe, Arizona
US National Team Divisions

Men's Doubles


Semi-finals - Friday

1) Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt d. 4) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel, 15-11, 15-9
3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz d. 2) David Horn & Mauro Rojas, 15-9, 15-11

Final - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson & Charlie Pratt v. 3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz - 7:40 PM

Women's Doubles

Semi-finals - Friday


5) Michelle De La Rosa & Danielle Maddux d. 1) Kelani Bailey Lawrence & Sharon Jackson, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10
3) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins d. 2) Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts, 6-15, 15-13, 11-2

Final - Saturday

3) Aimee Ruiz & Janel Tisinger-Ledkins v. 5) Michelle De La Rosa & Danielle Maddux - 5:20 PM

Men’s Singles

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rocky Carson d. 8) Erik Garcia, 14-15, 15-14, 11-3
5) Jose Diaz d. 4) Adam Manilla, 15-13, 11-15, 11-2

3) David Horn d. 6) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-9, 15-12
2) Charlie Pratt d. 10) Thomas Carter, 15-12, 6-15, 11-2

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson v. 5) Jose Diaz - 3 PM
2) Charlie Pratt v. 3) David Horn - 12:40 PM

Women's Singles

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Rhonda Rajsich d. 8) Erika Manilla, 15-4, 15-11
5) Hollie Scott d. 4) Sheryl Lotts, 15-0, 15-6

3) Kelani Bailey Lawrence d. 6) Adrienne Haynes, 15-3, 15-11
7) Janel Tisinger-Ledkins d. 2) Sharon Jackson, 15-6, 7-15, 11-10

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rhonda Rajsich v. 5) Hollie Scott - 11:30 AM
3) Kelani Bailey Lawrence v. 7) Janel Tisinger-Ledkins - 1:50 PM

Follow the bouncing ball....