Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WPRO: New Jersey Open

There's a small draw at this weekend's New Jersey Open - a satellite event on the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) tour, but it features two top 10 players: WPRO #1 Rhonda Rajsich and WPRO #9 Doreen Fowler.

In addition, Veronica Sotomayor, one of the most exciting WPRO players this season, will also be in New Jersey. Sotomayor, the WPRO's 13th ranked player, is the 16 year old player from Ecuador who defeated Christie Van Hees at the Canadian Classic last month and won games from WPRO #2 Cheryl Gudinas Holmes at both the Canadian Classic and the US Open.

Here's what The Racquetball Blog expects the draw to be:

Quarter finals (WPRO ranking)

(1) Rhonda Rajsich v. BYE
(9) Doreen Fowler v. (-) Christina Vandling
(13) Veronica Sotomayor v. (54) Aimee Ruiz
(28) Karen Morton v. (53) Dolly Watson

A Sotomayor-Ruiz match would be something to see. Ruiz, a strong left handed player, would be a new challenge for Sotomayor. Ruiz's ranking at #54 doesn't accurately reflect her quality as she generally only plays a few tournaments in the New Jersey/New York City area. But she is the reigning two time World Champion in doubles.

Note, in making up this draw The Racquetball Blog is using the WPRO rankings on their website, which doesn't include the Long Island Open results, where Ruiz had a win over Sheryl Lotts to make the semis. That win might put Ruiz ahead of Watson in the rankings, as they are so close; Ruiz has 14.27 points and Watson has 14.80 points.

If so, then Ruiz and Watson would flip places in the above layout, and a potential Sotomayor-Ruiz match would have to wait for the semis.

Women's Participation

Although the women's pro draw is small, the New Jersey Open is a sizable tournament with 135 players registered. However, only 23 of them (17.0%) are women (note: this count examined the women's singles and doubles draws as well as mixed). Women's participation in racquetball is really something that needs to be addressed by racquetball organizations.

Of course, tournament participation is only a small part of racquetball play, and women may be less likely to participate in tournaments. However, if women only make up 15-20% of all racquetball players, then there's a lot of work to do.

We know we've mentioned this before, but it's a topic that bears repeating. Let's get more women playing, and more elite level women. As players like Rajsich and Sotomayor demonstrate women's racquetball can be as great to watch as men's.

Follow the bouncing ball....


carlos barrios said...

First, i want to congratulate you for the good job that you make at trb. second i want to ask to you if you can put some information about the IRF world juniors and what do you expect from them. Some history about these tournament, the quality of the players, the past champions, etc.

i hope you can do it it will be a great history for the blog



The Racquetball Blog said...

Dear Carlos,

Thank you for the kind words. And, yes, we will have information about World Juniors as the time approaches.

Thank you for your support.

The Racquetball Blog