Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WPRO - Texas Open Preview

The first event of the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) season is the Ektelon WPRO Texas Open in Dallas beginning later this week. Thirty four players are in the draw, so they have set up a qualifying round of four players for the 31st and 32nd spots in the Round of 32.

We've got the draw for you below. As anticipated, in the Round of 16 current #1 Paola Longoria will play former #1 Christie Van Hees (assuming they win their first round matches) while another former #1 Jackie Paraiso will play current Canadian champion Jennifer Saunders in the Round of 32.

The WPRO World Championships Final

Kristen Bellows surprised the racquetball world by winning the WPRO Ektelon World Championships in May. Recently, we watched that match on Racquetball Online.tv, where it's archived, and it's fascinating. For example, Bellows was down 10-3 in game one but came back to win 12-10.

Bellows also took game two, 11-5, but then dropped games three and four by 11-7 scores, as Longoria forced a tie-breaker. But Bellows got it back on track and pulled out the tie-breaker 11-7.

Despite the loss, Longoria rose to the #1 spot on the WPRO rankings, marking the first time a Mexican player had done so. At only 20 years old, Longoria should only be improving, so she could keep the #1 spot for some years to come.

However, Bellows's victory indicated there's more than one player who can win women's pro events (perhaps in contrast to men's pro racquetball events). Indeed, eight players in the Texas Open draw have won women's pro events: Rhonda Rajsich, Cheryl Gudinas, Angela Grisar, Jackie Paraiso, Christie Van Hees and Kerri Wachtel, as well as Bellows and Longoria.

This all bodes well for WPRO fans, as this could be one of the most interesting seasons in WPRO history.

2009 Ektelon WPRO Texas Open
Qualifying Round Players

Q1 Nancy Enriquez vs. Ashley Loyd
Q2 Danielle Key vs. Linda Scales

Main Draw (seeding & WPRO Ranking)

1 1 Paola Longoria vs. Q2
16 19 Christie Van Hees vs. 17 20 Brandi Jacobson Prentice

8 9 Jennifer Saunders vs. 25 38 Jackie Paraiso
9 10 Jo Shattuck vs. 24 35 Danielle Emerson

5 5 Kerri Wachtel vs. 28 52 Da'monique Davis
12 14 T.J. Baumbaugh vs. 21 25 Cristina Amaya

13 16 Keely Franks vs. 20 24 Frederique T. Lambert
4 4 Kristen Bellows vs. Liz Alvarado

3 3 Cheryl Gudinas vs. Kersten Hallander
14 17 Krystal Csuk vs. 19 23 Aubrey O'Brien

6 7 Adrienne Fisher vs. 27 68 Sharon Jackson
11 13 Samantha Salas vs. 22 26 Sofia Rascon

7 8 Angela Grisar vs. 26 42 Kelley Fields
10 11 Diane Moore vs. 23 30 Laura Brandt

15 18 Vivian Gomez vs. 18 21 Susy Acosta
2 2 Rhonda Rajsich vs. Q1

Follow the bouncing ball....

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