Sunday, October 25, 2009

US OPEN - Rajsich wins 3rd title

American Rhonda Rajsich won her third US Open Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) title Sunday in Memphis, Tennessee by defeating defending champion Paola Longoria of Mexico, 1-11, 11-8, 11-3, 2-11, 11-7. Rajsich was champion in 2007 and 2003. The win ties her with Canadian Christie Van Hees for most US Open WPRO titles at three.

Longoria came out firing, winning game one easily, 11-1. She used straight drive serves in that game and throughout the match, not the drive Z that she's often used in the past. Longoria served to the left, Rajsich's backhand, primarily, but occasionally served right as well.

Rajsich had the lead early in game two, 4-0, but Longoria came back and tied it at 4-4 and 5-5. But then Rajsich went out to a 9-5 lead and held it to win 11-8.

Rajsich again got the lead early in game three, going up 5-0, and although Longoria closed it to 6-3, that's all she could get, as Rajsich won 11-3. Rajsich, who'd drove serve early in the match, switched to half lobs and half lob Zs to both sides.

In game four, Rajsich got the first couple points, and people may have thought it was going to be over in four. But she got no more, as Longoria came back, hitting winner after winner. Rajsich looked overwhelmed.

Thus, momentum was definitely on Longoria's side as they went into game five. She did get the first two points of the tie-breaker, and they were tied at 3-3. But then Rajsich took the lead up to 7-4, and then 10-4.

However, Longoria fought off three match points, and cut the lead to 10-7. At that point, Rajsich took a time-out, as momentum again seemed to be shifting in favor of the Mexican. When play resumed, Rajsich got a side-out and won the match on the next rally, winning it with a cross court pass from right to left that Longoria couldn't reach.

Afterwards, Rajsich said "the WPRO is stronger than ever." A testament to that is that from the quarter-finals to the final, 5 of the 7 matches went to a tie-breaker.

2009 US OPEN WPRO Final

#2 Rhonda Rajsich d. #1 Paola Longoria, 1-11, 11-8, 11-3, 2-11, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball....

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