Thursday, September 1, 2011

WPRO Season Review & Preview

The 2011-12 Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) season has begun, so we're a bit late looking back at last season. But in the better late than never category, here's a run down of what happened last season, first by player and then by event.

WPRO Rank - Player - Wins - 2nds - Semi-finals - Quarter-finals

1) Rhonda Rajsich, 4 wins, 4 seconds, 1 semi final
2) Paola Longoria, 5 wins, 4 seconds
3) Samantha Salas, 1 win, 1 second, 7 semis
4) Kerri Wachtel, 1 second, 1 semi, 5 quarters
5) Cheryl Gudinas, 5 semis, 1 quarter

6) Susana Acosta, 6 quarters
7) Jennifer Saunders, 1 semi, 5 quarters
8) Adrienne Fisher, 1 semi, 4 quarters
9) Cristina Amaya, 3 quarters
10) Krystal Csuk, 4 quarters

11) Angela Grisar, 4 quarters
12) Christie Huczek, 3 semis, 1 quarter
13) Nancy Enriquez, 1 semi
14) T.J. Baumbaugh, 1 quarter
16) Claudine Garcia, 2 quarters
17) Aimee Ruiz, 2 quarters
22) Jessica Parilla, 1 quarter

2010-2011 (Tier 1 and Grand Slam Events)
Event - Final - Semi Finalists

Texas Open Final - Longoria d. Salas, Semis: Huczek, Saunders
Cali, Colombia Final - Rajsich d. Longoria, Semis: Gudinas, Salas
US Open Final - Rajsich d. Longoria, Semis: Huczek, Salas

Puget Sound Final - Salas d. Wachtel, Semis: Gudinas, Rajsich
Christmas Classic Final - Rajsich d. Longoria, Semis: Gudinas, Salas
California Open Final - Longoria d. Rajsich, Semis: Salas, Gudinas

Great Balls of Fire Final - Longoria d. Rajsich, Semis: Enriquez, Gudinas
SCS Title & Escrow Pro-Am Final - Longoria d. Rajsich, Semis: Salas, Huczek
In-Shape WPRO Championships Final - Rajsich d. Longoria, Semis: Salas, Fisher
WPRO Ektelon World Championships - Longoria d. Rajsich, Semis: Salas, Wachtel

Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO)
2010-11 Statistical Abstract

Matches going 3 games: 120 (53.3%)
Matches going 4 games: 66 (29.3%)
Matches going 5 games: 33 (14.7%)
Total matches: 225 (6 results unknown)

Most Points in a match: 105 by Adrienne Fisher and Da'monique Davis at In-Shape WPRO Championships, where Fisher won 10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11
2nd Most Points in a match: 101 by T.J. Baumbaugh and Keely Franks at Puget Sound Challenge, as Baumbaugh won 10-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7

Fewest points in a match: 36 on four occasions. (i) Paola Longoria and Claudia Andrade at Cali Grand Slam, as Longoria won 11-0, 11-0, 11-3, (ii) Cheryl Gudinas and Beth Neff at Puget Sound Challenge as Gudinas won 11-0, 11-1, 11-2, (iii) T.J. Baumbaugh and Beth Sacco at WPRO World Championships, with Baumbaugh winning 11-0, 11-2, 11-1, and (iv) Rhonda Rajsich and Krystal Csuk at WPRO World Championships, with Rajsich winning 11-2, 11-1, 11-0.

Most Points in a win: 55 by Susana Acosta v. Anita Maldonado at US Open, and by Angela Grisar v. Krystal Csuk
3rd Most Points in a win: 54 by Susana Acosta v. Krystal Csuk at Great Balls of Fire

Most Points in a loss: 53 by Da'monique Davis v. Adrienne Fisher at In-Shape WPRO Championships
2nd Most Points in a loss: 51 by Keely Franks v. Maiko Sato at WPRO World Championships
3rd Most Points in a loss: 49 by Keely Franks v. T.J. Baumbaugh at Puget Sound Challenge

Smallest difference in total points between match winner & loser: -15 by Maiko Sato in defeat of Keely Franks, 11-9, 12-10, 0-11, 1-11, 12-10
2nd Smallest difference in total points between match winner & loser: -4 by Jessica Parrilla in defeat of Jennifer Saunders, 3-11, 11-6, 1-11, 11-6, 11-7
3rd Smallest difference in total points between match winner & loser: -3 by Nancy Enriquez in defeat of Samantha Salas, 4-11, 4-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7

(note: we have incomplete data for 6 WPRO matches, which are not included in the above abstract)


The Rajsich-Longoria Rivalry

Rhonda Rajsich and Paola Longoria are clearly the class of the WPRO, having won 88.9% of the tournaments over the last three seasons (24 of 27). Their rivalry is on the level of the one between Lynn Adams and Heather McKay in the early 1980s, when they were the big draw during the formation of the first women's pro racquetball organization.

New WPRO Commissioner Gigi Rock is looking to grow the tour, and she could do worse than market the WPRO around the rivalry between Rajsich and Longoria, especially as they can easily be contrasted: one's older and one's younger; one's American and one's Mexican; one's an incredible 'getter', keeping the ball in play, and one's an incredible shooter. The marketing's almost a no-brainer.

But what about everyone else?

Will anyone else step up and upset the Rajsich-Longoria apple cart? Samantha Salas has emerged as the best of the rest of the field, having won her first WPRO event last season and reached the finals in the first event of this season (in the absence of Longoria). She's 24 - 25 in December - so still in the early part of her career.

That's in contrast to the other top 5 players, Kerri Wachtel and Cheryl Gudinas, who are 36 and 44, respectively. They are still potent players but whether they can defeat the other three to win an event is questionable. But one would have to put them ahead of those outside the top 5.

But what of the others? For example, where's a good young American woman that looks like she could take the torch from the likes of Rajsich, Gudinas, Wachtel, Aimee Ruiz and Jackie Paraiso? Adrienne Fisher's in the top 10, but she's only made five semi-finals in her career and never a final. Da'monique Davis made her first career quarter final in last week's Texas Open, so perhaps she has some potential to be the next elite American WPRO player.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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