Paola Longoria defeated Rhonda Rajsich for the fourth time in ten weeks, solidifying her position on top of the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization (WPRO) rankings on Sunday by winning the 20th Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia. But Longoria didn't make it easy on herself as she lost the first two games before staging a comeback to win in five games, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7.
The turning point of the match was game three, as Longoria was up 7-2, but Rajsich came back to make the match close. But while doing so, Rajsich was hit by Longoria during a rally. The contact was unintentional, but Rajsich needed some injury time prior to continuing.
Despite the injury, Rajich did narrow the gap to 9-8. But that was as close as Rajsich got, as Longoria won it 11-8.
Longoria won the fourth game comfortably, taking a 5-0 lead and winning 11-4. In game five, Longoria again took the early lead at 4-1 and 8-4. But Rajsich, the WPRO #1 at the beginning of the season, again fought back and got within two points at 9-7.
But on her second match point opportunity, Longoria won it, 11-7. The victory is the 18th of Longoria's career, and third WPRO win of the season. Longoria defeated Rajsich in the final of the last two WPRO events, and also beat Rajsich for the gold medal game of the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October.
The next WPRO tournament will be the Coast to Coast California Open in Canoga Park, California, January 5-8, 2012.
20th Christmas Classic, Arlington, Virginia
December 9-11, 2011
Paola Longoria d. Rhonda Rajsich, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7
Follow the bouncing ball....