Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 US Open - Longoria & Rajsich to meet in LPRT final

Paola Longoria and Rhonda Rajsich will playoff in the finals for the fourth consecutive year, as they won their respective semi-finals in the Ladies Pro Racquetball Tour (LPRT) division at the 2012 United Healthcare US Open in Minneapolis on Saturday.

Rasich defeated defeated Samantha Salas Solis, 11-2, 11-7, 11-7, giving her an opportunity to win her 5th US Open title, which would extend the women's record for US Open titles, and she could do it on her birthday: October 7.

Against Salas Solis, Rajsich used a variety of off speed serves - lobs, half lobs, and zs - during the match, and didn't resort to any drives. Afterwards, Rajsich said Salas Solis's "style is aggressive so I was trying to slow it down a bit."

Game one was close early, as Rajsich led 3-2, but then reeled off eight unanswered points to take it. In game two, Rajsich had a big lead early at 5-0, but Salas Solis narrowed the gap to 6-4.

But Rajsich never relinquished the lead, and extended it to 10-5. Although Salas Solis didn't give up, as Rajsich needed five game points to end game two at 11-7.

In game three, Salas Solis had her first lead of the match at 4-3. They continued to be close until being tied at 6-6. Then Rajsich ran the score up to 10-6, but again had trouble closing it out.

But on her fourth match point, Rajsich won it to reach the US Open final for the 9th time in thirteen US Open appearances.

LPRT #1 Longoria beat unranked Veronica Sotomayor, 11-6, 11-4, 11-1, to end Sotomayor's nice run through the tournament.

But early on it looked like it might go the other way, as Sotomayor came back from a 4-0 deficit in game one to lead 6-4. But after that she only scored 5 points to Longoria's 29. Not a winning combination.

Longoria drove serve primarily in game one and early in game two before switching to half lobs, and half lobs zs, which she hit to the right side - Sotomayor's forehand.

Early Sotomayor hit drive serves and drive z serves to the right, which is Longoria's forehand side, and the z serves seemed to be effective. But she went away from that using a variety of serves both drives and lobs and never went back to that drive z.

Longoria switched back to drive serving near the end of game three, and although she faulted a couple of times, she used that to finish off the game and match.

Sotomayor certainly gave it her all, including a few dives to keep the ball in play. But after faltering slightly in game one, Longoria was too strong, and carried the day without too much difficulty.

The IRT Network is streaming the US Open live, and will have the women's final Sunday at 11:10 CDT.

2012 United Healthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota

(LPRT rank)

LPRT Semi-finals

(1) Paola Longoria d. (NR) Veronica Sotomayor, 11-6, 11-4, 11-1
(2) Rhonda Rajsich d. (14) Samantha Salas Solis, 11-2, 11-7, 11-7

LPRT Final

(1) Paola Longoria v. (2) Rhonda Rajsich

Follow the bouncing ball….

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