Thursday, December 5, 2013

LPRT Christmas Classic Preview

You may have forgotten about them, as it's been two months since the last Ladies Pro Racquetball Tour (LPRT) event, but they are back in action this weekend with the 22nd Annual Christmas Classic in Arlington, Virginia, which is the first of back to back events, as the LPRT will down in Monterrey, Mexico for the Paola Longoria Invitational tournament.

Anyone who's unaware of Longoria's impact in Mexico hasn't been following Twitter, where Longoria has over 56,000 followers (a few more than Racquetball Blog has). The LPRT's #1 player, Longoria is hosting an event that's come about in the last couple of months, as it wasn't on the schedule when it was first released. And it will be an event with Grand Slam prize money. Very impressive and great for the LPRT.

In contrast, this weekend's event in Arlington is a little light on players, as there are only 18 in the draw. But it does include Longoria and her main rival Rhonda Rajsich, the LPRT's #2, as well as #4 Samantha Salas. Also, Cheryl Gudinas returns from her foot injury that's caused her to miss the first three LPRT events of this season.

Cristina Amaya is the 3rd seed and she's had a good year with two runner up finishes to Longoria. One was on the LPRT in September and the other was at the World Games. But she'll face Gudinas in the quarter finals, if they both win their first matches.

Rajsich, who's had some disappointing finishes, but did reach the final of the US Open, which is the last LPRT event, would likely face the winner of Amaya and Gudinas in the semi-finals.

On the top of the draw, Longoria's path to the final will likely go through Jennifer Saunders in the quarters and then either Salas or 5th seed Maria Jose Vargas, who's also played well recently. But Salas will have to defeat Sharon Jackson in the Round of 16, and Jackson could be the best young American player right now, having represented USA at the Pan American Championships earlier this year earning a bronze medal in singles and winning gold with Rajsich.

So, a small draw in Arlington, but there should be several good matches. You can follow the action live on the LPRT Network beginning at 4 PM on Friday with the Round of 16.

22nd Annual Christmas Classic
Arlington, Virginia - December 6-8, 2013

LPRT Round of 32 (with seeding)

1 Paola Longoria BYE
16 Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 17 Claudia Andrade

9 Hailey Miller BYE
8 Jennifer Saunders BYE

5 Maria Jose Vargas BYE
12 Mariana Tobon Gordon BYE

13 Sharon Jackson BYE
4 Samantha Salas BYE

3 Cristina Amaya BYE
14 Carolina Luque BYE

11 Sheryl Lotts BYE
6 Cheryl Gudinas BYE

7 Da'monique Davis BYE
10 T. J. Baumbaugh VYE

15 Ana Paola Nunez v. 18 Kimberly Ferina
2 Rhonda Rajsich BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

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