Sunday, September 21, 2014

Longoria defeats Vargas to win LPRT Abiertos Mexicano de Racquetas

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), won again Sunday night, as she defeated Maria Jose Vargas in the final of the 2014 Abiertos Mexicano de Racquetas in Huixquilucan, Mexico, 11-8, 2-11, 11-3, 11-7. The win extends Longoria's undefeated streak that goes back to May 2011.

Longoria started well, going out to a 5-0 lead in game one of the final. However, Vargas caught up, and tied the game at 5-5, but two aces and a Vargas skip made the score 8-5 for Longoria.

Again Vargas responded, coming back to tie the game at 8-8, helped by an ace of her own. Both players drove serve throughout the match. In game one, they primarily drove serve to the left side: their opponent's backhand.

Longoria got the serve back with a backhand down the line, and scored three unanswered points, the last coming from a forehand pinch shot, as she won game one 11-8.

In game two, Vargas started strong, hitting aces to the right side for her first and third points, as she went out to a 6-0 lead, which caused Longoria to call a timeout.

But that deficit was too much to overcome. Although it took Vargas more rallies to get the last four points than the first seven, she only allowed Longoria two, winning game two 11-2.

Momentum seemed to be in Vargas's favour, but Longoria started game three with two aces. Vargas hit back, scoring two points including an ace, to level the game at 2-2.

But then Longoria went ahead, and although Vargas stayed close for awhile, Longoria never gave up the lead. The key rally may have been when Vargas was called for an avoidable hinder, which looked like it should only have been a hinder. That made it 5-3 for Longoria, and Vargas only served three times afterwards, without scoring, as Longoria won game three 11-3.

In game four, Longoria took the lead early at 4-1. At that point, Vargas took an injury timeout, as she had been hit in the leg by a racquet, although it wasn't clear when that happened. When play resumed, Longoria ran four quick points to make it 8-1, and it seemed that Vargas's day was done.

However, Vargas isn't one to simply roll over, even for the best player on tour, and she got the serve back after Longoria skipped a forehand shot. Vargas made the best of it, cutting the lead to one at 7-8.

Longoria got the serve back with a pinch shot, and did not surrender the serve, hitting an ace, a winning forehand, and then on match point taking advantage of a short ceiling ball by Vargas to pinch the ball in the front right corner for the game, 11-7, and the match, three games to one.

Next up for the LPRT will be the US Open in Minneapolis, October 9-12. Longoria will be trying to win her fourth consecutive US Open, and the fifth of her career.

2014 LPRT Abiertos Mexicano de Racquetas
Huixquilucan, Mexico


1 Paola Longoria v. 3 Maria Jose Vargas, 11-8, 2-11, 11-3, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

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