Saturday, October 10, 2015

Longoria & Rajsich win semis at 20th US Open

The US Open Racquetball Championships are having their 20th anniversary this year in Minneapolis, and for over half of that period Rhonda Rajsich has been a women's pro finalist, and she will be again this year, as Rajsich defeated 2nd seed Maria Jose Vargas, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, in the semi-finals Saturday.

The win puts Rajsich in the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) final for an 11th time, which is the most for a woman (and ties Kane Waselenchuk for most final appearances overall). Rajsich is a four time US Open Champion.

If Rajsich is to win her 5th title, she'll have to stop Paola Longoria from winning her 5th consecutive title, as Longoria beat Veronica Sotomayor in the other semi, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3.

After winning game one, Rajsich got behind in game two, as Vargas took an early 5-0 lead. But the four time champion came back and went ahead 7-5. From there they went back and forth. Rajsich pulled ahead 8-7, but Vargas got the serve back and scored four unanswered points. Rajsich called a time out down 9-8, but to no avail, as Vargas won it on a skipped serve return off a drive serve to the left side.

In game three, Rajsich took the lead early, and ran it up to 9-2 with forehand winners. Vargas came back to make it 9-7, but a penalty hinder gave Rasjich back the serve, and she scored two straight points to go up two games to one.

They were close early in game four, and right up until 6-6. Rajsich called a timeout at that point, and when play resumed she scored five unanswered points, the last four coming on consecutive rallies. Vargas skipped a forehand for Rajsich's final point.

Sotomayor started strong, winning game one against defending champion Longoria. After Longoria went ahead in game two, 8-3, Sotomayor came back to 8-7, and looked like she might be able to pull a big upset.

But from there, Longoria held Sotomayor to six points, as she closed out game two, 11-7, and then won games three and four each 11-3. As in the first semi-final, the losing player skipped a shot to give her opponent the final point.

The final will be 10 AM Sunday at Lifetime Fitness - Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, and can be seen live via the IRT Network.

2015 United Healthcare US Open - LPRT Draws
Minneapolis - October 7-11, 2015

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 12) Veronica Sotomayor, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3
3) Rhonda Rajsich d. 2) Maria Jose Vargas, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6

Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria v. 3) Rhonda Rajsich - 10 AM CDT

Follow the bouncing ball….

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