Sunday, June 12, 2016

Longoria wins 2016 LPRT Tour Rosa Mexicano

Paola Longoria completed an undefeated Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) season Saturday, as she beat Frédérique Lambert in the final of the 2016 Tour Rosa Mexicano in Veracruz, Mexico, 6-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-9, 11-2. Longoria played almost the entire match from behind, as she lost game one and game three, and was down 2-0 in the tie-breaker. However, Longoria scored eleven straight points to win the breaker, and complete her perfect record for the season.

After splitting the first two games, Lambert took game three comfortably, 11-3. She used that momentum to go out to a 5-0 lead in game four. But Longoria came back, and eventually tied it at 7-7.

Yet Lambert went ahead again with a forehand pinch and a backhand down the line that made it 9-7. She then hit a lob Z to the right side, Longoria’s forehand, that Longoria returned down the line for a winner. It was the first time Lambert did that in the match.

Longoria took a timeout. But Lambert won the ensuing rally. However, an avoidable prevented Lambert from extending her lead. The referee was calling hinders and avoidables against both players and doing so before they were asked for, which was the case when Lambert served next, as she had an offensive opportunity that was taken away when the referee called a hinder prior to Lambert setting up for the ball that was a short ceiling ball by Longoria. Lambert hit a kill shot, but to no avail.

On the next rally, Lambert was called for an avoidable, as she hit the ball back at herself, and Longoria was right there to set up for it. Longoria used the opportunity to make the score 8-9 as she forced a backhand skip out of Lambert with a drive serve to the left.

After a replay for a screen serve, Lambert got the serve back with an overhead forehand serve return winner. However, she skipped her drive serve, which was the third time in the match Lambert had done so. If you’re trying to cause an upset, the minimizing errors is more important than hitting spectacular shots. Skipping a serve is a big error, and doing it three times is three times too many.

Longoria tied the game at 9-9 with a drive serve ace to the left side. That led to the most spectacular rally of the match.

On a second serve, Longoria hit a half lob to the left that Lambert took high with her backhand. That put the ball in the middle, and Longoria drove it to the right side, but Lambert scrambled over and saved the ball into the back wall deep on the right side. Again Longoria drove a forehand down the line, and again Longoria saved the ball, but with a weak shot to the front wall giving Longoria an opportunity to hit a backhand to the left side. That should have been a winner but Lambert dove towards the back wall to save the ball into the back wall, and her shot made the front wall, where it rolled out of the right corner for a winner. Two great gets led to an amazing outcome.

But that effort just got Lambert the serve back, rather than increasing her score. Lambert called a timeout after that rally, and on the next rally she forced a ceiling ball return from Longoria, but Lambert tried to hit a backhand winner from shoulder height that went right into the floor instead.

Longoria made it 10-9 on the next rally, but failed to win the game on her first game point, as she was called for an avoidable. Longoria wanted to appeal the call, but she was out of appeals, having used her last one a couple of rallies earlier on a short serve call.

However, Lambert wasn’t able to take advantage, as Longoria got the serve back with backhand pinch shot. Longoria won the game when Lambert was called for an avoidable. That was possibly a harsh call on Lambert, as Longoria seemed to be moving back as she was setting up for the shot.

But the bottom line was that Lambert was up 9-7 in game four, two points away from winning the match, and Longoria prevented her from scoring another point.

After about 80 min on court, and four tough games, you’d think game five would be more of the same. However, game five went by in the blink of an eye, as Longoria won it in 6 min. Lambert served first, and scored two points, but only served once more after that, as Longoria scored 11 straight points, including one ace and four service winners.

Longoria’s win sealed a fourth undefeated season for her in the last five seasons. Lambert is last player to defeated Longoria, doing so in March 2015 at the New Jersey Open.

Lambert had a second chance to defeat Longoria Saturday, as they faced off in the doubles final as well. That match also went to a tie-breaker, but Longoria and Samantha Salas came out on top, defeating Lambert and Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-5, 10-15, 11-8.

Longoria and Salas tried to take advantage of Rodriguez, the youngest and least experienced of the players in the final, and both served to her late in the match, but Rodriguez generally held her own against the current three time World Champions.

This event concludes the 2015-16 LPRT season. If you missed any of the LPRT action, checkout the LPRT LiveStream channel, which has an archive of matches. And look for The Racquetball Blog LPRT season summary soon.

LPRT 2016 Tour Rosa Mexicano
June 10-11, 2016 - Veracruz, Mexico


1) Paola Longoria d. 3) Frédérique Lambert, 6-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-9, 11-2


1) Paola Longoria d. 4) Samantha Salas, 11-2, 11-6, 11-3
3) Frédérique Lambert d. 2) Rhonda Rajsich, 11-7, 11-13, 11-5, 11-2

Doubles - Final

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 3) Frédérique Lambert & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-5, 10-15, 11-8

Follow the bouncing ball....

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