Monday, September 12, 2016

Weekend round up & thoughts on what happened

Natalia Mendez was a surprise winner of the Women’s Open division at the Sweet Caroline Open in Greenville, South Carolina. She defeated Carla Muñoz in the final, 15-13, 5-15, 11-4, and in the quarterfinals upset Cristina Amaya, who was the top seed, 15-12, 15-9.

In Overland Park, Kansas, Samuel Murray won Men’s Open, as Andree Parrilla forfeited the final. In the semi-finals, Murray beat Sebastian Franco, 15-2, 15-5, and Parrilla defeated Mario Mercado, 15-13, 10-15, 11-6.

Weekend Questions

The first International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and third Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) further confirm the excellence of the two respective tours #1 players: Kane Waselenchuk and Paola Longoria. But they do raise some questions as well.

The biggest question might be what’s going on with Rhonda Rajsich? Coming into the season Rajsich was the LPRT’s #2 player, but she’s not advanced past the quarterfinals in three outings losing twice to Carla Muñoz and once to Michelle Key - players who she’s not lost to before. Going back to the summer, Rajsich was also had an early round loss at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships to Gabriela Martinez.

Rajsich will be 38 next month, and she has played a very athletic game style, so one wonders if things are catching up with her. With Frédérique Lambert’s good form of late - she’s been a finalist in all three LPRT events this season, including a win in Atlanta - Rajsich may fall out of the #2 spot, especially if she doesn’t play well at the US Open, as she was the runner up last year so has a lot of ranking points to defend.

Lambert does seem destined to be the LPRT #2 player sooner than later, and any thoughts of Rocky Carson falling out of the IRT’s #2 spot should be on hold after the first IRT event of the season - the Ghost of Georgetown tournament in Overland Park, Kansas, where Carson was runner up to Waselenchuk, as the none of the #3, #4 and #5 players even made the semi-finals.

Alvaro Beltran, IRT #4, and Jose Rojas, #5, both lost in the Round of 16, while IRT #3 Daniel De La Rosa, who many have pegged to move up to #2 this season, lost in the quarterfinals to Jansen Allen. Of course, it’s just one tournament, but little differences in outcomes can make enough of a difference in the year end rankings.

Excellence is demonstrating quality over time. Carson has been the premier example of that, as he’s been in the quarterfinals or better at almost every tournament for over a decade. Carson’s only lost in the Round of 16 three times since the beginning of the 2003-04 season, and we can’t recall him missing any tournaments in that period. That’s why he’s ahead of everyone else, except Waselenchuk.

We’ve had several young men and women players performing well early in the season, and that bodes well for the rest of the season. We look forward to more of that as we move forward.

The pro tours are now on break until early October when the 21st US Open will happen in Minneapolis, October 5-9.

17th Annual Ghost of Georgetown presented by Novasors - September 8-11, 2016
Overland Park, Kansas

Men’s Open Final

Samuel Murray d. Andree Parrilla, forfeit

Men’s Open Semi-Finals

Samuel Murray d. Sebastian Franco, 15-2, 15-5
Andree Parrilla d. Mario Mercado, 15-13, 10-15, 11-6

2016 Sweet Caroline Open, September 9-11, 2016
Greenville, South Carolina

Women’s Open Final

Natalia Mendez d. Carla Muñoz, 15-13, 5-15, 11-4

Women’s Open Semi-Finals

Natalia Mendez d. Robin Whitmire, 15-0, 15-2
Carla Muñoz d. Samantha Simmons, 15-10, 15-5

Follow the bouncing ball….

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