Monday, October 3, 2016

2016 United Healthcare US Open - LPRT Preview

Sunday, we brought you our International Racquetball Tour (IRT) preview for the 2016 United Healthcare US Open that begins Wednesday, October 5, in Minneapolis, and today we address the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) draws. Draws plural, because like the men, the women will play both singles and doubles in Minneapolis.

Also like the men, the women have a dominant player: Paola Longoria, who is shooting for her 6th consecutive US Open singles title, and 7th overall, as well as her 3rd doubles title. Longoria won with regular partner Samantha Salas last year, and with Veronica Sotomayor two years ago, when Salas was injured.

Longoria’s opponent in last year’s singles final was a familiar one: Rhonda Rajsich, who was playing her 11th US Open final (winning 4 times). But Rajsich has not had a good start to the LPRT season, as she’s only reached the quarterfinals in each of the first three events. Couple that with an early exit in last summer’s International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships, and it seems unlikely that Longoria and veteran Rajsich, who’ll turn 38 on Friday, will be having a rematch in this year’s final.

Aside from LPRT #1 Longoria, who’s won the two events she’s played in this season, Frédérique Lambert is the player who is most in form, as Lambert has been in all three LPRT finals this season, winning the first, which Longoria missed, and finishing runner up to Longoria in the other two. Lambert has not been further than the quarterfinals at the US Open - reaching the quarters in each of the last two years - but we would not be surprised to see her in the final this year.

The LPRT seeds the top 24 ranked players into the Round of 32 at the US Open with the other players playing qualifying matches for the last eight spots. There are some fine players outside of the top 24, including two time US Open Champion Cheryl Gudinas, Janel Tisinger, who is half of the current IRF World Champion Women’s Doubles team, as well as veterans Maiko Sato and Linda Tyler, and good young players Lucia Gonzalez, Natalia Mendez and Michèle Morissette.


The LPRT often has doubles divisions with its tournaments, and they have a separate doubles rankings for players. Based on these rankings, last year’s winners Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas should be the #1 seeds again this year with last year’s surprise runners up Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia seeded #2.

We’ve got the all American team of Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajsich as the #3 seeds with Frédérique Lambert and Veronica Sotomayor #4. Lambert usually plays with Michelle Key, but Key is playing with her sister Danielle this year, which should be a good team.

Other intriguing teams in the draw include Cheryl Gudinas and Sharon Jackson, Natalia Mendez and Carla Muñoz, and Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros.

The 2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open begins Wednesday October 5 and finishes Sunday October 9 at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 5-9, 2016

LPRT Singles seedings
(unofficial; based on LPRT rankings)

1 Paola Longoria
2 Frédérique Lambert
3 Rhonda Rajsich
4 Alexandra Herrera

5 Jessica Parrilla
6 Samantha Salas
7 Cristina Amaya
8 Carla Muñoz

9 Susana Acosta
10 Michelle Key
11 Adriana Riveros
12 Adrianne Haynes

13 Veronica Sotomayor
14 Sheryl Lotts
15 Monserrat Mejia
16 Da’monique Davis

17 Gabriela Martinez
18 Cecilia Pratt
19 Jessica Maldonado
20 Jordan Cooperrider

21 Sharon Jackson
22 Laura Brandt
23 Monserrat Perez
24 Andrea Martinez

LPRT Doubles seedings (unofficial; based on LPRT doubles rankings)

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia
3 Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich
4 Frédérique Lambert & Veronica Sotomayor

5 Susana Acosta & Jessica Maldonado
6 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros
7 Cecilia Pratt & Maria Renee Rodriguez
8 Gabriela Martinez & Andrea Martinez

9 Jessica Parrilla & Monserrat Perez
10 Cheryl Gudinas & Sharon Jackson
11 Jordan Cooperrider & Erika Manilla
12 Maritza Franco & Regina Franco

13 Danielle Key & Michelle Key
14 Natalia Mendez & Carla Muñoz
15 Ana Jungeon & Jin Young Seok

(and two teams from these four players: Eleni Guzman, Donna Ryder, Maiko Sato & Samantha Simmons)

Follow the bouncing ball….


Todd Boss said...


The Racquetball Blog said...

No one is quite sure what Maria Jose Vargas is doing. She hasn't played an event this season so far. I understand that she has a fitness business in Bolivia that is occupying much of her time. Don't anything more than that.

Todd Boss said...

Asking one of her camp if he can share anything he knows ...

Todd Boss said...

My insider reports the following on Vargas:

"...she got married and is pretty much done for the time being. She'll probably [have] a kid or two and then play again but right now she is enjoying life and runs a training center in Bolivia. She is still in great shape but just doesn't have the passion [for racquetball] anymore.

Fair points all; sometimes life takes over. Christie Van Hees won a pro title and was suddenly done.