Sunday, October 9, 2016

Longoria wins 2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open, her 7th US Open title

Paola Longoria won her 7th US Open title Sunday, as she defeated Samantha Salas, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3, in the final of the 2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour's (LPRT's) at the LifeTime Fitness Target Center club in Minneapolis. Longoria has won six consecutive US Open titles.

It was a three game match, but Salas put up a good fight. They were close early in game one, and tied at 2-2. But Longoria moved ahead to lead 6-3. Salas called a timeout, but that didn't stop Longoria, who ran off five straight points on consecutive rallies to win game one 11-3.

Game two was similar early, as Longoria and Salas were again tied at 2-2, 4-4 and 5-5.
But three Salas errors gave Longoria an 8-5 lead. Longoria got to game point by forcing Salas into skipping another shot. But Salas fought off four match points, and close within three points at 10-7. Longoria got the game winning point with a backhand cross court shot to go up 2-0.

Again in game three, they were close early. Longoria did go up 3-0, but Salas fought back to tie it at 3-3. After a delay because Salas was bleeding on her right elbow, she skipped a forehand shot. Salas appealed that call, and one line judge agree with the call and one disagreed, so the call stood, and Longoria led 4-3.

An ace drive serve to the left made it 5-3. Two skips by Salas took the score to 7-3, and you could see the game had gotten away from Salas. Longoria hit an ace and a service winner on drive serves to the left that made it 9-3. A Longoria forehand pinch shot got her to match point at 10-3.

Salas fought off the first match point with a strong forehand in the front court, but she skipped a forehand shot on her own serve. Longoria hit a backhand cross court shot to finish off the game, 11-3, and take the match, 3-0.

Despite the loss Salas's performances in Minneapolis this week have been strong, and they should boost her up the rankings. She's fallen to 7th, but has been as high as 3rd.

Longoria clearly got frustrated in game two, as Salas wasn't being as easy an opponent as she might have thought. But you can't hit loose shots against Longoria, as she'll clean up on any errors by her opponents. To beat Longoria, you have to make things difficult on her, and push her to the back as much as possible, because she is deadly in the front court.

The next LPRT event is the Boston Open October 28-30 in Boston, Massachusetts followed by The Paola Longoria Invitational in Monterrey, Mexico, November 4-6.

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

LPRT Singles Final - Sunday (seeding)

(1) Paola Longoria d. (6) Samantha Salas, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3

Follow the bouncing ball….

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