Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 UnitedHealthCare US Open - LPRT Preview

Time to get excited racquetball fans! The 2017 UnitedHealthcare US Open begins next week! Play will kick off on Wednesday, October 4, in Minneapolis. This is racquetball’s true Grand Slam event, as both the professional men (International Racquetball Tour - IRT) and women (Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour - LPRT) are competing at the same site, and there is big news for both fields. Here we'll talk about the LPRT, an IRT post will be out soon.

Paola Longoria, the LPRT #1, should begin - and some might say end - all discussion of women’s racquetball, as she’s won everything there is to win, including the last six US Open Championships (and seven overall) in singles and all three US Open LPRT doubles titles. Longoria has lost recently, but that was to Samantha Salas, who won’t be in Minneapolis as she’s still recovering from the shoulder surgery that she had shortly after the win over Longoria in June. Longoria is definitely the player to beat.

Thus, Longoria, who won doubles with Salas at last year’s US Open, will need to play doubles with someone else. Gabriela Martinez will partner with Longoria this year, and they have played together on the LPRT, and won, so there’s a definite possibility that Longoria’s streak of US Open LPRT Doubles titles will continue.

Maria Vargas is the surprise entry in the LPRT draw, as the former LPRT #2 and US Open finalist didn’t play at all last season. Her inactivity means that she has no ranking points, and will need to qualify into the main draw. Woe to those who have to meet her in qualifying or early in the main draw. There are a few players with no ranking points, so it’s unclear where Vargas will fall into the draw.

Frédérique Lambert has also been inactive so far this season, as she’s in her 3rd year of medical school, which meant she missed the first two events of the season. But she’ll be in Minneapolis, and is playing doubles with Jessica Parrilla, who is now the LPRT’s #2 player. Together they should be the top seeds in doubles.

Other notable teams in doubles are the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Women's Doubles World Champions Janel Tisinger and Aimee Ruiz, as well as Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia, who were the 2015 US Open doubles finalists. Also, Vargas is playing doubles with LPRT #8 Natalia Mendez.

We’ve got a mock up of the LPRT singles and doubles draws below based on the LPRT rankings. These are unofficial. The primary uncertainty lies in the unranked players. We’ve put Vargas and Maria Paz Muñoz at the top of that, as they have had significant points in the past even though they don’t have any now. For the doubles draws, the LPRT sums up the LPRT doubles ranking points for the two players in each team, with the highest sum being seeded #1, second highest sum #2, and so on.

The 2017 UnitedHealthcare US Open begins Wednesday October 4 and finishes Sunday October 8 at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2017 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 4-8, 2017

(NOTE: the following draws are unofficial but the seedings are from the current LPRT rankings)

LPRT Singles

Qualifying Round 1

40 Masiel Rivera v. 41 Sara Jeys
39 Maria Paz Muñoz v. 42 Cassandra Lee

Qualifying Round 2

Q1 25 Jordan Cooperrider v. 40 Masiel Rivera or 41 Sara Jeys
Q2 26 Angelica Barrios v. 39 Maria Paz Muñoz or 42 Cassandra Lee
Q3 27 Youngock Lee v. 38 Maria Vargas
Q4 28 Michelle De La Rosa v. 37 Robin Whitmire

Q5 29 Brenda Laime v. 36 Michèle Morissette
Q6 30 Linda Tyler v. 35 Hannah Shnurman
Q7 31 Jennifer Dering v. 34 Lucia Gonzalez
Q8 32 Erika Manilla v. 33 Janel Tisinger

Round of 32

1 Paola Longoria v. Q8
16 Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 17 Cecilia Pratt

9 Adriana Riveros v. 24 Laura Brandt
8 Susana Acosta v. Q1

5 Rhonda Rajsich v. Q4
12 Adrianne Haynes v. 21 Eleni Guzman

13 Nancy Enriquez v. 20 Monserrat Perez
4 Alexandra Herrera v. Q5

3 Frédérique Lambert v. Q6
14 Gabriela Martinez v. 19 Sheryl Lotts

11 Monserrat Mejia v. 22 Jenny Daza
6 Cristina Amaya v. Q3

7 Natalia Mendez v. Q2
10 Carla Muñoz v. 23 Da’monique Davis

15 Erin Groves v. 18 Hollie Scott
2 Jessica Parrilla v. Q7

LPRT Doubles - Round of 16 (unofficial)

1 Jessica Parrilla & Frédérique Lambert - BYE
8 Monserrat Perez & Erin Groves v. 9 Natalia Mendez & Maria Vargas

5 Carla Muñoz & Michelle De La Rosa v. 12 Erika Manilla & Melania Sauma
4 Cristina Amaya & 7 Adriana Riveros v. 13 Janel Tisinger & Aimee Ruiz

3 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia v. 14/15 Maria Paz Muñoz & Ana Lucia Sarmiento or 14/15 Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera
6 Rhonda Rajsich & Sheryl Lotts v. 11 Cecilia Pratt & Maiko Sato

7 Susana Acosta & Eleni Guzman v. 10 Jenny Daza & Angelica Barrios
2 Paola Longoria & Gabriela Martinez v. 14/15 Maria Paz Muñoz & Ana Lucia Sarmiento or 14/15 Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera

(Note: seedings are based on LPRT Doubles ranking points; each partner’s points are summed with the greatest sum seeded 1st and least sum seeded last; two teams have zero doubles points)

Follow the bouncing ball….


Unknown said...

Looking forward to seeing Paola play. Not a lot of events streamed show her so it's a rare treat to see this #1 playing.

The Racquetball Blog said...

Joshua, check out the LPRT YouTube channel or LiveStream channel. You can find several Paola Longoria matches there.

Todd Boss said...

Vargas in the draw is a super tough break for which ever top 8 seed she plays into. If she projects as 38 seed and plays into Amaya ... that's good bye Amaya.

Then its a question of how good she is in terms of her playing shape. She's 4-0 against Amaya lifetime, just 2-1 against Lambert who she'd play in the qrtrs if she keeps winning.