Saturday, October 6, 2018

Longoria & Salas in LPRT final at 2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Paola Longoria, the 7 time defending Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) US Open champion, will have a chance to make it 8, as she defeated Gabriela Martinez, 11-5, 11-0, 11-3, in the LPRT semi-finals Saturday at the 2018 UnitedHeathcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis.

Martinez came into the semi, as the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion in Women's Singles by beating Longoria in the final. But the US Open is a different venue, and one that Longoria has dominated for most of the past decade.

She did so again Saturday.

They were close early in game one, tying at each score between 2 and 5, but at 5-5 Longoria went on a run of six unanswered points to win 11-5. Martinez wouldn't score again until Longoria was up 3-0 in game three: a string of 20 consecutive points.

Martinez did tie it at 3-3 in game three, but she only served once more, as Longoria put in a performance fitting for a 7 time defending champion.

In the other semi-final, Samantha Salas continued her dominance of Frédérique Lambert Saturday, as she won their match in straight games, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3. Salas advances to her 2nd US Open final with the win, and is now 13-4 versus Lambert over their LPRT careers.

Games one and two were close between Salas and Lambert until late, when Salas got the last few points each time. They were tied 7-7 in game one, until Salas broke the tie with an ace drive serve, making it 8-7. Salas scored three unanswered points to close it out.

Salas served well, and it was a big difference in the match. She had three aces and a service winner in game one, two of those in game two, and forced Lambert into return errors in game three as well.

In game two, Salas broke an 8-8 tie with a backhand winner after Lambert hit a weak backhand serve return to make it 9-8. A Salas a cross court winner put her on game point at 10-8, and then she forced Lambert into another backhand skip serve return to end it, 11-8.

Lambert got the first two points of game three, but then Salas ran eight points to lead 8-2, and the writing was on the wall. Salas served a drive jam to the left side that handcuffed Lambert for her 9th and 10th points, and forced Lambert into another backhand error to close out the game, 11-3, and the match in three straight games.

The LPRT will stream the final live from Minneapolis via the LPRT Live link on their website Sunday at 10 AM CDT.

2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 3-7, 2018

LPRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 12) Gabriela Martinez, 11-5, 11-0, 11-3
3) Samantha Salas d. 2) Frédérique Lambert, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria v. 3) Samantha Salas - 10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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