Sunday, October 6, 2019

Longoria defeats Vargas to win 10th UnitedHealthcare US Open LPRT title

Paola Longoria defeated Maria Jose Vargas, 15-5, 15-7, to win the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) title at the 2019 UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis. Longoria, the LPRT's #1 player, won for the 9th straight year and 10th time overall.

Longoria served very well in the match. Vargas didn't play poorly. She just didn't get much of a chance to play, as Longoria put her under pressure with a great service game. Longoria got seven aces or service winners in the match, as well as three other points off return errors by Vargas. So, a third of Longoria's points were directly off her serve.

In game one, Vargas got the first point, but then Longoria went out to a 5-1 lead. She extended that to 11-2. Vargas got three points on consecutive rallies with forehand winners to make the score 11-5. However, a soft backhand pinch shot by Longoria got her back into the service box.

After taking a timeout, Longoria hit a drive serve to the right side that left Vargas in a heap against the side wall. Ace. She followed that with an ace to the left side. Two more winners by Longoria, and the game was done. 15-5.

Longoria also started well in game two, taking a 4-0 lead. But Vargas responded with three points of her own, and when she hit a booming backhand cross court that made it 4-3, there was a sense that this game might be different from game one.

And it was close through the middle of game two, as Vargas got within one at 6-5 and 8-7. However, Vargas lost serve when she skipped a forehand shot off the frame of her racquet, and she never served again.

Longoria won seven straight points on almost as many rallies. There were two hinder calls in that period, and the second of them caused an angry outburst by Longoria that seemed unnecessary given that she was up a game and 13-7. Nonetheless, she finished off the game and match with two backhand pinch winners for paints 14 and 15.

Longoria acknowledged after the match that she was nursing a shoulder injury, which explained all the athletic tape on her right shoulder. Yet she played through whatever pain she was feeling to get the good feeling of another US Open victory.

The LPRT's next event is the LPRT Pro Am Turkey Shoot in Chicago, November 22-24.

To see the US Open final go to the the LPRT website, or the LPRT YouTube channel.

2019 UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 2-6, 2019

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 3) Maria Jose Vargas, 15-5, 15-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

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