Sunday, December 6, 2020

Longoria wins singles, Centellas & Mendez doubles, at LPRT TeamRoot.Com Super Max Slam

Paola Longoria broke Angelica Barrios’s glass slipper Sunday, as the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour’s (LPRT’s) #1 player beat the young up and comer in two straight games, 15-5, 15-8, in the final of the LPRT Super Max Slam in Overland Park, Kansas. The win was Longoria’s 100th LPRT Tier 1 or Grand Slam title, while Barrios was playing in her 1st LPRT final. We trust it won’t be her last.

Longoria had a chance to win singles and doubles, as she and Samantha Salas were in the doubles final, but they were upset by the young team of Valeria Centellas and Natalia Mendez, 15-14, 3-15, 11-2.

Barrios made a good showing, despite the scores being a bit lopsided. They were back and forth early in game one, and Barrios actually led 5-2. Longoria got the serve back at that point, and called a timeout.

When play resumed, Longoria scored six unanswered points to go up 8-5, so Barrios called a timeout. But that merely delayed Longoria; it didn’t stop her, as she got five points on as many rallies to lead 13-5. Although they did go back and forth from there, the game outcome was inevitable at that point, with Longoria eventually winning it with a forehand pinch shot from the middle of the court.

Game two was similar, as they were close early, and Barrios had a lead at 5-3. Longoria tied it at 5-5, yet Barrios again led 8-5. Just when you might be thinking “hmm, maybe Barrios can force a tie-breaker,” Longoria calls a timeout.

After the timeout, Longoria gets a sideout, and then five straight points to lead 10-8. Barrios calls a timeout. Yet Barrios was only able to score one more point from there, as Longoria pushed on for the win in two straight games.

Doubles final

In the doubles final, the teams were back and forth in game one. Longoria and Salas were up 4-1, 6-3 and 8-5. Then Centellas and Mendez tied it at 8-8, and went ahead 12-8, and 14-9.

But Centellas skipped a shot on their first game point, which might have been a bit of nerves as the error seemed unforced. The veterans took advantage of Centellas’s error by scoring three points in a row to make the score 14-12.

Centellas and Mendez called a timeout, but that didn’t stop Longoria and Salas, who scored two more points to tie the game 14-14, as Centellas skipped another shot. But she made good on the next rally with a winning cross court forehand that put her side back in the service box. Centellas backed that up with a winner on the right side with Salas trapped on the right wall.

Longoria and Salas did what you expect of 3 time former International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Women’s Doubles World Champions: they jumped out to a 7-0 lead, and maintained that lead to win 15-3, forcing a tie-breaker.

In game two, Centellas and Mendez had chances, as they served 19 times, but only won three points. Late in the game with the score 10-2, they tried switching sides, moving Mendez from left to right and Centellas the other way. But to no avail.

Thus, momentum was all with Longoria and Salas going into the breaker. The first rally of game three was strange in that the ball went down the right wall, and Salas moved to play it, but held up as Centellas was close by. Then the ball hit Centellas in the foot.

The referee called a point for Salas and Longoria, as she judged there to be no hinder on the play and that the ball hadn’t bounced twice before hitting Centellas. If a hinder had occurred prior to the ball hitting Centellas, then that contact shouldn’t have mattered. But so it goes.

Centellas and Mendez won the next rally, and then put together five straight points in as many rallies with some great shots. They were hot! Longoria and Salas tried to cool off their opponents by calling a timeout. But Centellas and Mendez scored two more points before yielding the serve.

Thus, Longoria and Salas found themselves down 7-1 when they got to serve a second time. They scored one point, but then were sided out. Centellas and Mendez scored two more points, making it 9-2, so Longoria and Salas called their second timeout.

When play resumed, a long rally ensued that ended when Longoria skipped a forehand shot. 10-2. Centellas and Mendez won the game and match on the next rally, when Longoria was forced into skipping another forehand.

It’s the first LPRT win for Centellas, and the 3rd for Mendez, who had previous wins with Alexandra Herrera and Maria Jose Vargas. But she hadn’t beaten Longoria and Salas in either win, so it’s her first victory over them.

If you want to watch some of the Super Max Slam action from Overland Park - and DO want to see that doubles final! - check out the LPRT YouTube channel.

2020 LPRT Super Max Slam, December 4-6, 2020

Overland Park, Kansas 

Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 23) Angelica Barrios, 15-5, 15-9 

Doubles - Final - Sunday

2) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez d. 1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas, 15-14, 3-15, 11-2

Follow the bouncing ball….

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