Tuesday, September 27, 2022

2022 US Open IRT & LPRT Draws

The 2022 US Open begins tomorrow in Minneapolis, and we have all the draws for both the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) and the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) competitions in singles and doubles for you below. Play will begin Wednesday in singles for the IRT and in doubles for the LPRT.

The LPRT will play two rounds of singles on Thursday, and then the quarterfinals of doubles. The IRT main Round of 32 will go on Thursday, as will the Round of 16 in doubles.

As per tradition, the doubles finals will be Saturday afternoon with the singles finals on Sunday.

You can watch the US Open action from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis by going to the IRT and LPRT YouTube channels or their Facebook pages.

Note: all times are central.

Follow the bouncing ball…..

IRT Singles - Qualifying Round 1 - Wednesday

Sebastian Fernandez - BYE
Matias Arnez v. Jacob Kingsford - 2:50 PM

Rodrigo Rodriguez - BYE
Felipe Camacho - BYE

Juan Salvatierra - BYE
Samuel Kelley v. Jordan Barth - 1:40 PM

Troy Warigon v. James Black - 11:20 AM
Erick Cuevas Fernandez - BYE

Mauricio Zelada - BYE
Andrés Gómez v. Axel Barojas - 10:10 AM

Cole Sendrey - BYE
Jaime Martell - BYE

Christian Wer - BYE
Alejandro Cardona - BYE

John Behm v. Jhonatan Flores - 10:10 AM
Erick Trujillo - BYE

Javier Mar - BYE
Jose Flores Jr. v. Cole Slamko - 11:20 AM

Miguel Angel Arteaga Guzman - BYE
Joe Kelley - BYE

Sam Bredenbeck - BYE
Ezequiel Subieta - BYE

Diego Garcia v. Michael Leduc - 11:20 AM
Robert Collins - BYE

Kadim Carrasco - BYE
Ferd Samson v. Charles Rankin - 12:50 PM

Rodrigo Mendoza v. Rennie Dineros - 12:50 PM
Edwin Galicia - BYE

Maurice Miller - BYE
Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr. - BYE

Carlos Ramirez v. Juan José Tapia Zúñiga - 12:30 PM
Eduardo Garay - BYE

IRT Singles - Qualifying Round 2 - Wednesday

Q1 - Sebastian Fernandez v. Matias Arnez or Jacob Kingsford - 6:20 PM
Q16 - Rodrigo Rodriguez v. Felipe Camacho - 6:20 PM

Q9 - Juan Salvatierra v. Samuel Kelley or Jordan Barth - 6:20 PM
Q8 - Erick Cuevas Fernandez v. Troy Warigon or James Black - 4 PM

Q5 - Mauricio Zelada v. Andrés Gómez or Axel Barojas - 4 PM
Q12 - Jaime Martell v. Cole Sendrey - 2:50 PM

Q13 - Christian Wer v. Alejandro Cardona - 2:50 PM
Q4 - Erick Trujillo v. John Behm or Jhonatan Flores - 2:50 PM

Q3 - Javier Mar v. Jose Flores Jr. or Cole Slamko - 4 PM
Q14 - Joe Kelley v. Miguel Angel Arteaga Guzman - 4 PM

Q11 - Sam Bredenbeck v. Ezequiel Subieta - 4 PM
Q6 - Robert Collins v. Diego Garcia or Michael Leduc - 4 PM

Q7 - Kadim Carrasco v. Ferd Samson or Charles Rankin - 5:10 PM
Q10 - Edwin Galicia v. Rodrigo Mendoza v. Rennie Dineros - 5:10 PM

Q15 - Maurice Miller v. Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr. - 5:10 PM
Eduardo Garay v. Carlos Ramirez or Juan José Tapia Zúñiga - 5:10 PM

IRT Singles - Round of 32 - Thursday

1) Daniel De La Rosa v. Q16 - 1:50 PM
16) Rodrigo Montoya v. Q1 - 1:50 PM

9) Mario Mercado v. Q8 - 1:50 PM
8) Jake Bredenbeck v. Q9 - 1:50 PM

5) Alejandro Landa v. Q12 - 10:20 AM
12) Andés Acuña v. Q5 - 10:20 AM

13) Carlos Keller v. Q4 - 10:20 AM
4) Eduardo Portillo v. Q13 - 10:20 AM

3) Samuel Murray v. Q14 - 11:30 AM
14) Alvaro Beltran v. Q3 - 11:30 AM

11) Sebastian Franco v. Q6 - 11:30 AM
6) Conrrado Moscoso v. Q11 - 11:30 AM

7) Rocky Carson v. Q10 - 12:40 PM
10) Adam Manilla v. Q7 - 12:40 PM

15) Thomas Carter v. Q7 - 12:40 PM
2) Andree Parrilla v. Q15 - 12:40 PM

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
8) Sebastian Fernandez & Adam Manilla v. 9) Mario Mercado & Mauricio Zelada - 4:10 PM

5) Andés Acuña & Eduardo Portillo v. 12) Maurice Miller & Troy Warigon - 4:10 PM
4) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso v. 13) Alejandro Cardona & Robert Collins - 3 PM

3) Samuel Murray & Andree Parrilla v. 14) Jordan Barth & John Goth - 4:10 PM
6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay v. 11) Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer - 5:20 PM

7) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck v. 10) Kadim Carrasco & Carlos Keller - 4:10 PM
2) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya v. 15) Charles Rankin & Paul Saraceno - 5:20

LPRT Singles - Round of 32 - Thursday

1) Paola Longoria - BYE
16) Cristina Amaya v. 17) Nancy Enriquez - 1:50

9) Kelani Lawrence v. 24) Sunshine Arterburn - 1:50
8) Brenda  Laime v. 25) Annie Roberts - 1:50

5) Jessica Parrilla v. 28) Lexi York - 10:20
12) Valeria Centellas v. 21) Camila Rivero - 10:20

13) Gabriela Martinez v. 20) Maria Paz Riquelme - 10:20
4) Natalia Mendez v. 29) Estefania Perez-Picon - 10:20

3) Erika Manilla v. 30) Angela Ortega - 11:30
14) Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 19) Jenny Daza - 11:30

11) Hollie Scott v. 22) Adrienne Haynes - 11:30
6) Angelica Barrios v. 27) Maricruz Ortiz - 11:30

7) Carla Muñoz v. 26) Andrea Perez-Picon - 12:40
10) Samantha Salas v. 23) Linda Tyler - 12:40

15) Sheryl Lotts v. 18) Micaela Meneses - 12:40
2) Alexandra Herrera v. 31) Michèle Morissette - 12:40

LPRT Doubles - Qualifying Round 1 - Wednesday

Shane Diaz & Naomi Ros v. Michèle Morissette & Lexi York - 2:50 PM
Camila Rivero & Annie Roberts v. Andrea Perez-Picon & Estefania Perez-Picon - 2:50 PM

Qualifying Round 2 - Wednesday

Q1: Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez v. Shane Diaz & Naomi Ros or Michèle Morissette & Lexi York - 8:40 PM
Q4: Angelica Barrios & Jenny Daza v. Nancy Enriquez & Sheryl Lotts - 7:30 PM

Q3: Valeria Centellas & Micaela Meneses v. Cristina Amaya & Maria Paz Riquelme - 6:20 PM
Q2: Brenda Laime & Carla Muñoz v. either Camila Rivero & Annie Roberts or Andrea Perez-Picon & Estefania Perez-Picon - 8:40 PM

Main Draw Quarterfinals - Thursday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. Q4 - 7:40 PM
Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott v. Q1 - 8:50 PM

Erika Manilla & Natalia Mendez v. Q2 - 8:50 PM
Alexandra Herrera & Jessica Parrilla v. Q3 - 7:40 PM

Follow the bouncing ball…..

Monday, September 26, 2022

2022 US Open Preview

The 2022 US Open begins in Minneapolis Wednesday, and it might be the most anticipated US Open ever. Most anticipated because this will be the first US Open without Doug Ganim as tournament director. That responsibility now falls to Connor Shane, the USA Racquetball’s Director of National Events.

The concern about this change is evident from the racquetball community is evident in the fact that participation is down for the event. A little under 400 people are registered to play in Minneapolis, which is about 300 fewer than its had in recent years. That may not be directly related to the change in tournament director, as to the change in venue.

The US Open has been in Minneapolis since 2010, but this will be the first year that the University of Minnesota will be the venue. Previously, it was held at the LifeTime Fitness location under the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, and featured a show court that allowed viewing through all four walls. It was a special court that provided some rare views to the action. It was used this year in Birmingham, Alabama at the 2022 World Games, but will not be used at the US Open.

There are advantages to the University of Minnesota. There are two show courts that are side wall and back wall glass, and there are 12 courts. There were 9 - including the show court - at the LifeTime Target Center location, so two other facilities were needed to handle all the US Open matches. One other facility will be used this week.

A true Grand Slam

Regardless of the off court changes, what will be the same is the quality of play on court, as the top players from both the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) and the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) will be in Minneapolis to contest the most prestigious prize in pro racquetball. Those contests could be the most interesting in some time.

Paola Longoria - the LPRT’s #1 player - is the 10 time defending US Open champion (11 time winner overall), and she’s the favourite to win again. However, she comes in having lost her last LPRT match, and has only won three of her last six LPRT events. Winning half the pro events a player entered would be a great record for most players, but Longoria has gone through some seasons undefeated, so it’s surprisingly off her standard.

That does speak to the quality of players now on the LPRT. There are several players who have a chance to win this week, including Alexandra Herrera, the LPRT #2, and a three time winner on tour after winning in Maryland earlier this month. Gabriela Martinez has also won an LPRT event, and Angelica Barrios is the current Pan American Champion, and they are both real threats to win their 1st US Open.

Last year, Daniel De La Rosa won his 1st US Open. That win helped him become the #1 player on the IRT, so he’s a real threat to win again. But as on the women’s side, De La Rosa may be the favourite to win again, but there are other possibilities.

Among the possibilities are Conrrado Moscoso, who was in the final in 2019 and is the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion in Men’s Singles, Andree Parrilla and Alejandro Landa, who are both multiple IRT winners, as well as Samuel Murray and Eduardo Portillo, who each have one IRT title under their belts.

No one has won more US Opens than Kane Waselenchuk - 15 total and 12 straight from 2008 to 2019. He’s 41 years old now - turning 42 in November, and was entered in the field this year, but he suffered what looked like a significant injury to his right leg just two weeks ago at the last IRT event. Waselenchuk is now not in the field, presumably due to that injury.

They will also play doubles in Minneapolis, and those matches should also be great. The Mexican teams of Longoria and Samantha Salas on the women’s side, and De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran on the men’s side - are the defending champions, respectively, and both won their respective divisions at the IRF World Championships in August. Thus, they are clearly the teams to beat.

However, there are teams that could beat them. On the men’s side, two teams that could win it are Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya - the 2021 IRF World Champions, and Moscoso and Roland Keller, who were the finalists at Worlds against Beltran and De La Rosa this year, losing in a fifth game tie-breaker.

On the women’s side, Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott won their first LPRT doubles title earlier this month, and Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez have also been a successful team over the years. We think that Herrera will play with Jessica Parrilla, which also makes for a strong team.

Curiously, Valeria Centellas and Natalia Mendez, who were two points from winning Worlds this year against Longoria and Salas, are not playing together. We would have thought they’d want to continue to play together given how close they were to a World Championship. Yet Centellas is playing with Micaela Meneses, and Mendez is playing with Erika Manilla.

All in all, this year’s US Open has the makings of a great event, which will continue the tradition of great racquetball events that was established over the first 25 US Opens.

We’re looking forward to it.

Follow the bouncing ball…..

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Portillo gets 1st IRT title by winning 2022 IRT Capitol Classic

Eduardo Portillo defeated Javier Mar, 15-7, 15-3, in the final of the 2022 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Capitol Classic in Millersville, Maryland, ending Mar’s nice run through the field. Portillo is the 43rd player to win an IRT event, and the first since Mario Mercado in November of 2021. He’s fifth Mexican born player to win on the IRT, joining Alvaro Beltran, Daniel De La Rosa, Alejandro Landa and Andree Parrilla.

It was a battle of two tall players, who are primarily shooters. They are also both unafraid to throw themselves around the court in an effort to keep the ball in play.

They were close early in game one, and Mar had leads at 3-1 and 5-3. But he would only get five more points in the match after those initial five points in game one.

The difference between the two players was simple: Portillo killed more balls. Too many of Mar’s shots were up, giving Portillo another opportunity, while Portillo - in similar situations - was putting the ball down, making it difficult - if not impossible - for Mar to get to it.

Portillo was playing his third IRT final, while Mar was in a final for the first time. Mar has played in big matches, but usually in doubles. He’s a former International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion in Men’s Doubles, winning that title in 2021 with Rodrigo Montoya. But being alone in a final can be different than being with a partner in a final.

Portillo’s first time win goes along with the first time doubles win of Jake Bredembeck and Adam Manilla, who won doubles on Saturday by beating Portillo and Andés Acuña. These results - coupled with the upsets that happened earlier in the weekend - bode well for an interesting US Open, which gets underway in a week and a half in Minneapolis.

If you missed any of the action from the 2022 IRT Capitol Classic, check out the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

2022 IRT Capital Classic, September 15-18, 2022
Millersville, Maryland

Final - Sunday

6) Eduardo Portillo d. 17) Javier Mar, 15-7, 15-3

Doubles - Final - Saturday

8) Jake Bredenbeck & Adam Manilla d. 5) Andres Acuña & Eduardo Portillo, 15-5, 15-11

Follow the bouncing ball….