Sunday, April 28, 2019

Longoria defeats Salas to win 2019 LPRT Battle at the Alamo

Paola Longoria's undefeated Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) season continues, as the #1 LPRT player won the Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas Sunday. Longoria defeated Samantha Salas, 12-10, 11-5, 11-4, in the final. She reached the final with a win over LPRT #5 Rhonda Rajsich in the semi-finals, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6, while Salas - the LPRT's #2 player - defeated LPRT #3 Maria Jose Vargas, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4, in the other semi.

In game one of the final, it looked like Salas might carry the day, as she overcame an early 5-0 lead by Longoria to lead 9-6. Salas got to game point at 10-8 with a flat forehand winner. But on the next rally, she skipped a backhand shot after being forced into the back left corner by Longoria.

After Longoria scored a point with a backhand cross court shot from the right side that made it 10-9, Salas got her 2nd game point opportunity, but Longoria forced her into skipping another backhand shot. Salas got the serve right back with another flat forehand. Longoria hit a forehand pinch shot to fend off Salas's 3rd game point.

Longoria then won three consecutive rallies starting each of them with a lob nick serve to the left side - Salas's backhand side. That led to two winners by Longoria and one error by Salas that Longoria forced her into by driving a backhand shot cross court. With those three points, Longoria closed out game one, 12-10.

Game two had a similar structure to game one early, as Longoria had a small lead, but they were tied at 5-5. Unlike game one, Longoria then won six unanswered points to take game two, 11-5.

Longoria led all the way in game three, with Salas getting close at 6-4. But Salas scored no points after that, as a backhand skip by Salas made it 10-4, and gave Longoria her 1st match point. Longoria won it on the next rally with a backhand reverse pinch shot.

The victory is Longoria's 7th of the season. She missed the last LPRT event due to an injury, but with a win in San Antonio and a victory in both Women's Singles and Women's Doubles (with Salas) earlier this month at the 2019 Pan American Racquetball Championships, it seems Longoria is fully fit, which spells trouble for all the other players. She played 12 games in San Antonio, and gave up only 49 points - a little over 4 points a game on average.

The LPRT's next event is the Syosset Open in Syosset, New York, May 2-5, which will also be an International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event, and they are going to play LPRT & IRT mixed doubles in Syosset, which should be fun. If you missed the action from San Antonio, you can watch the matches via the LPRT LiveStream channel.

2019 LPRT Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 26-28

Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 2) Samantha Salas, 12-10, 11-5, 11-4

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria d. 5) Rhonda Rajsich, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6
2) Samantha Salas d. 3) Maria Jose Vargas, 11-9, 11-4, 11-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

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