Sunday, August 25, 2019

Longoria wins singles, Herrera & Mejia doubles in San Luis Potosi

Paola Longoria won the 2019 Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Paola Longoria Experience in San Luis Potosi, Mexico Sunday by defeating 3rd seed Maria Jose Vargas, 15-13, 15-6. Longoria, the LPRT’s #1 player, was undefeated last season, and has now won the first event of the 2019-20 season. But Longoria and Samantha Salas, the top seeds in doubles, lost the doubles final to 3rd seeds Alexandra Herrera and Montserrat Mejia, 12-15, 15-10, 11-7.

In the singles final, Longoria led for most of game one, and reached game point at 14-7. Vargas fought that off with a backhand return of a drive serve to the left side. They exchanged sideouts, and then Vargas started to get back into the game.

She began with two forehand winners, so Longoria called a timeout at 14-9. But the points continued to come for Vargas, who started the rallies with a backhand half lob serve close to the left wall that was leading to opportunities. She got to within one at 14-13, when Longoria took another timeout.

When play resumed, Vargas hit another backhand half lob serve, but it came off the sidewall a bit, which allowed Longoria to make a winning backhand shot down the line. Then on her fourth game point, Longoria hit a Z serve to the right that led to a backhand skip by Vargas. It was unusual, because Longoria had mostly been hitting drive serves to the left side rather than Zs.

The second game started slowly, as only 4 points were scored in the first 19 rallies. Longoria scored all those points to lead 4-0. Vargas had been trying the backhand half lob serve that worked for her in the second half of game one, but having got no points with it in game two, she switched back to her drive serve, and scored six points on the next six rallies to lead 6-4. Longoria called timeout.

She got a sideout with a backhand winning return of a Vargas drive serve. They exchanged sideouts, and then the points started to flow for Longoria. She tied the game 6-6 with a drive serve ace to the left side.

Vargas wouldn’t score another point, as Longoria got 11 unanswered points to go from 4-6 to 15-6. Vargas took a timeout when Longoria initially got the lead at 7-6, and that did lead to a sideout as she hit a forehand pinch shot winner. But her drive serve to the right was returned by Longoria for a winner. Vargas only served twice after that.


In the doubles final, Longoria and Salas looked good to take the first final of the season, as they won game one versus Herrera and Mejia, 15-12, and then were up early in game two, 6-0 and 10-6. But the younger team didn’t quit, and they came back to tie game two at 10-10, and then push on to win it 15-10 and force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, the young team led early, 3-1, helped by a couple of skips by Salas. But the 2019 Pan American Games champions responded, tying the game at 4-4 when Salas hit a forehand pinch shot for a winner. They scored two more, as Longoria got one off a drive serve to the left and then Salas hit a winning wide angle pass. Herrera and Mejia called time out.

When play resumed, Herrera was force into skipping a shot, which gave Longoria and Salas a 7-4 lead. But on the next rally Herrera got her side the serve back with a backhand cross court winner.

And they served it out.

Mejia got it started with a backhand pinch shot, 7-5. Then Salas skipped a forehand reverse pinch shot, 7-6, but she put her opponents half down on the next rally with a forehand pinch winner. Herrera’s backhand pinch shot from deep tied the game, 7-7, so Longoria and Salas called timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Mejia hit yet another lob Z serve to Salas, and in the rally, she hit a forehand winner to make it 8-7. Salas had a forehand set up on the next rally, but she skipped it, 9-7. Mejia hit another forehand winner to put her side on match point at 10-7.

On their first match point, Mejia drove a ball to the left side, and it got caught up a bit in the back left corner, so Longoria wasn’t in the right position to hit the ball, and she skipped it, 11-7. Thus, Herrera and Mejia win the first LPRT doubles title of the season.

Upcoming events

The LPRT has 16 Tier 1 or Grand Slam events on the calendar this season, up from 10 last season. They’ll play in Virginia Beach, Virginia next, where the LPRT By The Beach event will take place September 6-8. Then they’ll play outdoors at the 3 WallBall World Championships in Las Vegas, September 27-29, ahead of the UnitedHealthCare US Open in Minneapolis, October 2-6. If you missed any of the action from San Luis Potosi, you can watch the matches via the LPRT website (click on LPRT Live at the top of the page), or the LPRT YouTube channel.

2019 Paola Longoria Experience
San Luis Potosi, Mexico, August 23-25, 2019

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1 Paola Longoria d. 3 Maria Jose Vargas, 15-13, 15-6

LPRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

3 Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas, 12-15, 15-10, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

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