Friday, September 27, 2019

2019 UnitedHealthcare US Open Preview

Next week the 24th UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships happen in Minneapolis. It’s the biggest racquetball tournament in the world, and boasts the largest International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) draws of the season. With both the IRT and LPRT players in Minneapolis, the US Open is truly a Grand Slam event.

This year there are 94 players in the IRT draw, including the top 27 players led by #1 Kane Waselenchuk, who’s fresh off a win last week at the 2019 IRT Valentine Open. Waselenchuk hasn’t lost a US Open match since 2002, and has won the last 11 US Open titles and 14 overall. He’s clearly the man to beat.

If we anticipate the IRT singles matches, there could be a tasty one in the Round of 16, as IRT #2 Rocky Carson could play #15 Conrrado Moscoso. They last met in March in Bolivia, where Moscoso beat Carson to win the American Iris Bolivia Open. That’s quite the match for the 16s. There could also be a couple of doubles partners facing off in the Round of 16, as IRT #3 Andree Parrilla may play #14 Eduardo Portillo, and #7 Sebastian Franco could play #10 Mario Mercado.

There are 41 players in the LPRT draw, including the top 26 players with LPRT #1 Paola Longoria leading the way. However, Longoria lost her last match in the final of the LPRT Chesapeake event in Maryland, where LPRT #3 Maria Jose Vargas defeated her. But Longoria has an 8 year winning streak at the US Open and has won 9 women’s titles overall. So, like Waselenchuk, Longoria is clearly the woman to beat.

Other than Longoria, there’s a lot of uncertainly in the LPRT draw, as there are some quality players who haven't played much of late on tour, so they’ve slipped down the rankings. Players like Frédérique Lambert, who’s 14th, but was a US Open finalist in 2017, Gabriela Martinez, who’s 19th but was a semi-finalist in Minneapolis last year, and Jessica Parrilla, who was a semi-finalist in 2016 but missed most of last season with a knee injury, so is only ranked 26th. Thus, there may be results that look like upsets based on the seedings, but may not be based on the players involved. A higher seeding may not be as advantageous players' hope this year.


For the last five years, the pros have also played doubles at the US Open, which has produced some of the most memorable recent US Open matches. There are 27 teams in the IRT draw, including Waselenchuk and Ben Croft, who have won the title three times, and were finalists last year, but their IRT doubles rankings puts them 7th - by our calculations - as doubles has become a regular IRT event, but Waselenchuk and Croft usually only play at the US Open. Perhaps there will be a special accommodation for them, as happens in some USA Racquetball (USAR) events, where last year’s winners are seeded 1st and the runners-up seeded 2nd. Otherwise, they will likely have to play a match to get into the quarterfinals, as the top 4 teams are seeded into the quarters with the other teams vying for the other four spots.

The top four IRT doubles team are #1 Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa, who are the defending US Open champions, #2 Alejandro Landa and Samuel Murray, #3 Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado, and #4 Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, although Diaz hasn’t played in either of the first two IRT events this season.

Earlier this year, Cliff Swain and Jason Mannino announced they would play together at the US Open. They were a formidable doubles team back in the day, when they were both at or near the top of the IRT rankings, but neither has played much in the last few years, especially Mannino. Sadly, it seems the plan has fallen through for Mannino, who isn’t in the Minneapolis field. But Swain has secured a more than adequate alternative in Rocky Carson, the IRT’s #2 player. We’re not sure where they will be seeded, as Swain doesn’t have a doubles ranking, and Carson’s is only 23rd, as he’s not played much doubles lately. But it will be interesting to see them on the court together.

If you wanted another dark horse IRT doubles team, look no further than Jansen Allen and Shai Manzuri. Allen is a two time USAR National Doubles Champion and an international champion, while Manzuri has multiple medals doubles playing for Argentina, so they have a good track record. We’ll see if they can put it together as a team in Minneapolis.

There are 13 teams in the LPRT doubles field. The LPRT usually plays doubles at all its events, so there are more matches behind their doubles rankings than the IRT doubles rankings. Longoria has won all 5 LPRT US Open titles, although she’s done it with three different partners. Samantha Salas - Longoria’s regular partner - has won it three times, but injuries kept her away from Minneapolis twice, and on those occasions Longoria won with Veronica Sotomayor (2014) and Gabriela Martinez (2017).

Longoria and Salas should be the top ranked team this year with Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas 2nd, three time US Open finalists Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia 3rd, and the young team of Brenda Laime and Masiel Rivera 4th.

Past those teams, the best dark horse team could be Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez, who we think will only be seeded 11th as Martinez hasn’t play much lately. However, they were silver medalists in Women's Doubles at the 2019 Pan American Games in August, so they have a great record together.

You should be able to see much of the action from Minneapolis. For the men, check out the IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page, and for the women look to the LPRT website, or the LPRT YouTube channel.

It’s going to be a great week of racquetball.

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

IRT Singles Field (with IRT Ranking)

1) Kane Waselenchuk
2) Rocky Carson
3) Andree Parrilla
4) Alejandro Landa

5) Alvaro Beltran
6) Daniel De La Rosa
7) Sebastian Franco
8) Samuel Murray

9) Rodrigo Montoya
10) Mario Mercado
11) Jake Bredenbeck
12) Jose Diaz

13) David Horn
14) Eduardo Portillo
15) Conrrado Moscoso
16) Gerardo Franco

17) Robert Collins
18) Andres Acuña
19) Charles Pratt
20) Felipe Camacho

21) Thomas Carter
22) Jansen Allen
23) Sebastian Fernandez
24) Javier Mar

25) Carlos Keller
26) Adam Manilla
27) Eduardo Garay
29) Kadim Carrasco

30) Justus Benson
31) Scott McClellan
32) Maurice Miller
33) Diego Garcia

34) Javier Estrada
36) Nicholas Riffel
37) Troy Warigon
38) Alan Natera

39) Set Cubillos
41) Mauricio Zelada
42) Dylan Reid
43) Ernesto Ochoa

43) Alejandro Cardona
45) Edwin Galicia
46) Sam Bredenbeck
47) Juan Salvatierra

49) Erik Garcia
50) Kyle Ulliman
51) Hiroshi Shimizu
52) Oscar Elias Nieto Valadez

53) Bradly Rogers
54) Alejandro Herrera
57) Christian Wer
58) Christian Longoria

59) John Wolfe
60) Andrés Gómez
61) Erick Cuervas Fernandez
63) Tim Landeryou

73) David Austin
75) Franco Gutierrez
79) Ferd Samson
83) A. J. Fernandez

95) Yacouba Keita
95) Joe Kelley
101) Andrew Gale
115) Diego Gatica

115) Francisco Cherroni
126) Lucas Shoemaker
126) Jose Ubilla
139) Francisco Gomez Reyes

145) Victor Camacho
151) Erik Solter
151) Jacob Kingsford
151) Destry Everhart

151) Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr
151) Darrin Prince
151) Francisco Troncoso
203) Samuel Kelley

207) Kalyan Kosetty
208) Jose Flores Jr.

NR) Joel Adler
NR) Rich Benderoth
NR) Jonathan Burns
NR) Ken Cheshire
NR) Fabian Cuesta
NR) Micah Farmer
NR) Donald Gilbert
NR) Kevin Iglesias
NR) Lukas Le
NR) Shai Manzuri
NR) Jaime Martell
NR) Shoji Mochino
NR) Manuel Moncada
NR) Majeed Shahin
NR) Vladimir Fernando Siles Gonzales
NR) Brent Sturgess

LPRT Singles Field (with LPRT Ranking)

1) Paola Longoria
2) Samantha Salas
3) Maria Jose Vargas
4) Alexandra Herrera
5) Rhonda Rajsich

6) Natalia Mendez
7) Nancy Enriquez
8) Cristina Amaya
9) Masiel Rivera
10) Brenda Laime

11) Adriana Riveros
12) Monserrat Mejia
13) Ana Laura Flores
14) Frédérique Lambert
15) Cassi Lee

17) Sheryl Lotts
18) Adrienne Haynes
19) Gabriela Martinez
20) Angelica Barrios
21) Carla Muñoz

23) Maria Renee Rodriguez
24) Kelani Lawrence
24) Michelle De La Rosa
26) Jessica Parrilla
28) Hollie Scott

29) Jenny Daza
30) Laura Brandt
31) Montserrat Perez
34) Jennifer Dering
37) Cheryl Gudinas

42) Maricruz Ortiz
44) Linda Tyler
55) Anna Rivera
60) Lexi York
64) Daniela Molina

65) Maiko Sato
NR) Carolina Gomez
NR) Erin Groves
NR) Ayako Hanashi
NR) Megumi Kozakai
NR) Annie Roberts

IRT Doubles Field (with IRT Doubles Ranking)

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa (1+3)
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray (2+4)
3) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado (9+5)
4) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz (7+11)

5) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya (18+6)
6) Adam Manilla & Nicholas Riffel (14+13)
7) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk (16+16)
8) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo (10+24)

9) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso (21+21)
10) Andres Acuña & Felipe Camacho (35+8)
11) Kadim Carrasco & Carlos Keller (27+27)
12) Alejandro Cardona & Gerardo Franco (35+20)

13) Maurice Miller & Troy Warigon (31+31)
14) Tim Herman & Michael Myers (33+33)
15) Edwin Galicia & Juan Salvatierra (38+40)
16) Charles Pratt & Dylan Reid (26+54)

17) Sebastian Fernandez & Diego Garcia (37+54 91
18) Rafael Gatica & Johan Igor (47+47 94
19) Justus Benson & Erik Garcia (42+54 96
20) Jansen Allen & Shai Manzuri (12+NR)

21) Rocky Carson & Cliff Swain (23+NR)
22) Eduardo Garay & Alan Natera (29+NR)
23) Christian Wer & Nathan Orlando Martinez Perez (38+NR)
24) Sam Bredenbeck & Tim Landeryou (54+NR)

25) Mike Harmon & Alejandro Herrera (NR+54)
NR) Javier Estrada & Ernesto Ochoa (NR+NR)
NR) Manuel Moncada & Guillermo Jesus Ortega Jr (NR+NR)

LPRT Doubles Field (with LPRT Doubles Ranking)

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas (2+1)
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas (4+4)
3) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia (3+7)
4) Brenda Laime & Masiel Rivera (8+6)

5) Sheryl Lotts & Carla Muñoz (11+13)
6) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros (12+15)
7) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla (10 +23)
8) Kelani Lawrence & Michelle De La Rosa (14+28)

8) Angelica Barrios & Jenny Daza (20+22)
10) Erin Groves & Montserrat Perez (19+29)
11) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez (48+16)
12) Hollie Scott & Lexi York (33+41)

13) Etsuko Noda & Maiko Sato (NR+NR)

Follow the bouncing ball….


Todd Boss said...

fyi i think the irt rankings on the website may not be right; i've heard there's possibly a glitch. I though, for example, that the Laurel results would have landa 3, Parrilla 4. Maybe i was wrong.

Todd Boss said...

Update; my personal xls was missing some points for Andree for non-tier 1s last season, and that was enough to push him back into #3 for this event. My bad for causing confusion.