Friday, December 13, 2019

Muñoz defeats Salas at 2019 LPRT Christmas Classic

Fourteenth seed Carla Muñoz knocked off 3rd seed Samantha Salas, 15-14, 9-15, 11-1, in the Round of 16 at the 2019 Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Christmas Classic in Laurel, Maryland on Friday. The win was Muñoz’s first against Salas in their third meeting on the LPRT, and puts her into the quarterfinals for the first time this season. Muñoz will play 6th seed Natalia Mendez in the quarters Saturday in what will be their 3rd meeting with Mendez winning the first two. That’s exactly where Muñoz was heading into her match with Salas.

Mendez reached the quarters by defeating 11th seed Cassi Lee, 15-2, 15-5.

Paola Longoria, the LPRT’s #1 player, beat Gabriela Martinez by a surprisingly wide margin, 15-2, 15-5. It was a rematch of the 2018 International Racquetball Federation World Championships Women’s Singles final, which Martinez won, but she hasn’t beaten Longoria in an LPRT match. They were close early in game two, with Longoria only ahead by one at 5-4, but she got the serve back at the point and scored five points on as many rallies to go up 10-4, and effectively put the game - and so the match - out of touch.

Longoria will play 8th seed Cristina Amaya in the quarterfinals, as Amaya defeated 9th seed Masiel Rivera, 15-7, 15-9, on Friday.

In other matches, 2nd seed Maria Jose Vargas was a convincing winner over 18th seed Hollie Scott, 15-6, 15-1. Vargas was two points from giving Scott a donut in game two, as she led 13-0. But Scott got the serve back, and got a point when Vargas skipped a serve return as Scott drove a serve to the back left corner - Vargas’s backhand.

Vargas will play Nancy Enriquez in the quarters, as Enriquez squeaked out a tie-breaker win over Sheryl Lotts, 15-3, 13-15, 11-10.

There were three tie-breakers in doubles, but the higher seeds came through in the end. The 2nd seeds Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas dropped the first game against 7th seeds Abril Prado and Masiel Rivera, as Rivera shot the ball very well, but came back to win, 8-15, 15-9, 11-2. Vargas’s lob Z serve to Prado on the right side was their way back into the match and helped pave the way to the win, as Prado had trouble making effective returns.

Also, 3rd seeds Alexandra Herrera and Carla Muñoz were pushed to a breaker by the new team of veterans Cristina Amaya and Rhonda Rajsich, who were the sixth seeds, as Herrera and Muñoz won, 15-10, 13-15, 11-1. Finally, 4th seeds Nancy Enriquez and Jessica Parrilla defeated 5th seeds Kelani Bailey Lawrence and Sheryl Lotts, 15-14, 13-15, 11-4.

Top seeds Longoria and Samantha Salas defeated Hollie Scott and Lexi York, 15-6, 15-5, and they’ll play Enriquez and Parrilla in one semi-final with Mendez and Vargas taking on Herrera and Muñoz in the other semi.

Check out Saturday’s matches live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The singles quarterfinals on Saturday at 11 AM and noon, and the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The doubles semi-finals will be Saturday night at 7 and 8 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 1 PM. All times eastern.

2019 LPRT Christmas Classic, December 13-15, 2019
Laurel, Maryland

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria d. 16) Gabriela Martinez, 15-2, 15-5
8) Cristina Amaya d. 9) Masiel Rivera, 15-7, 15-9

5) Rhonda Rajsich d. 12) Adrienne Haynes, 15-6, 15-6
4) Alexandra Herrera d. 13) Jessica Parrilla, 14-15, 15-10, 11-5

14) Carla Muñoz d. 3) Samantha Salas, 15-14, 9-15, 11-1
6) Natalia Mendez d. 11) Cassi Lee, 15-2, 15-5

7) Nancy Enriquez d. 10) Sheryl Lotts, 15-3, 13-15, 11-10
2) Maria Jose Vargas d. 18) Hollie Scott, 15-6, 15-1

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria v. 8) Cristina Amaya - Noon
4) Alexandra Herrera v. 5) Rhonda Rajsich - Noon

6) Natalia Mendez v. 14) Carla Muñoz - 11 AM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 7) Nancy Enriquez - 11 AM

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 9) Hollie Scott & Lexi York, 15-6, 15-5
4) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla d. 5) Kelani Bailey Lawrence & Sheryl Lotts, 15-14, 13-15, 11-4

3) Alexandra Herrera & Carla Muñoz d. 6) Cristina Amaya & Rhonda Rajsich, 15-10, 13-15, 11-1
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas d. 7) Abril Prado & Masiel Rivera, 8-15, 15-9, 11-2

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4) Nancy Enriquez & Jessica Parrilla - 8 PM
2) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas v. 3) Alexandra Herrera & Carla Muñoz - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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