Monday, May 3, 2021

Meneses wins Women's Open, LPRT Hall of Fame & USA Racquetball calls off National Festival

Miceala Meneses won Women’s Open at the Sweet Caroline Open in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday. She defeated Erika Manilla in the final, 15-11, 15-7. It was a good tournament for both players. Meneses was seeded 10th, and beat 2nd seed Cristina Amaya in the quarterfinals, 15-14, 15-14, and 3rd seed Susana Acosta in the semi-finals, 14-15, 15-4, 11-7, before facing Manilla.

Manilla was seeded 4th, and beat 5th seed Jenny Daza in the quarters, 15-3, 15-8, before knocking off top seed Carla Muñoz, 15-12, 15-9, in the semis.

First LPRT Hall of Fame Inductees

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) has created a Hall of Fame, which will be hosted at the Sportsclub in Greenville, South Carolina. The Hall of Fame has been made possible through the sponsorship of Piedmont Comprehensive Pain Management Group.

The first three players inducted into the LPRT Hall of Fame on the weekend were: Lynn Adams, Michelle Gould and Heather McKay. All three were #1 on the pro tour multiple times.

The rivalry of Adams and McKay helped start the women’s pro tour. McKay was #1 three of the first four seasons from 1980 to 1984. Adams was #1 the other of those seasons, and then for five of six seasons from 1985 to 1990. After that, Gould took up the mantel, as she was #1 in seven of the next eight seasons during the 1990s.

Adams won 47 times on tour, 2nd all time, and was in the top 10 for 11 seasons. Gould won 43 times (3rd all time) in just 45 finals! She was in the top 10 for 9 seasons. McKay won 20 times, and may have won more, but she moved back to her native Australia in 1985, which ended her racquetball career.

These are the most deserving players to start a women’s pro racquetball Hall of Fame.

USAR cancels National Championships Festival

USA Racquetball was to hold the 2021 USA Racquetball National Championships Festival in St. Louis, Missouri, June 3-13, but Monday night they announced the festival has been cancelled due to the “ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in the St. Louis area” (from email release). That hours after USA Racquetball had sent a message on Twitter encouraging people to enter the event.

The email further states the cancellation is due to a failure to lift the mask restriction in St. Louis County, which is “over seven weeks behind on anticipated reopening measures.” Thus, USA Racquetball believes “players [would not get] the overall experience they deserve for their investment of time and money.”

Neither player health or safety is mentioned in the email.

When this Festival, which was to include the National Singles, National Doubles and National Junior Championships, was first announced in March, The Racquetball Blog felt that it was an ambitious plan. And perhaps a hasty one too, given it was done approximately three months prior to the event.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still going on in the world, and in some places it’s gotten worse. The USA seems to be doing a reasonable job at getting people vaccinated, but it will likely still be some time before being out in public places returns to anything like it was prior to March 2020.

USA Racquetball’s contingency plan for an event that will be used to qualify players for Team USA for the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) 2021 World Championships and 2021 World Junior Championships will now come into effect. Of course, whether those IRF events, which are scheduled for later this year, actually happen remains to be seen.

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open, April 30-May 2, 2021 

Greenville, South Carolina 

Women’s Open - Final

10) Micaela Meneses d. 4) Erika Manilla, 15-11, 15-7

Semi-finals

4) Erika Manilla d. 1) Carla Muñoz, 15-12, 15-9
10) Micaela Meneses d. 3) Susana Acosta, 14-15, 15-4, 11-7

Quarterfinals - Saturday 

1) Carla Muñoz d. 9) Daniela Rico, 15-1, 15-10
4) Erika Manilla d. 5) Jenny Daza, 15-3, 15-8

3) Susana Acosta d. 11) Carlee Jansz, 15-5, 15-7
10) Micaela Meneses d. 2) Cristina Amaya, 15-14, 15-14

 Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Longoria a double winner Sunday at 2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), won the Sweet Caroline Open in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday by defeating 2nd seed Alexandra Herrera, 15-12, 15-3. The win was Longoria’s 15th over Herrera on tour in as many matches.

Longoria and Herrera were also on opposite sides in the doubles final with the same result: Longoria and Samantha Salas beating Herrera and Montserrat Mejia, 15-6, 15-5.

In the singles final, Herrera had the early lead in game one, as she got the first five points to lead 5-0. A nice controlled overhand forehand reverse pinch shot got Longoria a side out at that point, so she called a timeout.

Longoria came back to tie Herrera at 5-5, when play resumed. She then went up 10-7, and it seemed like the game was going to slip away from Herrera. But she had a come back of her own to tie the game at 10-10. Again, Longoria called a timeout.

That led to a sideout and three points for Longoria to lead 13-10. Herrera called timeout, and after that got the serve back with a serve return winner off a drive Z serve to the right side, which is Herrera’ s backhand side.

Herrera hit two winners then, which got her within one at 13-12. A series of sideouts happened at that point. A Longoria forehand pinch ended the exchange, and made the score 14-12. Herrera stopped Longoria’s first game point, but Longoria got the serve right back with a backhand serve return winner off a lob down the left side.

She made good on her second game point, as Longoria forced Herrera into skipping a serve return by hitting a good Z serve to the right side: Herrera’s backhand.

After being close in game one, but not winning it, we feared for Herrera in game two. Those fears were confirmed when Longoria went out to an 8-0 lead. Herrera did get a side out at that point and scored three points.

But that was all she’d get, as Longoria ran off another string of unanswered points to take game two 15-3, and the match in two straight games. Herrera only served once after getting her three points, and that was at 14-3, far too late.

Longoria hit a variety of serves in the match, but generally they all went to Herrera’s backhand.

The doubles final had the same story line as the singles final, as Herrera and Mejia were up 4-0 in game one. Longoria and Salas tied the game at 6-6, and then didn’t give up another point, pressing on to take game one, 15-6.

In game two, they were close early, and tied 3-3. It seemed that Herrera and Meija got the serve back with Longoria and Salas leading 4-3 after Herrera hit a winner. But after that rally the ball was determined to be broken, so a replay was called. That led to 10 straight points by Longoria and Salas, and a 14-3 lead.

A soft forehand winner by Mejia got her side back in the service box, and they scored a couple of points before Longoria took the serve back with a backhand cross court winner. Salas ended the match with a powerful forehand over to the right side for a winner, making it 15-5.

The LPRT will be in action again in June, when they’ll travel to Kansas for the TeamRoot.com Supermax Slam, June 18-20. If you missed any of the Sweet Caroline Open, check out the LPRT YouTube channel.

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open, April 30-May 2, 2021 Greenville, South Carolina 

Final - Sunday 

1) Paola Longoria d. 2) Alexandra Herrera, 15-12, 15-3

Doubles - Final - Sunday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia, 15-6, 15-5

 Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Longoria & Herrera to face off in both finals Sunday at the 2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open

Number 1 will play number 2 Sunday in the final of the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Sweet Caroline Open in Greenville, South Carolina, where Paola Longoria, the #1 LPRT player, will take on 2nd seed Alexandra Herrera. The two Mexican players won their respective semi-final matches on Saturday in two straight games. Longoria and Herrera will meet for the 15th time on the LPRT Sunday, and Longoria has won the previous 14 times.

Longoria defeated 13th seed Montserrat Mejia, 15-4, 15-7, in one semi, while Herrera beat 6th seed Natalia Mendez, 15-6, 15-8, in the other.

Mejia has beaten Longoria, although not on the LPRT. Thus, we expected more from their semi-final. However, Longoria rolled through game one, letting Mejia serve only three times as she went up 13-1.

Mejia called her second timeout at that point, and managed to get a few points before Longoria closed out game one, 15-4. That bit of momentum helped to set the scene for game two, which unfolded much slower.

How much slower? Consider that after 21 rallies in game two, the score was 3-3. After 21 rallies in game one, the score was 13-1.

Mejia did lead 3-0 early in game two, and even once Longoria tied it at 3-3 and went ahead 7-3, Mejia stayed relatively close until it was 10-7. After that Longoria held Mejia off the board through three service opportunities while getting the last five points to finish the game and match.

Longoria and Herrera will also face each other in the doubles final. Longoria and Samantha Salas are the top seeds, and they advanced to the final with a win over 4th seeds Gabriela Martinez and Marie Renee Rodriguez, 11-15, 15-7, 11-9, in the semi-finals. In the other semi, Herrera and Mejia beat Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott, 15-5, 15-11.

Longoria and Salas dropped the first game of a doubles match for the second straight time, and for the same reason: their opponents were on fire. Martinez and Rodriguez played very well in game one, taking leads of 5-1, 10-3 and 14-7, and held on to win 15-11.

They started well in game two also, taking a 4-0 lead. But then Longoria and Salas came back and tied it at 4-4 and 5-5 before pushing on to lead 10-5. Martinez and Rodriguez only got two more points before Longoria and Salas closed it out, 15-7, to force a tie-breaker.

In the breaker, they were back and forth early. Longoria and Salas ahead 2-0. Then Martinez and Rodriguez were up 3-2. It was 5-4 for Longoria and Salas, who then pressed on to 9-4. Martinez and Rodriguez then called their 2nd timeout.

A Martinez serve return winner got her side the serve back, and they scored five consecutive points to tie it 9-9. They lost serve with two unfortunate plays. Martinez was caught in center court and tried to keep the ball in play by hitting it to the back wall, but instead hit it out of play at 9-8. Then after Salas skipped a shot to make it 9-9, Longoria ended a scramble rally by putting the ball over to the right side, and where it hugged the wall so much Rodriguez couldn’t get her racquet on it.

With the serve back, Salas hit a drive serve that came off the right side wall, and in hitting it straight back to the front wall, Rodriguez hit Salas with the ball, leading the referee to call a penalty hinder (avoidable) against Salas. Salas appealed that it should only be a replay hinder, but the line judges agreed with the referee’s call.

That was only delaying the end, though, as Longoria and Salas got the final two points on the next two rallies. First, Longoria hit a solid forehand winner on the next rally, then Salas hit a front court winner, which ended another scramble rally with Martinez and Rodriguez putting in maximum effort to win the rally. However, it wasn’t enough on Saturday night.

Herrera and Mejia have defeated Longoria and Salas on tour, doing so three times, most notably in the final of the 2019 US Open. But they’ve lost more often, as Longoria and Salas have 13 wins over Herrera and Mejia, including their last three meetings. It should be a great final.

You can watch the LPRT Sweet Caroline Open finals live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 2 PM. All times eastern. 

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open, April 30-May 2, 2021 

Greenville, South Carolina 

Semi-finals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria d. 13) Montserrat Mejia, 15-4, 15-7
2) Alexandra Herrera d. 6) Natalia Mendez. 15-6, 15-8

Final - Sunday 

1) Paola Longoria v. 2) Alexandra Herrera - 1 PM

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 11-15, 15-7, 11-9
3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 10) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott, 15-5, 15-11

Doubles - Final - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia - 2 PM

 Follow the bouncing ball….

Longoria & Herrera through to semis at 2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open

The two top seeds are on track at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Sweet Caroline Open in Greenville, South Carolina after winning their quarterfinal matches Saturday. Paola Longoria, the #1 LPRT player, beat 8th seed Valeria Centellas, 15-2, 15-6, in one quarterfinal, and 2nd seed Alexandra Herrera defeated 7th seed Jessica Parrilla, 15-7, 14-15, 11-3, in another.

Sixth seed Natalia Mendez was the big upset winner in the quarters, as she beat 3rd seed Samantha Salas, 15-7, 15-6. Mendez will play Herrera in the semi-finals tonight.

The other quarter was between 12th seed Nancy Enriquez and 13th seed Montserrat Mejia, as they were both upset winners on Friday. After a tight two games, the tie-breaker was not close with Mejia coming out on top, 15-14, 13-15, 11-1, so she’ll play Longoria in the second semi tonight.

In doubles, the top seeds are into the semis, but the 2nd seeds aren’t. Longoria and Salas are seeded #1, and they had their hands full with 9th seeds Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajisch, who won game one of their match, 15-3, as Lotts was on fire. She didn’t get as many chances to shoot the ball in game two, as Longoria stepped it up, especially with her drive serves to Rajsich, who had quite a bit of trouble with them. Game two went to Longoria and Salas, 15-5.

A match that goes tie-breaker after two lopsided games is often close, although that didn’t look likely here as Longoria and Salas took a 6-0 lead. But Lotts and Rajsich kept at it, and when they got to within three at 8-5, Longoria and Salas called a timeout.

Rajsich and Lotts got one more point, but then surrendered the serve, down 8-6. A Longoria drive serve crack ace made the score 9-6 and she hit a winner on the next rally to put her side on match point at 10-6. But Rajisch got her side back in the service box with a winning serve return, driving the ball cross court.

Lotts then stepped up and hit two winners of her own to make the score 10-8, so Longoria and Salas called another timeout. When play resumed, Lotts had a great opportunity to hit another winner off a short ceiling ball in the middle of the court, but she skipped it. Oops.

On the next rally, a ball came over to the deep right side, and Salas chose to hold up feeling Lotts was in the way. The referee called a replay, but Salas appealed for an avoidable and the line judges agreed, overturning the referee’s call, and taking Rajisch and Lotts out of the service box. The play was a bit outside of the view of the video feed, so it wasn’t clear how close the ball was to Lotts.

Given a second match opportunity, Longoria and Salas took advantage, as they won it on the next rally with Longoria smashing the ball cross court with her forehand from the front court.

They’ll play 4th seeds Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez in the semi-finals tonight, as Martinez and Rodriguez beat 5th seeds Nancy Enriquez and Carla Muñoz, 15-14, 15-5.

Tenth seeds Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott got the upset of the quarters with a win over 2nd seeds Valeria Centellas and Mendez, 15-12, 9-15, 11-7. They’ll play the 3rd seeds Herrera and Mejia, who also needed a tie-breaker to win their quarterfinal versus 6th seeds Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros, 15-1, 11-15, 11-1.

You can watch the LPRT Sweet Caroline Open live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The singles semi-finals will be Saturday evening at 6 and 7 PM and the doubles semis at 8 and 9 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 2 PM. All times eastern. 

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open, April 30-May 2, 2021 

Greenville, South Carolina 

Quarterfinals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria d. 8) Valeria Centellas, 15-2, 15-6
13) Montserrat Mejia d. 12) Nancy Enriquez, 15-14, 13-15, 11-1

6) Natalia Mendez d. 3) Samantha Salas, 15-7, 15-6
2) Alexandra Herrera d. 7) Jessica Parrilla, 15-7, 14-15, 11-3

Semi-finals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria v. 13) Montserrat Mejia - 7 PM
2) Alexandra Herrera v. 6) Natalia Mendez - 6 PM

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 9) Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich, 3-15, 15-5, 11-8
4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 5) Nancy Enriquez & Carla Muñoz, 15-14, 15-5

3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 6) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros, 15-1, 11-15, 11-1
10) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott d. 2) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez, 15-12, 9-15, 11-7

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 9 PM
3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia v. 10) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott - 8 PM

 Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, April 30, 2021

Longoria survives a scare at 2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open

Paola Longoria, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) survived a scare against 16th seed Kelani Lawrence in the Round of 16 at the Sweet Caroline Open in Greenville, South Carolina Friday night, as she won 15-5, 15-13, but was down big in game two. Longoria will play 8th seed Valeria Centellas in the quarterfinals Saturday, as Centellas beat Carla Muñoz, 15-10, 15-9, in the 16s Friday.

Longoria rarely finds herself behind in a game, but she was 10 points behind Lawrence in game two, when Lawrence led 12-2. Longoria took time outs at 5-2 and 9-2, but Lawrence kept piling up the points. She did so with a variety of serves and some solid winners. Longoria made some uncharacteristic errors also, but that wasn’t main story. Lawrence’s play was.

Longoria turned the match around by switching to a half lob serve to Lawrence’s backhand, and Lawrence’s returns were not good enough. Initially, she took some of those serves early, including short hopping the ball. But that wasn’t very effective, and then Lawrence hit some around the wall returns, which was a passive strategy that helped Longoria get back on track by providing her set ups for winners.

With momentum all on Longoria’s side, Lawrence did manage to get the serve back at 12-11, and scored a point with a backhand winner to make it 13-11. That suggested she might force a tie-breaker, but on the next rally Longoria hit a winner of her own, and then tied the game 13-13.

Lawrence called a timeout, but to no avail, as she didn’t serve again. Longoria closed it out on the next two rallies with the match winning point coming after a mishit by Lawrence that skipped.

Both upsets in the 16s came in the same bracket, as the 4th and 5th seeds went out. Montserrat Mejia, the 13th seed, defeated 4th seed Angelica Barrios, 15-12, 15-14, and 12th seed Nancy Enriquez beat 5th seed Rhonda Rajsich, 15-7, 15-6. Thus, Enriquez and Mejia will play each other in the quarters and one will be a semi-finalist.

It was chalk on the other side of the draw with the higher seeds winning all the matches. Second seed Alexandra Herrera beat 18th seed Sheryl Lotts, 15-11, 15-9, and will play 7th seed Jessica Parrilla in the quarters, as Parrilla was a winner over 10th seed Cristina Amaya, 9-15, 15-8, 11-8. Also, 3rd seed Samantha Salas wiil take on 6th seed Natalia Mendez, as Salas defeated 19th seed Brenda Laime, 15-14, 15-9, and Mendez was a winner over 11th seed Gabriela Martinez, 15-7, 15-10.

Mendez was using a backhand drive serve for much of the match against Martinez, and standing close to the left side drive serve line. It seemed like she was breaking the plane indicated by that line, which would be an automatic screen serve, but it was never called in the match, and Martinez didn’t contest it.

You can watch the LPRT Sweet Caroline Open live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The singles quarterfinals will be at 11 AM and noon Saturday with the doubles quarters at 1 and 2 PM. The singles semi-finals are Saturday evening at 6 and 7 PM and the doubles semis at 8 and 9 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 2 PM. All times eastern. 

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open, April 30-May 2, 2021 

Greenville, South Carolina 

Round of 16 - Friday 

1) Paola Longoria d. 16) Kalani Lawrence, 15-5, 15-13
8) Valeria Centellas d. 9) Carla Muñoz, 15-10, 15-9

12) Nancy Enriquez d. 5) Rhonda Rajsich, 15-7, 15-6
13) Montserrat Mejia d. 4) Angelica Barrios, 15-12, 15-14

3) Samantha Salas d. 19) Brenda Laime, 15-14, 15-9
6) Natalia Mendez d. 11) Gabriela Martinez, 15-7, 15-10

7) Jessica Parrilla d. 10) Cristina Amaya, 9-15, 15-8, 11-8
2) Alexandra Herrera d. 18) Sheryl Lotts, 15-11, 15-9

Quarterfinals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria v. 8) Valeria Centellas - Noon
12) Nancy Enriquez v. 13) Montserrat Mejia - Noon

3) Samantha Salas v. 6) Natalia Mendez - 11 AM
2) Alexandra Herrera v. 7) Jessica Parrilla - 11 AM

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 9) Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich - 2 PM
4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 5) Nancy Enriquez & Carla Muñoz - 2 PM

3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia v. 6) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - 1 PM
2) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez v. 10) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott - 1 PM

 Follow the bouncing ball….

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open - Early Rounds

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour’s (LPRT’s) Sweet Caroline Open is underway in Greenville, South Carolina. This one snuck up on us, so we’re a little late to the party, and already there have been some results.

The notable first round result was Linda Tyler’s win over Jenny Daza, 15-12, 3-15, 11-10. Daza is a veteran player, who’s been on the podium for Bolivia, so that’s a great win for Tyler. There were some upsets in Round of 32 also, including Brenda Laime’s win over Adriana Riveros, 15-11, 15-11, and Sheryl Lotts defeat of Maria Renee Rodriguez, 12-15, 15-14, 11-8.

LPRT #1 Paola Longoria won her first match over Tyler, 15-2, 15-8, in the 32s, and she’ll play Kelani Lawrence in the Round of 16 tonight. Lawrence beat Hollie Scott, 15-11, 15-7, in the 32s.

Thirty five players are competing in Greenville, which is a good turnout. But it’s not just the quantity of player that’s impressive, it’s the quality. Eighteen of the top 20 players are in the draw. After Longoria, Alexandra Herrera is the 2nd seed with Samantha Salas 3rd and Angelica Barrios 4th. LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas is absent, as she recently had her second child.

They are also playing doubles in Greenville. Longoria and Samantha Salas are the top seeds, and they have a first round bye as there are 15 teams in the doubles draw. We thought the highlight match of the first round would be 4th seeds Gabriela Martinez and Rodriguez versus Barrilos and Daza, who were seeded 13th, but Martinez and Rodriguez made short work of the match, winning 15-2, 15-6. They’ll take on Nancy Enriquez and Carla Muñoz in the quarterfinals Saturday, as Enriquez and Muñoz held on against Ana Laura Flores and Micaela Meneses, winning 15-6, 13-15, 11-6.

One upset in doubles, as 10th seeds Kelani Lawrence and Hollie Scott came back from a game down to defeat 7th seeds Jessica Parrilla and Montserrat Perez, 14-15, 15-11, 11-3. Lawrence and Scott will play 2nd seeds Valeria Centellas and Natalia Mendez in the quarters after Centellas and Mendez beat Susana Acosta and Linda Tyler in the Round of 16, 15-5, 15-7.

You can watch the LPRT Sweet Caroline Open live via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page). The Round of 16 begins at 6 PM Friday, with the quarterfinals at 11 AM and noon Saturday. beginning Friday at 9 AM. Doubles begins at 3 PM Friday with the Round of 16 followed by the quarterfinals at 1 and 2 PM Saturday afternoon. The singles semi-finals are Saturday afternoon at 6 and 7 PM and the doubles semis at 8 and 9 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday with the doubles final to follow at 2 PM. All times eastern. 

2021 LPRT Sweet Caroline Open, April 30-May 2, 2021 

Greenville, South Carolina 

Round of 64 - Friday 

33) Linda Tyler d. 32) Jenny Daza, 15-12, 3-15, 11-10
35) Montserrat Perez d. 30) Naomi Ros, 11-15, 15-8, 11-0
31) Erika Manilla d. 34) Maricruz Ortiz, forfeit  

Round of 32 - Friday 

1) Paola Longoria d. 33) Linda Tyler, 15-2, 15-8
16) Kalani Lawrence d. 17) Hollie Scott, 15-11, 15-7

9) Carla Muñoz d. 24) Graci Wargo, 15-4, 15-4
8) Valeria Centellas d. 25) Lucia Gonzalez, 15-11, 15-9

5) Rhonda Rajsich d. 28) Shane Diaz, 15-8, 15-7
12) Nancy Enriquez d. 21) Ana Laura Flores, 15-4, 15-3

13) Montserrat Mejia d. 20) Susana Acosta, 15-3, 15-5
4) Angelica Barrios d. 29) Daniela Rico, 15-14, 12-15, 11-3

3) Samantha Salas d. 35) Montserrat Perez, 15-4, 15-11
19) Brenda Laime d. 14) Adriana Riveros, 15-11, 15-11

11) Gabriela Martinez d. 22) Micaela Meneses, 15-4, 15-4
6) Natalia Mendez v. 27) Erin Slutzky, 15-4, 15-7

7) Jessica Parrilla d. 26) Jessica Chen, 15-2, 15-10
10) Cristina Amaya d. 23) Adrienne Haynes, 15-4, 15-3

18) Sheryl Lotts d. 15) Maria Renee Rodriguez, 12-15, 15-14, 11-8
2) Alexandra Herrera d. 31) Erika Manilla, 15-2, 15-8  

Round of 16 - Friday 

1) Paola Longoria v. 16) Kalani Lawrence - 8 PM
8) Valeria Centellas v. 9) Carla Muñoz - 8 PM

5) Rhonda Rajsich v. 12) Nancy Enriquez - 6 PM
4) Angelica Barrios v. 13) Montserrat Mejia - 6 PM

3) Samantha Salas v. 19) Brenda Laime
6) Natalia Mendez v. 11) Gabriela Martinez - 7 PM

7) Jessica Parrilla v. 10) Cristina Amaya - 7 PM
2) Alexandra Herrera v. 18) Sheryl Lotts - 7 PM  

Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE 
9) Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich d. 8) Brenda Laime & Lucia Gonzalez, 15-"94" [sic], 14-15, 11-10

5) Nancy Enriquez & Carla Muñoz d. 12) Ana Laura Flores & Micaela Meneses, 15-6, 13-15, 11-6
4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 13) Angelica Barrios & Jenny Daza, 15-2, 15-6 

3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 14) Shane Diaz & Naomi Ros, 15-4, 15-13  
6) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros d. 11) Jessica Chen & Megan Shelton, 15-7, 15-7 

10) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott d. 7) Jessica Parrilla & Montserrat Perez, 14-15, 15-11, 11-3 
2) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez d. 15) Susana Acosta & Linda Tyler, 15-5, 15-7 

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Saturday 

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 9) Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich - 2 PM
4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 5) Nancy Enriquez & Carla Muñoz - 2 PM

3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia v. 6) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - 1 PM
2) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez v. 10) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott - 1 PM

 Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, January 18, 2021

The astonishing Mr. Murray

A week on and it’s still astonishing to think that Samuel Murray is an International Racquetball Tour (IRT) champion. Not astonishing because of the luck involved. Luck played little role in Murray’s win, as he defeated Javier Mar, Daniel De La Rosa, Alejandro Landa, and Conrrado Moscoso to win the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am title in Lilburn, Georgia last weekend. The last three of those players - De La Rosa, Landa and Moscoso - have all won IRT events and have nine titles between them (4, 4, 1, respectively). Murray beat them, so now he joins them as an IRT champion.

Rather it’s astonishing because few saw it coming. Indeed, in the IRT pre-tournament discussion Dean Baer, Todd Boss and Favio Soto were unanimous in their prediction of a Murray loss to Mar in the Round of 16 (prediction at 44' of video). So, none of them even thought Murray would play one of those past champions, because they didn’t have Murray getting out of the 16s! To be fair, in the fantasy entries only one of 22 entries had Murray getting past the quarterfinals with 7 of 22 having him lose to Mar and 13 having him lose to De La Rosa.

Astonishing because of where Murray's come from. He grew up in Baie-Comeau, Québec (~21,000 population) on the north shore of the St Lawrence River some 700 km (420 miles) east of Montreal. You wouldn’t pick Baie-Comeau as the origin of a star in any sport, let alone in racquetball, but as a coach we know likes to say “they have to come from somewhere.” So Murray's win is a real "small town boy does good" story.

Astonishing because when Murray was a junior no one was thinking "Sam’s going to be an IRT champion." He was overshadowed by Coby Iwaasa, who was a phenomenal junior player. Murray did beat Iwaasa to win U16 at the 2010 Canadian Junior Championships, though Iwaasa is three years younger than Murray. He didn’t win U18 singles in Canada, and didn’t win any titles at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships.

But Murray persisted. In 2014, he won his 1st Canadian title by teaming with Vincent Gagnon to win Men’s Doubles at the Canadian Championships. Another Men’s Doubles title came in 2016 (with Pedro Castro), and that win helped Murray go to the 2016 IRF World Championships. He was the only Canadian man to come home from that Worlds with a medal: a bronze in Men’s Singles, which was Murray’s first medal for Canada.

Murray followed up that success by starting to play the IRT full time in the 2016-17 season. He only made it past the 16s twice that season - one quarterfinal and one semi-final - and finished ranked 14th. Not the kind of results that would make you think that he would win an IRT event, let alone that “Murray could be #1” someday, which is the kind of talk that has surrounded the likes of De La Rosa and Moscoso from the time they started on tour.

He’s only missed two events over the past four seasons, and been in the top ten each of the last three seasons, including making his first final in September 2018. There’s a common saying that success is a lot about showing up, and Murray has continued to show up.

In doing so, he’s achieved something few other players - and only one other Canadian - has achieved: an IRT title. What other astonishing achievements will be in Murray's future?

Probably more than we think.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, January 11, 2021

Acuña wins Men's Open, Meneses Men's Elite at Suivant Consulting Pro-Am

Andres Acuña won Men’s Open on the weekend at the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia. Acuña defeated Alan Natera, 6-15, 15-12, 11-8, in the final. In the semi-finals, Andres Acuña beat Alejandro Herrera, 15-4, 15-12, while Natera knocked of Gabriel Garcia, 15-11, 11-4.

Garcia was a surprise semi-finalist, as he was seeded 31st. But he knocked off 2nd seed Mario Mercado in the Round of 32, 8-15, 15-11, 11-8, and then had convincing wins over 15th seed Dylan Pruitt, 15-4, 15-3, in the Round of 16 and 7th seed Majeed Shahin, 15-2, 15-7, in the quarterfinals, before falling to Natera.

Men’s Open Doubles

In the Men’s Open Doubles final, Kadim Carrasco and Conrrado Moscoso defeated Natera and Javier Estrada, 10-15, 15-13, 11-5. Much was made of Moscoso playing Open Doubles, as that was his 3rd division - along with International Racquetball Tour (IRT) singles and doubles, which he also played with Carrasco - and people questioned whether it would hamper his performance in IRT singles, which is the most prestigious division.

Maybe less would have been said if Moscoso had won singles, but, of course, he lost to Samual Murray in the final, 11-9 in the breaker. Yet can we blame him for playing Open Doubles? There was $1000 to the winner of Open Doubles, which undoubtedly helped out his pal Carrasco. They lost in the quarterfinals of IRT Doubles, as they were seeded 5th and drawn against 4th seeds Alejandro Landa and Sudsy Monchik, who won in a breaker, putting Moscoso and Carrasco out of the money.

So, the Open Doubles money may have been the only money Carrasco won on the weekend. He lost in the Round of 32 of singles, and usually only the Round of 16 pays out. But this was a Grand Slam event, so it might have been different.

Given that they travelled from Bolivia to be at the tournament - not an inexpensive trip we assume - it’s difficult to suggest that they shouldn’t have thrown their hats in the Open Doubles ring.

Meneses wins Men’s Elite

We don’t often mention Men’s Elite results on The Racquetball Blog, but this weekend’s Men’s Elite division wasn’t won by a man, or even a woman, as Micaela Meneses is still a junior. She was entered in U18, though lost to top seed Andrew Gleason in the quarters.

But in Elite, Meneses, a young player from Bolivia who was seeded 20th, defeated Chad Beacher, 15-10, 11-15, 11-2, in the final. In the semi-finals, Meneses beat top seed Benjamin Horner, 15-6, 15-8, in the semi-finals, and in the quarters squeaked by Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) regular Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-14, 15-14.

Meneses also won Mixed Open Doubles, as she and Landa defeated Rodriguez and Shane Karmelin, 8-15, 15-12, 11-1, in the last game of a three team round robin. Earlier, they’d beaten Aaron Booker and Kanesha Madison, 15-8, 15-5.

What's next?

When will we see pro racquetball next? The IRT hopes to play the 36th Annual Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois March 11-14, and the LPRT’s next event is the Sweet Caroline Open, April 29-May 2. But those both depend on COVID conditions, and who knows what that will be like in two or three months time?

Until then, we recommend checking out the matches from the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am. From the quarterfinals on, only one singles match didn’t go tie-breaker - and that was a 15-11, 15-13 result, and all the last three doubles matches - both semis and the final - went breaker. You can check all of that out at the IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Men’s Open Final

1) Andres Acuña d. 3) Alan Natera, 6-15, 15-12, 11-8

Semi-finals

1) Andres Acuña d. 5) Alejandro Herrera, 15-4, 15-12
3) Alan Natera d. 31) Gabriel Garcia, 15-11, 11-4

Quarterfinals

1) Andres Acuña d. 8) Joe Kelley, 15-14, 15-6
5) Alejandro Herrera d. 4) Set Cubillos, 15-6, 15-11

3) Alan Natera d. 11) Matt Fontana, 15-3, 15-9
31) Gabriel Garcia d. 7) Majeed Shahin, 15-2, 11-7

Men’s Open Doubles Final

1) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso d. 3) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera, 10-15, 15-13, 11-5

Semi-finals

1) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso d. Erick Cuevas Fernandez, 15-7, 7-15, 11-8
3) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera d. 2) Maurice Miller & Troy Warigon, 15-6, 15-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Murray gets 1st IRT win at 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am

Samuel Murray won the 2021 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia Sunday as he defeated 7th seed Conrrado Moscoso in the final, 15-7, 8-15, 11-9. The win is Murray’s 1st IRT title, and he becomes the 41st player to win an IRT event. Murray’s the first new IRT winner since Moscoso won his first in March 2019 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Afterwards, Murray said he was “trying to stay in the moment,” and “take one point at a time,” and really didn’t know how he was able to win. But Murray was “really happy” he was able to make it to Lilburn, as there are some travel rules going to and from Canada because of the COVID pandemic.

Murray has been able to play at home, as some courts were open. His brother also plays, so the two of them did some training together, and Murray tried to stay in shape generally, hoping for a racquetball event to happen.

His hopes were answered, and the result? “C’est incroyable,” said Murray.

Early on, it looked like it would go the other way, as Moscoso scored the first four points of the match. But Murray got on the board with a drive serve ace to the right side, one of the few drive serves he hit in the match. Murray relied on a variety of lob serves and a Z serve to the left side - Moscosco’s backhand.

But Murray went from 4-0 and 5-2 down to 11-5 up. Moscoso got a couple points more before Murray closed out game one, 15-7.

Moscoso did what great players do after losing a game. He stepped it up in game two, again going to a 5-2 lead. Yet again Murray responded, as he scored six straight points to take the lead 8-5.

But Murray didn’t score any more points in game two, as Moscoso put up 10 unanswered points to level the match at a game a piece.

The breaker was close all the way with the lead going back and forth. Murray led 3-1. Moscoso led 6-3. Murray led 7-6. And Moscoso led 9-8. Murray called a timeout.

He got the serve back with a forehand return of a lob serve that he short hopped. Murray tied the game with a backhand that ended a scramble rally. They went back and forth, and then Moscoso got hit by the ball that gave Murray his 10th point.

On his first match point opportunity, Murray lob served to the left, so Moscoso drove the ball hard and low cross court. Murray dove forward to get the ball and rekilled it for the match winning point. A great end to a great match.

Murray is the 2nd Canadian player, after Kane Waselenchuk, to win an IRT event. He did so in his second IRT final. He was also a finalist in Laurel, Maryland, where Murray lost to Rocky Carson.

If you missed any of the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am action, check out the IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. There were some great matches that are well worth seeing - or seeing again.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Final - Sunday

5) Samuel Murray d. 7) Conrrado Moscoso, 15-7, 8-15, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Moscoso & Murray into the final at 2021 IRT Suivant Consulting Pro-Am

Consistent with the rest of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia, both semi-finals went to a tie-breaker and were won by the lower seeds. Fifth seed Samuel Murray came back from a game down to narrowly defeat top seed Alejandro Landa, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10. He’ll play 7th seed Conrrado Moscoso in the final, as Moscoso beat 6th seed Eduardo Portillo in the other semi, 15-2, 14-15, 11-2.

The doubles final also went to a tie-breaker. Fourth seeds Landa and Sudsy Monchik defeated 6th seeds Sebastian Franco and Eduardo Garay, 15-12, 14-15, 11-6. Landa and Monchik are the current USA Doubles Champions, so their win will bolster confidence for any international events that happen this year.

The Suivant Consulting Pro-Am final can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The singles final is noon Sunday Eastern time.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Semi-finals - Saturday

5) Samuel Murray d. 1) Alejandro Landa, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10
7) Conrrado Moscoso d. 6) Eduardo Portillo, 15-2, 14-15, 11-2

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik d. 6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay, 15-12, 14-15, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

Landa only seed to avoid upset in quarters at 2021 IRT Suivart Consulting Pro-Am

In four quarterfinal matches at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia, the only higher seed to win was Alejandro Landa, who is the top seed. Yet even his match wasn't easy, as Jake Bredenbeck pushed Landa hard in their match. However, the top seed came out on top in two straight games, 15-11, 15-13.

None of the other quarterfinal matches ended in two straight games, and the lower ranked player won all three. Second seed Rocky Carson was upset by 7th seed Conrrado Moscoso, 11-15, 15-12, 11-4. Third seed Andree Parrilla fell to 6th seed Eduardo Portillo, who’s also Parrilla’s doubles partner, 15-12, 14-15, 11-8. And 4th seed Daniel De La Rosa lost to 5th seed Samuel Murray, 14-15, 15-6, 11-9.

Although the Carson-Moscoso breaker looked lop-sided, they were close early on with ties at 2, 3 and 4. It took 18 rallies to get to 4-4. But from there, Moscoso took over, holding Carson scoreless. The run started with a drive serve ace, and during it Carson only served twice, as Moscoso piled up the points to win the breaker, 11-4, hitting a forehand winner from the back left corner down the line to end it.

Parrilla had the momentum early in his breaker with Portillo, having won the second game. He went up 5-1 in game three. But the younger Portillo came back and took the lead 8-5, which prompted a timeout by Parrilla.

He got a sideout when play resumed, and scored three points to tie the game at 8-8. Then Portillo called a timeout. From there, Portillo closed it out, although the winning point was a gift, as Parrilla was in the front court, and tried to make a backhand touch shot into the left court, but it skipped. Oops.

Finally, the Murray-De La Rosa match was close in both game one and three. It was close early in game two, also, but when Murray got ahead in the middle of that game, De La Rosa seemed like he decided to save some energy for the tie-breaker.

In their breaker, the lead went back and forth with ties at 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. From 7-7 to the end took 21 rallies. They went back and forth eight times when De La Rosa led 9-8. That stalemate was broken when De La Rosa skipped a backhand shot.

De La Rosa did get the serve back on the next rally by hitting a backhand return winner from a Murray Z serve. However, Murray prevented him scoring with a forehand wide angle winner. Murray then won the next rally with a great backhand pinch shot from deep in the court. De La Rosa gave Murray the win by just missing on a forehand pinch shot, making the final 11-9.

The Suivant Consulting Pro-Am matches can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The singles semi-finals will be at 5 and 6 PM with final at noon Sunday. The doubles final is Saturday night at 8 PM. All times Eastern.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Alejandro Landa d. 8) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-11, 15-13
5) Samuel Murray d. 4) Daniel De La Rosa, 14-15, 15-6, 11-9

6) Eduardo Portillo d. 3) Andree Parrilla, 15-12, 14-15, 11-8
7) Conrrado Moscoso d. 2) Rocky Carson, 11-15, 15-12, 11-4

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alejandro Landa v. 5) Samuel Murray - 6 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo v. 7) Conrrado Moscoso - 5 PM

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik v. 6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay - 8 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, January 8, 2021

Landa squeaks into quarters at 2021 IRT Suivant Consulting Pro-Am

Alejandro Landa, the top seed at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia, got pushed to the limit in the Round of 16 Friday by Javier Estrada, as they went to a tie-breaker. But in the end Landa came through, winning 15-11, 1-15, 11-9. Estrada had leads in the breaker at 4-2 and 8-7, and held off three matches points. But Landa got it done.

Landa got the serve back for his fourth match point opportunity with a backhand pinch shot that ended a rally where Estrada had chances to end it, but didn’t. Landa got the last point by driving serving to Estrada’s backhand, and forcing him into a skipping the return.

In other action, 2nd seed Rocky Carson beat Adam Manilla, 15-6, 15-12, to move on to the quarters, where he’ll play 7th seed Conrrado Moscoso, who defeated 10th seed Mario Mercado, 15-11, 15-6.

As in the Round of 32, there were no upsets in the Round of 16. There were two other tie-breakers though to go with Landa’s three game victory. Fifth seed Samuel Murray had to come back from a game down to defeat 12th seed Javier Mar, 6-15, 15-11, 11-7. Also, 6th seed Eduardo Portillo needed three games to get past 11th seed Thomas Carter, 15-5, 11-15, 11-2.

In the quarters, Murray will play 4th seed Daniel De La Rosa, who beat 13th seed Eduardo Garay, 15-7, 15-1, while Portillo faces 3rd seed Andree Parrilla, a straight game winner over 14th seed Andres Acuña, 15-1, 15-4.

Doubles semi-finals

The doubles semi-finals were both gooders with the same storyline. One team lost the first game by a lot, yet then won a close second game, and ran away with the breaker. In the second semi-final, top seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Samuel Murray won the first game only to see Alejandro Landa and Sudsy Monchik come back to win, 5-15, 15-12, 11-3.

In the first, 6th seeds Sebastian Franco and Eduardo Garay came back from a game down and 14-10 down in game two to beat Andree Parrilla and Edurado Portillo, 6-15, 15-14, 11-4.

It looked like Bredenbeck and Murray would win two straight, as they dominated in game one, and then had a big lead in game two at 11-3. But Landa and Monchik called a timeout at that point. Cue the comeback, as they got the serve back after that, and put a couple points on the board.

Bredenbeck and Murray got the serve back leading 11-5, but could only put one more up on the board before surrendering the serve back to Landa and Monchik, who chalked up ten unanswered points to level the match at one game a piece.

In the breaker, they were tied at 1, 2 and 3. It looked like they would be tied 4-4 also, as Landa and Monchik were up 4-3 and then surrendered the serve. However, Bredenbeck skipped shots on the next two rallies, so his side failed to score. A Monchik forehand made the score 5-3, but they gave up the serve again.

Yet again Bredenbeck and Murray couldn’t score, as Monchik hit another forehand winner and Bredenbeck skipped another shot. Landa and Monchik served it out from there with Monchik hitting four winners, including an incredible backhand splat from 39 feet.

In the first doubles semi, Franco and Garay actually scored 16 points in game two, as they were assessed a game delay technical at the start of the game, so began it down 0 to -1. They were down 14-10, when Franco took over the play with some savvy serving. He hit half lob and lob serves in the middle and to the left side, which he and Portillo were playing on, and the variation seemed to put off the younger team.

Franco also hit great shots to help win game two. But then in the breaker, Garay stepped up, and hit seven winners, including a great pinch shot that get them the serve back at 10-4. He followed that up with the match winning wide angle pass shot on the next rally.

The Suivant Consulting Pro-Am matches can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The singles quarterfinals will begin Saturday at 10 AM with the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday. The doubles semi-finals will be Friday at 7 and 8 PM with finals Saturday night at 8 PM. All times Eastern.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa d. 16) Javier Estrada, 15-11, 1-15, 11-9
8) Jake Bredenbeck d. 9) Sebastian Franco, 15-6, 15-10

5) Samuel Murray d. 12) Javier Mar, 6-15, 15-11, 11-7
4) Daniel De La Rosa d. 13) Eduardo Garay, 15-7, 15-1

3) Andree Parrilla d. 14) Andres Acuña, 15-1, 15-4
6) Eduardo Portillo d. 11) Thomas Carter, 15-5, 11-15, 11-2

7) Conrrado Moscoso d. 10) Mario Mercado, 15-11, 15-6
2) Rocky Carson d. 15) Adam Manilla, 15-6, 15-12

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Alejandro Landa v. 8) Jake Bredenbeck - 1 PM
4) Daniel De La Rosa v. 5) Samuel Murray - Noon

3) Andree Parrilla v. 6) Eduardo Portillo - 10 AM
2) Rocky Carson v. 7) Conrrado Moscoso - 11 AM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck & Samuel Murray, 5-15, 15-12, 11-3
6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay d. 2) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo, 6-15, 15-14, 11-4

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik v. 6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay - 8 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Round of 32 at 2021 IRT Suivant Consulting Pro-Am

Top seed Alejandro Landa won his first match at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia Friday, as he defeated Gabriel Garcia, 15-8, 15-8. He’ll face 16th seed Javier Estrada in the Round of 16 Friday afternoon, after Estrada beat his doubles partner Alan Natera, 15-12, 15-10, in the 32s.

Also winning Friday morning was 2nd seed Rocky Carson, who beat Andrew Gleason, 15-5, 15-4. He’ll play fellow American Adam Manilla in the 16s, as Manilla defeated Felipe Camacho, 15-8, 15-4, earlier.

In fact, there were no upsets in the 32s, but there were a couple of tie-breakers. Sam Bredenbeck, the 19th seed, won the first game versus 14th seed Andres Acuña, but Acuña came back to win, 13-15, 15-10, 11-5. Bredenbeck seemed to have found a serve Acuña didn’t like - a half lob to Acuña’s backhand - late in game one, which helped him win it, yet Bredenbeck didn’t hit that serve much in the rest of the match.

Also, 11th seed Thomas Carter had a battle with 22nd seed Kadim Carrasco, but pulled it out in the end, winning 15-10, 12-15, 11-8. Next up for Carter is Eduardo Portillo, who was a winner over Sebastian Longoria, 15-7, 15-3.

The Suivant Consulting Pro-Am matches can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. Friday afternoon will have the singles Round of 16 at 4 and 5 PM. The singles quarterfinals will begin Saturday at 10 AM with the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday. The doubles semi-finals will be Friday at 7 and 8 PM with finals Saturday night at 8 PM. All times Eastern.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa d. 33) Gabriel Garcia, 15-8, 15-8
16) Javier Estrada d. 17) Alan Natera, 15-12, 15-10

9) Sebastian Franco d. 24) Erick Cuevas Fernandez, 15-8, 15-14
8) Jake Bredenbeck d. 24) Joe Kelley, 15-7, 15-1

5) Samuel Murray d. 28) Majeed Shahin, 15-3, 15-0
12) Javier Mar d. 44) Timmy Hansen, 15-2, 15-6

13) Eduardo Garay d. 20) Set Cubillos, 15-6, 15-9
4) Daniel De La Rosa d. 36) Erick Trujillo, 15-5, 15-1

3) Andree Parrilla d. 35) Sergio Acuña, 15-4, 15-5
14) Andres Acuña d. 19) Sam Bredenbeck, 13-15, 15-10, 11-5

11) Thomas Carter d. 22) Kadim Carrasco, 15-10, 12-15, 11-8
6) Eduardo Portillo d. 38) Sebastian Longoria, 15-7, 15-3

7) Conrrado Moscoso d. 26) Alejandro Herrera, 15-2, 15-2
10) Mario Mercado d. 23) Mauricio Zelada, 15-6, 15-8

15) Adam Manilla d. 18) Felipe Camacho, 15-8, 15-4
2) Rocky Carson d. 31) Andrew Gleason, 15-5, 15-4

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa v. 16) Javier Estrada - 5 PM
8) Jake Bredenbeck v. 9) Sebastian Franco - 5 PM

5) Samuel Murray v. 12) Javier Mar - 5 PM
4) Daniel De La Rosa v. 13) Eduardo Garay - 5 PM

3) Andree Parrilla v. 14) Andres Acuña - 4 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo v. 11) Thomas Carter - 4 PM

7) Conrrado Moscoso v. 10) Mario Mercado - 4 PM
2) Rocky Carson v. 15) Adam Manilla - 4 PM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Samuel Murray v. 4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik - 8 PM
2) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo v. 6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Round of 64 at 2021 IRT Suivant Consulting Pro-Am

No big upsets in the Round of 64 at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia, on Thursday, but there were some tie-breakers. The closest match was Sergio Acuña’s win over Austin Cunningham, as Acuña came from a game down to win in three, 13-15, 15-13, 11-7. Acuña will play 3rd seed Andree Parrilla in the Round of 32 Friday morning.

Like Acuña, the other two breakers were also won by the player who lost game one. Sam Bredenbeck came back to defeat Brennan Jennings, 9-15, 15-11, 11-4, and Andrew Gleason did the same against Miguel Angel Arteaga Guzman, 5-15, 15-5, 11-7. Bredenbeck will play Andres Acuña in the 32s, while Gleason faces 2nd seed Rocky Carson.

The lowest seed to advance was Timmy Hansen, who was seeded 44th, but upset 21st seed Scott McClellan, 15-12, 15-11. Hansen will play 12th seed Javier Mar in the 32s Friday.

Doubles

The doubles match everyone wanted to see - 4th seeds Alejandro Landa and Sudsy Monchik versus 5th seeds Kadim Carrasco and Conrrado Moscoso did not disappoint, as they went to a breaker with Landa and Monchik pulling it out, 15-7, 4-15, 11-8.

After they split the first two games, the tie-breaker was close all the way, as the teams traded the lead back and forth and were tied at 4-4 and 8-8. Then Landa got an ace serve by hitting a drive Z that stuck in the back right corner. Monchik hit a backhand splat winner on the next rally to get them to match point at 10-8.

A couple of hinders and then Moscoso hit a shot to the front left corner that Landa thought he got to before two bounces, but the referee thought otherwise. However, that only put Landa and Monchik half down. On the ensuing rally, Monchik hit the ball into Moscoso, who was in the middle of the court, so an avoidable or penalty hinder was called. That call finished the game and match for Landa and Monchik.

The win put Landa and Monchik in the semi-finals, where they’ll play top seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Samuel Murray, who also needed a tie-breaker to win their quarterfinal match against 8th seeds Andres Acuña and Felipe Camacho, coming back to win 13-15, 15-9, 11-1.

Earlier, a highlight of first round action was 6th seed Sebastian Franco and Eduardo Garay’s win over 11th seeds Javier Estrada and Alan Natera, 15-14, 15-10. Franco and Garay were charged a technical late in game one, as they took a timeout that they didn’t have. That helped Estrada and Natera take a 14-11 lead, but Franco and Garay stopped the bleeding, and then scored four unanswered points to win the game, 15-14. The momentum helped them take the match in two straight games.

Watch the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am matches via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. Friday will begin with the singles Round of 32 starting at 10 AM and the Round of 16 at 4 and 5 PM. The singles quarterfinals will begin Saturday at 10 AM with the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday. The doubles semi-finals will be Friday at 7 and 8 PM with finals Saturday night at 8 PM. All times Eastern.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Round of 64 - Thursday

1) Alejandro Landa - BYE
33) Gabriel Garcia d. 32) Destry Everhart, 15-9, 15-9

17) Alan Natera v. 48) Jordan Deeney, 15-4, 15-8
16) Javier Estrada - BYE

9) Sebastian Franco - BYE
24) Erick Cuevas Fernandez d. 41) Roberto Castro, 15-0, 15-8

24) Joe Kelley d. 40) Kalyan Kosetty, 15-3, 15-6
8) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE

5) Samuel Murray - BYE
28) Majeed Shahin d. 37) Jimmy Lan, 15-9, 15-2

44) Timmy Hansen d. 21) Scott McClellan, 15-12, 15-11
12) Javier Mar - BYE

13) Eduardo Garay - BYE
20) Set Cubillos d. 45) Cody Thomas, 15-2, 15-3

36) Erick Trujillo d. 29) Dylan Pruitt, 15-2, 15-2
4) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

3) Andree Parrilla - BYE
35) Sergio Acuña d. 30) Austin Cunningham, 13-15, 15-13, 11-7

19) Sam Bredenbeck d. 46) Brennan Jennings, 9-15, 15-11, 11-4
14) Andres Acuña - BYE

11) Thomas Carter - BYE
22) Kadim Carrasco d. 43) Pedro Castro, 15-5, 15-5

38) Sebastian Longoria d. 27) Jim Douglas, 15-3, 15-3
6) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

7) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE
26) Alejandro Herrera d. 39) Matt Fontana, 15-6, 15-6

23) Mauricio Zelada d. 42) Daniel Diaz, 15-13, 15-9
10) Mario Mercado - BYE

15) Adam Manilla - BYE
18) Felipe Camacho d. 47) Kevin Bowens Jr., 15-1, 15-1

31) Andrew Gleason d. 34) Miguel Angel Arteaga Guzman, 5-15, 15-5, 11-7
2) Rocky Carson - BYE

Round of 32 - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa v. 33) Gabriel Garcia - Noon
16) Javier Estrada v. 17) Alan Natera - Noon

9) Sebastian Franco v. 24) Erick Cuevas Fernandez - Noon
8) Jake Bredenbeck v. 24) Joe Kelley - Noon

5) Samuel Murray v. 28) Majeed Shahin - Noon
12) Javier Mar v. 44) Timmy Hansen - 11 AM

13) Eduardo Garay v. 20) Set Cubillos - 11 AM
4) Daniel De La Rosa v. 36) Erick Trujillo - 11 AM

3) Andree Parrilla v. 35) Sergio Acuña - 11 AM
14) Andres Acuña v. 19) Sam Bredenbeck - 11 AM

11) Thomas Carter v. 22) Kadim Carrasco - 10 AM
6) Eduardo Portillo v. 38) Sebastian Longoria - 10 AM

7) Conrrado Moscoso v. 26) Alejandro Herrera - 10 AM
10) Mario Mercado v. 23) Mauricio Zelada - 10 AM

15) Adam Manilla v. 18) Felipe Camacho - 10 AM
2) Rocky Carson v. 31) Andrew Gleason - 10 AM

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Samuel Murray - BYE
8) Andres Acuña & Felipe Camacho d. 9) Sam Bredenbeck & Adam Manilla, 15-8, 15-8

5) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso d. 12) Maurice Miller & Troy Warigon, 15-8, 15-4
4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik d. 13) Dylan Pruitt & Mauricio Zelada, 15-8, 15-11

14) Austin Cunningham & Zachary Patterson d. 3) Daniel De La Rosa & Donald Williams, 15-14, 15-3
6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay d. 11) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera, 15-14, 15-10

10) Thomas Carter & Javier Mar d. 7) Alejandro Herrera & Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-5
2) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - BYE

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Thursday

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Samuel Murray d. 8) Andres Acuña & Felipe Camacho, 13-15, 15-9, 11-1
4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik d. 5) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-7, 4-15, 11-8

6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay d. 14) Austin Cunningham & Zachary Patterson, 15-5, 15-2
2) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 10) Thomas Carter & Javier Mar, 15-11, 15-13

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Samuel Murray v. 4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik - 8 PM
2) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo v. 6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

2021 IRT Suivant Consulting Pro-Am Preview

When last we saw the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) the pandemic was only beginning, and they didn’t seem too concerned, as they played out the Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois back in March, while other sporting leagues were shutting down left, right and center. Other leagues have tried to make some accommodations, but the IRT will play its first Tier 1 event in ten months this weekend, when the 2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am takes place in Lilburn, Georgia.

Forty eight players are in the field, but two of the top five are missing, although the field does have 13 of the top 17 ranked players. Missing are IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk, for personal reasons, and #5 Alvaro Beltran, who recently had gall bladder surgery, which we understand went well. We wish him a speedy recovery.

With those absences, the top seed is IRT #2 Alejandro Landa with Rocky Carson as the 2nd seed. Andre Parrilla and Daniel De La Rosa round out the top four, as the 3rd and 4th seeds, respectively.

They are also playing doubles in Georgia with Jake Bredenbeck and Samuel Murray - aka Team Big - as the top seeds. Murray usually plays with Landa, but Landa is partnering with Sudsy Monchik, who he won the USA Championships with back in February. They are the 4th seeds, as Monchik doesn’t have any ranking points. But you know that Monchik, the 5 time IRT Champion, will be ready for all comers.

Rounding out the top four seeds are Parrilla and Eduardo Portillo as the 2nd seeds with Daniel De La Rosa and Donald Williams, 3rd seeds. But of the 14 teams in the draw 12 could do some damage, including 5th seeds Kadim Carrasco and Conrrado Moscoso, although they’ll likely face Landa and Monchik in the quarters. That will be a match to see.

And you can see it and other Suivant Consulting Pro-Am matches via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The Round of 64 in singles will be Thursday starting at noon with two rounds of doubles in late afternoon and evening. Friday will have two rounds of singles with the Round of 32 beginning Friday morning at 10 and the Round of 16 at 4 and 5 PM. The singles quarterfinals will begin Saturday at 10 AM with the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The singles final will be noon Sunday. The doubles semi-finals will be Friday at 7 and 8 PM with finals Saturday night at 8 PM. All times Eastern.

2021 Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, January 7-10, 2021
Lilburn, Georgia

Round of 64 - Thursday

1) Alejandro Landa - BYE
32) Destry Everhart v. 33) Gabriel Garcia - Noon

17) Alan Natera v. 48) Jordan Deeney - 2 PM
16) Javier Estrada - BYE

9) Sebastian Franco - BYE
24) Erick Cuevas Fernandez v. 41) Roberto Castro - 1 PM

24) Joe Kelley & 40) Kalyan Kosetty - 3 PM
8) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE

5) Samuel Murray - BYE
28) Majeed Shahin & 37) Jimmy Lan - 1 PM

21) Scott McClellan v. 44) Timmy Hansen - 1 PM
12) Javier Mar - BYE

13) Eduardo Garay - BYE
20) Set Cubillos v. 45) Cody Thomas - 1 PM

29) Dylan Pruitt v. 36) Erick Trujillo - 3 PM
4) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE

3) Andree Parrilla - BYE
30) Austin Cunningham v. 35) Sergio Acuña - 1 PM

19) Sam Bredenbeck v. 46) Brennan Jennings - 2 PM
14) Andres Acuña - BYE

11) Thomas Carter - BYE
22) Kadim Carrasco v. 43) Pedro Castro - 3 PM

27) Jim Douglas v. 38) Sebastian Longoria - 2 PM
6) Eduardo Portillo - BYE

7) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE
26) Alejandro Herrera v. 39) Matt Fontana - 2 PM

23) Mauricio Zelada v. 42) Daniel Diaz - 3 PM
10) Mario Mercado - BYE

15) Adam Manilla - BYE
18) Felipe Camacho v. 47) Kevin Bowens Jr. - 2 PM

31) Andrew Gleason v. 34) Miguel Angel Arteaga Guzman - 3 PM
2) Rocky Carson - BYE

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Jake Bredenbeck & Samuel Murray - BYE
8) Andres Acuña & Felipe Camacho v. 9) Sam Bredenbeck & Adam Manilla - 5 PM

5) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso v. 12) Maurice Miller & Troy Warigon - 5 PM
4) Alejandro Landa & Sudsy Monchik v. 13) Dylan Pruitt & Mauricio Zelada - 5 PM

3) Daniel De La Rosa & Donald Williams v. 14) Austin Cunningham & Zachary Patterson - 4 PM
6) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay v. 11) Javier Estrada & Alan Natera - 4 PM

7) Alejandro Herrera & Mario Mercado v. 10) Thomas Carter & Javier Mar - 4 PM
2) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….