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 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….

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