Saturday, May 1, 2021

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….

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