Sunday, June 20, 2021

Mejia wins singles and doubles at 2021 LPRT Super Max Slam

Montserrat Mejia got the biggest win of her young career Sunday, as she won the 2021 Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Super Max Slam in Overland Park, Kansas by defeating Paola Longoria, the LPRT’s #1 player, 15-10, 15-12. Mejia was seeded 10th, but defeated LPRT #2 and current International Racquetball Federation World Champion Gabriela Martinez en route to the final versus Longoria.

Mejia followed up the singles win by winning the doubles final with Alexandra Herrera. They beat Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-1, 15-14.

Game one of the singles final was close early, as Mejia and Longoria traded points up to 7-7. Then Mejia eked ahead to lead 12-7. Longoria got three points to cut the lead to two at 12-10.

But she would get no more, as Mejia was able to close it out, 15-10. Credit Longoria for fighting off two game points, but two Mejia backhand winners prevented Longoria scoring. Mejia finished the game with a forehand pinch winner.

As tightly contested as game one was, game two was even more so. Ten rallies and it was 3-2 for Longoria. Ten more and it was 4-3 Longoria. Another ten only added one more point that made it 5-3 Longoria.

After 50 rallies, Longoria still led, but just by one at 8-7. It was the last time she’d hold the lead, as Mejia scored the next three points to lead 10-8. After 60 rallies, she was ahead 12-9, getting her 12th point with a drive serve ace to the left side.

Again, Longoria was not going to go quietly, and she came back to tie the game 12-12, as they played some long rallies, testing each other’s patience with ceiling balls back and forth. Mejia took a timeout at that point.

When play resumed, there was another long rally that ended when Longoria skipped a shot. Mejia broke the tie on the next rally with a flat forehand from deep in the court on what was the 70th rally of the game.

She then put herself on match point with a forehand winner. Mejia hit a Z serve to the right that was an ace to close out the game and match.

The win makes Mejia the 28th woman to win a women’s pro event in the history of the tour. She’s the third Mexican to win on tour after Longoria and Samantha Salas. Her one win puts her 100 behind Longoria, but then Mejia is ten years younger than Longoria, so she has some time to close that gap.

The doubles final began as a lopsided affair with Herrera and Mejia dominating game one, 15-1, and taking a 10-1 lead in game two on Martinez and Rodriguez, who weren’t playing like the team that had upset top seeds Longoria and Salas in the semi-finals on Saturday.

But then things changed, as Martinez and Rodriguez got a sideout at 10-1. Rodriguez then served a drive jam serve to the left side, so that it came in between Herrera and Mejia, who are a lefty-righty team (respectively). Rodriguez’s first serve like that went for an ace, as neither of her opponents moved to play the ball.

Six points on as many rallies made the score 10-8. They got one more that got them within one at 10-9 before surrendering serve after an avoidable hinder on Martinez.

Herrera and Mejia got three points to lead 13-9. But after a Rodriguez forehand reverse pinch got her side the serve back, she and Martinez matched those points to again trail by just one at 13-12.

Then the serve switched back to Herrera and Mejia after Martinez skipped a forehand. Mejia hit a drive serve ace to the right side to reach match point at 14-12. But after Martinez and Rodriguez took a timeout, a Martinez backhand winner denied them the match, and got her side into the service box.

Martinez got her side to match point with a forehand from left to right. But the lefty Herrera hit a backhand from the middle of the court to the right side for a winner that gave her side the serve back.

Another Martinez backhand winner held off Herrera and Mejia’s 2nd match point. On the third, Mejia hit a half lob to right on second serve that Rodriguez tried to take early and aggressively, but hit it into the floor. It was a sad end to what was a really good game.

The win is Herrera and Mejia’s 3rd LPRT doubles title together, and the first since their 2019 US Open victory. Overall, Mejia now has four doubles titles on tour, while Herrera has 11. Also, they remain unbeaten against Martinez and Rodriguez across four LPRT matches.

The next LPRT event indoors will be the World Singles and Doubles Championships in Highlands Ranch, Colorado August 11-14. But before then they’ll play outdoors at the World Outdoor Racquetball Outdoor National Championships in Huntington Beach, California, July 8-11.

If you missed any of the action from the LPRT - and there were plenty of good matches to watch including the Sunday’s two finals, you can watch them via the LPRT YouTube channel or the LPRT website (click “LPRT Live” at the top of the page).

2021 LPRT, June 18-20, 2021 
Overland Park, Kansas 

Final - Sunday 

10) Montserrat Mejia d. 1) Paola Longoria, 15-10, 15-12  

Doubles - Final - Sunday 

3) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 4) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-1, 15-14

 Follow the bouncing ball….

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