Wednesday, November 17, 2021

2021 IRT Sarasota Open - Preview

Over the last four years there have been seven 1st time winners on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT). Mario Mercado is the latest rookie winner after he won the Arizona Open last weekend. But he was almost the first of this run, as Mercado was in the 2017 John Pelham Memorial final against Charlie Pratt, when Pratt won his 1st IRT title.

Since then, Alejandro Landa, Sebastian Franco, Andree Parrilla, Conrrado Moscoso and Samuel Murray have all claimed their first event prior to Mercado’s win. Will there be another first time winner this weekend when the IRT rolls into Florida for the 2021 Sarasota Open presented by Team Dovetail? Or will Daniel De La Rosa get back to the winner’s circle, where he was for three straight tournaments prior to last weekend, when Mercado beat him in the final?

The most likely first time winners are Eduardo Portillo, who’s seeded 5th, 8th seed Jake Bredenbeck, and 11th seed Carlos Keller. They have all been in finals in the last two years - Bredenbeck and Keller this year and Portillo in 2020 - and coincidentally all of them lost to De La Rosa. Also, we could put Adam Manilla in this group, because, although he’s not been in a final yet, the young American lefthander has shown a good run of form lately.

Could Mercado win again? He did show very good form last weekend, and also great resolve in coming back against De La Rosa in the final, as well as fending off a strong challenge from Rocky Carson in the semi-finals. Yet he’ll likely face Moscoso in the Round of 16, and after that Landa in the quarters. He defeated Landa in two games in Arizona, but you can be sure that Landa will do everything he can prevent that happening again if they do meet in Florida.


They are playing doubles in Sarasota too, and top seeds Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa are the team to beat, as they have won the last three IRT doubles titles and five of the last nine. But men’s doubles can be a crap shoot with a team that gets hot upsetting a higher seeded team. Nonetheless, we expect to see Beltran and De La Rosa in the final, if not the winner’s circle.

But there are 15 teams in the field, and some interesting new teams. Perhaps most curious is that long time partners Andree Parrilla and Eduardo Portillo have split up. Whether this is a permanent split or just a one time thing is unknown. But in Sarasota Parrilla will play with Sebastian Fernandez, and Portillo partners with Rocky Carson. Parrilla and Fernandez have the more difficult spot in the draw, as they are seeded 8th and will play 9th seeds Jake and Sam Bredenbeck first with the winner to face Beltran and De La Rosa in the quarterfinals.

Portillo and Carson are the 6th seeds, and face 11th seeds Edwin Galicia and Christian Wer first with the winner to likely go against 3rd seeds Sebastian Franco and Eduardo Garay in the quarters.

Other teams of note are 2nd seeds Alejandro Landa and Samuel Murray, as well as the two Bolivian teams of Kadim Carrasco and Carlos Keller, seeded 4th, and Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso, seeded 5th. As the 4th and 5th seeds, the Bolivians will likely face off against each other in the quarterfinals, so there will probably be one Bolivian team in the semi-finals, but not two.

Finally, there’s 7th seeds Adam Manilla and Mario Mercado, who’ve played together once before (in Sioux Falls in 2020 when they beat Parrilla and Portillo, then lost to Beltran and De La Rosa) and the long time Costa Rican team of Andres Acuña and Felipe Camacho, who are seeded 10th. Manilla and Mercado play Acuña and Camacho first with the winner likely facing Landa and Murray in the quarters.

The IRT matches begin Thursday with the qualifying rounds. The Round of 32 begins Friday at 9 and 10 AM with the Round of 16 at 4 and 5 PM Friday afternoon. The quarterfinals will be Saturday at 10 and 11 AM with the semi-finals at be 5 and 6 PM, and the final at 11 AM Sunday. All times are Eastern. Look for the action via the IRT YouTube channel., as well as its Facebook page.

2021 IRT Sarasota Open presented by Team Dovetail
November 18-21, 2021 - Sarasota, Florida

IRT Singles - Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday

Sam Bredenbeck - BYE
Josh Shea v. Pedro Castro - Noon

Juan Salvatierra v. Abraham Cardenas - Noon
Jim Douglas v. Julian Cruz - Noon

Erick Cuevas Fernandez - BYE
Dylan Pruitt v. Rafael Gatica - 1 PM

Juan Pablo Rodriguez v. Esteban Reque - 1 PM
Scott McClellan - BYE

Kadim Carrasco - BYE
Alex Zamudio v. Roland Keller - 1 PM

Javier Martinez v. Hanzel Martinez - 2 PM
Erick Trujillo - BYE

Edwin Galicia v. Noslen Jimenez - 2 PM
Christian Wer v. Rodrigo Salgado Jr. - 2 PM

Matt Fontana v. Geovani Mendoza - 2 PM
Felipe Camacho - BYE

IRT Singles - Qualifying Round 2 - Thursday

Q1 - Sam Bredenbeck v. Josh Shea or Pedro Castro - 5 PM
Q8 - Juan Salvatierra or Abraham Cardenas v. Jim Douglas or Julian Cruz - 5 PM

Q5 - Erick Cuevas Fernandez v. Dylan Pruitt or Rafael Gatica - 5 PM
Q4 - Scott McClellan v. Juan Pablo Rodriguez or Esteban Reque - 5 PM

Q3 - Kadim Carrasco v. Alex Zamudio or Roland Keller - 6 PM
Q6 - Erick Trujillo v. Javier Martinez v. Hanzel Martinez - 6 PM

Q7 - Edwin Galicia or Noslen Jimenez v. Christian Wer or Rodrigo Salgado Jr. - 6 PM
Q2 - Felipe Camacho v. Matt Fontana or Geovani Mendoza - 6 PM

IRT Singles - Round of 32 - Friday

1) Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
16) Sebastian Fernandez v. Q1 - 9 AM

9) Alvaro Beltran v. Q8 - 9 AM
8) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE

5) Eduardo Portillo - BYE
12) Sebastian Franco v. Q5 - 9 AM

13) Adam Manilla v. Q4 - 9 AM
4) Andree Parrilla - BYE

3) Samuel Murray - BYE
14) Eduardo Garay v. Q3 - 10 AM

11) Carlos Keller v. Q6 - 10 AM
6) Rocky Carson - BYE

7) Conrrado Moscoso - BYE
10) Mario Mercado v. Q7 - 10 AM

15) Andres Acuña v. Q2 - 10 AM
2) Alejandro Landa - BYE

IRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - BYE
8) Sebastian Fernandez & Andree Parrilla v. 9) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck - 1 PM

5) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso v. 12) Javier Martinez & Juan Salvatierra - 1 PM
4) Kadim Carrasco & Carlos Keller v. 13) Pedro Castro & Rafael Gatica - 1 PM

3) Sebastian Franco & Eduardo Garay v. 14) Jim Minkel & Michael Smith - 2 PM
6) Rocky Carson & Eduardo Portillo v. 11) Edwin Galicia & Christian Wer - 2 PM

7) Adam Manilla & Mario Mercado v. 10) Andres Acuña & Felipe Camacho - 2 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray v. 15) Juan Pablo Rodriguez & Erick Trujillo - 2 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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