Sunday, November 14, 2021

Longoria wins 2021 LPRT Arizona Open

Paola Longoria won the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Arizona Open in Tempe, Arizona Sunday by defeating Maria Jose Vargas, 15-7, 15-3. Longoria, who's the LPRT’s #1 player, got her second consecutive win of the season, and followed up her 11th US Open win last month, when she also beat Vargas in the final.

Longoria started strongly, going up 5-1 in game one. But Vargas did respond, and got within three at 8-5 and 10-7, but 7 was as much as she would get in game one, as Longoria got five unanswered point to win it 15-7.

There was a spot of controversy at 12-7 in game one, as Vargas had gone to the floor to make a shot, and the ball came around to where Vargas was. But it seemed she had got up and out of the way in time for Longoria to make a play, although Longoria signalled for a hinder or avoidable; Longoria probably wanted the latter. The initial call seemed to be an avoidable - or penalty - hinder, which seemed like a harsh call. But then it seemed to get reversed or overturned.

The match did have line judges, so Vargas could have appealed to them to overturn the call. But we thought Vargas was out of appeals (players get three unsuccessful appeals a game). If you make an appeal when you don’t have any, then you are assessed a delay of game technical penalty, which results in a loss of one point. Nonetheless, the end result was - somehow - a hinder - not an avoidable / penalty hinder.

That confusion didn’t derail Longoria from closing out the game, as she won the next three rallies to get to 15.

Longoria just got stronger in game two, as she stormed out to a 12-0 lead. But still there was controversy. At 13-1, a Longoria backhand shot seemed to make it 14-1, but it was called a skip. Vargas’s reaction to the shot seemed to indicate that she thought it was good. But the call is the call. Longoria appealed the referee’s call, and - perhaps surprisingly - the line judges upheld the call. Then Longoria seemed to appeal to Vargas, who seemed to say “the call is the call.”

Play went on, and Vargas got a burst of energy from the situation, so she scored a couple more points, but the outcome wasn’t really in doubt. When it came - after Vargas whiffed trying to return a half lob serve - Longoria gave Vargas a very dismissive hand bump, as she was presumably still upset about the perceived missed call.

The win by Longoria - and Vargas’s runner up finish - reinforce their positions as the #1 and #2 players on the LPRT.

The LPRT will be in action again next weekend, when they play at the Turkey Shoot in Lombard, Illinois. If you missed any of the action from Arizona, check out the LPRT YouTube channel, as well as the LPRT Facebook page.

Arizona Open Racquetball Championships
November 12-14, 2021 - Tempe, Arizona

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 2) Maria Jose Vargas, 15-7, 15-3

Follow the bouncing ball….

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