Monday, November 15, 2021

Weekend Round Up: Wins for Barrios, Natera & a 21st seed

Alan Natera and Angelica Barrios won Men’s and Women’s Open, respectively, at the Arizona Open Racquetball Championships in Tempe, Arizona on the weekend. Barrios, who was the top seed in Women’s Open, defeated 3rd seed Nancy Enriquez, 15-14, 15-11, in the final. Natera was seeded 3rd in Men’s Open, and beat 8th seed Sam Bredenbeck, 15-12, 15-13, for the title.

Both women’s semi-finals went to a tie-breaker. Barrios eked out a win over 4th seed Carla Muñoz, 15-8, 13-15, 11-10, and Enriquez held on for a win over 2nd seed Valeria Centellas, 15-12, 12-15, 11-4. In the men’s semis, Bredenbeck beat 5th seed Felipe Camacho, 15-12, 15-5, and Natera got the benefit of a walkover win from Mario Mercado, who had other business to attend to (namely winning his 1st International Racquetball Tour (IRT) title).

From the That’s Weird Department

It’s rare for a low ranked player to make it deep in a draw, regardless of the division. Even rarer for two players to do it in the same draw. But for four (4!) players to do it, and the lowest ranked player in the draw to win the event?!? Well, now you’re just being silly.

But, your honour, let us present the 2021 Arizona Open Men’s A division, which was won by 21st seed (in a field of 21) Dante Ramos, who defeated 19th seed Spencer Galloway in the final, 15-2, 15-8. In the semi-finals, Ramos defeated 16th seed Oliver Terrazas, 15-10, 15-9, while Galloway had a forfeit win over 15th seed Bruce Pope.

That’s right. In a field of 21 players the semi-finalists were the 15th, 16th, 19th and 21st seeds. Crazy.

Some of those players were also in Men’s Elite, which Mr Terrazas won (as the 15th seed). Mr Ramos, who was only the 2nd highest seeded player (17th out of 18 players), lost in the quarterfinals, although that was after defeating the #1 seed in the Round of 16.

Coming up

Both the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) and the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) are back in action this weekend. The LPRT will be in Illinois for the 29th Annual Glass Court LPRT Turkey Shoot, while the IRT will be in Florida for the 2021 Sarasota IRT Open.

Then in the last week of November the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) XX World Racquetball Championships will begin in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Worlds will run from November 28 to December 6, and the IRF XXXII World Junior Championships will begin December 2 and run to December 11.

Usually, Worlds and World Juniors are run separately, but these are not usual times. Also, Worlds is usually done in even numbered years, but the pandemic caused the postponement of the event last year. There is some urgency to hold the World Championships this year, as racquetball is part of the program for the 2022 World Games (previously the 2021 World Games, but it was postponed following the postponement of the Summer Olympics) in Birmingham, Alabama.

The World Championships are the qualifying event for the World Games. The top 16 finishers at Worlds will earn spots to play in Birmingham. Note: the spots are earned by the players, not their countries. Thus, Rocky Carson not going to Worlds means he cannot qualify for the World Games, even if a US man qualifies for one of the 16 spots and then is unable to play; Carson could not take his place.

Thus, it’s going to be a busy, busy racquetball period before the end of the year. Did we mention that the LPRT will also play in December? Oh, well, they will, as the 30th Annual Christmas Classic takes place in Maryland, December 10-12.

Arizona Open Racquetball Championships
November 11-14, 2021 - Tempe, Arizona

Men’s Open Singles - Final

3) Alan Natera d. 8) Sam Bredenbeck, 15-12, 15-13

Men’s Open Singles - Semi-finals

8) Sam Bredenbeck d. 5) Felipe Camacho, 15-12, 15-5
3) Alan Natera d. 2) Mario Mercado, forfeit

Men’s Open Singles - Quarterfinals

8) Sam Bredenbeck, d. 16) Julius Ellis, 15-2, 15-2
5) Felipe Camacho d. 13) Juan Pablo Rodriguez, 15-4, 14-15, 11-6

3) Alan Natera d. 22) Felipe Arenas, 15-7, 15-7
2) Mario Mercado d. 7) Set Cubillos, 15-11, 15-3

Women’s Open Singles - Final

1) Angelica Barrios d. 3) Nancy Enriquez, 15-14, 15-11

Women’s Open Singles - Semi-finals

1) Angelica Barrios d. 4) Carla Muñoz, 15-8, 13-15, 11-10
3) Nancy Enriquez d. 2) Valeria Centellas, 15-12, 12-15, 11-4

Women’s Open Singles - Quarterfinals

1) Angelica Barrios d. 8) Annie Roberts, 15-6, 15-11
4) Carla Muñoz d. 5) Sheryl Lotts, 15-9, 15-14

3) Nancy Enriquez d. 11) Aisling Hickey, 15-7, 15-6
2) Valeria Centellas d. 7) Lexi York, 15-14, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

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