Friday, December 10, 2021

2021 LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-Am - Preview

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) is back in action this weekend at the 29th Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-Am in Millersville, Maryland. The LPRT has been a part of the Christmas Classic for many years now so it's perhaps their longest running event. There’s 19 players in the draw, a smaller number than usual, presumably because it’s so soon after the conclusion of the 2021 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala.

Nonetheless, Paola Longoria, the LPRT’s #1 player and recently crowned IRF Women's Singles World Champion (for the fourth time), is in Maryland along with LPRT #2 Maria Jose Vargas and #3 Alexandra Herrera.

There are a few matches from the “Didn’t I Just Play You?” (DIJPY) Department. The first among them being the all American match up of Rhonda Rajsich and Kelani Lawrence, who played in the semi-finals at Worlds on Sunday with Lawrence winning. However, if Rajsich wins in Maryland, she’ll likely face Vargas in the quarterfinals, who she beat in the Round of 16 at Worlds.

Also from the DIJPY Dept, Mexican Montserrat Mejia and American Erika Manilla will face off in the Round of 16, which will be Mejia’s first LPRT match since losing to Manilla at the US Open in October, which was part of Manilla’s remarkable run at the Open that saw her reach the semi-finals for the first time.

The LPRT doubles draw is also interesting. Samantha Salas is Longoria’s usual doubles partner, and the two won their fourth IRF Women's Doubles World Championship in Guatemala on Monday, but Salas won't be in Maryland, so Longoria has teamed up with Vargas. They are seeded 3rd, despite being the #1 and #2 players in the singles rankings, because there are separate rankings for singles and doubles. Longoria is also #1 in doubles, but Vargas is only 12th.

Alexandra Herrera and Montserrat Mejia are the top seeds in doubles, and should be able to reach the final. But who will they meet there? Will it be Longoria and Vargas? Or will it be either 2nd seeds Valeria Centellas and Natalia Mendez or 7th seeds Manilla and Rajsich, who beat Centellas and Mendez in the semi-finals at Worlds on Sunday (another one for the DIJPY Dept)? There will certainly be a couple of interesting match ups on the bottom half of the doubles draw.

Singles matches will begin Friday with the Rounds of 32 and 16 with the quarterfinals Saturday at 11 AM and noon. The semi-finals will be Saturday afternoon at 4 and 5 PM and the final Sunday at noon. The doubles matches start Friday night with the quarterfinals at 7 and 8 PM. The doubles semi-finals will be at 6 and 7 PM Saturday night with the final on Sunday at 1 PM. Look for the action via the LPRT YouTube channel, as well as the LPRT Facebook page.

29th Annual LPRT Christmas Classic Pro-Am
December 10-12, 2021 - Millersville, Maryland

LPRT Singles - First Round - Friday

16) Montserrat Perez v. 17) Jessica Chen - 10 AM
Hollie Scott v. Naomi Ros - 10 AM
Masiel Rivera v. 18) Shane Diaz - 11 AM

LPRT Singles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Paola Longoria v. 16) Montserrat Perez or 17) Jessica Chen - 5 PM
8) Valeria Centellas v. 9) Carla Muñoz - 5 PM

5) Montserrat Mejia v. 12) Erika Manilla - 2 PM
4) Natalia Mendez v. 13) Sheryl Lotts - 2 PM

3) Alexandra Herrera v. 14) Hollie Scott or 19) Naomi Ros - 3 PM
6) Jessica Parrilla v. 11) Maria Renee Rodriguez - 3 PM

7) Rhonda Rajsich v. 10) Kelani Lawrence - 4 PM
2) Maria Jose Vargas v. 15) Masiel Rivera or 18) Shane Diaz - 4 PM

LPRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia v. 8) Shane Diaz & Naomi Ros - 8 PM
4) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott v. 5) Jessica Parrilla & Montserrat Perez - 8 PM

3) Paola Longoria & Maria Jose Vargas v. 6) Carla Muñoz & Masiel Rivera - 7 PM
2) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez v. 7) Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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