Sunday, November 20, 2022

Mejia comes back to win the 2022 LPRT 30th Anniversary Turkey Shoot

Montserrat Mejia won the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Platt Hill Nursery 30th Anniversary Turkey Shoot in Lombard, Illinois Sunday in one of the more remarkable performances you’ll ever see. Mejia defeated LPRT #2 Alexandra Herrera in the final, 2-15, 15-12, 11-5.

Herrera did win the Turkey Shoot doubles title, as she and Samantha Salas beat Erika Manilla and Natalia Mendez in two close games, 15-13, 15-13, in the final.

It was unknown what sort of form Mejia would be in today, as she was hit by Erika Manilla’s racquet as Manilla was taking a shot in the tie-breaker of their doubles match Saturday night. She immediately went down, and although Mejia did continue to play after taking 15 minutes of injury time, she was not moving very much. The incident was entirely her fault, and Mejia was assessed an avoidable hinder on the play.

That lack of movement carried over into game one of the final, as Mejia was not nearly as spry as she usually is. Mejia is an all round player, and if she can’t move, then it takes a big part of her game away.

Herrera also played very well in game one, and was full measure for the 15-2 score, as she didn’t skip any shots in game one.

Then game two started slowly. After 20 rallies it was just 4-2 for Herrera. Mejia may have gained some confidence from that, as she won the next five rallies - helped by two drive ace serves (one to the left and one to the right) - to lead 7-4.

Mejia didn’t stop there, as she ran the score to 12-4. Her 12th point was another drive serve ace to the left side, which was to the lefthanded Herrera’s forehand. Herrera hit a forehand winner on the next rally, and then put together a string of points of her own.

Herrera changed her serve to a straight lob on the left side, which was to Mejia’s backhand. That helped her get within two at 12-10.

Mejia extended her lead again by getting to 14-11 with a forehand overhead reverse pinch from deep in the court. Herrera fought off the first game point with a solid forehand shot.

She followed that up with one her patented forehand pinch shots to the front left corner, which made the score 14-12. But Herrera made an unforced error on the next rally, as she skipped a forehand shot.

That gave Mejia her second game point, and she converted it with a backhand pinch winner. Thus, they were going to a tie-breaker, which nobody saw coming after game one.

More surprise in the breaker, as Mejia won the first eight rallies. The first got her the serve, and the next seven got her a 7-0 lead. Those seven included two more skips by Herrera and two more drive serve aces by Mejia.

Herrera called a timeout at that point, but she probably should have called one before that, as a 7 point lead in a game to 11 is a big difference to overcome. Coming out of the timeout, Herrera did get on the board, and worked her way to within three at 8-5. Mejia got the serve back with a winning backhand return off a lob serve on the left side. Her 9th point came on the next rally, as Herrera skipped another forehand shot. Herrera called her second timeout.

When play resumed, Mejia hit a forehand winner over to the right side to reach match point at 10-5. They exchanged four sideouts before Mejia won the match on her 3rd match point, as Herrera skipped another forehand shot.

It’s Mejia’s 2nd LPRT title after her win at the Super Max Slam in June 2021 in what was her 4th LPRT final. The difference in today's final was Mejia started to make shots in game two and three, as she rekilled some balls that Herrera left up, and served very well, getting 8 aces in the match. Herrera also made some errors later in the match that she wasn't making earlier in it, or that she normally makes.

In doubles, Herrera and Salas were playing together for just the second LPRT event in their respective careers. The last time was in 2014, when they reached the final of the Christmas Classic, losing to Rhonda Rajsich and Maria Jose Vargas. Thus, they have been finalists both times they've played together and won half of those finals.

The Christmas Classic is the next event on the LPRT schedule. It’ll take place next month, December 9-11, in Severna Park, Maryland. If you missed any of the action from Illinois, check it out via the LPRT YouTube channel. There were some excellent matches over the weekend, including today’s two finals.

2022 LPRT 30th Anniversary Turkey Shoot, November 18-20, 2022
Lombard, Illinois

Final - Sunday

5) Montserrat Mejia d. 2) Alexandra Herrera, 2-15, 15-12, 11-5

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Alexandra Herrera & Samantha Salas d. 3) Erika Manilla & Natalia Mendez, 15-13, 15-13

Follow the bouncing ball….

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great summary! Enjoyed watching the games and reliving it with your blog. Thanks!