Wednesday, February 15, 2023

2023 LPRT at Arizona State Doubles Championships - Preview

They used to be the top three players on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), but on Thursday two of them will face off in the Round of 32 with the winner facing the third of them in the Round of 16 at the 2023 LPRT at the Arizona State Doubles Championships in Tempe, Arizona. The players in question are Paola Longoria, Rhonda Rajisch and Maria Jose Vargas, who were #1, #2 and #3 at the end of the 2015-16 LPRT season. Now, Longoria is still #1, but In Tempe, Vargas is seeded 16th and Rajsich 17th, so they will play off in the 32s with Longoria playing the winner.

Times have changed.

Vargas is now the mother of two, and she and veteran Rajsich have yet to play this season, although Rajsich did play in the 2023 USA Racquetball Doubles Championship earlier this month. Thus, Thursday will be the first event on tour for both of them, as well as the first LPRT event in 2023.

Second seed Alexandra Herrera could face Gabriela Martinez in the 16s, which will be another interesting match. There’s also potential for a showdown of US Doubles Champions, as Erika Manilla could face Natalia Mendez in the quarterfinals; Manilla and Mendez won the LPRT Doubles title at last year’s US Open.

Doubles in Tempe will be interesting, as there are a couple new teams. Vargas is playing with Carla Muñoz for the first time. They will play Angelica Barrios and Brenda Laime in the Round of 16 with the winner facing top seed Herrera and Montserrat Mejia in the quarterfinals.

Also, Manilla will play with Michelle Key for the first time on tour, although they won Women’s Doubles at the US Doubles Championships two weeks ago. Thus, their 6th seeding is perhaps lower than it should be.

Manilla and Key will likely face Paola Longoria and Rajsich in the quarters. Longoria and Rajsich isn’t a completely new team, but they’ve only played together once before: at the 2016 Boston Open, which they won, defeating Frédérique Lambert and Jessica Parrilla in the final. Longoria usually plays with Samantha Salas and Rajsich with Sheryl Lotts, but neither Salas or Lotts are in Arizona, so Longoria and Rajsich have teamed up.

You can watch the action live from Arizona via the LPRT YouTube channel. Play begins 9 AM Thursday morning, and concludes early Saturday afternoon: 1 PM final in singles & 2 PM doubles final. All times MST.

2023 LPRT at Arizona State Doubles Championships, February 15-19, 2023
Tempe, Arizona

Round of 32 - Thursday

1) Paola Longoria - BYE
16) Maria Jose Vargas v. 17) Rhonda Rajisch - 10 AM

9) Kelani Lawrence v. 24) Lucia Gonzalez - 11 AM
8) Brenda Laime v. 25) Ximena Gonzalez - 11 AM

5) Natalia Mendez - BYE
12) Valeria Centellas v. 21) Lexi York - 9 AM

13) Cristina Amaya v. 20) Stephanie Synhorst - 9 AM
4) Erika Manilla - BYE

3) Montserrat Mejia - BYE
14) Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 19) Sunshine Arterburn - 9 AM

11) Hollie Scott v. 22) Carlee Jansz - 9 AM
6) Jessica Parrilla - BYE

7) Carla Muñoz v. 26) Leonela Osoria - 10 AM
10) Angelica Barrios v. 23) Khyathi Velpuri - 11 AM

15) Gabriela Martinez v. 18) Maria Paz Riquelme - 10 AM
2) Alexandra Herrera - BYE

Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Paola Longoria v. 16) Maria Jose Vargas or 17) Rhonda Rajisch - 5 PM
8) Brenda Laime or 25) Ximena Gonzalez v. 9) Kelani Lawrence or 24) Lucia Gonzalez - 5 PM

5) Natalia Mendez v. 12) Valeria Centellas or 21) Lexi York - 3 PM
4) Erika Manilla v. 13) Cristina Amaya or 20) Stephanie Synhorst - 3 PM

3) Montserrat Mejia v. 14) Maria Renee Rodriguez or 19) Sunshine Arterburn - 3 PM
6) Jessica Parrilla v. 11) Hollie Scott or 22) Carlee Jansz - 4 PM

7) Carla Muñoz or 26) Leonela Osoria v. 10) Angelica Barrios or 23) Khyathi Velpuri - 4 PM
2) Alexandra Herrera v. 15) Gabriela Martinez or 18) Maria Paz Riquelme - 4 PM

Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia - BYE
8) Angelica Barrios & Brenda Laime v. 9) Carla Muñoz & Maria Jose Vargas - 1 PM

5) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott v. 12) Stephanie Synhorst & Khyathi Velpuri - 1 PM
4) Valeria Centellas & Natalia Mendez v. 13) Lucia Gonzalez & Erin Slutzky - Noon

3) Paola Longoria & Rhonda Rajsich v. 14) Carlee Jansz & Katie Neils - 1 PM
6) Michelle Key & Erika Manilla v. 11) Leonela Osorio & Lexi York - Noon

7) Ximena Gonzalez & Jessica Parrilla v. 10) Cristina Amaya & Maria Paz Riquelme - Noon
2) Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

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