Friday, April 26, 2024

Mejia & Vargas to face off at 2024 LPRT Battle at the Alamo

Maria José Vargas, the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), will have a chance to win her fourth tournament of the season Saturday, as she defeated 5th seed Alexandra Herrera, 3-15, 15-10, 11-10, in the semi-finals of the 2024 Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, Friday. Vargas will play LPRT #3 Montserrat Mejia in the final, as Mejia defeated LPRT #2 Paola Longoria in the other semi-final, 12-15, 15-5, 11-6.

Vargas unseated Mejia as the #1 player after last month’s Boston Open, so Mejia will want a win in hopes of getting back to #1 this season.

Vargas almost didn’t make the final, as Herrera was on fire early in their semi-final. Even after winning game two to force a tie-breaker, Vargas was up against it, as they were close down the stretch of the breaker with ties at 6-6, 7-7, 9-9 and 10-10.

Herrera took a timeout after Vargas tied the game at 9-9, and there were nine rallies to score the last three points. The winner came as Vargas hit a half lob serve down the right side to the left-handed Herrera’s backhand, and she hit a cross court shot that came off the back wall allowing Vargas to hit a backhand up the right side.

Vargas’s shot was behind where Herrera was looking, so she was only able to make a weak shot that went off the left wall and back into the middle allowing Vargas to step up and slam the ball down the right side for the match winner.

The big surprise of Friday night came in doubles, as the 7th seeds Michelle Key and Carla Muñoz beat 2nd seeds Longoria and Samantha Salas, 3-15, 15-10, 11-2. It was a win that didn’t look to be coming after the first game, which Longoria and Salas dominated.

But after it was 6-6 in game two, Key and Muñoz outscored Longoria and Salas 20-6. They did it with Muñoz hitting a lob serve tight to the left side wall to Salas, and Key hitting a serve mix, including ones that came off the left side wall into the middle between her opponents.

Then during rallies they hit winners. Key especially put several balls away. She finished game two with a forehand shot to the front right corner that hit low on the front wall and cracked off the right side wall.

Then in game three, Muñoz hit four winners, and Key hit nine (9!), including an ace serve that cracked off the left wall to put her side on match point, and then a backhand down the line winner that finished it off.

It was a most impressive performance.

It was really a case of Key and Muñoz winning it, rather than Longoria and Salas losing it with errors.

The other doubles quarterfinals were all won in two straight games by the higher seeded team. Key and Muñoz will play 3rd seeds Natalia Mendez and Maria Jose Vargas - the current Pan American Women’s Doubles Champions - as Mendez and Vargas beat 6th seeds Cristina Amaya and Maria Paz Riquelme, 15-10, 15-3, in the quarters.

The doubles semi-finals will be Saturday morning at 10:45 and 11:50 AM with the finals to follow at 5:15 PM (singles) and 6:20 (doubles). You can watch the action live from San Antonio via the LPRT YouTube channel. All times Central.

2024 LPRT Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 25-28, 2024

Singles Semi-finals - Friday

1) Maria José Vargas d. 5) Alexandra Herrera, 3-15, 15-10, 11-10
3) Montserrat Mejia d. 2) Paola Longoria, 12-15, 15-5, 11-6

Singles Final - Saturday

1) Maria José Vargas v. 3) Montserrat Mejia - 5:15

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia d. 9) Frédérique Lambert & Gabriela Martinez, 15-8, 15-6
4) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott d. 5) Angelica Barrios & Brenda Laime, 15-10, 15-12

3) Natalia Mendez & Maria José Vargas d. 6) Cristina Amaya & Maria Paz Riquelme, 15-10, 15-3
7) Michelle Key & Carla Muñoz d. 2) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas, 3-15, 15-10, 11-2

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alexandra Herrera & Montserrat Mejia v. 4) Kelani Lawrence & Hollie Scott - 11:50 AM
3) Natalia Mendez & Maria José Vargas v. 7) Michelle Key & Carla Muñoz - 10:45 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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