United Healthcare U.S. Open 2021
Oct 10, 2021
The biggest, most prestigious event for the sport of racquetball went off without a hitch this year. The 2-year wait (US Open 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic) seemed to increase anticipation, excitement, and attendance. Over 700 people showed up in Minneapolis for Event Director Doug Ganim’s 25th and final year. Thank you, Doug, for 25 years of effort and hard work to make a grand showcase for our sport.
Paola Longoria (Mexico), #1 ranked LPRT pro, won her 11th US Open singles title defeating #3 ranked player Maria Jose Vargas (Argentina). Longoria also earned her 6th US Open Doubles title with partner Samantha Salas Solis (Mexico).
U.S. Open recap by Todd Boss of proracquetballstats.com
The LPRT draw was wide open, with upsets all up and down the bracket this weekend. Lets take a look back;
In the 32s, three upsets in one quarter, with the #5, #12 and #13 seeded players taken out early. Perhaps the biggest shock was the loss by #5 Montse Mejia, who won the Kansas City grand slam and seemed like a safe bet for the semis here, taken out by American Erika Manilla in a tie-breaker. Manilla, a 23-yr old part-time player over the past few years, had never advanced past the round of 32 in a pro draw (!!) but took out three higher-ranked players in Minneapolis, including two recent Tier-1 tourney winners, to make the semis. Just an amazing storyline.
Another great storyline that was cut short was the showing this weekend by Vero Sotomayor, who had not played the tour in years but who stretched the #8 seeded player Jessica Parrilla to an 11-10 tiebreaker.
In the 16s, a bunch more upsets. None bigger than the #2 seeded Alexandra Herrera getting upset by #15 Brenda Laime Jalil. But we also saw the #6 and #7 seeded players ousted at this juncture.
Heading into the quarters, half the top seeds were already done.
In the quarters, Manilla got her next big win, taking out Gaby Martinez, while former grand slam finalist Angelica Barrios took advantage of Laime's upset to move into the semis herself.
In the semis, #1 Paola Longoria faced off against the Cinderella story Manilla, and was made to work for it, winning in two close games 13,10. On the bottom, #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada went down big early to Barrios 14-1 in the first game, then completely flipped the script, getting the first game back to 15-10 then blitzing her young Bolivian rival in the next two games to move into the final.
In the final, it seemed fait accomplis for Longoria to win, and she cruised to her 11th US Open title 3,8.
The Men's Doubles draw turned into a showcase for the state of doubles in the current game, with tough tiebreakers and close games throughout. The #1 seeds went breaker to win in both the quarters and semis over established and tough veteran teams, while on the bottom side the semis turned into a showcase for the doubles prowess of Sam Murray, who took over the match to lead his team to an upset over #2 Kane/ Sudsy Monchik. In the final, DLR/Beltran controlled the tempo and won perhaps their easiest match of the tournament 11,11 to take the crown.
The Women's Doubles draw went mostly chalk, with the exception of the talented and under-seeded Vargas/Sotomayor team taking out the #4 seeded Guatemalans in the quarters. From there, the top two seeds cruised into the final, where we saw yet another major final battle between the two top teams from Mexico. This time around, the veterans triumped, with Longoria/Salas overcoming a game-one beat down to take the title.