World Singles & Doubles Open Championships
Aug 15, 2021
The LPRT draw at the World Singles and Doubles Open Championships had all the excitement of a good sports movie. It was obvious that the absence of the #1 tour player had opened the door for someone to earn the pro event title, because the matches were fierce, and the upsets were heart-breaking. Ana Gabriela “Gaby” Martinez, the #11 seed, won the event and her first pro title.
Thank you to Jim Hiser, all the sponsors, and the team of people who put on a successful tournament. Referred to as a “Mini U.S. Open,” the event was full of LPRT and IRT pros, amateur competitors, and great hospitality. Equal prize money was offered to the pro tours for singles, along with a $10,000 Mixed Pro Double’s purse. The victorious team, who came out on top of one of the toughest Mixed Pro Draws in racquetball history, was LPRT player Samantha Salas Solis and IRT player Rodrigo Montoya.
Here is the recap on the weekend thanks to Todd Boss of Pro Racquetball Stats (proracquetballstats.com):
Lets review the notable matches in the Women's Singles draw.
In the 32s:
- We were robbed of a fun all-USA match when Hollie Scott no-showed, giving Lotts a walkover.
- #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein was pushed to the absolute distance by USA's Erika Manilla, the home-town favorite, but she saved match point against in a back-and-forth tiebreaker to win 11-10. Manilla crushed Mendez in game 2, but Mendez gritted out the win.
- #19 Micaela Meneses Cuellar dominated #14 Maria Renee Rodríguez 10,2 to get a statement win on tour. The 18U junior is getting some really great international experience this year and could be one to watch for, the latest in a continuing line of top Bolivian juniors.
- #11 Nancy Enriquez dominated #22 Lucia Gonzalez to advance 4,12. The last time they faced off, Gonzalez shocked Enriquez (and Herrera) to advance to the 2020 Mexican National semis ... but Enriquez showed little weakness in this match.
#15 Brenda Laime Jalil cruised past her frequent DC-area rival Masiel Rivera Oporto 9,4. I thought this would be a lot closer.
In the 16s, one monumental upset and a couple of good matches.
- #8 Valeria Centellas moved past #9 Rhonda Rajsich 9,4.
- Bolivian junior Meneses took a game off of #3 Maria Jose Vargas Parada before Vargas took the match in a breaker. Great showing by Meneses, who has quickly been improving her game this year.
- #11 Nancy Enriquez took a really tough match against #6 Jessica Parrilla, continuing her recent excellent run of form. The two traded blows and games to 14 before Enriquez blanked Leoni in the breaker.
- #10 Ana Gabriela Martinez took a very nice close game against her long-time international rival #7 Angelica Barrios 11,14. These two go back well into Junior racquetball, and played a quality match here.
- In the shocker of the tournament, #15 Laime took out #2 Montse Mejia in a tie-breaker. Mejia is the winner of the most recent tournament and was my odds-on favorite to blow through this draw; instead she's out in the quarters in a shocking result. Kudos to Laime, who advances to her third career pro quarter.
In the Quarters:
- #1 Alexandra Herrera took care of business and downed #8 Centellas in two 9,9. I had predicted an upset here, but the lefty #1 seed played well and took out a dangerous opponent.
- #5 Natalia Mendez Erlwein got a really good win over #4 Samantha Salas Solis to get into the semis of another major. These two have met in each of the last three LPRT events, and Mendez now has won two of those three meetings.