LPRT Sweet Caroline Preview
The first Women’s stop of the new year brings a Grand Slam, a ton of prize money and a great draw to kick off the 2nd half. Lets take a look at some of the matches to watch out for.
There’s a solid draw of 25 players, including 9 of the top 10. We also get the return of Salas Solis, who has her work cut out for her in the rankings now having dropped to 6th on tour after missing the first half of the season.
Here’s a direct link to the women’s pro draw at R2sports:
– Its great to see former regular pros back in action: we haven’t seen Jen Saunders in a Ladies Pro event since Feb 2016 or Anita Maldonado since May 2012. Unfortunately both are up against tough first round opponents in Carla Munoz and Amaya Cris respectively.
– Tour veteran and ref Adrienne Haynes gets a bummer of a draw, having to face former #2 player in the world Maria Jose Vargas in the first round as the #22 seed.
Assuming there’s no major upsets in the qualifiers, here’s some round of 16 matches to watch for:
– Munoz-Amaya: these two South American competitors have met just once on the LPRT, but another three times in international events. Amaya has won them all … and it was Amaya who took the most recent Bolivarian games title in a draw that included Munoz. Look for a tight Amaya win.
– Alexandra Herrera- Susy Acosta; these two Mexican lefties have never met on the pro tour, but they’ve met in Mexican nationals before. Herrera is on the way up and has the edge here over her veteran country-mate.
– Vargas- Samantha Salas Solis; what a round of 16 match; Salas’ first event back after shoulder surgery and she runs right into the player who, for a while, looked like the best shot to dethrone Longoria. Vargas is 2-0 lifetime on the pro tour against Salas … but just 1-3 in IRF events. It is hard to say who has the edge here; Vargas has just one pro event in the last two years on her resume (and looked rusty at the US Open in an early loss) while Salas hasn’t played in more than 6 months. I’ll go Vargas here just so that I’m not completely predicting a chalk tournament.
– Mendez – Enriquez; Enriquez has been causing trouble for higher seeded players in these draws ever since her long layoff … but these two met in Laurel in December and Mendez handled the Mexican easily. Mendez has just 30 pro matches yet is already safely ensconced in the top 8 and moving up; she moves on here and is looking for a bigger scalp.
Quarter finals projections
– Paola Longoria-Amaya: Longoria is 8-0 lifetime against Amaya; Amaya has never even taken a game. Look for another 3-game win for the champ.
– Frederique Lambert- Herrera; similarly, Lambert holds an 8-0 career LPRT advantage over the Mexican lefty. They’ve played some close matches, but haven’t met in a year and a half.
– Jessica Leona Parrilla- Vargas/Solis: whichever player advances has the h2h advantage over Parrilla; Vargas is 6-1 lifetime on the pro tour against Parrilla while Salas is 5-0.
– Rhonda Rajsich- Mendez: they’ve only played once and it was in this very event in Aug 2016, a 3-game Rhonda victory. Mendez’ last three losses on tour were 5 game marathons; if she’s going out, she’ll make Rhonda earn it.
I’m going Longora, Lambert, Vargas and Rajsich. Which would be a heck of a set of players, representing a combined 111 tournament titles, 12 pro tour titles and 9 year end runner’s ups.
Longoria and Rhonda in the final with a Longoria win to extend her current match and tourney win streaks. Longoria holds a huge h2h advantage over Lambert right now, and hasn’t lost to Rhonda on tour since Oct 2014. Rhonda did have that epic victory in the 2017 Pan Am games final last March though, so the possibility is there for an upset.