Pro Racquetball Stats published this article on Facebook on January 4, 2018.
2018 LA Open Preview from Pro Racquetball Stats
We’re back; first weekend in the new year, and first IRT tourney. We have a 31 person pro draw in this tournament; the only active top 20 player missing is Thomas Carter.
Thanks to a rolling rankings points gap, Rocky Carson was seeded 1st in this tournament over Kane Waselenchuk, and Alvaro Beltran has climbed all the way to #3 (just his luck that his ascention puts him against Kane “early” … tough break for him), Here’s a preview of the tournament and a look at what might be some fun matches to watch (if projections/predictions hold of course):
Round of 64:
– Adam Manilla – Daniel Lavely; I don’t have Lavely playing on IRT tour in nearly 3 years (though he has played a few WRT events in the interim). But he has proven to be a tough out when he has played; he’s seeded 2nd to last as a result … and thus Manilla gets a tough round of 64.
– Nick Riffel– Daniel Neri: not much is known about Neri; he hasn’t appeared on the IRT in 6+ years and has played just two WRT events in the past two years. Sometimes its the devil you know versus the devil you don’t.
Round of 32:
– Sebastian Franco – Dylan Reid: Franco just misses out on a protected seed … and is forced to play the dangerous Reid in the round of 32 just to qualify. I see a tough match here … but the winner will have a decent chance to advance to the quarters. Remember; Reid took Pratt to 5 games in the qualifiers last tournament … and then Pratt won the tourney.
– Sebastian Fernandez – Felipe Camacho; the reigning 16U Mexican and World champ Fernandez faces off with tour veteran Camacho … who played his first IRT event in 2008 when Fernandez was probably still playing multi-bounce. I’m not sure if Fernandez has the firepower to take out Camacho but it could be an interesting match to watch.
– Charlie Pratt – Nicholas Riffel: Riffel has played every event so far this season and made a couple of main draws, but faces a tall order in the previous event champ Pratt.
– Andree Parrilla – Daniel Rojas; another tough matchup here; Rojas is committed to the tour going forward after his 18U junior world title earlier this year .. but matches up with the dangerous Parrilla who made a final last season and has multiple WRT wins. As always, if Rojas has his drive serve going, he’s tough to beat.
Round of 16:
– Carson – Jake Bredenbeck; well, getting the #1 seed did Rocky no favors; he likely faces Bredenbeck, who beat him in March 2016 and whom has a number of wins over top 4 players on his resume.
– Franco – Murray: the 8/9 match-ups are always close; Murray beat Franco in March 2017 in a 5-gamer, but Franco beat Murray in an IRF event recently.
– De La Rosa – Pratt: Can Pratt catch lightning in a bottle again? He has improved his seed one from the previous tourney and runs into #4 seed DLR in the round of 16. DLR holds a 2-1 career record over Pratt so there’s not a ton of history to go on.
– David Horn – Mario Mercado; Horn is 3-0 over Mercado across IRT and WRT events, so look for an “upset” by seeding here.
– Alex Landa – Parrilla; these guys know each other well, having faced each other on the IRT, WRT and in Mexican nationals. Landa holds the advantage 7-2 across tours and should advance here.
Quarters; its hard to project to the quarters fully given the close matches that might be happening above, but here’s some squinting at possible match-ups:
– Carson-Franco: again, getting the #1 seed does Rocky no favors. Carson has never lost to Franco (5-0 on IRT) but they played twice in consecutive events in November and Franco stretched him to 5 games once, so this could be competitive.
– DLR – Jansen Allen: Allen has played well lately, but I can’t see him beating Daniel here. DLR holds a 9-1 h2h advantage.
– Beltran – Horn: another chance for Horn to put a loss on an IRT elite player. Beltran is 5-0 lifetime on the IRT versus Horn so his work is cut out for him.
– Kane – Landa: Landa has faced Kane 11 times on the IRT and holds one injury forfeit win, so the odds of an upset here seem low. Heck; the odds of anyone beating Kane are low, so that’s not an insult.
Semis and Finals: sounds boring but I’m going chalk; Rocky over DLR, Kane over Beltran with yet another Kane-Rocky final.
One last note: there’s a big doubles draw with 13 teams entered, so that should be fun to watch play out. No Kane in the doubles, but strong teams Beltran/DLR and Jake/Diaz head up the seedings.