Always a memorable and festive event with tremendous fans and support. Congratulations to our winners and finalists! Singles winner Paola Longoria, finalist María Jose Vargas. Doubles winners Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas, finalists María Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez.
2019 Maryland Christmas Classic Singles Wrap-Up
by Todd Boss
In the 32s: – #16 Kelani Lawrence stretched the reigning world champ #17 seed Ana Gabriela Martínez to a tie-breaker but fell. – #18 reigning intercollegiate champ Hollie Scott dropped the first game but rallied to advance past #15 Maria Renee Rodríguez.
In the 16s: – #1 Paola Longoria blasted #17 Martinez 2,5. More and more, the upset at 2018 worlds seems like a one off as Longoria improves to 16-1 lifetime against the Guatemalan across all competitions. – #8 Amaya Cris took out home-town favorite Masiel Rivera Oporto 7,9 to move on. This match-up continues to be one sided, and this match wasn’t nearly as close as their last one. – Continuing to prove me to be an awful prognosticator, #4 Alexandra Herrera recovered from a 15-14 game one loss to take out #13 Jessica Parrilla in a tie-breaker to move on. – #14 Carla Muñoz Montesinos got perhaps the best win of her career, topping #3 Samantha Salas Solis in a tiebreaker. After a come-back win in game one and a closer game two Salas win, Munoz ran away in the tiebreaker by forcing the action with lob Zs to Salas’ backhand and a patient approach waiting for a mistake. Salas continues her frustrating season; she’s now failed to reach the finals in the season’s first 6 events, often getting bounced well before them … after reaching all 9 of the finals she played in last year. – #10 Sheryl Lotts nearly pulled off a career win over a top8 player, but ended up losing by the slimmest of margins 11-10 in the breaker to #7 Nancy Enriquez. In the Qtrs: – #1 Longoria advanced over #8 Amaya in two straight. – #4 Herrera got a rare win over #5 Rhonda Rajsich. – #6 Mendez took advantage of #14 Munoz and advanced to just her 3rd ever pro semi. Munoz misses a great opportunity after her career win over Salas to make her first semi in several years. – #2 Vargas dominated #7 Enriquez to make the semis. In the semis:
#1 and #2 Longoria and Vargas demonstrated the gulf in class by each advancing in two quick games.
In the final:
Longoria and Vargas met for the fourth time in five tourneys this season … and it was a barn burner. Longoria won the first game 3, then Vargas found some new approach midway through the second to push to a tie-breaker. There, she raced to a dominant lead and it looked like she’d get the upset … but Longoria found another gear and took the match 11-8.
2019 Maryland Christmas Classic Doubles Wrap-Up
For the Doubles, despite the results falling down the line on the seeding with the #1 seeded team Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas Solis defeating the #2 seeded pair of Maria Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez, there was plenty of drama and great racquetball with more than 50% of the matches going to a tie-break including the Finals.
In similar fashion to the previous finals in Chicago, Longoria/Salas Solis dropped the first game and rallied back to take game 2 and the tie-break 12-15, 15-11, 11-4.
Thank you to all of the many people who made this event possible. Special thanks to Karen and Mike Grisz, Bill Milbach, Wayne Toyne, Tracie Valentine, Russ Bruns, Andy Gomer of The Gomer Group, Shannon Feaster, and all of the Maryland Racq Pack who stepped in to help out. We could not do it without all of you.