Denver, Colorado embraces doubles only action with this first ever event.
The World Doubles Championships was a Doubles Only event that featured some of the best Doubles teams in the world via both the men's and women's professional tours. Rankings were taken strictly from the tour rankings and provided some interesting draws. The competition was anticipated to be action-packed and the matches proved to be just that.
The athletes of the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour are very familiar with Doubles play. For the LPRT, the opportunity to step on the court with some of the world's best pros on the men's side had this first ever event producing fireworks at the Denver Athletic Club in downtown Denver, Colorado.
When professional Doubles was included to the line up at the UnitedHealthcare US Open a few years ago, the fast paced action and fan engagement renewed interest in doubles play. The World Doubles Open Championships was sparked by the excitement provided by high-level doubles play and stands as a unique event for the 2017-2018 professional racquetball season.
The World Doubles Women's Pro Champions
The seeding on the Women's Doubles Pro Division saw the #1 team of Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas solidifying their claim as the world's best team with their win in Denver. Paola and Samantha have proven to be a dominant combination this season in the wake of the rising level of competition on tour, improving their lifetime record as a team to 57-3.
Left: Samantha Salas, Paola Longoria
Women's Doubles Pro Finalists
The final match on the women's side well reflected the LPRT Doubles Rankings, as the #2 seed team of Alexandra Herrera and Montse Mejia met Longoria and Salas. Alexandra and Montse make an interesting team. Herrera has been a mainstay in the top of the rankings and had won doubles titles with Longoria during Salas' recent absence. Montse is the current Mexican and World U18 champion. Together they make a technically sound team; Herrera steady and deceptive, and Mejia gritty with fantastic hands.
Congratulations to both these teams on a great showing in Denver.
Left: Alexandra Herrera, Montse Mejia
Left: Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros • Right: Carla Munoz and Michelle Key
The World Doubles Pro Women's Semifinalists
• The #4 seed, Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros made a solid event showing. Together, they regularly represent their native Colombia at international competitions and team up at most LPRT events that feature Doubles. Amaya and Riveros managed to get by the powerhouse Argentinian team of Maria Jose Vargas and Natalia Mendez in the quarterfinal round in Denver, then meeting Longoria and Salas in the top-half semifinal.
• The #6 seed team of Carla Munoz and Michelle De La Rosa played the wildcard in the pro women's draw. They met the top tier team, #3 seed Jessica Parrilla and Frederique Lambert in a quarterfinal barn-burner that went to a tie-break. Carla has been showing significant improvement this season while Michelle is starting to show up more on tour after taking some time to start a family. Together they communicated well and made it to the bottom-half semifinal where they made Herrera and Mejia earn their finals appearance.
PRO MIXED DOUBLES
The Mixed Pro Doubles division promised to be interesting right from the beginning. The seeding was based solely on the seeds of the players in their respective tours combined, as the best players on the International Racquetball Tour matched up with top tier LPRT players. This provided the draw with a set-up that ensured fireworks in the early rounds. To give some perspective on the action, of the 18 total matches, 11 went to tie-breaker. With the best players in the world competing at this level, the excitement was heightened when the men didn't hold back and the women professionals proved they could exchange rallies at the highest levels in the world.
Daniel De La Rosa and Michelle De La Rosa
Pro Mixed Doubles Champions
Michelle and Daniel De La Rosa came into Denver as the 11th seed in the draw. The De La Rosas, or "De La Rosa Squared" as they were being monikered, had taken the Mixed Pro Title at the Battle At The Alamo in San Antonio a few weeks earlier. As the 11th seed, they were fixed to have to battle through a tough draw and prevailed as champions in Denver. They communicated well as Daniel was simply a force of talent who was legitimately backed up by Michelle who often proved un-passable during volleys.
Congratulations to Daniel and Michelle De La Rosa on their World Doubles Open Championship title.
Left: Mario Mercado and Adriana Riveros
Pro Mixed Doubles Finalists
The team of Adriana Riveros and Mario Mercado, who both represent Colombia internationally, teamed up to hit Denver as the #1 seed in the division. Both players are a constant force on their respective tours. They proved worthy of the seeding as they moved past seriously power-house teams in the draw.
Congratulations to Adriana Riveros and Mario Mercado on making the World Doubles Open Championships Mixed Pro final.
Left: Natalia Mendez and Alvaro Beltran • Right: Paola Longoria and Rodrigo Montoya
The World Doubles Open Championships Mixed Pro Semifinalists
• The #5 seeded team of Natalia Mendez and Alvaro Beltran was a clear example of what happens when high level players from the respective tours join forces in an explosive division. Natalia, in her first full year touring as a professional on the LPRT has made herself a fixture in the top 8 side of the rankings. She managed to team up with Alvaro, who is arguably the greatest racquetball player to ever come out of Mexico. They had an exciting run to the semifinals where they came up just a bit short in their tie-breaker match against the #1 seed Riveros and Mercado.
• The supremely professional Paola Longoria, who is currently holding the number one player position on the LPRT, teamed up with Mexican phenom Rodrigo Montoya. Paola is a leader on the court and has proven she sets the bar on the women's side. Rodrigo is a blazing talent. Together, they proved super exciting o watch. Longoria and Montoya battled through a tough draw straight to the semifinal tie-breaker, arguably the most exciting match of the event.
The World Open Doubles Championship in Denver, Colorado lived up to the anticipation garnered by set up for this event during the season. Doubles is fast paced and fan engaging. Congratulations to all the teams that put on a great show. Check out the archived LPRT live streamed matches here on LPRT Live.
Our deepest THANK YOU to Jim Hiser and his dedicated crew! His vision of an event that featured the best Doubles teams in the world highlighted a new energy in the sport.
For that, a sincerest thank you!
A special thanks to all the sponsors that made this event possible.
• by Gina
• Susan and Leo Klimaitis Foundation
• The HoR Group
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• Las fotografías de la LPRT están sujetas a Términos De Uso • Cualquier uso de estas fotografías está estrictamente prohibido, al menos que exista un consentimiento escrito por parte del autor.
Again, the LPRT expresses a huge thank you to Jim Hiser and his team, along with all the sponsors who make the World Doubles Open Championship a huge hit for the LPRT 2017/18 season!