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2024 LPRT Boston Open Recap

by Tim Baghurst, PhD

The seventh edition of the LPRT Boston Open did not disappoint. The top three seeds, Montse Mejia, Maria Jose Vargas, and Paola Longoria, entered the tournament with a chance to go home as world number one. Montse Mejia was largely untroubled on her way to the final, facing some stiff tests but not dropping a game to get there. The matchup circled on most calendars would have been Vargas vs Longoria in the semifinal on the other side of the bracket. While Vargas has been on a hot streak of success over the last several months, Longoria put it all together to take out the number two seed in two straight games. The relatively slow courts appeared to favor Longoria's more controlled and patient game.

2024 LPRT Boston Open
Photo by: Maria Paz Riquelme

The final was a tense affair between the current number one in Mejia and the player she had replaced. Like the recent Mexican National Championships, Longoria reasserted her dominance over Mejia, winning in a tiebreaker 11-8. Mejia will rue the many opportunities she had throughout the match to put away shots from which Longoria benefited. Vargas emerged from Boston as the new world number one based on points earned over the past year.

The doubles provided plenty of entertainment also. The number one seeds of Mejia/Herrera cruised into the finals but met an unexpected opponent in the number three-seeded Vargas/Mendez. The Argentine pair had upset the second seeds of Longoria/Salas in a feisty encounter in the semifinals, winning 15-14, 15-14. In the final, Vargas and Mendez surprised many again by claiming the title over the favorites 11-4 in the tiebreaker.

2024 LPRT Boston Open
Photo by: Maria Paz Riquelme

Thank you to Stewart Solomon of Solomon Racquet and Sports and Tony Prater of String Theory for being presenting sponsors of the Boston Open 2024. We appreciate all of the event sponsors and fans who came out to support the LPRT as well event beneficiary, Frontline Family Foundation - frontlinefamilyfoundation.org.
Thank you to Todd Boss of ProRacquetballStats.com for a full event recap:
Let's review the notable matches in the Singles draw.

2024 LPRT Boston Open
Photo by: Maria Paz Riquelme
2024 LPRT Boston Open
Photo by: Maria Paz Riquelme

In the 32s, all four matches were interesting
- US Junior national champ Naomi Ros showed fellow junior Khyathi Velpuri of the current gulf between them.
- Michelle Key got a very nice win over Lexi York during a rare singles appearance.
- Former LPRT #2 Frederique Lambert cruised past tour regular Maria Paz Riquelme
- Current Canadian #2 Juliette Parent got a TB win over LPRT regular Stephanie Synhorst .
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In the 16s:
- In the always close 8 vs 9 match, Kelani Lawrence came from a game down to top Carla Munoz and regain the upper hand in their frequently-seen h2h competition.
- #5 Alexandra Herrera wasn't too troubled by #12 Jessica Parrilla
- #4 Brenda Laime crushed Lambert 1,1 ... it’s amazing how far you fall off when you're not playing top-level competition week in and week out.
- #11 Cristina Amaya moved into the quarters for the 2nd event in a row, getting an injury forfeit after winning the first game against #6 Samantha Salas Solis
- #7 Angelica Barrios got a nice win over #10 Natalia Mendez in two close games.
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In the Quarters
- #1 Montse Mejia held on after a dominant first game to advance over Lawrence in two.
- #5 Alexandra Herrera got a solid win over #4 Laime 14,6
- #3 Paola Longoria was not troubled by Amaya and moved into the semis.
- #2 Maria Jose Vargas topped a player in Barrios who has vexed her in the past, winning in two games 7.11.
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The Semis neatly featured basically the four best players in the sport, the four who have dominated the game over the past few years (with all apologies to #4 Laime). And we got some interesting results the rest of the way.
In the top semi, Mejia cruised past friend and doubles partner Herrera 7,7. As I've mentioned before, these types of games are hard to predict since the two players know each other's game so well. From the bottom semi, a surprise. Longoria, who has lost the last few meetings to Vargas, turned the tide and topped her in a relatively dominant fashion all things considered 13,5.
In the Finals, Mejia controlled game one, but Longoria used the conditions and Mejia's lack of put-away accuracy to grind out the three game win.
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Points Implications of results.
As you've probably seen on social media by the time you read this, Maria Jose Vargas has ascended to #1 in the world for the first time in her long career. Despite losing to Paola in the semis, she takes over the top spot in the rolling 365-day calendar. She also maintains the #1 spot in the season to date rankings, which come June will be the only rankings that matter, as more and more it looks like Mejia will not be defending her title.
Mejia drops to #3 in the current rankings and remains a somewhat distant 3rd in season to date. She's going to need to basically finish out the season by winning every event to have a chance at repeating. There's not much movement otherwise in the top 8: Manilla drops to #7 and may be out for a while unfortunately due to her hip injury.
Doubles Review
The doubles draw saw a surprise finalist, breaking through the stranglehold that the two top Mexican teams have had at the top of the tour for some time. Argentinians Vargas & Mendez beat Longoria & Salas by the "can't get any closer" score line of 14 & 14 to get to the final. There they played #1 Mejia & Herrera, who cruised past the Bolivian native team of Barrios & Laime to get there.
In the final, Vargas & Mendez put a shot across the international bow of reigning IRF doubles champs Mejia & Herrera, taking them out in the doubles final.
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Open Singles, other notable draws
- Parrilla defeated Munoz in the Women's Open draw
- Sam Kelley beat Jose Flores Jr in a 1v2 Men's Open final.
- Rhys Andersen and Michelle Key took the Mixed open
- Men's Open Doubles: Carla Munoz teamed with Joe Kelley to take the Men's Open doubles title.

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