LPRT Battle at the Alamo 2024

by T. J. Baumbaugh

The LPRT returned to San Antonio, Texas in April for another epic season battle. Maria Jose Vargas (ARG) returned to the winner’s circle after a victory over Montse Mejia (MEX) in an intense tiebreaker final. This was Vargas’ 4th title this season. Although Mejia’s loss was a heartbreaker (she had a big lead in the tiebreaker), she moved back up to the #2 ranking position. Mejia fell to #3 recently, after finishing the 2022-2023 at #1. In doubles action, the #1 ranked team of Mejia and partner Alexandra Herrera (MEX) added another title to their resume. In the final, they fought off the team of Carla Munoz (CHI) and Michelle Key (USA), after Munoz/Key upset both the #3 and #2 seed teams to get there.  

Thank you to the Alamo City Racquetball Association and Mike Cantu for welcoming the LPRT back to Texas. And thank you to sponsors San Rios (Sandy Rios), Splathead (Joe Hall), and Dean Schear for your continued support.

Thank you to Todd Boss of for a full event recap:

In the 32s:

- US Junior national team member and San Antonio resident Naomi Ros got a solid win over USA veteran Lexi York 14,10.

- Michelle Key got a very impressive win over Argentine Natalia Mendez to move into the round of 16. Key continues to improve her singles profile at the expense of Mendez.

- Cris Amaya took out former top touring pro Frederique Lambert in a tie-breaker to continue her strong 2023-24 season.


In the 16s:

- In the 8/9 match, Kelani Lawrence got the better of her close rival Munoz Carla in a tiebreaker.

- #5 Herrera was pressed by Angelica Barrios , losing the first game badly before turning on the jets and cruising to the win.

- #13 Jessica Parrilla shocked #4 Brenda Laime in a breaker for the biggest upset of the tournament.

- Amaya almost took another high-seed scalp, toping #7 Samantha Salas 15-2 in the first game before the Mexican veteran woke up and cruised 3,3 the rest of the way to move into the quarters.


In the Quarters

- #1 Vargas had little trouble with #8 Kelani wining 5,4

- #5 Herrera topped her Mexican rival Parrilla with ease 2,2

- #3 Mejia had to go breaker to top Ana Gabriela Martinez but avoided the upset to move on.

- #2 Paola Longoria took time away from her political campaign to renew her long-time singles rivalry with Salas, winning two close games 14,11 to move into the semis.


In the Semis

- #1 Vargas survived a scare, and had to save match points against, to top #5 Herrera by the score line of (3),10,10. Herrera turned back the clock this weekend but couldn't close out the win. She returns to the final for the 4th time this season.

- #3 Mejia turned around her match completely against #2 Longoria after losing the first game, winning (12),6,6 to make her 4th final of the year.

Photos from the LPRT Battle at the Alamo
Maria Paz Riquelme

In the Finals, Vargas took a back and forth slug fest in the tie-breaker to win her fourth tournament of the year.

Photos from the LPRT Battle at the Alamo
Maria Paz Riquelme

Doubles Review

Muñoz & Key were the big surprise in this draw, competing as the #7 seeds and getting two great wins. In the quarters they topped consensus #2 seeds Longoria & Salas in a breaker, then didn't let down in the semis versus #3 Vargas & Mendez to secure a final. Alas, Herrera & Mejia were too much for the team, as the clear #1 doubles team in the world took the final 7,10 to extend their lead atop the LPRT's rankings.

Photos from the LPRT Battle at the Alamo
Maria Paz Riquelme
Photos from the LPRT Battle at the Alamo
Maria Paz Riquelme
Photos from the LPRT Battle at the Alamo
Maria Paz Riquelme


Open Singles, other notable draws

The LPRT pro events were done Saturday evening, which led to the rest of the very solid amateur draws competing most of Saturday into Sunday. There were a slew of IRT touring pros playing in the Open events... here's a quick recap:

- Men's Open Singles: 18 players headlined by 14-time pro champ Kane Waselenchuk competed in a solid Men's Open draw. The event went mostly according to seeds/expectations, with Kane beating up and coming Mexican #5 Elias Nieto in one semi while IRT touring pro #2 seed Alan Natera beat fellow IRT touring pro and near top 10 player Erick Trujillo in the other. The final was one-way traffic for the San Antonio-based Waselenchuk, winning 5 & 9 for the title.

- Men's Open Doubles: curiously, 3-time defending IRT champ Daniel De la Rosa was here (instead of at the competing PPA pickleball event in Utah), and also curiously he chose not to play singles. Instead he paired up with fellow San Antonio native David Mendoza in doubles. They were topped in the semis by the all-Junior national team of DJ Mendoza & Cole Sendrey. From the top, #1 Natera & Trujillo powered past Waselenchuk & Matthew Barron in the semis to take on the kids in the final. There, the veterans overtook the juniors, winning 9,6 for the title.

- Women's Open Singles: The women's open draw unsurprisingly came down to the two non-top8 ranked ladies who entered and were seeded 1 & 2. In the final, Mendez took it to Munoz to win 5,3.

- Women's Open Doubles: Sandy Rios and Disney Linares took the small Open/A round robin competition.

- Mixed Open doubles: Alan Natera teamed up with fellow Chihuahua resident Yanna Salazar to take the Mixed Open doubles title.