Montoya Establishing Reputation with Mt. Rainer Title
By Laura McCormick
The Mount Rainer Open, hosted in downtown Seattle at the Washington Athletic Club, saw a large draw with a strong international and local participant count of 40. The likes of Hiroshi Shimizu (JAP), Mauro Rojas (USA), Wayne Antone IV (USA), and Felipe Camacho (CRC) provided some added color to the usual contenders on the World Racquetball Tour (WRT). Warmly welcomed back was Polo Guitierrez (MEX), who had been out since September with injury. With both Jaime Martell (MEX) and number one Alex Cardona (MEX) absent from the draw, there were opportunities for others to take their chance.
Playing on the tour is a very different experience to participating in a tour stop, and it showed. All of the higher seeded players progressed to the quarters with the exception of 6th seed Jake Bredenbeck (USA), who lost out to 11th seed Mauro Rojas. However, it should be noted that Bredenbeck continues to play with his non-dominant left hand while his right shoulder recovers from injury.
The quarterfinals in the top half of the draw were close. David “Bobby” Horn (USA), seeded 1st due to Cardona’s absence, required an 11-4 tiebreaker to beat out 8th seed Jordy Alonso (MEX). Similarly, Gutierrez, seeded 4th, overcame 5th seed Christian Longoria (MEX) in a topsy-turvy match, closing out the tiebreaker 11-9. In the lower half of the draw, 3rd seed Montoya quickly dispatched Rojas, and 2nd seed Andree Parrilla (MEX) won comfortably against 7th seed and training partner Gerado Franco (MEX).
Horn versus Gutierrez appeared on paper to be an exciting matchup, and while the scores were close, Horn closed it out in two straight games. Gutierrez had opportunities, but his lack of competitive matches appeared to get the better of him. Still, he should be encouraged by a strong showing after such a long time away.
Montoya and Parrilla know each other well, but it has been Montoya who has typically emerged the winner. Montoya and Parrilla have very contrasting styles. Montoya plays with power and relies on his athleticism. Conversely, Parrilla is a counterpuncher and is more patient, and is less likely to make unforced errors. In this match, at least, it was the power of Montoya that dominated. Montoya quickly won the first game 15-4, but when up big in game two perhaps lost focus, allowing Parrilla to save match points and claw his way back to game point. However, he missed the opportunity, and Montoya closed it out 15-14 to advance.
The final was a one-side affair, Montoya winning his third WRT title 15-5, 15-5. Horn has a similar style to Parrilla, counterpunching and using a variety of serves. However, Montoya’s power is hard to control, and he was in fine form all weekend. Montoya also demonstrates his mental strength; he rarely loses composure when an official’s call does not go his way, and closes out tight games in his favor. His continued success over the past few months suggests he is close to challenging Cardona, Horn, and Parrilla for top spot on the tour.
The WRT’s next stop is The MidWest Championships in Minnesota from March 10-12. You can learn more about the WRT by visiting their website (www.worldracquetballtour.com).