At this year’s US Open, Rhonda Rajsich experienced a setback that could have solidified her recent displacement from the Number 2 spot on the LPRT. As disappointing as not making the final had been for her, what added to the moment was the way recent results had been swinging against her.
It might have been easy for fans to expect similar outcomes going into this past weekend’s LPRT stop in Stockton, California. Though it’s not surprising that Rhonda made it past Maria Jose Vargas in her semifinal match, it was however notable. I for one was beginning to sense a settled shift in the dynamic for the 2 and 3 spot.
Rhonda Rajsich took her US Open results really hard, on a deeply personal level. Her winning the Stockton stop seemed fitting, when you also consider two other factors. Paola Longoria’s 152 match win streak, in which she’s won every final, most of which where against Rhonda. And it being in Stockton, the site of Longoria’s last loss. For Rhonda, this is a complete reset into the new dynamic.
With that, there is a big, “Let’s see.”
Paola Longoria’s consecutive win streak, though over, was productive beyond just a woman winning every event. The last time she lost in Stockton, it was a contentious affair. This time, I have to say, I was truly impressed by Longoria’s response. She was naturally emotional, yet, immediately aware of the big picture and truly a professional figure. Confident. Respectful. Thankful. Driven. See it for yourself. All the accolades and the sheer amount of attention and notoriety she has single handedly brought to racquetball have been well handled, that was the clarity of this moment. 152 consecutive professional match wins and throughout this time she’s grown into a shrewdly smart business woman. Sponsors, talk shows, media attention (#OroParaPaola), etc… unprecedented in today’s racquetball. Win streak over, the “If and When” answered, now, Paola can keep getting down to business.
All I can think of right now is what it may be like at Paola’s namesake event in December. The Mexican fans will be going crazy if she meets Rhonda again. Or anyone in the final for that matter. The field is still chasing her.