Finals Sunday at the Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball produced sensational handball, as the best indoor and outdoor handball players in the world vied for the most lucrative prizes in the sport. Tournament host and handball’s greatest ambassador Naty Alvarado has certainly created the greatest spectacle in the sport, as the handball world descends upon Southern California every October to enjoy Simple Green’s “Festival of Handball.”
Paul Brady vs. Luis Moreno
In a rematch of the 2014 Simple Green U.S. Open Men’s Pro Singles final, current R48 #2 and 2013 Simple Green U.S. Open Champion Luis Moreno raced to a 12-5 first game lead against five-time world champion Paul Brady with an incredible display of power serves and rally-ending kills and passes. Just as Brady had done in Saturday’s semifinals, “The Gunner” shifted gears, scoring 16 of the final 19 points of the first game with sensational serving and court coverage to steal the momentum. “Brady is simply hitting the best serves I think I’ve ever seen,” stated lead WPH play-by-by broadcaster David Vincent during the live ESPN broadcast.” Brady continued to dominate in game two, serving aces and attacking weak Moreno returns to clinch his sixth Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball title since 2006. “I just want to thank Mr. Fabriozio and Naty for hosting such an incredible tournament,” stated an appreciative Brady. “This tournament really has surpassed all of the others and has allowed me to train full-time for the past ten years.”
Brady defeats Moreno 21-15, 21-4
Mando Ortiz/Vic Perez vs. Paul Brady/Emmett Peixoto
Mando Ortiz and Vic Perez staged an epic comeback to defeat current world champions Robbie McCarthy and Diarmaid Nash in the semifinals and used the confidence gained in that dramatic victory to dominate Paul Brady and Emmett Peixoto. Ortiz and Perez held Brady and Peixoto under 10 points in both games, riding the hot hand of Ortiz and the steady play of Perez. “I love playing with Vic,” declared Ortiz. “I can go for my shots and he plays steady and makes great gets. I grew up watching all of the greats play on this court and to win this title is a dream come true for me.”
Mando Ortiz/Vic Perez defeats Paul Brady/Emmett Peixoto 21-9, 21-8
Former Simple Green U.S. Open finalist Naty Alvarado met six-time Simple Green U.S. Open doubles champion in the first Simple Green U.S. Open Pro Master’s final. In a rivalry that has been both contentious and entertaining, Alvarado overcame a slow start to take a commanding 20-8 first game lead. Chavez mounted an improbable comeback, scoring eight consecutive points and holding off six Alvarado attempts to end the game before Alvarado was ultimately able to take a one-game lead, 21-16. The Southern California rivals battled to a 6-6 tie in the second when Alvarado attempted to leverage his court position by climbing the left sidewall, reinjuring his already strained groin in the process. Clearly hampered, Alvarado was hardly able to run to the ball or set his feet to swing. Chavez evened the match at one game apiece and appeared to cruising to the title. Alvarado would make a stand in the tiebreaker, fighting through pain and willing himself to a 7-7 tie. Chavez upped his aggression in the final four points of the match, adding velocity to his serve and playing more offensively in the rallies. Chavez’s aggression earned him the final four points of the match and the Simple Green U.S. Open 40+ title. “Naty is such a great player and I still consider him to be the number one senior star,” Chavez would say after claiming his oversized check. “I have been battling a back injury since June, so when he hurt himself in the second game I felt like we were on even terms. I just want to tank Naty and Bruce for hosting this great event.”
Chavez defeats Alvarado 16-21, 21-8, 11-7
Samzon Hernandez vs. Vic Duran
Samzon Hernandez was aiming to stay undefeated at the Simple Green U.S. Open, an event he has made his personal playground since 2012. Hernandez would face giant slayer Vic Duran in the showcase 3-Wall singles match of the event. Hernandez built a 17-8 first game lead by defending Duran’s sharp angled two-wall serve to the right and executing kills and passes with both hands. Duran battled back, scoring 10 consecutive points against an exhausted Hernandez. Leading 18-17, Duran hit a wall, while Hernandez showcased his championship resolve, scoring the final four points of the game to escape what would have been a monumental collapse. Hernandez would build a substantial lead in game two and close out Duran, 21-14. “Vic plays a similar game to me with a lot of power,” stated Hernandez. “I knew I had to really bring my best game to beat him. I just want to thank Simple Green, Naty, the WPH, ESPN, the fans and all of the referees.”
Hernandez defeats Duran 21-18, 21-14
Former top three 3-Wall Big Ball star Boxer Rosales teamed with widely unknown but highly skilled Manuel Areola to defeat Shorty Ruiz and Timbo Gonzalez in the 3-Wall Doubles Final. Unseeded in the 32-team draw, Rosales and Areola defeated four WPH Yellow Jersey winners en route to claiming the title.
Rosales/Areola defeats S. Ruiz/Gonzalez 21-12, 21-20
Timbo Gonzalez vs. Tywan Cook
Current world champion Timbo Gonzalez faced New York rival and current national champion Tywan Cook for the second consecutive year in the Simple Green U.S. Open 1-Wall Big Ball final. Gonzalez had never lost a 1-Wall match at the U.S. Open and made sure to keep his undefeated record unblemished, allowing the current national champion just 20 combined points in the two-game sweep.
Gonzalez defeats Cook 21-12, 21-8
Former top 1-Wall star Peewee Castro returned to 1-Wall competition several months ago after a nearly three-year hiatus and proved he still has the game to beat the best. Castro teamed with first-time U.S. Open participant Kadeem Bush in the 1-Wall doubles and claimed the title against Angel Juarbe and Carlos Pena.
Castro/Bush defeats Juarbe/Pena 21-14, 20-21, 11-2
Sandy Ng and Danielle Daskalakis would square off to determine the best women’s 1-Wall star of 2015 in the Women’s final. With Ng claiming the National Championship and Daskalakis claiming the World Championship, the Simple Green U.S. Open would serve as the 2015 major title rubber match. Ng cruised in game one and took a big lead in game two, and unlike at the World Championships, Ng would not relinquish her advantage, closing out “Double D” 21-12, 21-10.
Ng defeats Daskalakis 21-12, 21-10
Ng and Daskalakis teamed to win the doubles, defeating Tamiko Pearson and Suly Ruiz in two games.
The World Players of Handball was proud to present a junior 3-Wall handball clinic at the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open featuring nearly a dozen junior players between the ages of 7-15. 2015 WPH R48 Rookies of Year Daniel Cordova and Martina McMahon led the clinic, teaching the serve, corner kill and point-play strategy. “The World Players of Handball is a junior development organization and we are proud to provide opportunities for junior handball players to play and learn the game of handball in positive and encouraging settings,” declared WPH Youth Donor and Development Director David Fink. “Having the opportunity to learn from Daniel Cordova of Mexico and Martina McMahon of Ireland is a thrill for any player, particularly junior players who are rapidly developing their games.”
Thank you to Mr. Bruce FaBrizio for his incredible support of the U.S. Open and handball. Thank you to Naty Alvarado, Sr. for his tireless efforts in organizing and directing the tremendous event, the entire Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball staff, Watch ESPN, the entire World Players of Handball staff and video team, and to all of the referees, players, and fans that make the Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball one of the best handball events of every handball season.
To watch replays from the Simple Green U.S. Open, go to the Watch ESPN APP (here). To follow all of the news from the world of handball and the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball, go to wphlive.tv. To follow the draws and results from the 2015 Simple Green U.S. Open of Handball, click here
WPH Senior Writer