Players to Watch @ US Open

Posted on Oct 13 2016 - 3:15pm by DV

WPHLIVE TV BLUE LETTERSThe 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open Race 4 Eight VI Stop #1 + The WPH Outdoor Finale V, 1WallBall & A Special Players to Watch Feature

The 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open returns for its 10th installment at the Los Caballeros Sports Village in beautiful Fountain Valley, CA from October 20th-23rd 2016. The Simple Green U.S. Open honors handball’s greatest champion, Naty “El Gato” Alvarado Sr. El Gato and the entire Alvarado and Simple Green family work tirelessly throughout the year and during the third week of October to ensure that players and fans are treated as like part of their families.

rickyaThe Simple Green U.S. Open has become the most coveted prize in handball, with the game’s best players from across the world trying to peak for Simple Green’s handball extravaganza. The Simple Green U.S. Open is also the most sought after destination for handball players across the globe, as handball players and fans flock to Southern California for the perfect weather, beaches, and the best handball in the world. Offering the most prize money of any tournament in the world combined with the professional Simple Green U.S. Open staff and sensational facilities, the Simple Green U.S. Open is a can’t miss event each fall.

1932747_10152861147758799_1052838824987826412_oKnown as the “Festival of Handball” for combining 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall, the Simple Green U.S. Open attracts the world’s best players from each code, as evidenced by its outstanding list of champions that has dated back to the first installment of the Simple Green U.S. Open in 2006. Paul Brady, Catriona Casey, Timbo Gonzalez, Marcos Chavez, Samzon Hernandez, Aisling Reilly, and Luis Moreno are just a few of the current or former world #1’s who have hoisted Simple Green championships in the first nine editions of the event.

9440_10152872969928799_1286031441610047409_n2016 promises to be another spectacular Simple Green U.S. Open, as ESPN3 will be covering the 1-Wall, 3-Wall, and 4-Wall action live for the third consecutive year. The World Players of Handball is proud to broadcast all of the action live on ESPN3, providing Simple Green and the sport of handball the platform to reach hundreds of thousands of viewers during each day of the event.

The 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open serves as the first event of the WPH Race 4 Eight VI season, featuring the R48Men’s Pro, the WR48Pro, and the SR48 Pro. The World Players of Handball’s Race 4 Eight VI powered by ESPN and features seven regular season stops, starting with the 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open and culminating with The Player’s Championship in Salt Lake City in April of 2017. Similar to Nascar’s Nextel Cup and the FedEx PGA Playoffs, players earn points in the Race 4 Eight’s first six stops to qualify for the season-ending Player’s Championship and bonus prizes. Each Race event is broadcast live on the Watch ESPN app.

1439613044491The Race 4 Eight V Powered by ESPN will hold regular season stops from October 2016 through April of 2017 in Fountain Valley, CA, Minneapolis, MN, Coeur d’Alene, ID, New Orleans, LA, Houston, TX, New York, NY, and Salt Lake City, UT.

To view links to all of the events, Race 4 Eight 6 Rules, Video Preview of the Race 4 Eight 6, and the current R48 rankings, click here

_MG_3759The Simple Green U.S. Open also features the final ranking event of the WPH Outdoor V season, with the 3WallBall superstars descending upon the portable 3-Wall courts in the hopes of capturing Simple Green glory. The portable 3-Wall courts also feature two 1-Wall courts, providing the game’s best single-wall players the opportunity to compete for one of 1-Wall’s greatest prizes. The portable WallBall courts erected on the tennis stadium courts at Los Caballeros Sports Village provide the outdoor superstars with one of the most sensational platforms in which to compete in WallBall sports and the outdoor athletes with undoubtedly put on an incredible show.

IMG_0024To read the Simple Green U.S. Open ’16 press release, click here

Enjoy the week in Fountain Valley!

Players to Watch at the 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open

The Simple Green U.S. Open features the best players from across the globe. Check out the favorites and the contenders for next week’s “Festival of Handball” in Fountain Valley, CA.

sean-lenningRace 4 Eight


Sean Lenning: Sean Lenning enters the U.S. Open as the highest ranked player in the field on the heels of an outstanding 2015-2016 Race 4 Eight season that saw him collect one title, appear in four finals, and finish in the top five of six of seven stops. Lenning advanced to the U.S. Open final in 2007 and 2008, only to lose heartbreaking tiebreakers in both matches. Lenning will be aiming for his first U.S. Open title and to inch himself towards the Race 4 Eight #1 ranking for the second time

mando-ortizMando Ortiz: Ortiz collected his first Race 4 Eight title in Houston during the 2015-2016 Race 4 Eight season, defeating Paul Brady and Sean Lenning in back-to-back 15-13 tiebreakers. Ortiz is the Race 4 Eight’s resident gunslinger, capable of ending rallies with either hand from anywhere on the court. Ortiz’s incredible Race 4 Eight season started last year by winning the doubles at Los Caballeros. Could Mando grab the singles this year?

kcKillian Carroll: Known as “Flash,” Killian Carroll has won two of the three 4-Wall majors in 2016 (WPH R48 Player’s Championship & USHA Four Wall Nationals) and will aim for a clean sweep at the Simple Green U.S. Open. Since a disappointing 13th place finish at the R48 V Stop #6 Salt Lake City in April of 2016, Carroll has reeled off eight consecutive pro wins, two of those victories against Paul Brady, in winning the year’s first two majors. Carroll lost in a tiebreaker in the quarterfinals to Sean Lenning in last year’s Simple Green U.S. Open but appears to be poised for a much deeper run this year

luis-morenoLuis Moreno: “The Natural” won nine of the first 18 Race 4 Eight events from 2011-2014, but has yet to collect a title since. Moreno enjoyed his breakout moment as a teenager at the 2008 Simple Green U.S. Open, stunning Paul Brady in a thrilling tiebreaker in the quarterfinals. Moreno defeated Diarmaid Nash and Robbie McCarthy in the two closest matches of last year’s U.S. Open en route to his second consecutive final at Los Caballeros. Moreno has played some of his best ball in years in the past few months, possibly signaling a return of one of the game’s greats

rmcRobbie McCarthy: “The Buzzsaw” blitzed the field at the 2011 Simple Green U.S. Open, taking no prisoners in defeating Sean Lenning, Naty Alvarado, and Charly Shanks. McCarthy is one of just two players in the field to have won a U.S. Open title (Moreno), and owns one of the best winning percentages in the history of the Race 4 Eight tour (79% with two titles). McCarthy just completed the 60×30 season in Ireland and should be fit and motivated to claim his second U.S. Open title

charly-shanksCharly Shanks: Charly Shanks is one of just five players to have held the Race 4 Eight #1 ranking (2013) and is one of the few players to have defeated Luis Moreno and Sean Lenning in the same event, a feat he made need to repeat in order to win his first Simple Green U.S. Open. Shanks nearly won the U.S. Open in the first season of the Race 4 Eight tour in 2011, coming up just two points short in a thrilling tiebreaker against Robbie McCarthy. Although playing less frequently than he did when he reached #1, Shanks’ game is always dangerous


Catriona Casey: Catriona Casey has won nine of 10 Women’s Race 4 Eight events held since the inception of the tour in 203, with the only loss coming in last year’s U.S. Open final to Aisling Reilly in an 11-9 tiebreaker. Casey has been so dominant on the Women’s Race 4 Eight, highlighted by a 4:1 scoring ratio for the season on the WR48 II. Casey will be seeking to avenge her finals loss from last year and reclaim the title she has won twice previously

aisling-reilly-1-arAisling Reilly: The two-time defending world champion seems to play her best when the stakes are the highest, as evidenced by her record in the World Championships, the All Ireland 40×20 Senior Championships, and last year’s Simple Green U.S. Open. Reilly often devotes months of preparation to the events she deems to be the most important, removing herself from social media and any other distractions to ensure the most focused training possible. Reilly will be aiming to defend the only Women’s Race 4 Eight title she has ever owned and will need to be at her best to do so

martina-mcmahonMartina McMahon: Smooth-swinging Martina McMahon introduced her sublime talent to the Women’s Race 4 Eight tour in her impressive run to the semifinals at the 2015 WR48 NYAC Invitational and validated that result by advancing to the finals of the 2016 WR48 NYAC Invitational. McMahon recently defeated Catriona Casey in the All Ireland 60×30 All Ireland Championships, proving to the world that she is capable of beating the best in the biggest moments. 2M will need to beat the best again at Los Caballeros if she wants to claim her first WR48 title at the 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open

tracy-davis-tdTracy Davis: At 39 years of age, Tracy Davis is a living legend in the sport and still one of the best players in the game. Davis is unquestionably the fittest player competing in any of the Race 4 Eight brackets, as well as being one of the most well-liked. Davis wins and loses with class, always serving as an ambassador to the sport. Davis’ “serve-and-shoot” style makes her dangerous against any opponent and she will look to employ those tactics at the 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open against the best players from both sides of the pond

For the full list of Race 4 Eight bios, click here

WPH Outdoor

juan-santosMen’s 3-Wall

Juan Santos: The WPH Outdoor #1 won three of seven WPH Outdoor singles titles this season and 12 since the inception of the tour in 2012. Shockingly, Santos has never won the 3-Wall Big Ball singles at the U.S. Open, an omission on his sparkling resume, which he hopes to eliminate this year

timbo-gTimbo Gonzalez: The WPH Outdoor #2 will enter the 3-Wall Big Ball Doubles with Shorty Ruiz, with the pair having lost in the finals of the 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships but having won all three of their WPH Outdoor doubles starts this season prior to Las Vegas

shorty-ruizShorty Ruiz: A resurgent and motivated Shorty Ruiz is a dangerous one. Ruiz found himself outside of the WPH Outdoor top 15 in March, only to storm into the top three by June with an impressive run in WPH Outdoor singles and doubles events

ricardo-ruizRicky Ruiz: Ricky Ruiz is one of just seven players to have won a WPH Outdoor Pro Singles title, placing him in elite company amongst the world’s best Big Ball stars. Ricky will enter the Simple Green U.S. Open having played very little handball in the past year, but a previous finals appearance at the 2013 U.S. Open will give him confidence at the final ranking event on the WPH Outdoor V tour. Don’t be surprised to see Ricky in the later rounds at Los Caballeros

boxer-rosalesBoxer Rosales: Widely regarded as one WPH Outdoor’s top stars, Boxer Rosales all but left Big Ball behind after moving to Idaho more than two years ago. Rosales returned with a vengeance at the 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships last month, advancing to the 3-Wall Big Ball singles final with five impressive victories, including taking down WPH Outdoor #4 “El Hombre” Alfredo Morales before falling to WPH Outdoor #1 Juan Santos in the final. Rosales will not fly under the radar at Los Caballeros but will be on the short list of favorites to win the title

alfredo-moralesAlfredo Morales: Morales captured his first WPH Outdoor 3-Wall Big Ball Singles title at the X-Fest II in June, dominating the best players in 3-Wall Big Ball, including WPH Outdoor #1 Juan Santos in the final. Morales had a disappointing singles event at the 3WallBall Outdoor Championships, but look for “El Hombre” to bounce back in a big way at the U.S. Open

tim-gonzalezMen’s 1-Wall

Timbo Gonzalez: Gonzalez has never lost a 1-Wall match at the Simple Green U.S. Open, having won the 1-Wall Big Ball singles in 2014 and 2015. Gonzalez enters this year’s U.S. Open having decimated a strong field at the 3WallBall Outdoor Championships 1-Wall Big Ball Pro Singles and will aim to carry the momentum from Las Vegas to Los Caballeros

tywan-cookTywan Cook: The two-time defending 1-Wall Big Ball national champion, Cook is always on the short list of favorites in any 1-Wall Big Ball event. Cook captured the 1-Wall Pro Doubles at the 2014 Simple Green U.S. Open and lost in the finals of last year’s 1-Wall singles. Cook did not play his best in Las Vegas and will use that as fuel in Los Caballeros

gio-vasquezGio Vasquez: “The Human Torch” has been relatively quiet for the past two years, but a strong performance in the 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships 1-Wall Big Ball Singles signaled that he is still “flaming on.” Vasquez still possesses the hunger and the skills to compete against the very best and don’t be surprised to see him playing for titles on Sunday at Los Caballeros

carlin-rosa-1Carlin Rosa: Rosa demonstrated his sensational skills in teaming with Hector Velez to make the 1-Wall Big Ball Pro Doubles final at the 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships last month. Rosa’s quiet confidence and swag makes him fun to watch and always a contender in 1-Wall’s biggest events

Women’s 1-Wall

jennyquJenny Qu: Qu dominated her first tournament outside of New York City at the 2016 3WallBall Outdoor World Championships, ousting 1-Wall world champions Danielle Daskalakis and Sandy Ng en route to the 1-Wall Women’s Pro singles title and making Qu the only player to have ever started a WPH Outdoor event and never lost a match. Qu will look to make it two-for-two outside of NYC at Los Caballeros next week

copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-alfredoSandy Ng: Sandy Ng enters the 2016 Simple Green U.S. Open as the U.S. Open 1-Wall Big Ball Pro Singles and Doubles defending champion. Ng possesses two strong hands and a quiet competitiveness that fuels her to dominate. Ng lost to Jenny Qu in their first matchup in Las Vegas last month and will likely need to overcome the newcomer to defend her titles at Los Caballeros

danielle-daskalakisDanielle Daskalakis: The stylish lefty has proven herself to be an all-around star in handball, having ascended to the top five in 4-Wall, 3-Wall, and 1-Wall. Daskalakis’ versatility and shot making makes the southpaw dangerous in any code, particularly in 1-Wall singles and doubles. Daskalakis will be aiming for her first singles title at the U.S. Open and will have to overcome the strongest U.S. Open field in history

David Fink

WPH Senior Writer