The R48 Stock Watch
Paul Brady (+10%): Undefeated through four events on the R48 IV tour, Brady is aiming for the first perfect season in R48 history. Perhaps the only comparison to Brady’s domination would be the NFL’s 1972 Miami Dolphins or Rod Laver’s tennis “Grand Slam” seasons of 1962 and 1969
Catriona Casey (+10%): Casey remained undefeated in WR48 play, winning her fifth WR48 event in the fifth ever WR48 event. Casey is only improving, as evidenced by her combined score of 90-7 against her three opponents in San Francisco, including a 30-0 thrashing in the final
Alex Tico (+9%): San Francisco native Alex Tico, brother of former top 10 pro Chris Tico, invited a group of 10 pros to dinner on Friday and Saturday night in downtown San Francisco. Alex treated the pros to incredible food and camaraderie in downtown San Fran, making San Fran one of the most fun stops in history for the pros fortunate enough to attend the weekend festivities. Oh, and Alex Tico has some game on the handball court too!
Sean Lenning (+6%): Lenning resurgence has moved him back into the R48 top four after dropping all the way to #9 at the start of 2015. Calendar years wins against Mando Ortiz (twice), Luis Moreno and Marcos Chavez, with losses only to Paul Brady (twice) have signaled the rebirth of one of handball’s greats
Danielle Daskalakis (+4%): Double D earned her highest ever finish in a WR48 event in San Francisco, clinching third with wins over Courtney Peixoto de Melo and Tracy Davis. Despite being on the receiving end of a semifinal thumping to Catriona Casey, DD is on the rise
Courtney Peixoto de Melo (+4%): CPM started slowly in San Francisco, dropping her round of eight match to Danielle Daskalakis, but rebounded with a goose-bump inducing 5th place final victory over longtime rival Yvonne August. “I felt like I was washed up,” a pregnant CPM would say after the match with tears streaming down her face. “It feels so good to win something again.”
David Fink (+3%): After rising to #2 on the R48 Tour from January of 2014 to March of 2014, Fink slumped with injuries, dropping all the way to #8 in January of 2015. Fink’s new attitude and appreciation for the game lifted him to the semifinals in San Francisco, defeating #4 Mando Ortiz in the quarterfinals before losing to Paul Brady in the semifinals. Fink moved back into the top 5 on the R48 Power Rankings with his second semifinal finish in three R48 events
Stephen Cooney (-1%): Entering San Francisco on the heels of 9th, 6th and 9th place finishes, Cooney knew a good showing in San Fran could earn him an Elite 8 invite to New York in March. Cooney struggled with the pressure, narrowly escaping an upset in the qualifier, and losing badly in the round of 16 and the first round of the 9-16 Playoffs, gaining no ground in his pursuit of the Elite 8
Mando Ortiz (-4%): Since defeating Paul Brady at the 2014 R48 Player’s Championship, Ortiz is just 3-5 in the main draw of R48 events of his last five Race starts
The #8 Invite (-5%): The 8th invite has lost in the round of 16 in all three R48 events post U.S. Open ’14. Qualifiers have dramatically climbed the rankings when pulling the #8 in the blind draw. Marcos Chavez will likely be #8 in New York. Can he reverse the trend?
WR48 Final (-6%): For the first time in Race history, a final ended with the losing player scoring zero points in both games. Catriona Casey is great but two-game shutouts are unthinkable in a pro final
Saturday Morning Blowouts (-8%): Saturday’s first six matches of WR48 and R48 play featured six blowouts, with the losing player averaging just three points per game in 12 games played. What appeared to be great matches on paper turned out to be anything but on the court and under the bright lights of ESPN
Stalling (-10%): Two R48 ESPN main draw matches featured stalls that filled over 60% of the ESPN’s air time. Towel timeouts, mid-game naps, injury timeouts, timeouts, arguments, shirt changes and glove changes ruined what should have been two epic battles. The twitterverse and WPH social media sites were abuzz with criticism and discontent. Rules will be changed going forward to ensure that stalling is reduced or eliminated