|Born||July 20, 1989|
San Luis Potosí, Mexico
|Coached by||Fran Davis|
Paola Michelle Longoria López (born July 20, 1989) is a Mexican racquetball player. She's a three-time International Racquetball Federation World Champion in Women's Singles, tied with Michelle Gould and Cheryl Gudinas for the most ever World Singles titles by a female. She is also a three-time World Champion in Women's Doubles, and is the only woman to have won both singles and doubles at Worlds. Longoria is also the #1 player on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) tour, and was the first Mexican woman to attain the #1 pro ranking, doing so at the end of the 2008-09 season. She repeated the feat at the end of 2009-2010 season, and has been #1 for the last eight seasons. Longoria's style is characterized by a semi-western grip of the racquet, which is unusual for racquetball; Longoria is the only pro player using this grip style.
Longoria was undefeated on the LPRT for three and a half years, from May 2011 to October 2014. As of the end of the 2017-18 season, she's won 82 Tier 1 or Grand Slam events on the LPRT, including eight US Opens. Most recently in 2017, she defeated Frédérique Lambert, 11-7, 11-4, 2-11, 11-3, to win her 8th US Open. In the 2014 US Open, Longoria beat Maria Jose Vargas in the first US Open final to feature two non-US players. In 2016, Longoria and Samantha Salas played the first US Open final between two Mexican players, with Longoria beating her long time doubles partner, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3. Longoria's beaten Rhonda Rajsich in four US Open finals: 2015, 2013, 2012 and 2011. Her first US Open win was in 2008 when she beat Cheryl Gudinas in the final, becoming the first Mexican to win that event or even reach the US Open final.
Her first women's pro tournament win was the Outback Steakhouse Blast It! tournament in Fayetteville, N.C., September 13-16, 2007, when she defeated Rajsich in the final, 12-14, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7.
Longoria is the most successful International Racquetball player in history, with 30 International titles. As of 2018, she has 17 career IRF singles titles and another 13 career IRF doubles titles.
Longoria won Women's Singles at the 2016 World Championships in Cali, Colombia, where she defeated Gabriela Martinez of Guatemala in the final, 15-12, 15-7. She defeated Maria Jose Vargas in the semi-finals, 15-5, 15-5. In Cali, Longoria and teammate Samantha Salas lost the Women's Doubles final to Americans Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger, 15-11, 9-15, 11-8. In the semis, they defeated Bolivians Jenny Daza and Adriana Riveros, 15-5, 15-5. The gold in singles was Longoria's 6th gold at Worlds, putting her one behind Jackie Paraiso, but Paraiso's 7 gold are all in doubles, while Longoria has won three in singles and three in doubles.
Earlier in 2016, Longoria won gold in both Women's Singles and Women's Doubles, with Salas, at the Pan American Championships in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She defeated Canadian Frédérique Lambert in the singles final, 15-3, 15-6, and Americans Kelani Bailey and Michelle Key, 15-5, 15-10.
In 2014, Longoria won both Women's Singles and Doubles at the World Championships in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, where she defeated American Rhonda Rajsich in the singles final and with Samantha Salas beat Americans Aimee Ruiz and Janel Tisinger. This was a successful defense of the titles she first won in 2012 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where Longoria defeated Canadian Jennifer Saunders in the singles final to become the first Mexican woman to be World Champion.
Her 2014 doubles win was the third World Championship for her and Samantha Salas, as they also won in 2012 and 2010, which was the first time a Mexican team had won Women's Doubles at Worlds. In the 2012 final, they defeated the Chilean team of Angela Grisar and Carla Muñoz, while in 2010, they beat the American pair of Aimee Ruiz and Jackie Paraiso in the final.
Longoria has twice won three gold medals for Mexico at the Pan American Games. In both the 2011 Pan Am Games and the 2015 Pan Am Games she swept gold in the women's competitions, winning Women's Singles, Women's Doubles as well as the Women's Team event.Samantha Salas was her doubles partner in both years.
Longoria has won 9 Pan American Championships - 6 in Women's Singles (in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015.) and 3 in Women's Doubles (2011, 2012 and 2015, all with Salas). Her 9 Pan Am Championship titles are second most by a woman trailing only American Jackie Paraiso, who's won ten.
In 2017, Longoria lost to Rhonda Rajsich (USA) in the final of the Pan American Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, 7-15, 15-13, 11-9, which ended a string of 10 consecutive Women's Singles gold medals for Longoria at international events dating back to 2011, when she lost to Rajsich in the semi-finals of the Pan American Championships. However, Longoria and Samantha Salas won Women's Doubles in San Jose, defeating Veronica Sotomayor and Maria Paz Muñoz in the final, 15-12, 15-5.
In 2018, Longoria lost a round robin match at the Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile to Maria Jose Vargas, 12-15, 15-13, 11-9. The loss meant Longoria was not the #1 for the elimination round. Neverthessless, she reached the final, including a win over teammate Samantha Salas in the semi-finals, 15-12, 15-6. The final was a repeat of the 2017 final, and so was the outcome, as Longoria again lost to Rajsich, 15-3, 14-15, 11-7. Although Longoria was a silver medalist in singles in Temuco, she won gold in Women's Doubles, as she and Alexandra Herrera defeated a Guatemala team of Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez in the final, 9-15, 15-1, 11-8.
As a junior player, Longoria won eight consecutive International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships from 2001 to 2008, winning twice in each age category: 12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under, and 18 and under.
In 2013, Forbes Magazine's Mexico edition named Longoria as one of the 50 most influential women in Mexico.