Sunday, October 7, 2018

Waselenchuk wins #14 at 2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Kane Waselenchuk won his 14th US Open International Racquetball Tour (IRT) title and 11th straight Sunday at the 2018 UnitedHeathcare US Open Racquetball Championship in Minneapolis Sunday. Waselenchuk defeated Daniel De La Rosa in the final, 15-11, 15-6, to remain undefeated in US Open finals. He hasn't lost a US Open match since 2002.

The first game was close early, as they were tied 3-3. Waselenchuk moved ahead there, but De La Rosa kept it close to 7-6. Then Waselenchuk got five points to lead 11-6, so De La Rosa called a timeout.

That led to a sideout, and then three points to cut the lead to 11-9. But De La Rosa couldn't get closer than two points, as Waselenchuk led 12-10 and 13-11. Waselenchuk got the serve back at that point with a backhand pinch return of a De La Rosa drive serve to the right side.

Waselenchuk closed the game out at 15-11 with a forehand cross court winner followed by a skip from De La Rosa that seemed to be an unforced error.

Waselenchuk jumped out to a 4-0 lead in game two, and went up 8-2. There was a hint of a De La Rosa comeback when he got to 8-4, but when Waselenchuk got the serve back with a forehand pinch shot, he called a timeout. When Waselenchuk came back in the court, he drove serve - there had been a lot of lob serves by both players in the match - and got three straight service winners to make it 11-4.

That run was ended by a skip call on Waselenchuk's next drive serve. He appealed the call, but the video replay was inconclusive, so the call stood. Yet De La Rosa didn't score, as they traded two sideouts back and forth.

Another Waselenchuk drive serve winner made it 12-4. He hit a forehand to the right side to make it 13-4. Another exchange of sideouts was followed by a 5th service winner that put Waselenchuk on match point at 14-4.

De La Rosa fought off three match points before Waselenchuk ended it with a solid backhand down the line pass shot claim his 11th straight US Open and 14th overall.

If you missed the final, check it out via the IRT outlets, including the IRT Network, IRT Facebook page and IRT YouTube channel.

2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 3-7, 2018

Final - Sunday

3) Kane Waselenchuk d. 4) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-11, 15-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

Longoria wins 9th US Open at 2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Paola Longoria won her 9th US Open Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) title Sunday at the 2018 UnitedHeathcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis by defeating Samantha Salas, 11-9, 11-2, 11-5. Longoria has been in the last 11 US Open women's pro finals and won 9 of them, including two against Salas. They also played in the 2016 final.

It looked like a different outcome would happen in game one, although Longoria did get off to a good start by going up 6-2 on Salas. But Salas kept fighting, and slowly caught up and then passed Longoria, getting a 9-6 lead on the defending champion. So Longoria called a timeout.

When play resumed, Longoria hit a backhand pinch return winner off Salas's drive Z serve to the left side. That led to two Longoria points, and then Salas called a timeout still leading 9-8.

But Salas's timeout was not as successful as Longoria's, as Longoria tied the game on the next rally with a forehand winner. A forehand pinch shot got Longoria to game point at 10-9, and she won it on the next rally by hitting a forehand from the back left corner down the left side.

Game two was all Longoria, as she went up 7-0, and won 11-2. They did go back and forth after that 7-0 lead, which produced Salas's two points, but after a Longoria timeout she came back in and won four consecutive rallies to win the game with the last two points coming off Salas backhand skip shots.

Being down 0-2 to the #1 player may seem like a bad place to be, and generally it is, but Salas's two wins over Longoria in the last 18 months on tour were both after being down 0-2. Strange but true.

However, in game three Longoria took a 5-1 lead. Although Salas got to within one at 6-5, she never led in the game. Salas made two unforced errors at 6-5 that could have made a difference, but you can't afford to make unforced errors against Longoria. Three Salas skips took Longoria from a 6-5 lead to 9-5.

Salas did stop Longoria there with a forehand winner, but Longoria got the serve back with a backhand winner. A long rally ensued including back and forth ceiling balls. It ended when Salas skipped a backhand shot, and she bent over after that seemingly acknowledging that was effectively the end, although the score was 10-5.

The end did come on the next rally when Longoria hit a backhand back from the middle back to the left side for a winner, making her US Open champion once again.

In winning her 9 titles, Longoria has defeated 5 opponents: Salas twice, Rhonda Rajsich four times, and Cheryl Gudinas, Maria Jose Vargas and Frédérique Lambert once each. Gudinas, who Longoria beat for her first US Open title, was the referee of today's final.

The LPRT final can be viewed again via the LPRT YouTube channel.

2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 3-7, 2018

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria d. 3) Samantha Salas, 11-9, 11-2, 11-5

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Beltran & De La Rosa win IRT Doubles at 2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa unseeded the champs, as they defeated Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk, 15-11, 15-6, in the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) doubles division at the 2018 UnitedHeathcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis. It was the second meeting in as many years between these two teams, and last year Croft and Waselenchuk won it in a tie-breaker. But Beltran and De La Rosa were not to be denied this year.

They put the writing on the wall early, as Beltran and De La Rosa went up 8-1 in game one. But any team with Waselenchuk can never be counted out, and it looked like he and Croft were going to snatch game one from the Mexicans when they went from 12-3 down to 12-10 down without giving up serve. But a De La Rosa return got his side the serve back, and they scored one on a Beltran backhand back to the right side, and then a second when De La Rosa hit a forehand winner from the front court.

But when Waselenchuk hit a flat pinch shot to regain the serve, the other side had to be concerned. However, Croft and Waselenchuk only scored one point before giving the serve back at 14-11.

De La Rosa made good on his side's second game point opportunity, as he hit a forehand from center court over to the right side to end the game, 15-11.

Croft and Waselenchuk were undeterred, and took the early lead at 3-1 in game two. But Beltran and De La Rosa tied it at 3-3, and then the rally of the match occurred. It was crazy, and hard to completely describe, as there were multiple dives and great gets and it went on and on. It took a diving kill shot by Beltran, who pinched the ball into the front left corner, to end it.

That only gave them a one point lead at 4-3, but it seemed like a momentum switch, as Beltran and De La Rosa went out to a 9-3 lead. Croft and Waselenchuk cut the deficit to five at 10-5. But a De La Rosa forehand put an end to that, and the Mexicans scored four points to get to match point at 14-5.

Waselenchuk pinch rolled a lob left by De La Rosa to deny the first match point, and regain the serve. But he then skipped a ball on the next rally, which was an uncharacteristic unforced error. Croft then got a technical for hitting the ball out of the court after the rally, although it seemed to be unintentional. Yet that made the score 14-4.

A skip by each of Beltran and De La Rosa got Croft and Waselenchuk to 14-6, but that was as much as they could muster on this day, as Beltran and De La Rosa got the serve back. On the next rally Beltran hit a forehand into the right side wall, and it got to the front wall for a winner, which wasn't the greatest shot so it was an anticlimactic end to a great doubles match.

If you missed IRT doubles action - or you want to see it again, and believe us when we say YOU DO - check out the action across the IRT outlets: the IRT Network, IRT Facebook page and IRT YouTube channel.

2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 3-7, 2018

IRT - Doubles - Final - Saturday

2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk, 15-11, 15-6

Follow the bouncing ball….