Saturday, December 1, 2018

Waselenchuk defeats Beltran to win 2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions

Kane Waselenchuk defeated Alvaro Beltran, 15-6, 15-12, to win the 2018 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon on Saturday for his 2nd win of the 2018-19 IRT season. There have only been three events so far this season, and Waselenchuk’s won two of them; he didn’t play in the first event.

Waselenchuk reached the final with a comfortable win over defending Pelham Memorial champion Charles Pratt in the semi-finals, 15-3, 15-5, while Beltran needed a tie-breaker to defeat IRT #2 Rocky Carson, 7-15, 15-10, 11-5, in the other semi.

Waselenchuk jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game one of the final, and never let Beltran get within three in that game, as he went on to win 15-6. He began the game with a drive serve to the left side for an ace, and ended it with a soft forehand shot, which are both characteristic plays for Waselenchuk.

Game two was a long battle. After 33 rallies, they were tied at 4-4. In contrast, game one had 39 rallies total. They then spent 15 rallies at 4-4 before Beltran skipped a backhand serve return of a lob Z to the left side to make it 5-4 in favor of Waselenchuk.

Waselenchuk ran the lead up to four at 10-6, so Beltran called a timeout. It looked like Waselenchuk might run away with the game, and he did extend the lead to 13-6, getting his 13th point with a drive serve ace to the right side.

But Beltran kept working, and got a couple points back, which caused Waselenchuk to call a timeout when he got the serve back at 13-8. However, coming out of the timeout, Waselenchuk skipped a forehand shot to give the serve back to Beltran.

Beltran hit a drive serve ace of his own to the left side, so to the lefthanded Waselenchuk’s forehand, and got another point when Waselenchuk skipped a forehand return of a lob nick serve to the left side, which made the score 13-10.

After an exchange of sideouts, Waselenchuk made it 14-10 with a forehand winner down the right side. But Beltran denied Waselenchuk’s first match point with a great forehand pinch return winner off a lob Z serve to the right side. That led to two more points, as good serves by Beltran forced serve return errors by Waselenchuk.

But at 14-12, Beltran hit a loose drive serve to the left that came far off the back wall to set up Waselenchuk, who drove the ball down the left side for an easy winner. Waselenchuk won the match on his second match point, as he ended a rally, where Beltran dove twice to keep the rally going, with a soft forehand in the front right court.

Game two took 63 min and there were 94 rallies, which might make it one of the longest games in IRT history.

If you missed the final, or any of the other action from Portland, go to the IRT YouTube channel. The IRT will next be in action on the first weekend of 2019, when they’ll play the LA Open in Canoga Park, California, January 3-6, 2019.

2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions
November 29-December 1 - Portland, Oregon


Final - Saturday

8) Kane Waselenchuk d. 6) Alvaro Beltran, 15-6, 15-12

Semi-finals - Saturday

8) Kane Waselenchuk d. Charles Pratt, 15-3, 15-5
6) Alvaro Beltran d. 2) Rocky Carson, 7-15, 15-10, 11-5

Follow the bouncing ball….

Waselenchuk & Pratt to face off in semi-finals at 2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions

Kane Waselenchuk took another step towards reclaiming the #1 position on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Friday at the 2018 Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon, as he defeated current #1 Alejandro Landa, 15-9, 15-8, in the quarterfinals. Waselenchuk will play defending Pelham Memorial champion Charles Pratt in the semi-finals on Saturday after Pratt beat David Horn in two close games, 15-10, 15-14.

Waselenchuk and Landa were close early in game one of their match, and tied at 4-4. But Waselenchuk won the next five points to lead 9-4. Landa called a timeout, and took the serve back and scored two points to make it 9-6. But that was as close as he got, as Waselenchuk went on to win, 15-10.

Game two had a similar story. A tie at 3-3, and then a 8-3 lead for Waselenchuk. This time Landa came back to within one at 9-8. But when Waselenchuk took the serve back at that point he kept Landa out of the service box while scoring the last six points of the match, winning game two 15-8.

In a battle of the Team USA men’s singles players from this past summer’s International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships, Horn and Pratt went toe to toe. But except for a 2-0 lead for Horn in game one, Pratt never trailed. After winning the first game, 15-10, he took a big lead in game two at 8-1.

Horn is a battler, though, and he tied the score at 8-8, and then again at 14-14, when it looked like he was going to force a tie-breaker after fighting off two match points. But Pratt got the serve back with a forehand cross court winner. Then on match point #3, Pratt hit a drive jam serve to the left side that came off the back wall and around to the right side that went for an ace, as Horn could not catch up to it.

The other semi-final will be between familiar foes. IRT #2 Rocky Carson will play #8 Alvaro Beltran for the 48th time on tour. Carson holds a 26-21 advantage over their long careers, although this will be their first showdown in 2018. They met twice in 2017, and split those matches: Carson won in Florida in April, and Beltran in Sioux Falls, SD in January.

In the quarterfinals, Carson beat 7th seed Samuel Murray, 15-4, 15-10, while Beltran upset fellow Mexican Daniel De La Rosa, the IRT’s #3 player, 15-8, 15-8.

The semi-finals will be at 11 AM and noon Saturday, and will be streamed live on the IRT Network and the IRT YouTube channel. The final will be Saturday night at 7:00 PM. All times Pacific.

2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions
November 29-December 1 - Portland, Oregon


Quarterfinals - Friday

8) Kane Waselenchuk d. 1) Alejandro Landa, 15-9, 15-8
Charles Pratt d. David Horn, 15-10, 15-14

6) Alvaro Beltran d. 3) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-8, 15-8
2) Rocky Carson d. 7) Samuel Murray, 15-4, 15-10

Semi-finals - Saturday

8) Kane Waselenchuk v. Charles Pratt - Noon
2) Rocky Carson v. 6) Alvaro Beltran - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, November 30, 2018

Horn & Pratt win in 16s at 2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions

Two upsets in the Round of 16 at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2018 Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon, as USA Racquetball National Junior Team coaches David Horn and Charles Pratt won their matches and will play each other in the quarterfinals. Horn beat 5th seed Mario Mercado, 15-12, 15-4, while Pratt, the defending champion of this event, ousted 4th seed Sebastian Franco, 15-4, 15-7.

IRT #1 Alejandro Landa won his first match by defeating 16th seed Jake Bredenbeck, 15-6, 15-12, and will play former #1 Kane Waselenchuk in the quarterfinals, as Waselenchuk beat Tony Carson, 15-11, 15-4, in the 16s.

The biggest upset almost went to 18th seed Robert Collins, who pushed IRT #2 Rocky Carson to a tie-breaker, and was up in the breaker before Carson pulled things together to comeback and win, 15-4, 8-15, 11-6. Carson will face 7th seed Samuel Murray in the quarters after Murray defeated Jansen Allen, 15-4, 15-12.

Finally, fellow Mexicans Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran will square off in the quarters after winning their respective Round of 16 matches. De La Rosa beat Adam Manilla, 15-5, 6-15, 11-4, and Beltran got the better of Jose Diaz, 15-9, 15-11.

The quarterfinals will begin at 5 PM in Portland, and will be streamed live on the IRT Network and the IRT YouTube channel. The semi-finals will be 11 AM and noon Saturday with the final Saturday night at 7:00 PM. All times Pacific.

2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions
November 29-December 1 - Portland, Oregon


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa d. Jake Bredenbeck, 15-6, 15-12
8) Kane Waselenchuk d. Tony Carson, 15-11, 15-4

David Horn d. 5) Mario Mercado, 15-12, 15-4
Charles Pratt d. 4) Sebastian Franco, 15-4, 15-7

3) Daniel De La Rosa d. Adam Manilla, 15-5, 6-15, 11-4
6) Alvaro Beltran d. Jose Diaz, 15-9, 15-11

7) Samuel Murray d. Jansen Allen, 15-4, 15-12
2) Rocky Carson d. Robert Collins, 15-4, 8-15, 11-6

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa v. 8) Kane Waselenchuk - 7 PM
David Horn v. Charles Pratt - 8 PM

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. 6) Alvaro Beltran - 5 PM
2) Rocky Carson v. 7) Samuel Murray - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….