Saturday, September 20, 2008

1 Now v. 1 Then

Rocky Carson, the current number 1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), will face Kane Waselenchuk, the former number 1 IRT player who's making his first return to a major IRT event after sitting out a two year ban, in the final of the 2008 Motorola Racquetball World Championships in Denver on Sunday.

It was Carson who had the tougher match to get to the final though, as he had to go five games with Jason Mannino before winning 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-1. It looked like a tie-breaker would be unnecessary, when Carson was leading 7-2 in the fourth game.

But Mannino always battles to the end, and he came back to take the lead at 10-8, but then stalled. It took several opportunities for Mannino finish it off. Twice he forced a weak return from Carson, including one return off the back wall, only to leave a pinch shot up for Carson to get.

In the end, it was a down the line pass that forced the tie-breaker.

But all that extra effort to win game four, which included a dramatic dive in an unsuccessful attempt to keep the ball in play off the back wall, seemed to be too much for Mannino, as Carson got out to a big 6-0 lead in the tie-breaker. Mannino got one back but that was all he could do, as Carson finished off the match with drive Z serves to the back left corner.

Waselenchuk, on the other hand, seemed to have a relatively easy time of it as he defeated Alvaro Beltran in three straight games, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2.

In game one, Waselenchuk led start to finish, as he built a good lead at 6-1. Beltran closed to within one at 6-5, but Waselenchuk extended the lead. He was hung up at 10-6 for several services, but finally closed it out, 11-6.

It was similar story in game two, although Beltran had a brief early lead at 3-1. Waselenchuk came back and went ahead to lead 8-4. Again Beltran came within one at 8-7, only to have Waselenchuk finish it, 11-7.

In their third game, Beltran got the first two points, and then Waselenchuk got the next 11 to win the game and match.

In men's Open play, American teen Jose Rojas defeated Travis Woodbury, 15-4, 15-13, to reach the semi-finals, where he played Anthony Herrera with whom his luck ran out, as Herrera won 15-13, 8-15, 11-5. It could have been an all Herrera final, but Alejandro Herrera lost to Alejandro Landa, 15-14, 15-5, in the other semi-final.

So, Sunday's final will be Landa versus Anthony Herrera.

Follow the bouncing ball....

No comments: