Thursday, September 18, 2008

39 to 16 in Two Rounds

Thirty nine has become 16 after two rounds of qualifying at the 2008 Motorola Racquetball World Championships in Denver, the first event on the International Racquetball Tour's (IRT) 2008-09 calendar. There will be one more round to determine the final 8 qualifiers for the main draw, which will begin later this afternoon.

There were some notable results from Wednesday. As expected, Kane Waselenchuk got through the first two qualifying rounds with little trouble, defeating Bradly Rogers first, and then veteran Woody Clouse. Next up for Waselenchuk is the IRT's number 11 player, Andy Hawthorne.

Veteran Cliff Swain didn't fare so well. Although he did win his first match against Andrew Thompson, he dropped the second to Alejandro Landa. Landa will now play Jason Thoerner for a chance to get into the main draw.

There were three Canadians in play on Wednesday, and American Shai Manzuri played two of them, going tie-breaker in each match. He defeated Ryan Smith in the first qualifying round, winning the first two games before being forced into a fifth game tie-breaker that Manzuri pulled out, winning 11-7, 11-7, 1-11, 10-12, 11-9.

The story was reversed for Manzuri in the next round, as Lee Connell went up two games before Manzuri got back on track, and won the next two games to force a tie-breaker. But it was Connell who came through in the end, winning the match 11-9, 12-10, 4-11, 6-11, 11-8. Connell will play Japanese veteran Hiroshi Shimizu for the right to play in the main draw.

Josh Keil, the other Canadian, was one of three players who won two games on Wednesday from a low seeding. Keil defeated Anthony Herrera, number 20 on the IRT rankings, in the second round of qualifying in another match that went tie-breaker, with Keil winning 4-11, 12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 11-4. Keil now faces another Herrera - Andres, today.

Keith Minor and Jose Rojas were the other two low seeded players who took down higher ranked opponents. Minor defeated Matt Stamborski in three straight games in round one, and then needed only four games to dispatch Charles Pratt in round two. Minor is up against Alejandro Herrera today.

Rojas first took out Rafael Filippini in three straight games, and then defeated Mexican Gil Del Los Rios in round two. He'll now play Kris Odegard, former Canadian Champion, for a spot in the main draw.

The complete Round of 16 qualifying match-up are as follows:

Thursday 10:00 AM : Kris Odegard vs Jose Rojas
Thursday 10:00 AM : Juan Herrera vs Anthony Carson
Thursday 11:30 AM : Alejandro Herrera vs Keith Minor
Thursday 11:30 AM : Hiroshi Shimizu vs Lee Connell
Thursday 1:00 PM : Andres Herrera vs Josh Keil
Thursday 1:00 PM : Andy Hawthorne vs Kane Waselenchuk
Thursday 2:30 PM : Jason Thoerner vs Alejandro Landa
Thursday 2:30 PM : Travis Woodbury vs Polo Gutierrez

Below is the schedule for the main draw presented in seeding brackets from top to bottom (with IRT rank from the May 12, 2008 rankings) with the potential qualifier added.

(1) Rocky Carson vs. winner of Polo Gutierrez & Travis Woodbury - THU 8:30 PM
(8) Chris Crowther vs. winner of Jason Thoerner & Alejandro Landa - THU 8:30 PM

(5) Shane Vanderson vs. winner of Keith Minor & Alejandro Herrera - THU 5:30 PM
(4) Jason Mannino vs. winner of Hiroshi Shimizu & Lee Connell - THU 5:30 PM

(3) Alvaro Beltran vs. winner of Jose Rojas & Kris Odegard - THU 4:00 PM
(6) Mitch Williams vs. winner of Juan Herrera & Anthony Carson - THU 4:00 PM

(7) Ben Croft vs. winner of Kane Waselenchuk & Andy Hawthorne - THU 7:00 PM
(2) Jack Huczek vs. winner of Andres Herrera & Josh Keil - THU 7:00 PM

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