The 2008 Motorola Racquetball World Championships in Denver, the first event on the International Racquetball Tour's (IRT) 2008-09 calendar, saw two qualifiers win their matches in the Round of 16 Thursday.
One was Kane Waselenchuk, whose return to the IRT continues to be successful as he defeated Ben Croft, the 7th seed, 11-2, 11-5, 11-4, in what was his fourth match of the tournament. He's given up a total of 30 points over 12 games for a mean of 2.5 points per game.
Waselenchuk's rivalry with Jack Huczek will be renewed tomorrow, as they'll face off in the quarter finals. Huczek defeated Andres Herrera, 11-6, 11-1, 11-6, in the Round of 16 Thursday.
Keith Minor's dream went on for one more game, as he won the first game against Shane Vanderson, but that's as far as it went, as Vanderson came back to beat Minor, 6-11, 11-1, 11-6, 12-10. Vanderson will face Jason Mannino in the quarter-finals, as Mannino beat Hiroshi Shimizu of Japan, 11-4, 11-8, 11-2.
Mexican Alvaro Beltran defeated American junior player Jose Rojas, 11-8, 11-5, 1-11, 13-11. Next up for Beltran in the quarter finals is left hander Mitch Williams, who defeated Anthony Carson, 11-5, 11-0, 11-9.
Rocky Carson, the IRT's number 1 player and current World Champion, got off to a slow start against Polo Gutierrez of Mexico, but then got things together and won their match in four games, 1-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-5.
Carson will play Jason Thoerner in the quarter finals, as Thoerner was the other winning qualifier after his defeat of Chris Crowther, 2-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9.
So, play has gone pretty much according to form. Two qualifiers won in the Round of 16: Waselenchuk and Thoerner. Waselenchuk does seem to be living up to the high expectations that some had for him prior to the tournament, but he'll have a stiff test on Friday against Huczek.
Follow the bouncing ball....