Saturday, September 27, 2008

IRT Kansas City Open Semis

Kane Waselenchuk has reached the second consecutive final after his two year absence from the International Racquetball Tour (IRT). Sunday he'll play Jack Huczek in the final of the Kansas City Open. The final will be a rematch of their quarter final match last week in Denver, when Waselenchuk defeated Huczek in four games.

Waselenchuk reached the finals by defeating Alvaro Beltran in the semi-finals, 11-6, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6. They also met last week in Denver, and Beltran did one better Saturday than last week when Waselenchuk won in three straight games.

Beltran led 5-3 in game one, but Waselenchuk ran eight points to win it. He did so by hitting a lob Z serve to Alvaro's backhand. It was a serve he used throughout the match. In game two, Waselenchuk got ahead early and stayed ahead.

In game three, Beltran got an early lead at 3-2 and was able to hold it, winning 11-6 and forcing a fourth game. In game four, it was close early, but then Waselenchuk pulled ahead to lead 6-3, and never looked back.

Afterwards, Waselenchuk said he "lost focus" in game three, but "tried to put pressure on [Beltran] in the fourth game."

Asked about doing so well in his return to the IRT after two years, Waselenchuk attributed it to one thing: "motivation." He wants to show everyone that he can still be the best. "If I win every event, I'll finish #1," he said. He's on track to take the second of two events.

In the other semi-final, Huczek, the second seed, defeated third seeded Jason Mannino in a lopsided score line of 11-3, 11-0, 11-4.

Mannino led 2-0 in game one, but that was the only lead he had through the match. Reportedly, Mannino was hampered by a neck injury.

Afterwards, Huczek said that Mannino seemed to be "off his game," while he felt that "everything seemed to be clicking" for himself. The combination led to the lopsided score.

Mannino's condition may explain why he wasn't bending at the waist to hit shots on the backhand. When he did that Mannino won the rally, but more often he did not, which led to easy plays for Huczek.

Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, Huczek may become the #1 IRT player next week, as current #1 Rocky Carson lost to Waselenchuk in the Round of 16. The difference in points between the two is 240, which could be more than the points Huczek will earn for a finals appearance compared to Carson's points for getting to the Round of 16.

Kansas City Open - Finals

Kane Waselenchuk vs. Jack Huczek - Sunday @ 12:00 Central time

Kansas City Open - Semi finals

Kane Waselenchuk d. Alvaro Beltran, 11-6, 11-3, 6-11, 11-6.
Jack Huczek d. Jason Mannino, 11-3, 11-0, 11-4.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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