The International Racquetball Tour's (IRT's) Kansas City Open begins today with the qualifying rounds. Both the qualifying draw and main draw are available on the IRT web site, and they confirm what The Racquetball Blog speculated yesterday: Rocky Carson and Kane Waselenchuk will meet in the main draw's Round of 16, if Waselenchuk wins his qualifying match against Anthony Herrera.
If that happens, it could be the first time a re-match of the previous tournament's final occurs in the Round of 16.
Also of note is a potential re-match between Keith Minor and Alejandro Herrera for a spot in the main draw, if Minor wins his first match against John Cole. Minor and Herrera played last week in Denver, where Minor came out on top after a full five game match.
Finally, Vincent Gagnon, Canadian bronze medalist at last month's IRF World Championships where he beat both Polo Gutierrez and Alvaro Beltran to qualify for third for next year's World Games, is in the qualifying draw. He'll first play Brad Rogers, with the winner to play Andy Hawthorne.
If Gagnon defeats Hawthorne, he'll face Ben Croft in the main draw Round of 16.
Given the way these draws are set up, one can almost imagine that it's more likely Vincent Gagnon will be in the quarter finals than Rocky Carson.
And isn't that bizarre?
Nonetheless, The Racquetball Blog is picking Rocky Carson to win the Kansas City Open. We're saying he'll avenge his loss to Waselenchuk in Denver last week, and use that momentum to power through to the title.
Kansas City Open Draws
Q1: Jason Thoerner vs. winner of Grant Barker & Bryan Crosser
Q8: Anthony Herrera vs. Kane Waselenchuk
Q5: Alejandro Herrera vs. winner of John Cole & Keith Minor
Q4: Hiroshi Shimizu vs. winner of Tyler Otto & Sampson Shnurman
Q3: Juan Herrera vs. winner of Michael Bone & Matt Stamborski
Q6: Kris Odegard vs. winner of Rafael Filippini & Danny Lavely
Q7: Travis Woodbury vs. winner of Travis Mettenbrink & Lee Connell
Q2: Andy Hawthorne vs. winner of Vincent Gagnon & Bradly Rogers
Main Draw (IRT Rank)
(1) Rocky Carson vs. Q8
(8) Chris Crowther vs. Q1
(5) Shane Vanderson vs. Q4
(4) Alvaro Beltran vs. Q5
(3) Jason Mannino vs. Q6
(6) Mitch Williams vs. Q3
(7) Ben Croft vs. Q2
(2) Jack Huczek vs. Q7
Follow the bouncing ball....