Sunday, September 28, 2008

Waselenchuk is two for two

Kane Waselenchuk made it two wins in two tournaments to start the 2008-09 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season. He defeated Jack Huczek on Sunday in the final of the Kansas City Open by scores of 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3.

Waselenchuk started strong in game one, and had the lead at 5-1. However, Huczek came back and won 10 of the next 11 points to take it 11-6. The best point came at 9-6 as Huczek made a great diving get for a winner late in the game that came after Waselenchuk tried to cut off a Huczek ceiling ball by dumping it the front right corner.

In game two, Waselenchuk began to use a cut Z serve to Huczek's backhand, which led to an early lead at 6-2 which he extended to 10-5. Huczek did come back to 10-8, but couldn't get closer, as Waselenchuk won 11-8.

Game three was pivotal. They were close early, tied at 3, but then Huczek went ahead, 6-3 and then 8-4. Waselenchuk fought back and tied it at 8. Huczek got one more to lead 9-8.

Then came a rally where the players exchanged several ceiling balls, corner to corner. Eventually one of them tried an offensive shot, and in the resulting exchange Huczek had a chance to end the rally.

But his passing shot attempt rather than going deep into the back right corner as was happening in game one came out into the middle of the court where Waselenchuk took advantage and hit the rally ending shot. After that Waselenchuk finished the third game 11-9, gaining a 2-1 advantage in games, and was set up to take the match.

Huczek continued to battle, and the first 15 rallies of game four only produced a 2-1 lead for Waselenchuk. But that's as close as Huczek would be, and Waselenchuk ran out to a 7-2 advantage and a 11-3 win to take the match.

As the players were shaking hands at the end of the match there seemed to be an unpleasant exchange between them. Asked about it afterwards, Waselenchuk said Huczek "felt the need to bring up stuff that happened a couple of years ago," a reference to the positive drug test that led to Waselenchuk's two year suspension from competition.

Waselenchuk felt such comments were "not really called for."

Waselenchuk also said Huczek is "definitely my biggest competitor, and if I don't bring it he can definitely beat me on any given day."

Kansas City Open - Finals

Kane Waselenchuk d. Jack Huczek, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-3

Follow the bouncing ball....

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