Well, dear readers of The Racquetball Blog, it's US Open eve. The fun in Memphis starts tomorrow with the charity doubles event all proceeds going to the St Jude's Children's Research Hospital. That event is all about raising money for charity, but the outcome was pretty fun last year, as 14 year old Jose Diaz won with left-handed partner Javier Moreno, defeating Jason Mannino and Patrick Watson in the final. Just goes to show what a good leftie-rightie combination can do.
Jack Huczek - US Open Champion
Looking back over recent US Open programs, we note that Jack Huczek has been a US Open champion. Multiple times, in fact. But not in the Pro division. One of the big questions going into this year's US Open is whether this will be Huczek's year to win it all? With Kane Waselenchuk winning every tournament he's played since returning to the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), you know it will be difficult for Huczek to take the title.
Huczek's previous US Open titles were in 1999 when he won Men's 24 & under, and three consecutive titles in Men's Open from 1999 to 2001. Since Huczek's last Open win, only one American has taken that title. That was Josh Tucker in 2002. The last five years Mexicans have won Open.
Alejandro Landa won last year. Gil De Los Rios won in 2006, and Gilberto Mejia, Agustin Tristan, and Polo Gutierrez in 2005, 2004, and 2003, respectively. In fact, of last year's 8 quarter finalists in Men's Open at the US Open 3 were American (maybe, as we can't confirm the nationalities of all of the players), and only 1 of them made the semis.
If you were looking for your future professionals and US team members, and believed the Open division at racquetball's premier event should be the place to find them, you would be concerned. Very concerned.
Everyone remembers the winners, but few remember who came second - or lower. For example, faithful racquetball fans will know that Sudsy Monchik has the record for most US Open titles at four, but few will know who he beat for those four titles.
We'll give you the answer tomorrow, but if you think you know or would like to guess, leave a comment on this note. Again, the question is Who did Sudsy Monchik beat in winning his four US Open titles?
Last Year's Results
Here's what happened last year in Memphis (11 months ago, not 12, as they've moved the date up a month or so).
International Racquetball Tour
US Open 2007 Results
Round of 16
Jack Huczek d. Polo Gutierrez, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6
Jason Thoerner d. Chris Crowther, 11-5, 11-2, 11-7
Shane Vanderson d. Hiroshi Shimizu, 11-6, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-0
Alvaro Beltran d. Javier Moreno, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5
Jason Mannino d. Kris Odegard, 11-8, 11-2, 11-1
Mitch Williams d. John Goth, 11-2, 11-7, 11-5
Andy Hawthorne d. Ben Croft, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10
Rocky Carson d. John Ellis, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5
Jack Huczek d. Jason Thoerner, 11-5, 11-3, 11-5
Shane Vanderson d. Alvaro Beltran, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 12-10
Jason Mannino d. Mitch Williams, 11-4, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9
Rocky Carson d. Andy Hawthorne, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5
Jack Huczek d. Shane Vanderson, 11-2, 12-10, 11-4
Rocky Carson d. Jason Mannino, 11-3, 11-3, 1-11, 11-8
Rocky Carson d. Jack Huczek, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6
Women's Professional Racquetball Organization
US Open 2007 Results
Round of 16
Rhonda Rajsich d. Candi Hostovich, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5
Paola Longoria d. Keely Franks, 9-11, 11-5, 11-1, 11-2
Angela Grisar d. Doreen Fowler, 11-0, 12-10, 11-5
Kerri Wachtel d. Susana Acosta, 11-13, 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 11-2
Cheryl Gudinas Holmes d. Adrienne Fisher, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8
Kristen Bellows d. Diane Moore, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9
Brenda Kyzer d. Samantha Salas, 11-7, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9
Christie Van Hees d. Jennifer Saunders, 11-6, 11-1, 11-5
Rhonda Rajsich d. Paola Longoria, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3
Angela Grisar d. Kerri Wachtel, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5
Cheryl Gudinas Holmes d. Kristen Bellows, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8
Christie Van Hees d. Brenda Kyzer, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4
Rhonda Rajsich d. Angela Grisar, 11-7, 11-8, 11-3
Cheryl Gudinas Holmes d. Christie Van Hees, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9
Rhonda Rajsich d. Cheryl Gudinas Holmes, 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9
Follow the bouncing ball....