Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

Happy Thanksgiving to the Canadian readers of The Racquetball Blog, and a cheery Columbus Day to those of you in the USA. We've complied some stats from the first three men's pro events of the season, but first some other results from the weekend.

Auburn VW Open: Jimmy Lowe won the Auburn VW Open Sunday in Kent, Washington. It's a Tier 4 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT). Lowe defeated Taylor Knoth in the final, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9. In the semi-finals, Lowe beat Grant Stalley, 11-1, 11-9, 11-4, while Knoth knocked off Joey Lakowske, 11-8, 11-1, 11-8.

It's a good win for Lowe, who'll be looking to defend his Classic Pro Racquetball title at the US Open next week in Memphis.

Kentucky Pro-Am Open Division: Jose Rojas won the open division in Kentucky, beating Gared Edmunds in the final, 15-2, 15-4. Rojas defeated Lee Connell in the semis, 15-10, 15-3, while Edmunds got the benefit of a default win as Kris Odegard failed to get to their semi-final match on time. Lucky thing for Edmunds, as Odegard soundly beat him in the pro qualifying.

More points but not enough

Jason Mannino's win in Kentucky was remarkable not simply because it was the oldest top 10 player winning or that it was his first win in over two years. The final was also one of those rare matches where the winner had fewer total points than the loser. Jack Huczek outscored Mannino over the five games of the final 47 to 42.

That's only happened one other time in the 87 matches from the first three main events of this IRT season. The other occasion also involved Mannino, but on the losing side, as he outscored Shane Vanderson 40-39 in their quarter final match in Denver, but still lost.

The most points scored in an IRT match so far this season is 95, which has happened twice. The first time was in Denver during qualifying, as Polo Gutierrez defeated Anthony Carson 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 10-12, 11-4. The other time was in the epic battle between Jack Huczek and Rocky Carson in the semi-finals in Terre Haute, where Huczek won 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7.

Thirty seven points are the fewest scored in an IRT match this season, and it's happened five times. Three of those times were this past weekend in Bowling Green, and Gared Edmunds was involved in two of them. He beat Michael Arterburn 11-1, 11-2, 11-1, in the first round of qualifying, and then lost to Kris Odegard in the second round, 11-3, 11-0, 11-1.

Games played per round of competition

The Racquetball Blog's counted up the number of games played per round of IRT competition so far this season. Here's the results:

Round 3 Games 4 Games 5 Games
Final 1 1 1
Semi-final 2 3 1
Quarter final 5 4 2
Round of 16 11 8 5
Qualifying 28 9 3

You can see that from the quarter finals on there's an approximately equal likelihood for the match to be 3, 4 or 5 games, suggesting the players in those rounds are relatively evenly matched. But in the Round of 16 there's a definite tendency towards shorter matches. And that tendency is even greater in the qualifying rounds, which for ease of analysis we've lumped together here.

We're surprised that only 3 of the 40 qualifying matches have gone five games. It suggests the competition in qualifying is decidedly uneven with one player often being significantly better than the other, which results in the far greater number of three game matches than four or five game matches.

(note: three matches resulted in defaults, so they are omitted from this summary)

Down 2-0 means losing

Finally, no player has overcome a two game deficit so far this season. If Huczek had won yesterday, he would have been the first to do so.

Follow the bouncing ball...

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