Friday, October 23, 2009

US OPEN - IRT Quarter finals

Ben Croft caused a huge upset in the quarter finals of the 14th US Open in Memphis, Tennessee on Friday by defeating #2 seed and former champion Rocky Carson in five games, 11-2, 7-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-6. The victory put Croft into the US Open semi-finals for the first time, and is only the fifth semi-final of his career.

Croft came out on fire taking an 8-0 lead in game one. But Carson got a second wind after dropping the first game, 11-2, and he won the next two games - 11-7 and 11-8 - for a 2 games to 1 advantage.

At that point, you could have been excused if you thought Croft's US Open was soon to be over. That's what we thought. But Croft had other ideas, and went out another big lead holding on to win game four handily, 11-2.

Game five also saw Croft in the lead early, and building it to 8-1. Then the former champ clawed some points back narrowing the margin to three at 9-6, and casting doubt on whether Croft could finish off the match.

And he failed to do so on his first match point opportunity. But on the ensuing serve, Carson hit a Z serve that the referee saw touch him on its way by, and called a side out.

Croft used the second opportunity to make his first US Open semi-final, winning game five 11-6.

Croft will face Jack Huczek in the semis, as Huczek defeated Chris Crowther, 11-5, 11-4, 12-10 earlier on Friday.

Huczek led all the way in both games one and two, but Crowther had the lead early in game three at 4-0 and late at 9-7. But Huczek found a way back into it. Crowther did fight off several match points when Huczek led 10-9, but he never got a game point himself.

Both players used a variety of serves with Huczek mainly lob serving and Crowther using drive serves, both straight and some Zs.

On the other side of the draw, Jose Rojas almost pulled off another stunner, as he came out firing in game one against defending champion Kane Waselenchuk, and had a lead at 7-5 and 10-9. He had two chances to serve for the game, but Waselenchuk fought them off.

Then Waselenchuk went ahead 11-10, and it was Rojas who saved game point. Rojas had another opportunity for the game serving 12-11, but Waselenchuk again escaped. Waselenchuk then went on to win 14-12.

The next two games were not close, as Waselenchuk took big leads and went on to win by comfortable margins.

Rojas is very good young player, and has an excellent drive serve, which helped him get so close to winning game one. As we've said here before, The Racquetball Blog believes a good drive serve is necessary to beat Waselenchuk, so we definitely think Rojas has potential to do that in the future.

Jason Mannino won the first quarter final. He defeated Shane Vanderson, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, in a match that featured several diving gets by both players.

The quarter finals conclude Friday evening with the semi-finals on Saturday and final on Sunday.

14th US Open, Memphis, Tennessee
IRT Quarter Finals

Kane Waselenchuk d. Jose Rojas, 14-12, 11-1, 11-4
Jason Mannino d. Shane Vanderson, 11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6

Jack Huczek d. Chris Crowther, 11-5, 11-4, 12-10
Ben Croft d. Rocky Carson, 11-2, 7-11, 8-11, 11-2, 11-6

Semi-finals - Saturday

Kane Waselenchuk vs. Jason Mannino
Jack Huczek vs. Ben Croft

Follow the bouncing ball....

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