Sunday, October 25, 2009

US OPEN - Waselenchuk's drive for five is complete

Kane Waselenchuk became the winningest man in US Open history on Sunday, as he defeated Jack Huczek, 12-10, 11-1, 11-3 in the final of the 14th US Open Racquetball Championship in Memphis, Tennessee, for his fifth career US Open title. He was previously tied with Sudsy Monchik at four titles.

Waselenchuk said afterwards he felt this was "the biggest match of my career," and "I don't get nervous [before matches] but I was nervous today."

Monchik presented the trophy to Waselenchuk, who said "it was a tremendous honor to have Sudsy here."

Huczek came to play on Sunday, and the match was close early in game one. Then Waselenchuk got at lead at 9-4 and it seemed that the defending champion was going to cruise to victory. But Huczek took a time out, and got the serve back when play resumed.

He ran four points including three service winners to make the score 9-8. Then after a side-out, got two more points to make it 10-8. But that was the only time Huczek served for the game, as Waselenchuk got the serve back, tied the score, and then went on to win it 12-10.

Huczek's game plan was to "put as much pressure on [Waselenchuk] as possible on serve and serve return," and it showed in game one. In fact, Waselenchuk said "I was going to drive serve, but felt I needed to slow the game down" after he saw how Huczek started out.

Huczek felt he "didn't play that bad, but could never get a string of points together in the second and third games," which he attributed to Waselenchuk not missing many shots.

After using lob serves for two games, Waselenchuk said he "got bored of lobbing," so in game three he drove serve, as he "wanted to bring the heat."

And heat there was. He got up to a 6-0 advantage, when Huczek called a time out. But that didn't stop Waselenchuk from adding to his lead until it was 10-0. Then Huczek managed to scrape out a few points before Waselenchuk finished it at 11-3.

Waselenchuk's won both meetings with Huczek this season, and Huczek's been in the finals of all four IRT main events. But he yet to win one.

Waselenchuk allowed 14 points against him on Sunday, which is tied for fourth fewest in US Open history. The fewest was 4 in 2004 when Waselenchuk defeated Cliff Swain to win his second US Open title, and the second fewest was 10 last year as Waselenchuk defeated Rocky Carson.

US Open Tournament Director Doug Ganim assured the crowd that there will be a 2010 US Open, although where it will be is uncertain. Our understanding is the contract with The Racquet Club in Memphis is ending, so USA Racquetball is considering all possibilities for where the host next year's event. Memphis is but one possibility.

14th US Open, Memphis, Tennessee
IRT Finals

#1 Kane Waselenchuk d. #3 Jack Huczek, 12-10, 11-1, 11-3

Follow the bouncing ball....

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