Monday, November 30, 2009

Who needs three shots? Waselenchuk's 2004 US Open victory

There were no pro tournaments this past the weekend, so let's look back at the 2004 US Open final in which Kane Waselenchuk dispatched Cliff Swain in three games, 11-1, 11-3, 11-0. It's the most lop-sided US Open final ever, and with it Waselenchuk became the first man to defend a US Open title. He's still the only man to win successive US Open titles.

As you can tell from the scores, the games were not long. Only 68 rallies were played over the three games. There were 21 rallies in the first game, 28 in the second and only 19 in the third. Moreover, the shots in those rallies were few, averaging less than 3 shots per rally. In fact, seven was most shots in any rally and that only happened once.

Three of Swain's four points came off the serve, and those three happened consecutively in game two. He hit a serve for a winner, then followed it up with two aces. At that point, Swain actually led 3-1, but he didn't score another point in the match. Swain hit a short serve, and then Waselenchuk ran 5 points to lead 6-3.

Swain got the serve back and served it long. Waselenchuk got another two points: 8-3. Swain regained serve and hit it long again. Waselenchuk then finished off the game with three consecutive points. Swain faulted six times in the match - four times in game two.

As we know now, Waselenchuk's dominating performance in this final was indicative of what was to come, as he won 8 tournaments overall that season and finished as the #1 player for the second time. He's continued to be the dominant racquetball player in the world, and it seems he could remain there for some time to come.

You can see the 2004 US Open final for yourself by ordering it on DVD from USA Racquetball. Do it today, and you can probably get it in time for Christmas.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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