Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 US Open - Beltran in his first final

Alvaro Beltran has reached the US Open final for the first time in his career with a semi-final victory over Ben Croft, 3-11, 0-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3, at the 2010 US Open in Minneapolis. Beltran will be the first Mexican to appear in a US Open men's final.

It's an upset by the rankings, as Beltran is ranked 19th and Croft 3rd on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), but Beltran was the 4th ranked player when he suffered a knee injury in August 2009 that kept him out of action for most of the past year. With the tournament format this year that saw the top 16 players get seeded into the Round of 32, Beltran had to play two qualifying matches to make the 32s.

Those extra matches may have been the cause of Beltran's slow start on Saturday. Or it could simply have been that Croft was on fire as he stormed out to a two game advantage, including a 11-0 second game. Croft was primarily drive serving but also used some lobs and hit the majority of the serves to the Mexican's backhand. Croft also owned the front left corner, as buried many pinch shots there with his forehand.

Beltran scored the first point of game three and it was the first time he led in the match. Croft then went up 4-1, and it looked like it would be over in three games. But from that point on, it was all Beltran, who outscored Croft 32-11 the rest of the way.

Not that Croft ever gave up. He dove around the court for every available ball. So many times that his dive total might have reached triple digits. But Beltran was also diving and making winners.

In game four, it was close early, but then Beltran got up 7-3, and went on to win 11-7. Game five was all Beltran after Croft took the first point, as Beltran had a 10-1 lead. Croft fought off four match points, but it was just a matter of time at that point as Beltran won the fifth 11-3.

Afterwards, Croft said "the match started out great, and then ended horribly." He also expects to hear it from friend Mitch Williams for being up two games to zero and losing.

Beltran will play the winner of the second men's semi-final between Kane Waselenchuk and Jack Huczek which will happen later on Saturday at the Lifetime Fitness - Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2010 US Open, Minneapolis, Minnesota
IRT Men's Singles

Kane Waselenchuk vs. Jack Huczek
Alvaro Beltran d. Ben Croft, 3-11, 0-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3


Alvaro Beltran vs. Kane Waselenchuk or Jack Huczek

Follow the bouncing ball....

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