Sunday, January 9, 2011

Waselenchuk wins 2011 California Open

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) defeated the #2 IRT player, Rocky Carson, 12-14, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1, to win the California Open in Canoga Park, California Sunday.

Carson came out strong in game one taking an early lead at 6-3. Waselenchuk came back and leveled the game at 7-7, but Carson did get to 10 first with a 10-9 advantage. But then they went back and forth. Carson had six opportunities to win the game before he finally converted one, winning 14-12.

The energy - mental and physical - needed to get that first game seemed to take its toll on Carson as Waselenchuk took an early lead in game two at 6-0. But Carson recomposed himself and seemed to be back in the game as he narrowed the gap at 7-4. But that was as close as it got as Waselenchuk won it 11-4.

In game three, Carson was re-energized, and as in game one took the early lead going up 4-1. Waselenchuk fought back and took the lead at 6-4, then Carson tied at 6-6. Yet Waselenchuk again closed out the game holding Carson to only six points with an 11-6 victory.

Being down 2-1 in games is a big hill to climb, but being down 2-1 to Waselenchuk must seem like facing Everest. At least that seemed to be Carson's body language in game four, as Waselenchuk took the early lead and built it to a 11-1 win. Carson didn't go quietly as Waselenchuk needed several match points before finishing it off, but the outcome never seemed in doubt.

Carson was most successful when he was drive serving straight down the right wall - to Waselenchuk's backhand. Waselenchuk used a variety of serves both drives and lobs, so he kept Carson on his toes by not settling into any pattern that allowed Carson to be comfortable.

It's now been two full years since Waselenchuk lost an IRT match. His last loss was to Alvaro Beltran at the 2009 California Open.

The IRT event shifts coasts next weekend for the New York City Pro-Am in Syosset, New York on Long Island January 13-16. The IRT Network will be web-casting the tournament beginning on Friday at noon EST.

2011 California Open - Canoga Park, California
IRT Final

Kane Waselenchuk d. Rocky Carson, 12-14, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1

Follow the bouncing ball....

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