Thursday, October 6, 2011

US Open - IRT Round of 16

There won't be a repeat of last year's final in the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) division at the US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis, as one of the finalists lost in the Round of 16 on Friday. Last year's champion, Kane Waselenchuk won in the 16s, but Alvaro Beltran lost.

Waselenchuk defeated Alejandro Landa in the three straight games, 11-0, 11-2, 11-3, while Beltran fell to Charlie Pratt, 5-11, 0-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-5.

It's rare to lose a game 11-0 and come back to win, as Pratt did against Beltran, but it's the second time that it happened on Thursday as Andy Hawthorne dropped game two against Kris Odegard in the Round of 32 11-0 yet won the match. And it's the second time Pratt has done it, as he lost the second game against Jose Rojas last season in St Louis but won the match in four games.

Earlier Thursday, the first match of the 16s was a barn burner! Mexican veteran Javier Moreno gave American youngster Jose Rojas all he could handle, but came up just a little short, as Rojas took it in five tough games, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7.

Rojas actually had a chance to end it in game four, but failed on his first match point, as he skipped a shot after Moreno had hit a pinch into the front left corner. Moreno then finished out game four to force a tie-breaker, but not without Rojas making two consecutive dives to the save the ball off the back wall to keep the rally going on game point.

In the fifth game, Rojas was ahead early at 3-0, but Moreno then took the lead at 7-5. Rojas got to 7-6 on a rally that had each player dive twice with Rojas diving over Moreno to hit a winning down the line shot. From there, Rojas didn't look back as he closed out the match without giving up another point.

Rojas will play Andy Hawthorne in the quarter finals on Friday, as Hawthorne made short work of Taylor Knoth, winning 11-1, 11-3, 11-8.

Also of note, Shane Vanderson went down two games against Gilberto Mejia but came back to win, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3, 12-10 .

All top 8 seeds have made the quarter finals at the US Open. We're checking the records to see when the last time that's happened, if ever.

The IRT's Round of 16 continues Thursday at Life Time Fitness - Target Center in Minneapolis with the quarter final to follow on Friday. Matches can be viewed via the IRT Network throughout the tournament.

2011 US Open Racquetball Championships, Minneapolis, Minnesota

IRT Round of 16

Kane Waselenchuk d. Alejandro Landa, 11-0, 11-2, 11-3
Charles Pratt d. Alvaro Beltran, 5-11, 0-11, 11-3, 11-2, 11-5

Jose Rojas d. Javier Moreno, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7
Andy Hawthorne d. Taylor Knoth, 11-1, 11-3, 11-8

Ben Croft d. Alejandro Herrera, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10
Chris Crowther d. Tony Carson, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3

Shane Vanderson d. Gilberto Mejia, 9-11, 4-11, 11-5, 11-3, 12-10
Rocky Carson d. Daniel De La Rosa, 11-0, 11-1, 11-6

IRT Quarter finals

Kane Waselenchuk vs. Charles Pratt 6 PM CDT
Andy Hawthorne vs. Jose Rojas 1 PM CDT

Ben Croft vs. Chris Crowther 2 PM CDT
Rocky Carson vs. Shane Vanderson 5 PM CDT

Follow the bouncing ball....

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