Friday, December 14, 2012

IRT - New Jersey Open - Montalbano into his 1st semi-final

Nick Montalbano's dream ride through the draw of the International Racquetball Tour's (IRT's) New Jersey Open in Warren, N.J. continues, as he upset 3rd seed Jose Rojas in the quarter finals Friday evening, winning 12-10, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9, 11-9. He'll play his first IRT Tier 1 semi-final ever on Saturday.

The match was close all the way, although after Rojas pulled out game two, he rolled through game three and then had a 5-0 lead in game four and it looked ilke Montalbano was done.

But clearly Montalbano had other ideas, as he came back to tie Rojas at 5-5. They went back and forth until 9-9 at which point Montalbano got the last two points to force a fifth game.

Montalbano took an early lead in the fifth at 4-2, but the young veteran Rojas came back and took the lead 8-5 and looked to be on his way to preventing the upset. However, around that time Rojas seemed to injure his left leg somehow, and was noticeably favouring it.

But the injury didn't stop Rojas. Indeed, he regained the serve at 8-6 with a flat backhand pinch shot and scored his 9th point in the same way on the next rally.

Montalbano chose that time - Rojas serving 9-6 - to take his timeout, and when play resumed he got the serve back after a Rojas skipped a shot.

Montalbano took the next five points to win the match. Rojas tried to stop the momentum at 9-9 with a timeout of his own, but Montalbano's next serve was a drive to the left side that jumped out of the left corner at Rojas making it unreturnable.

Montalbano will play Alvaro Beltran in the semi-finals on Saturday, as Beltran defeated Tony Carson in three games, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9.

Carson had a lead in game two and did tie the game at 10-10, but he couldn't finish off the game. In game three, Beltran took a lead at 6-2, but Carson came back and tied it at 6-6.

However, again Carson couldn't finish off the game. He was close and had chances, and even took a 9-8 lead. But Beltran sharpened up his play and finished the game and match.

On the other side of the draw, top seed Rocky Carson (no relation to Tony) had a comfortable victory over Alex Ackermann, winning in three straight games, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4.

Fourth seed Chris Crowther defeated Jansen Allen, 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, in the last quarter final of the day. Crowther had it all his way in games one and two using his big drive serve, but late in game two Allen called a time out at 9-1.

He came back in and scored a few points to give him some momentum that he carried over into game four. Allen switched to hitting a half lob serve to the left - Crowther's backhand and it got him into rallies and allowed him to get into the match.

In game four, Crowther took the momentum back, going out to a 5-0 lead and holding that advantage through to an 11-4 victory. Crowther will play Rocky Carson in Saturday's semi-finals.

The semi-finals begin at 11 AM on Saturday with the final to follow Saturday night at 7 PM. Matches can be viewed on-line at the IRT Network.

New Jersey Open - December 13-15, 2012
Warren, New Jersey

Quarter finals

Rocky Carson d. Alex Ackermann, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4
Chris Crowther d. Jansen Allen, 11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 11-4

Nick Montalbano d. Jose Rojas, 12-10, 10-12, 2-11, 11-9, 11-9
Alvaro Beltran d. Tony Carson, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9


Rocky Carson v. Chris Crowther - Noon EST Saturday
Alvaro Beltran v. Nick Montalbano - 11 AM EST Saturday

Follow the bouncing ball….

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