Saturday, January 12, 2013

IRT - New York Temperature Controls Semi-finals

Jose Rojas has reached his second career International Racquetball Tour (IRT) final at the New York Temperature Controls Pro-Am in Syosset, New York, as he defeated second seed Alvaro Beltran in the semi-finals on Saturday, 11-6, 11-8, 1-11, 11-5. Rojas won his only other final appearance on tour, when he defeated Beltran in the final of the San Diego Open last year.

Top seed Rocky Carson will be Rojas's opponent in the final, as Carson came from behind to defeat Chris Crowther in the other semi-final, 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6.

Rojas started strong, going up 7-0 on Beltran. That gave him 21 straight points going back to the end of game four in his quarter final match with Ben Croft on Friday.

Beltran battled back and got the score down to 8-6, when Rojas called a time out. That proved effective, as Rojas closed out the game without giving up another point. Rojas used lob serves to the left side - Beltran's backhand side - in game one.

But in game two Rojas switched to drive serving, primarily to the left side but also some to the right side, and his success continued, as won the second game, 11-8.

Beltran has often started matches slowly, and dropped the first two games in his quarter final match on Friday versus Alejandro Landa before winning in a tie-breaker. So, going down 2-0 to Rojas was not unfamiliar territory for him.

Thus, it wasn't a surprise when Beltran played lights out in game three, going up 3-0 and then 10-1. Rojas fought off the game ending point five times, but couldn't score any points himself. Finally on the sixth attempt, Beltran won the game.

Game four was a repeat of game one, as Rojas got out to a 7-0 lead and kept on cruising, winning 11-6. On match point, Rojas hit a ceiling ball to the left that fell into the crack of the left wall. Beltran dove forward to get it, but could only hit it to the ceiling. The result was a set up off the back wall for Rojas that he killed to win the match.

For much of the other semi-final, it looked like there would also be an upset as Chris Crowther came back in game one with a 9-1 run to turn a 7-2 deficit into a 11-8 win.

Game two was all Carson as he levelled the match at 1-1 with an 11-2 win. But in game three the roles reversed, as Crowther went up 6-1. Carson fought back to make it 7-6, but he never tied it as Crowther closed out the game, 11-7, and take a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Game three's storyline was repeated early in game four with Crowther again going up 6-1. But this time Carson's comeback did result in a tie at 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, and 9-9.

Crowther got the 10th point first, and served for the match at 10-9. He hit a drive to the right that he thought cracked out just over the short line. But the referee called it short, and replay evidence suggested that was the correct call.

Sadly for Crowther, he didn't score another point as Carson pulled out the win, 12-10.

With momentum on his side, Carson went up 4-0, and although Crowther did dig in a make a game of it, he couldn't overcome that early difference, as Carson won the fifth game, 11-6, and the match, 3-2.

Carson and Rojas have played six times on tour, and Carson has won all six. Their most recent meeting was this season in the Kansas City semi-finals, when Carson won in four games.

The final will be at noon EST in Syosset, New York and can be viewed via the IRT Network.

New York Temperature Controls Pro-Am - January 10-13, 2013
Syosset, New York


Rocky Carson d. Chris Crowther, 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6
Jose Rojas d. Alvaro Beltran, 11-6, 11-8, 1-11, 11-5


Rocky Carson v. Jose Rojas

Follow the bouncing ball….

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