Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Most competitive IRT event ever?

Last weekend's Coast to Coast California Open may have been the most competitive International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event ever. It's certainly the most competitive one in the last four and a half seasons, the time that The Racquetball Blog has been around.

That judgment is based on the number of matches that went a full five games. Eight matches from the Round of 16 to the Final went tie-breaker, which is more than any other tournament since (at least) 2008. That is, over half of the main draw matches went five games (there are 15 matches played from the Round of 16 on). Five is the most tie-breakers in an event previously during that period, and that happened three times (in Kansas City last season, San Diego in 2011 and Florida in 2009).

Only four California Open matches were settled in three straight games, which is only the third time that's happened in the last 53 tournaments (Kentucky in 2009 and Chihuahua in 2010, although two matches there were defaults and the score is missing for a Round of 16 match involving the 4th seed).

Also, the final three matches in California (two semi-finals and final) last weekend went at least four games (and two went five), which a rare event too. Only six of the last 53 IRT events (11.3%) have had both semi-finals and final go more than three games.


For an IRT event to be competitive, there have to be strong players come through qualifying. Last weekend, the 8 qualifying players resulted in four qualifier wins or QWs.

Leading the way was Alejandro (or Alex) Landa with two wins that put him in his first career semi-final, and in that match he took a game off IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk. A very impressive weekend for him.

Also winning in California after qualifying were Daniel De La Rosa, who beat Chris Crowther, and Javier Moreno, who won the 8/9 game against Andy Hawthorne.

All this competitiveness must be very pleasing to IRT President Jason Mannino, who was quite a competitive player himself, because a more competitive event is a more attractive event.

Follow the bouncing ball….

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