Saturday, March 23, 2013

IRT - Mile High Pro-Am - Controversy in the quarters

For perhaps the first time ever on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) two players were given technicals simultaneously, as Alvaro Beltran and Ben Croft were t-ed up as they had an altercation following a hinder call in their quarter final match at the Mile High Pro-Am in Denver on Friday. Their match was tight all the way, and in game five Beltran was serving at 6-2, when he and Croft got tangled up.

After the hinder call, Beltran claimed that Croft had pushed him and demonstrated the contact on Croft who took exception to that and pushed back. It looked like it might boil over but cooler heads were able to prevail. But both players were given technicals, so each lost a point and when play resumed it was Beltran serving 5-1.

That was only part of an incredible tie-breaker that Croft managed to win 14-12 to take the match, 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 14-12.

The first three games of the match were almost identical, as both games one and two had ties at 4-4, a Croft lead at 8-5, and a 9-9 tie, when Croft called time out in each game and proceeded to win the next two points to take the games.

Game three also had an early tie at 3-3 and a Croft lead at 7-4, and a 9-9 tie, when Croft once again called time out. However, Beltran got the last two points of that game to force a fourth game, which he won comfortably, 11-4, setting up the dramatic tie-breaker.

In the tie-breaker, Beltran led all the way, including a 10-6 advantage late. But then Croft put together a run of points, including three consecutive drive serve aces - the first to the right, Beltran's forehand, and then two to the left, his opponent's backhand, and Croft found himself with a match point at 11-10.

But on the next rally Croft skipped a set up on his forehand side, a rare event as that's his better side. On his next match point, Croft double faulted, serving short twice.

Beltran then put together a couple of points to get another match point; his first came at 10-6. But Croft fought that one off and two more before tying the game at 12-12.

He got to 13-12, and then on his fourth match point, Croft drove serve - as he had all match; this time to the right and it got a weak return from Beltran and then Croft splat killed the ball with his forehand, which led to a scream of joy and relief from Croft.

With the win, Croft moves into the semi-finals, where he'll face IRT #2 Rocky Carson. Carson was a winner over Tony Carson (no relation) in four games, 11-4, 6-11, 11-0, 11-5. Rocky drove serve much of the match, including jam serves to the left side that kicked out from about the five foot line.

Top seed Kane Waselenchuk advanced to the semis with a straight game win over Andy Hawthorne, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4. Hawthorne actually lead 5-2 in game two before Waselenchuk scored nine straight points to take a commanding two game to zero lead.

Waselenchuk's semi-final opponent will be Jose Rojas, who defeated Chris Crowther in four games, 9-11, 12-10, 11-1, 11-7. Rojas dropped the first game 11-9, and looked in danger of doing the same thing in game two, when Crowther led 10-6.

However, Crowther's first game point opportunity ended with a ceiling ball skip, and he couldn't convert his second either, which came at 10-7.

Rojas made it 10-9, and even a Crowther time out at that point couldn't prevent Rojas from levelling the match at a game a piece as he won game two 12-10.

Game three was all Rojas, as he won comfortably 11-1, including three drive serve aces.

Crowther was neck and neck with Rojas in game four, however, as they were tied at 4-4, 6-6, and 7-7. But that was as many points as Rojas would led Crowther have as Rojas closed it out with four unanswered points including a cross court backhand winner on match point.

The IRT Network will be web-casting the Mile High Pro/Am semi-finals beginning at 4 PM MDT Saturday afternoon.

2013 Mile High Pro/Am - Denver, Colorado

Quarter finals

Kane Waselenchuk d. Andy Hawthorne, 11-1, 11-5, 11-4
Jose Rojas d. Chris Crowther, 9-11, 12-10, 11-1, 11-7

Ben Croft d. Alvaro Beltran, 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 14-12
Rocky Carson d. Tony Carson, 11-4, 6-11, 11-0, 11-5


Kane Waselenchuk v. Jose Rojas
Rocky Carson v. Ben Croft

Follow the bouncing ball....

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