Saturday, March 23, 2013

IRT - Mile High Pro-Am - Waselenchuk & Carson to meet for 21st time

Two familiar faces will meet in the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), as IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk and #2 Rocky Carson both won their respective semi-finals in the Mile High Pro-Am Saturday in Denver. Waselenchuk and Carson have meet 20 times in the finals over the past five seasons, and Waselenchuk's won all but one, when he couldn't finish the final of the 2012 New York City event due to a back injury.

Thus, they have some history together.

But they didn't get to the final in quite the same way. Waselenchuk was dominant in his semi-final against Jose Rojas, winning 11-0, 11-1, 11-7. Rojas didn't get a point in the match until Waselenchuk scored 20, as Rojas's first point made it 9-1 in the second game in Waselenchuk's favour.

Nonetheless, it looked like Rojas might win game three, when he had a lead at 7-6. However, Waselenchuk refocussed and held Rojas at seven as he got five unanswered points to win the game and close out the match in three straight.

Carson's semi-final win over Ben Croft wasn't as straight forward, as he needed four games to prevail, winning 2-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-1. Game three was the key game of the match and it was a streaky one.

Carson scored the first five points of game three to lead 5-0. But then Croft got the nine of the next ten to lead 9-6. But momentum shifted back to Carson, as he got three points on three straight rallies to tie it 9-9.

Croft called time out, as he had at 9-9 in three of his quarter final games against Alvaro Beltran on Friday. And it worked, as he got the serve back when play resumed. On his serve, Croft got an opportunity on his forehand, and didn't hit a winner.

Carson took advantage and won that rally, and then scored two points to win the game 11-9 and level the match at a game apiece. The winning shot was a soft off speed side wall front wall shot that was maybe an inch high on the front wall.

So for the 21st time in the past five seasons, it'll be Waselenchuk versus Carson in an IRT final. The sensible prediction is Waselenchuk to win, although some people picked Florida Gulf Coast University to beat Georgetown in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, so probably not everyone's on Waselenchuk's side.

However, Waselenchuk does look like he's back to full fitness after missing two events this season due to injury. Has Carson improved enough to earn the win? Carson does seem to be serving better, but will that be enough to carry the day on Sunday?

The IRT Network will be web-casting the Mile High Pro/Am final at noon MDT Sunday afternoon.

2013 Mile High Pro/Am - Denver, Colorado


Kane Waselenchuk d. Jose Rojas, 11-0, 11-1, 11-7
Rocky Carson d. Ben Croft, 2-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-1


Kane Waselenchuk v. Rocky Carson

Follow the bouncing ball....

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