Sunday, March 10, 2013

IRT - Waselenchuk wins Florida Spring Break Tournament

Kane Waselenchuk weathered an early storm by Ben Croft to win the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Florida Spring Break tournament in Tampa, Florida, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3. Waselenchuk's won five of the seven IRT events this season, and didn't play in the other two due to injury.

Waselenchuk started well in game one, as he went out to a 9-4 lead, but Croft dug in and came back to win 12-10. Waselenchuk had two game points but didn't convert either.

Croft's strategy was clear: drive serve down the right side, which is the left-handed Waselenchuk's backhand. Croft did mix in a few drives to the left and some drive Z serves to the right, but he tried to ride the straight drive to the right to victory.

And it worked for one game.

It looked like it might work for more, as Croft also had a lead in game two at 7-4. However, Waselenchuk got the serve back and got five points on five rallies to go up 9-7. Croft called a time out then, and did get the serve back when play resumed. But Croft couldn't capitalize on the advantage, and Waselenchuk went on to win 11-7, which evened the match at 1-1.

Waselenchuk started well in game four, going up 4-0, but Croft got within one at 4-3. Slowly but surely Waselenchuk built the lead up to 7-3, when Croft called a time out.

Croft's time out was only a pause in Waselenchuk's momentum, as he went on to win game four 11-4.

Game five was similar to four, as Waselenchuk took a 4-0 lead, and then Croft was called for an avoidable hinder. He strongly disagreed with the call, and was assessed a technical, which made the score 5-(-1). Waselenchuk pushed the score to 9-(-1), and although Croft got himself into positive digits, there wasn't any doubt as to the outcome, as Waselenchuk went on to win 11-3.

Thus, after some initial excitement at the prospect of an upset, another IRT final match came out as it has so many times in the past few years with Kane Waselenchuk coming out on top. The win is Waselenchuk's 66th, putting him four behind Cliff Swain's IRT career leading win total of 70.

The Mile High Racquetball Pro/Am will be the next IRT Tier 1 event, and that happens March 21-24 in Denver.

2013 Florida Spring Break, Tampa, Florida

Final - Sunday

Kane Waselenchuk d. Ben Croft, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3

Follow the bouncing ball....

No comments: