Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013 US Open - Waselenchuk & Carson win IRT semi-finals

Kane Waselenchuk could win his 9th International Racquetball Tour (IRT) US Open title Sunday at the 2013 United Healthcare US Open, as he defeated Ben Croft in the semi-finals on Saturday, 11-7, 11-1, 11-7.

Waselenchuk's opponent in the final will be a familiar one as Rocky Carson beat Alvaro Beltran in the other semi-final, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2, to set up a rematch of the last two US Open finals, which Waselenchuk has both won.

But in their semi, Croft scored the first six points of the match before Waselenchuk even had a chance to serve. When Waselenchuk did serve, he scored three straight points before Croft got the serve back and scored another to make it 7-3.

That's as much as Croft got though in game one, as Waselenchuk stepped up the pressure forcing errors on four serve returns from Croft, although the last point happened as Waselenchuk hit a deep ball that Croft could do nothing with as he ended up sprawled on the ground at the back wall and banged his head against it three times, perhaps in punishment for losing the game.

Game two was all Waselenchuk, and he started game three with three straight points. But Croft is a never say die player, and he fought back, tied the game at 3-3 and then led 5-4.

Waselenchuk again responded to the challenge and ran the score to 9-5. After Croft made it 9-6, Waselenchuk had his first match point at 10-6, but Croft held him there, and scored another point to make it 10-7.

Waselenchuk got the serve back and called a time out. When play resumed, Waselenchuk drove the ball to the left, Croft returned it down the left line, and Waselenchuk leaned over for it, and hit a winning pinch shot to the left corner as he was falling to the floor.

Afterwards, Croft said it was "disappointing" but the "number one player makes you look bad," and "forces you to make mistakes."

Waselenchuk said that he was "on a mission" and losing in Stockton brought a "whole new motivation" to him. But with the past great players in attendance - there's a celebration of Charlie Brumfield at this US Open - Waselenchuk wants to show them that he's the best ever, which is what the record suggests.

A win Sunday will break the record for IRT victories that Waselenchuk currently holds with Cliff Swain at 70.

For first game and a half of the other semi, it looked like Beltran would reach his second US Open final, as he comfortably won game one and was up 8-4 in game two. But Carson held Beltran at eight in game two, and scored seven unanswered points to level the match at a game a piece.

Carson followed that up with another close victory in game three, 11-8, and that seemed to take the wind out of Beltran's sails as Carson won game four going away, 11-2.

US Open matches are available via the IRT Network throughout the week.

2013 IRT US Open, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Semi-finals - Saturday (with seedings)

1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 5 Ben Croft, 11-7, 11-1, 11-7
2 Rocky Carson d. 3 Alvaro Beltran, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2

Final - Sunday (with seedings)

1 Kane Waselenchuk v. 2 Rocky Carson

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: