Saturday, December 14, 2013

Waselenchuk wins the New Jersey Open, his 2nd title of the season

Kane Waselenchuk completed a successful return to the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) by capturing the New Jersey Open title in Warren, New Jersey with a win over Jose Rojas in the final, 11-6, 11-8, 2-11, 11-1. Waselenchuk had missed the previous two IRT Tier 1 events.

The win was also a measure of revenge for Waselenchuk, who lost to Rojas the last time they met, which was in September in Kansas City. That loss was the first in a completed match in four and half years.

They were close in game one, and the score was tied at 6-6, when Waselenchuk ran a string of points, which led to his 11-6 win.

Game two was similar, but it was Rojas who took the lead in the mid-game at 7-5 and 8-7. But again Waselenchuk responded positively, including an ace serve that made it 10-8.

Rojas fought off two game points, but on the third Waselenchuk hit a soft backhand shot on the third shot of the rally to win it, and go up 2-0.

Rojas could have folded his tent at that point, because the likelihood of winning three straight games on Waselenchuk is small at best. However, Rojas did nothing of the sort, and full credit to him, as he played an excellent game three, closing it out with eight points on eight rallies, 11-2.

But as great as Rojas was in game three, Waselenchuk was in game four, as he stormed out to a 5-0 lead on consecutive rallies, which caused Rojas to call a timeout, but no avail as Waselenchuk won four more consecutive rallies to lead 9-0.

Rojas didn't quit, as they went back and forth for a few rallies, with Rojas scoring a point, but the writing was on the wall, and Waselenchuk finished off at 11-1 to take his second title of the season and become the first multiple title winner this season.

Earlier on Saturday in the semi-finals, Waselenchuk beat Alvaro Beltran in three straight games, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6, while Rojas needed a tie-breaker to defeat Rocky Carson, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3.

Carson won last year's New Jersey Open, and Waselenchuk didn't play in it, so it's possible that combination of Waselenchuk's win and Carson's semi-final finish, Waselenchuk will regain the #1 IRT ranking.

The next IRT event is the California Open January 2-5, 2014. If you missed any of this weekend's action, you can check it out in the IRT Network archive (subscription required).

2013 New Jersey Open
Warren, New Jersey


Kane Waselenchuk d. Jose Rojas, 11-6, 11-8, 2-11, 11-1


Jose Rojas d. Rocky Carson, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3
Kane Waselenchuk d. Alvaro Beltran, 11-9, 11-3, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

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