Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 IRT Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am Quarter-finals

Daniel De La Rosa continued his fine play this season on Friday at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am as he defeated IRT #2 Rocky Carson in the quarter finals, 9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-5. It's De La Rosa's second win against Carson this season.

IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk won his quarter final match, although he needed four games against Chris Crowther before prevailing, 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5. Third seed Alvaro Beltran defeated Jansen Allen, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11, and fifth seed Marco Rojas beat David Horn, 11-4, 11-4, 5-11, 11-7.

Carson started well against De La Rosa, going up 6-1 in game one of their match. De La Rosa called a time out at that point and proceeded to cut the lead to 6-4. Carson built the lead back up again at 9-5, but then De La Rosa came back and tied it at 9-9.

There was a slight controversy at 8-9 with De La Rosa serving, as a shot by Carson was called good, when it seemed to skip. Carson gave De La Rosa a replay, and on the ensuing rally, De La Rosa skipped a forehand shot.

Carson won the first game with an ace drive serve that cracked out on the left side.

Despite not winning game one, De La Rosa's comeback late in the game seemed to spur him on, as he went out to a 7-0 lead in game two. Carson scored a couple of points, but De La Rosa extended the lead to 10-2, with the 10th point coming on a drive serve ace to the left side. After that Carson threw the ball out of the court and was assessed a technical, which made the score 10-1.

De La Rosa won game two on the next rally with a backhand shot down the line.

They were close in game three, as they tied at 3-3 and 6-6. However, De La Rosa put together a couple of points to make it 8-6 and never relinquished the lead, as he went on to win 11-8.

The shot of the game came at 8-10, as De La Rosa hit a backhand splat that was flat. A perfect shot. The pinch or the splat was one of De La Rosa's go to shots during the match.

De La Rosa led from start to finish in game four, although after leading 5-1, Carson did cut the difference to a single point at 6-5. However, that was as close as he'd get as De La Rosa won it, 11-5.

On the match winning rally, De La Rosa drove serve to the left; Carson returned it cross court, and De La Rosa laid out to his right hitting the ball into the front right corner for a winning pinch shot.

De La Rosa will play Beltran in the semi-finals, which will be their 6th meeting since early November, and Beltran's won the five previous times.

Beltran didn't have any difficulty with Allen until game three of their match. That game was a streaky one, as Beltran scored the first four points, Allen the next seven, and then Beltran two more to make the score 7-6 for Allen.

After Allen scored another point to make it 8-6, Beltran called a timeout and regrouped. He proceeded to score the next three points to lead 9-8. However, Allen got the serve back and scored a pair of his own to get his first game point at 10-9.

But he couldn't convert it. Beltran took advantage and got a match point at 11-10, as he hit one of his several smooth forehand pinch shots to the right corner. However, Allen got a side out and tied the game at 11-11 with a drive serve ace that cracked out on the right side.

Beltran then held firm, got the serve back and won the next two points with the last coming off a forehand down the line shot.

During the match Beltran hit some of his typical straight lob serves along the right wall, but Allen returned those serves pretty well, so for most of games two and three Beltran stood in the same spot, but then hit lob serves cross court that nicked off the left wall.

Waselenchuk won the first two games against Crowther comfortably, but in each they were close early on before Waselenchuk pulled away. In game three, they were again close early, but after being tied 4-4, it was Crowther who pulled away to lead 9-5, and although Waselenchuk did close the lead to 9-8, Crowther held on to win, 11-8.

Game four was similar, as they were tied 3-3 and then Waselenchuk pulled away and won 11-5, to advance to the semis.

In the semis, Waselenchuk will play Marco Rojas, who made his second career semi-final by defeating fellow Stockton, California resident David Horn in four games in what was often a streaky match.

The first of their games was the definition of streaky, as Rojas led 4-0. Horn tied it at 4-4, and then Rojas won 11-4. Rojas led game two from 3-2 to the end at 11-4.

But just when it looked like Rojas was going to sweep Horn out of the tournament, Horn put together six straight points at the beginning of game three to lead 6-0.

Rojas called a timeout, and then cut the lead to one point at 6-5 using Beltran-like lob serves along the right wall. But again Horn went on a streak, scoring five straight points to win game three, 11-5.

Horn scored four more points to lead early in game four, 4-0. But as often happened in this match the other player responded with a streak of his own, as Rojas, in this case, scored seven points to lead 7-4.

Horn got one back before Rojas scored another five to reach match point at 10-5. But Horn didn't quit, scoring a couple more points as he held off three match points.

However, on the fourth one, Horn skipped a backhand shot that gave the game and match to Rojas, who will play in the semi-finals for only the second time in his career.

Rojas also reached the semi-finals last year at the Party with the Pros event in St Louis. As in St Louis, Rojas will face Waselenchuk, who defeated him in three straight games.

Rojas will be looking to do better on Saturday.

The IRT Network will carry the semi-finals beginning at 4 PM EST Saturday afternoon and the final at noon EST on Sunday.

2014 Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am - Syosset, New York

Main Draw of 16

(with seeding)

Quarter finals

1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 8 Chris Crowther, 11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5
5 Marco Rojas d. David Horn, 11-4, 11-4, 5-11, 11-7

3 Alvaro Beltran d. 6 Jansen Allen, 11-6, 11-5, 13-11
7 Daniel De La Rosa d. 2 Rocky Carson, 9-11, 11-1, 118, 11-5

Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Kane Waselenchuk v. 5 Marco Rojas - 5 PM EST
3 Alvaro Beltran v. 7 Daniel De La Rosa - 4 PM EST

Follow the bouncing ball….

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