Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 IRT Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am - Waselenchuk & Beltran win semis

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), will have a chance to win this 74th career title Sunday at the Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am, as he defeated Marco Rojas in the semi-finals on Saturday, 11-1, 11-4, 11-1. In the last six IRT seasons, Waselenchuk's only lost two completed matches.

Alvaro Beltran will be Waselenchuk's opponent Sunday, and is one of the players who have defeated Waselenchuk over those six seasons. But that was back in January 2009.

Nevertheless, Beltran earned the right at another shot at Waselenchuk with a win over Daniel De La Rosa in the other semi-final, but Beltran needed a tie-breaker to get it done, winning 13-11, 1-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5.

Waselenchuk came out strong against Rojas, hitting several aces in game one, which he won comfortably. The story was similar in game two, as Waselenchuk ran the score to 9-0 before Rojas scored a point. But to his credit, Rojas scored four points before Waselenchuk finished off game two at 11-4.

In game three, there were several sideouts that kept the score at 0-0, and it was Rojas who broke the ice to lead 1-0 after Waselenchuk skipped a backhand serve return.

But that was the last point Rojas earned, as Waselenchuk ran 11 in a row to win the game, 11-1, and match in three straight games.

After the match, Waselenchuk said he felt "great," and "when I'm healthy this is the kind of damage I can do." He added, "I don't need to make any more statements in my career," so he's "just playing."

Asked about his motivation given that he's now the career IRT wins leader, Waselenchuk said it's his "family … to provide a good life for them," and that he has "a passion for the sport" that is "in my blood."

The IRT Network will have the final at noon EST on Sunday.

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

Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 5 Marco Rojas, 11-1, 11-4, 11-1
3 Alvaro Beltran d. 7 Daniel De La Rosa, 13-11, 1-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5

Final - Sunday

1 Kane Waselenchuk v. 3 Alvaro Beltran - Noon EST

Follow the bouncing ball….

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