Sunday, January 12, 2014

Waselenchuk wins 2014 IRT Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk won his 74th career International Racquetball Tour (IRT) title Sunday at the Cactus Salon New York City Pro-Am by defeating Alvaro Beltran in the final, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4.

Beltran started strong by drive serving in game one, which was somewhat uncharacteristic as Beltran often uses a straight lob serve close to the right wall.

Afterwards, Beltran explained that Waselenchuk is "going to try to overpower you, so I tried to do the same thing." And it worked for one game.

Although in that game, it was Waselenchuk who led 7-3, as Beltran skipped several shots. But Beltran got the momentum back and scored six straight points to lead 9-7.

However, the IRT #1 player responded with three points of his own to get a game point at 10-9. But Beltran forced Waselenchuk into a skipped shot, and three points to win the game, 12-10, although Waselenchuk disputed the last two rallies: one two bounce call against Waselenchuk and next Waselenchuk thought two bounces should have been called against Beltran.

Game two was also hard fought, as they went back and forth until being at 5-5. Then Waselenchuk hit an ace to the right side. Another ace to the right made it 7-5. After Beltran skipped a shot on the next rally to make it 8-5, he called timeout.

But that didn't change the momentum, although it did slow Waselenchuk down, as he needed ten rallies to get the final three points.

Game three was again hard fought early on as it took several rallies to get to 2-2. But Waselenchuk made a run to make it 6-2, and although Beltran scored a point to make it 6-3, that was just a bump on Waselenchuk's path to an 11-3 win.

Down 2-1 to Waselenchuk is always a bad place to be, but Beltran didn't stop fighting, although he was losing most of the battles, as Waselenchuk went up 6-1 in game four but needed over 16 rallies to get there.

From there it was just a matter of time before Waselenchuk closed out the match, as he won game four 11-4.

Waselenchuk said "I started out slow," and felt he "wasn't going to be playing lights out," as he did on Saturday. However, "I knew I would last longer than him," so he wasn't concerned, and felt his play improved as the match went along.

Waselenchuk complimented his opponent, saying Beltran "played great."

Beltran said he "felt good" in the match, but "skipped a few balls" which is "part of the pressure" that Waselenchuk puts on his opponents.

Beltran "felt my legs tie after the second or third game," but the difference was "he played better than me."

Those watching the match might have thought that the refereeing was questionable at times, but both players were unhappy with the referee at some point during the match, and perhaps that's as it should be.

The IRT will be back in action in two weeks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the Lewis Drugs Pro-Am January 23-26.

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


1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 3 Alvaro Beltran, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

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