Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 IRT Krowning Moment Bobcat Open - Quarterfinals

The top two seeds won their quarterfinal matches in three straight games at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Krowning Moment Bobcat Open in San Marcos, Texas. Kane Waselenchuk, the IRT's top player, beat Tony Carson, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2, and IRT #2 Rocky Carson (no relation to Tony) defeated Marco Rojas, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5.

Waselenchuk was actually down 5-0 to Tony Carson in game one of their match, but then reeled off 11 straight points to win it. Waselenchuk didn't stop there, as he scored the first four points of game two, as he went on to sweep the match in three straight.

Alejandro Landa had taken out the IRT #3 player, Alvaro Beltran, in the Round of 16 earlier in the day, and he ousted the #6 player Chris Crowther in the quarterfinals, in a match that looked like it would also be three straight games.

However, after Landa won games one and two, 11-7, 11-8, respectively, the veteran Crowther responded by winning game three, 11-5, and game four, 11-3, to set up a tie-breaker.

In game five, Crowther had the momentum and went up 5-0, which led to a Landa timeout. Landa scored the next point, but then Crowther got three more to make the score 9-1. It looked like Crowther was going to complete the comeback. In fact, Crowther hit a winner to make it 10-1, but Landa showed the referee that the ball had broken, so 9-1 was replayed.

Cue the comeback.

Landa began to hit an off speed Z serve to the left side - Crowther's backhand, and scored a few points, which made the score 9-4 with Landa serving. Crowther called a timeout.

Landa kept up with that Z serve, which he did by standing a few feet fro the left side wall and taking a couple of steps to the centre, and he tied the game at 9-9.

After an exchange of timeouts, Landa got his first match point with a backhand down the line. On that match point, he tried to fool Crowther by going for a drive to the right side, but it was short, so he again hit the Z to the left. But this time Crowther won the rally, and tied the score at 10-10.

Landa got the serve back, and hit a hard drive serve to the right side, which was a serve that had worked well for him in games one and two. This time Crowther was all over it, getting a side out.

Crowther hit a drive serve ace to the right side to make the score 11-10, and give him match point. But his next serve is short, so Crowther hits a Z to the left that leads to a Landa side out.

Landa ties the game with a forehand winner, 11-11. On the ensuing rally, the ball comes around the right side and off the back wall, and Landa's shot hits Crowther. A hinder is called, although Landa wanted a replay, as Crowther made no effort to move.

Crowther wins the replay, and makes the score 12-11 after Landa skips his return of Crowther's drive serve to the left side. Crowther hits that serve again, and thinks Landa's return is another skip, but Landa's shot was a very tight side wall-front wall shot.

On the next two rallies, Landa hit forehand winners to make the score 13-12. Crowther fought off that match point with a forehand cross court return that caused Landa to dive to keep the ball in play, which led to a set up that Crowther put away.

Crowther drove serve to the left, and Landa hit a winning return. Landa hit another Z to the left, and on that rally Landa hit a cross court to the left when Crowther was on the right. Crowther got to it and attempted to hit a ceiling ball, but it didn't get to the front wall: skip. Match Landa.

Thus, Landa reaches the semi-finals for the first time since January 2013, when he was in the semis of the California Open. There he lost to Waselenchuk, but in four games, as he won the third. He only played three IRT events last season, but Landa is no slouch, so Rocky Carson will have his hands full in their semi-final.

IRT #4 Jose Rojas also needed five games to defeat IRT #5 Daniel De La Rosa, 9-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-4, 11-6. Both players primarily drove serve, and often to the right side, although for both that meant hitting it to their opponent's forehand.

In the breaker, they were close early, and then Rojas pulled away to 6-2. De La Rosa closed it to 6-5, but never tied it. An awful serve return by De La Rosa on Rojas's second serve lob to the right side - De La Rosa tried to crush it with an overhead shot that he tanked into the floor - make the score 8-5.

De La Rosa got the serve back and closed it to 6-9, but then double faulted when his second serve lob to the left side was short. Rojas made it 10-6 with a forehand winner.

Then on match point, Rojas hit a drive serve Z to the left side that De La Rosa returned to the ceiling. Rojas hit a backhand splat shot that De La Rosa dove for to try to keep the rally going, but he was unsuccessful.

The win put Rojas into the semi-finals against Waselenchuk, which is a repeat match up of last season's first tournament. Then Rojas beat Waselenchuk, which was only the second time he'd lost a completed match in six seasons.

Waselenchuk will surely not want that to happen again, and especially so, as he's playing close to home. Waselenchuk lives in Austin, Texas, which is a short drive from San Marcos, the site of this weekend's tournament.

Last season's first event was in Overland Park, Kansas, which is where the IRT will be next week.

The semi-finals and final are all on Saturday with the semis in the morning and the final at night. You can watch them via the IRT Network.

2014 Krowning Moment Bobcat Open
San Marcos, Texas


Kane Waselenchuk d. Tony Carson, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2
Jose Rojas d. Daniel De La Rosa, 9-11, 11-6, -11, 11-4, 11-6

Alejandro Landa d. Chris Crowther, 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 3-11, 14-12
Rocky Carson d. Marco Rojas, 11-5, 11-4, 11-5

Semi-finals - Saturday

Kane Waselenchuk v. Jose Rojas - 11:15 AM CDT
Rocky Carson v. Alejandro Landa - Noon CDT

Final - Saturday - 6:45 PM CDT

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: