Saturday, October 11, 2014

Waselenchuk & Beltran win semis at 2014 US Open United Healthcare Racquetball Championships

International Racquetball Tour (IRT) #1 Kane Waselenchuk will have an opportunity to win a 10th US Open title Sunday after he beat Alejandro Landa, in Saturday's semi-finals, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2, at the 2014 United Healthcare US Open Racquetball Championships. Alvaro Beltran will be Waselenchuk's opponent in the final, as he defeated Rocky Carson, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 2-11, 11-4, in the other semi-final Saturday.

Waselenchuk was in control throughout his match with Landa, the 13th seed and surprise semi-finalist. Landa did battle hard, and scored early in each game. But he just didn't score enough, as Waselenchuk was just too much for Landa.

Beltran and Carson played a long match, and took not just five games but five match points for Beltran to defeat Carson, who is his doubles partner for this event. Carson was in control in game one against Beltran, winning it 11-8. In game two they were neck and neck with ties at 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. But then Beltran put together three straight points with the last two points coming from backhands hit down the line for an 11-8 win.

Game three was long. Seriously long. And it was Carson who led late in game three, as he was up 9-7 and 10-8. However, Carson couldn't close it. That opened the door for Beltran who gladly walked through it, scoring four straight points.

The first was a backhand pinch, the second was a penalty hinder call on Carson. Then Carson skipped a serve return, and finally Beltran got a ball in the middle of the court and hit a solid forehand shot down the right side to win it.

As long as game three was, that was how short game four was, as Carson won it in the blink of an eye, 11-2. Carson carried the momentum over into the tie-breaker, as he scored the first two points of game five.

But then Beltran took over, scoring eight unanswered points to lead 8-2. They traded points, as Beltran worked his way to a 10-4 lead.

Carson didn't roll over though, as he fought off one match point, then another. Then on Beltran's third match point, he dove for the ball, rekilled it down the right line, managed to get out of the way of the ball, but Carson had a chance to get to it. Carson, who held up, wanted a penalty hinder, while Beltran thought the ball was down, and wanted it to be a point.

The referee called a hinder.

Carson hit a forehand pinch on the next rally, suggesting that the previous rally should have been a penalty hinder. But Beltran got the serve right back with a winner serve return of Carson's drive Z serve.

On that fifth match point, Beltran hit a high lob - the serve he used almost exclusively throughout the match - and in the rally Carson skipped forehand shot, ending the game and match.

Beltran's in his second US Open final. His previous final was in 2010, when he lost to Waselenchuk in four games.

Waselenchuk will be playing his 10th US Open final, and he won the previous nine finals.

As we've said before, Beltran's game style matches up well with Waselenchuk's, and we've seen some of those elements on display - specifically his skill at hitting winners from diving gets - this week. But Beltran will need to be at his very best if he has any chance of defeating Waselenchuk, who has to be the odds on favourite to win his 10th US Open title.

The IRT final will be Sunday at noon CDT, and will be streamed live via the IRT Network.

2014 United Healthcare US Open
IRT Singles
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 8-12, 2014

Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 13 Alejandro Landa, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2
3 Alvaro Beltran d. 2 Rocky Carson, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 2-11, 11-4

Final - Sunday

1 Kane Waselenchuk v. 3 Alvaro Beltran - Noon CDT

Follow the bouncing ball….

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