Saturday, December 13, 2014

De La Rosa wins 2014 IRT New Jersey Open

Daniel De La Rosa has added his name to the list of winners on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), as he defeated fellow Mexican Alvaro Beltran, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, to win the 2014 New Jersey Open in Warren, New Jersey. De La Rosa becomes only the second Mexican player to win an IRT event, joining Beltran.

Game one was all De La Rosa, as he went out to a 10-2 lead, and won it with a drive serve ace to the left side - Beltran's backhand.

Beltran responded well in game two, taking a 6-0 lead. But De La Rosa came back to make it 6-5. Then Beltran took an injury timeout with the speculation that he had tweaked his back. He came out and finished game two, but didn't score another point, as De La Rosa won it 11-6.

Beltran wasn't moving well at the start of game three, yet De La Rosa wasn't taking advantage of that. He led at 5-2, but it took 20 rallies to get there.

From there, Beltran scored five straight points to lead 7-5. De La Rosa tied it at 7-7, and they were also tied at 8-8 and 9-9. But it was Beltran who scored the last two points to win 11-9 and force a fourth game.

In game four, they were back and forth. But after being tied at 7-7, De La Rosa got three straight points to have his first match point at 10-7. Beltran fought that off with a backhand cross court serve return, and then scored two points to make it 10-9.

But De La Rosa got a side out for his second match point chance. He drove serve to the left, which is what De La Rosa did in most of the match, and Beltran hit a backhand pinch shot to get the serve back.

However, Beltran skipped a shot on the next rally, which gave De La Rosa his third match point opportunity. De La Rosa drove serve to the right, but Beltran hit a winning forehand return down the line.

On the next rally, De La Rosa skipped a forehand shot, which tied the game at 10-10. Then Beltran returned the favour with a skip, so De La Rosa got the serve back.

De La Rosa hit a short drive serve to the right, and followed that with a lob to the left, which started a long rally that he ended with a forehand down the line. Beltran dove for it, but couldn't reach it.

On his fourth match point, De La Rosa hit a lob to the left on first serve - one of the few times he'd lobbed first in the match. But it was such a good serve that Beltran had to resort to returning it into the back wall. Then De La Rosa hit a strange off speed backhand that seemed like it skipped based by the sound of it, but the referee called it good.

Thus, De La Rosa is the 35th player to win an IRT tournament. He's now been in two finals, both against Beltran, and is 1-1 in them. Overall, De La Rasa is now 2-5 against Beltran.

De La Rosa is 21 years and five month old. Of the active players, he's got his first win younger than any of them, except Kane Waselenchuk. Jose Rojas was also 21, but almost 22 when he won his first tournament.

Compared to some multiple tournament winners, Cliff Swain (18), Sudsy Monchik (19) and Jack Huczek (19) were all younger when they first won, but Jason Mannino (22) and Rocky Carson (23) were older.

The IRT will begin 2015 with back to back tournaments. The Catus Salon New York City Pro-Am will begin the year January 15-18 in Syosset, New York, and the next week they'll be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the Lewis Drug Pro-Am January 22-25.

New Jersey Open
Warren, New Jersey - December 11-13, 2014

(with seeding)

4. Daniel De La Rosa d. 2. Alvaro Beltran, 11-4, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10

Follow the bouncing ball…

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