Saturday, May 16, 2015

Waselenchuk defeats De La Rosa to win IRT Tournament of Champions

Kane Waselenchuk defeated Daniel De La Rosa decisively, 11-4, 11-1, 11-2, to win the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro Kennex Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon Saturday night.

Although the win was decisive, it looked like it would be close early in game one, as they were tied at 4-4. However, Waselenchuk scored 13 straight points to win game one, 11-4, and lead in game two, 6-0.

De La Rosa then got his only point of game two, and Waselenchuk went on another scoring streak, getting 12 in a row. De La Rosa got his first point of game three after Waselenchuk already had seven, and didn't get his second point until Waselenchuk had ten.

As we said, Waselechuk's victory was decisive.

So, Kane's going to be #1 right?

Was it enough to get Waselenchuk back in the #1 spot in the IRT rankings? Rocky Carson, who lost to De La Rosa in the semi-finals, is currently #1, 78 points ahead of Waselenchuk. However, we understand from Jason Mannino, IRT President, that the Tournament of Champions was only worth Tier 2 points,

Winning a Tier 2 event is worth 120 points, according to the IRT website, while finishing in the semi-finals is worth 60 points. Sixty is less than 78, so unofficially we have Carson as still the #1 player and Waselenchuk #2, despite the fact that Waselenchuk won his 9th tournament of the season in Portland and Carson has won three tournaments this season.

"These rankings suck!"

Understand that the rankings reflect a body of work: a record of a player's performances in a 12 month period. The ranking system rewards players who have played tournaments over those who have not. There are players who have not played many tournaments, but done better in those events than those players who have entered more tournaments, yet the better performing players are ranked lower than those who played more frequently.

If a player played a quarter or a third of the events but won those events, would it be fair to rank that player ahead of another who played all of the events finishing in the semis or better each time?

You can argue about whether the system should be changed, including whether there should be Tier 1 money events that are less than Tier 1 points. But recognize that questions of appropriate rankings is a situation arising in other sports also.

For example, arguably, Serena Williams has been the best women's tennis player for the past 15 or more years. However, she's not been the #1 player for all or perhaps even most of that period, because (a) she's sometimes been injured during that period (just as Waselenchuk was physically impaired in the fall) and (b) she didn't play as many events as some other players during that period. Thus, other players were able to gain the #1 women's tennis ranking over Williams. Does that mean they were better players than Williams? Not necessarily.

When he has played this season, Waselenchuk's results have been impeccable, as he hasn't lost. But the key is "when he has played," because Waselenchuk had an unfortunate recurrence of the inner ear issue he suffered early in his career, which led to him missing some events and defaulting out of another in the quarterfinals.

Thus, Carson - racquetball's Iron Man - has been able to gain the #1 ranking with a body of work that - according to the current IRT ranking system - is better than anyone else's.

However, there is one more Tier 1 event to go on the 2014-15 IRT schedule: the Fresno IRT Summer Kickoff in Fresno, California May 28-31. A win there, and Waselenchuk should be #1 at season's end.

2015 Pro Kennex Tournament of Champions
Portland, Oregon


Kane Waselenchuk d. Daniel De La Rosa, 11-4, 11-1, 11-2

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Eddie Buonomo said...

Best of luck in Oregon Kane