Sunday, May 3, 2015

WRT 2015 Midwest Championships - Semi-finals

Generally, it's not good to lose the first game of a match, but that proved to be the route to victory for both Polo Gutierrez and Jake Bredenbeck in the semi-finals of the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) Midwest Championships in Minneapolis, so they will meet in Sunday's final. Moreover, their first game losses were not just losses, but drubbings, as Cliff Swain beat Gutierrez 15-3 in the first game of their semi and Alejandro Cardona beat Bredenbeck 15-6 in their first game.

But Bredenbeck changed strategy in game two, using a variety of lob serves to build an early 7-1 lead. Cardona closed it to 7-6, but Bredenbeck again extended the lead to 14-6, and closed it out 15-10.

He used that momentum to carry the day in the tie-breaker as well, winning the match 6-15, 15-10, 11-3.

Gutierrez also had the early lead in game two with Swain, at 5-2, but they were tied at 7-7, and Swain led 11-8. But Gutierrez held Swain there, scoring the last seven points of the game to force a tie-breaker.

The breaker was long. After 33 rallies, they were tied at 5-5. Swain led 5-0 to start, but Gutierrez came back and tied it. He pushed on to win it 11-6 fifteen rallies later.

At 49, some may have questioned whether Swain's fitness played a role in the outcome. In other sports, people will talk about players being fit and being match fit, where the latter requires seeing some competitive action. Swain was playing his fourth match in about 36 hours, and the toll that takes is mental as well as physical. It's fatiguing to concentrate over that many points for that number of matches, especially if you haven't been doing much of that recently.

Swain made five unforced errors in the breaker. Skipping balls that he would normally put away. When the difference between players is small, that many errors can change an outcome, especially if the game is to 11.

Big upset in doubles, as the top seeds Anthony Herrera and David Horn lose to Minnesotans John Goth and Alejandro Romo, 15-5, 13-15, 11-6, in the semi-finals. They'll face 2nd seeds Jaime Martell and Jose Daniel Ugalde, who beat Jose Daniel Alvarez and Fernando Rios in the other semi, 15-11, 15-12.

To view the finals - singles and doubles - on Sunday, look for a link on the WRT Facebook page. The singles final starts at noon with the doubles final to follow at 1 PM.

WRT 2015 Midwest Championships
Minneapolis, Minnesota


1) Polo Gutierrez d. 12) Cliff Swain, 3-15, 15-11, 11-6
3) Jake Bredenbeck d. 2) Alejandro Cardona, 6-15, 15-10, 11-3


1) Polo Gutierrez v. 3) Jake Bredenbeck

Doubles - Semi-finals

5) John Goth & Alejandro Romo d. 1) Anthony Herrera & David Horn, 15-5, 13-15, 11-6
2) Jaime Martell & Jose Daniel Ugalde d. 3) Jose Daniel Alvarez & Fernando Rios, 15-11, 15-12

Doubles - Final

2) Jaime Martell & Jose Daniel Ugalde v. 5) John Goth & Alejandro Romo

Follow the bouncing ball….

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