Saturday, January 23, 2016

Waselenchuk & Rojas to battle for 38th Lewis IRT Pro-Am crown

Jose Rojas will play his second final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season Sunday, as he defeated IRT #2 Rocky Carson in the semi-finals of the 38th Annual Lewis Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Saturday, 11-1, 11-5, 11-9. He’ll be facing IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk in the final, as Waselenchuk won the other semi against Daniel De La Rosa, 11-3, 11-9, 11-2. Sunday’s final will be Waselenchuk’s 7th this season, and he’s won the previous six.

Waselenchuk and Rojas played last week in Syosset, New York, where Waselenchuk won in three straight games. But Rojas was excellent in his semi-final today, and if he can play like that Sunday, he’ll have a chance.

Saturday, Rojas came out cruising, as he took a 8-0 lead in game one, winning it comfortably at 11-1. Game two was a similar story, as Rojas led 8-1. Carson got a few points, but then Rojas took it to game point at 10-4. Rojas did need four game points to finish game two, but did it in style with a great forehand pinch shot that followed up a very good drive serve to the left side - Carson’s backhand.

Game three started slowly, as the first point wasn’t scored until the sixth rally. Rojas got that, and two more to lead 3-0. But Carson wasn’t going to roll over, as almost two months ago to the day, he was in the same position - down 2-0 versus Rojas - and came back to win in five games. Indeed, Carson scored the next five points to lead 5-3.

Rojas called a timeout at that point. He got the serve back on the next rally, and scored a point. But it wasn’t a big momentum shift, as Carson regained the serve after that point, and scored two more to lead 7-4. However, Rojas came back and tied the score at 7-7.

They were back and forth from that point with Rojas actually getting to nine first, leading 9-8. Carson tied it 9-9. A couple rallies went by, and then Rojas went ahead 10-9 with backhand down the line, making it 10-9.

A Carson serve return got him the service back, but only delayed the inevitable, as Rojas also hit a winning serve return: a backhand down the line.

Rojas won the match on the next serving opportunity, as he drove served to the left side, and skipped the backhand serve return shot.

Both Rojas and Carson were in the doubles event also, and played two doubles matches prior to their singles semi-final. But both Rojas’s matches went to three games, while both of Carson’s only went two. You’d think that was an advantage for Carson, but Carson’s also 11 years older than Rojas, so at 36, Carson’s recovery time is unlikely to be the same as Rojas’s at 25.

In those doubles matches, Carson and Alvaro Beltran advanced to the final with wins over 8th seeds Jeremy Best and Alejandro Herrera in the quarterfinals, 15-4, 15-13, and over Jansen Allen and Tony Carson, 15-10, 15-13, in the semi-finals.

However, Rojas and his brother Marco Rojas did not advance to the final, as they were defeated by 2nd seeds Felipe Camacho and De La Rosa, 15-3, 13-15, 11-7, after beating Charlie Pratt and Cliff Swain, 13-15, 15-14, 11-8, in the quarters.

The IRT Network live streaming of the finals will begin on Sunday at 11 AM central time with the singles final, which will followed by the doubles final.

2016 38th Annual Lewis Pro-Am, January 21-24
Sioux Falls, South Dakota


1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 4) Daniel De La Rosa, 11-3, 11-9, 11-2
6) Jose Rojas d. 2) Rocky Carson, 11-1, 11-5, 11-9


1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 6) Jose Rojas

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rocky Carson d. 8) Jeremy Best & Alejandro Herrera, 15-4, 15-13
4) Jansen Allen & Tony Carson d. 5) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-6, 10-15, 11-5

3) Jose Rojas & Marco Rojas d. 6) Charlie Pratt & Cliff Swain, 13-15, 15-14, 11-8
2) Felipe Camacho & Daniel De La Rosa d. 7) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado, 10-15, 15-10, 11-6

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rocky Carson d. 4) Jansen Allen & Tony Carson, 15-10, 15-13
2) Felipe Camacho & Daniel De La Rosa d. 3) Jose Rojas & Marco Rojas, 15-3, 13-15, 11-7

IRT Doubles - Final

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rocky Carson v. 2) Felipe Camacho & Daniel De La Rosa

Follow the bouncing ball….

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