Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 United Healthcare US Open IRT Quarterfinals

Jose Rojas fought back from two games down to defeat Alvaro Beltran, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6, and advance to the semi-finals of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2016 United Healthcare US Open in Minneapolis for only the second time in his career. Rojas's first US Open semi was in 2011. "It feels amazing," Rojas said about winning today and getting to the semi-finals.

Rojas had leads in both game one and two, and looked like he would win both of them, but Beltran, the 4th seed, came back to go up 2-0. Asked afterwards what his thoughts were at that point, Rojas said "0-0" and that he just wanted to play it "one point at at time, chipping away."

Rojas won game three 11-6, leading it all the way. But in game four, Beltran went up 9-4, and was two points from winning the match. Yet, Rojas came back with seven unanswered points starting with an ace drive serve to the left side. While Rojas was scoring those points, Beltran only won two rallies, and those side outs produced no points.

Rojas said he was "definitely surprised" that's it's only his 2nd US Open semi, but he's glad he made it today, and he appreciates it more.

Asked if he's changed anything in the last year that's caused the improvement in his performance, Rojas said "I believe in myself. The past couple of years, it wasn't the best," but that's changed now, and he'll be back on Semi-Final Saturday at the US Open.

Rojas will need that inner belief in the semis, as he'll face IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk, who is the 8 time defending champion and is seeking his 12th US Open title. Waselenchuk beat Sebastian Franco, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4, in the quarters. Waselenchuk didn't feel like he was at his best against Franco, especially drive serving. Waselenchuk felt his drive serve wasn't coming in early on, so he tried to get Franco to shoot more with the lob serves, and then "relied on my feet to get me in position to end the rally."

Sad outcome to the Daniel De La Rosa and Jake Bredenbeck match, as Bredenbeck had to forfeit the match in game three after he hurt his right shoulder diving towards the right side wall to keep the ball in play. The match was 1-1 in games with De La Rosa ahead by one point 6-5 in the third.

De La Rosa will play IRT #2 Rocky Carson in the semi-finals on Saturday, which will be a rematch of last year's semi-final that was won by De La Rosa. Carson beat IRT #7 Marco Rojas, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2, in the quarterfinals.

The IRT quarterfinals conclude Friday, semi-finals Saturday, and the IRT final of the 2016 United Healthcare US Open will be Sunday October 9 at noon at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can watch the action via the IRT Network.

2016 United Healthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 5-9, 2016

IRT Men’s Singles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 8 Sebastian Franco, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4
5 Jose Rojas d. 4 Alvaro Beltran, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6

3 Daniel De La Rosa d. 11 Jake Bredenbeck, 8-11, 11-1, 6-5, injury forfeit
2 Rocky Carson d. 7 Marco Rojas, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2

IRT Men’s Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Kane Waselenchuk v. 5 Jose Rojas - 2 PM
2 Rocky Carson v. 3 Daniel De La Rosa - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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