Saturday, October 8, 2016

2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open IRT Semi-finals

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2016 United Healthcare US Open final in Minneapolis Sunday will set a record before it even begins, as it will be the 5th time IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk and #2 Rocky Carson have met in the US Open, breaking a tie for most finals with the same two players they held with Sudsy Monchik and Cliff Swain. Waselenchuk is 4-0 in those finals against Carson.

Waselenchuk had the shorter road to the final, as he needed only three games to defeat Jose Rojas, 11-1, 11-6, 11-1, while Carson went to a tie-breaker with Daniel De La Rosa, winning 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-0.

Waselenchuk hit 10 aces or service winners against Rojas, and some were from an usual technique for him. Later in the match, Waselenchuk used a walking drive serve, taking a couple of steps to the left and then usually driving the ball back to the right side.

Carson and De La Rosa match was back and forth. De La Rosa had an early lead in game one at 6-3. Then Carson led 8-6, but De La Rosa called a time out at that point and Carson didn't score another point, as De La Rosa got five unanswered points to win game one, 11-8.

Game two was all Carson, as he led 10-0. "You don't want to allow a guy to get into a rhythm, or get that extra confidence back," said Carson afterwards. But while he tried to close it out, De La Rosa did score three points before game two ended at 11-3.

Game three was long. In game three, there were 54 rallies compared with 35 in game one, and 31 in game two. As with game one, in game three the players went back and forth, and it was De La Rosa that pulled ahead at the end to win it 11-9. We might expect the player who wins such a long game would have an advantage for the rest of the match, and likely win it.

However, in game four it didn't seem like De La Rosa carried any momentum over from game three, as the players were close early. He did take a slight lead on Carson at 6-4, but they went back and forth with sideouts at that point. After on the sixth rally at that score, Carson hit a backhand pinch for a winner, and momentum change as Carson outscored De La Rosa 7-1 as he won game four 11-7 to force a fifth and deciding game.

In game five, they played 10 rallies before someone scored. Carson was that someone, and after he scored the first, he scored ten more without De La Rosa scoring at all. Thus, what was a tight, close match was not did not finish that way, as Carson blanked De La Rosa in game five, 11-0.

The IRT final of the 2016 United Healthcare US Open will be noon Sunday at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can watch the final via the IRT Network.

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

IRT Men’s Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Kane Waselenchuk d. 5 Jose Rojas, 11-1, 11-6, 11-1
2 Rocky Carson d. 3 Daniel De La Rosa, 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-0

IRT Men’s Singles - Final - Sunday

1 Kane Waselenchuk v. 2 Rocky Carson - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

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