Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open IRT Doubles Semi-finals

Brothers Jose and Marco Rojas knocked off Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk, the two time defending International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Men's Doubles champions, 12-15, 15-11, 11-5 in the semi-finals of the 2016 United Healthcare US Open in Minneapolis. Marco Rojas called it "one of the top wins in my career."

Rojas and Rojas were up throughout game one, including a 9-5 lead, only to see the champions come back and take the lead at 13-12, and go on to win it. Then the champs took a 7-2 lead in game two at which point Rojas and Rojas called a time out.

Asked what they were thinking at that point, Marco said he thought back to last year, when they lost to Croft and Waselenchuk by dropping a close first game, and then getting blown out in the second, and he "didn't want a repeat of that."

Jose added that they'd matured since then because of that loss, and "we just took it one point at at time. 0-0. It's always just 0-0."

When play resumed, Marco hit a winning return that got them the serve back, but they only scored one point, making it 7-3. Waselenchuk make a great diving backhand shot that rolled to get the serve back for his side. And you might have thought the match was going to go there way, but Croft and Waselenchuk only scored one point to make it 8-3.

Then the game stalled. No one scored for six rallies. Jose Rojas made a shot that got the game moving again, and the brothers worked their way up to 8-8, where it stalled again. Ten rallies produced no points.

Waselenchuk broke the deadlock with a drive to the left side that was service winner, making it 9-8. But the Rojas's tied it at 9-9, and the teams went back and forth to 11-11.

From there the brothers scored on four consecutive rallies, including two serve return skips by Waselenchuk, to win game two, 15-11, and level the match at a game a piece.

They were back and forth in game three. Rojas and Rojas served first, and took a 2-0 lead. But the champions scored four points to lead 4-2. Then the brothers tied the score at 4-4, and went ahead 8-4 in one service inning, including a great diving forehand by Marco for their 5th point. After making that shot, Marco saw "the crowd explode," and thought "oh yeah, they got our backs."

Croft and Waselenchuk scored once on their next time with serve, but Jose got them the serve back with a great backhand return pinch shot. The brothers closed it out on that service inning. An encroachment call got them to 9-5. Jose hit a forehand pinch that got them to match point at 10-5, but a hard Croft shot forced a skip from Marco, so they were denied on their first match point.

But not their second, as Marco hit a backhand that their opponents couldn't retrieve.

The Rojas brother will play Daniel De La Rosa and Edson Martinez in Saturday's final, as De La Rosa and Martinez defeated last year's finalists Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, 15-3, 15-12, in the first semi-final. But it was a remarkable performance by Bredenbeck, who played left handed as he'd injured his right shoulder early in the day against De La Rosa in the quarterfinals of singles. Thus, he couldn't hit the ball right handed.

Bredenbeck was remarkably competent with his left hand, and as the match went on, he seemed to improve, such that he was drive serving left handed late in game two. However, it wasn't enough, so De La Rosa and Martinez are into the final for the first time.

The IRT doubles semi-finals conclude Friday evening, and the IRT doubles final at the 2016 United Healthcare US Open will be 5 PM Saturday at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. IRT Network.

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

IRT Men’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday evening

4 Jose Rojas & Marco Rojas d. 1 Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk, 12-15, 15-11, 11-5
Daniel De La Rosa & Edson Martinez d. 2 Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-3, 15-12

IRT Men’s Doubles - Final - Saturday

4 Jose Rojas & Marco Rojas v. Daniel De La Rosa & Edson Martinez

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: