Sunday, October 9, 2016

Waselenchuk wins 2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open, his 12th US Open victory

Once again Kane Waselenchuk, the International Racquetball Tour's (IRT's) #1 player won its most prestigious event, as he captured the 2016 United Healthcare US Open final in Minneapolis Sunday by defeating IRT #2 Rocky Carson, 11-2, 11-2, 11-6. The win is Waselenchuk's 9th consecutive US Open title, 12th overall, and his 100th IRT victory. That's by far the most wins on the IRT, and 30 more than Cliff Swain's 70, which is 2nd most.

The match started with Waselenchuk and Carson going back and forth with sideouts. But Waselenchuk got on the board first with a forehand cross court shot, and then rolled off three more points with winning shots to make it 4-0. Carson got the serve back with a great forehand pinch serve return, but he couldn't score until Waselenchuk was up 7-0. Carson did score twice before Waselenchuk ended the first game with a backhand shot, making it 11-2.

Waselenchuk also took an early lead in game two, as he was up 4-0. However, Carson fought back to make it 4-3. But that was as close as Carson got, as Waselenchuk continued to pile up the points. Carson got charged with a technical for delay of game while he had appealed a call at 9-3, so the score because 9-2. Waselenchuk scored the winning point of game two with a backhand that he shaped into the front right corner; it looked like he might have sliced the ball in.

Down 2-0, Carson did not give up, although Waselenchuk again went up 4-0 in game three. However this time Carson came back and tied it at 4-4 with a backhand shot, and then went ahead 5-4 with another backhand. The lead was short-lived, as Waselenchuk got the serve back with a backhand return, and then scored with a backhand cross court.

They were tied again at 6-6, after Carson hit an ace drive serve to the left side, which was to the left-hander Waselenchuk's forehand. However, Waselenchuk returned Carson's next serve with a soft backhand that displayed his great racquet control.

From there Waselenchuk scored five straight points on consecutive rallies to close out the game and match. The last rally was several shots, and a bit of a scramble, which ended as Waselenchuk hit a forehand cross court - left to right - that Carson got his racquet on, but couldn't get to the front wall. That gave Waselenchuk game three, 11-6, and the match in three straight games.

The 2017 United Healthcare US Open will be October 4-8, 2017 at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Do yourself a favour and make a point of attending.

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

IRT Men’s Singles - Final (seeding)

(1) Kane Waselenchuk d. (2) Rocky Carson, 11-2, 11-2, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

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