Saturday, January 21, 2017

De La Rosa & Beltran reach the final of the 2017 IRT Lewis Drug Pro-Am

Daniel De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran will play in the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2017 Lewis Drug Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Sunday, as they won their respective semi-final matches Saturday. Second seed De La Rosa beat Alejandro Landa, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7, and 4th seed Beltran knocked off top two seed Rocky Carson in five games, coming back from 2-1 down to win 6-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-0, 11-9. De La Rosa and Beltran will also play together in the IRT Doubles final Sunday against Carson and Jose Diaz.

As expected, Beltran and Carson played a long match that was clocked at over two hours. Carson won two of the first three games, and then surprisingly Beltran blanked him in game four, 11-0. That was only the second time over 46 matches Beltran has blanked Carson in a game (Carson also had -1 in one of their matches), and coincidentally, it was also at the Lewis Drug Pro-Am back in 2014. Carson has blanked Beltran once: in the final of the 2009 California Open.

That set up a fifth game, which was especially long. Our unofficial count has them at 68 rallies. For example, after 17 rallies they were just at 3-1 in Beltran’s favour. At that point, the referee assessed a technical against Carson for delay of game, and as Carson protested that call, he received another technical. That made the score 3 serving -1.

The technicals did seem to fire up Carson, although the points continued to be slow in coming for both players, as 22 more rallies only added three points to the score: 6-1 in Beltran’s favour.

Carson then put a run together, and tied the score at 6-6. They tied again at 7-7, then Beltran eked ahead to 9-7. A drive Z serve to the right side took a fortunate bounce for Beltran, resulting in an ace that put him on match point at 10-7. But a Carson forehand shot denied him the win there.

Two Beltran skipped shots, and Carson was within one, serving 9-10. However, Beltran hit a winning backhand serve return to get his second match point opportunity. He took advantage of that, hitting a Z serve to the right side that Carson returned cross court. The ball came off the left wall, and as he was backing up Beltran hit a backhand kill shot to end the game and the match.

The De La Rosa and Landa match was streaky. Landa began well in game one, as he took an early 3-0 and 5-2 leads. But he stalled there, as De La Rosa ran nine unanswered points to win game one 11-5. De La Rosa’s point streak continued in game two, as he went up 6-0, so De La Rosa scored 15 straight points against Landa.

However, Landa then got it together, and closed the gap, slowly but surely, until they were tied at 8-8. They tied again at 9-9, and then De La Rosa got to game point at 10-9 only to make a big forehand skip, and give the serve back to Landa, who tied the game at 10-10. But a De La Rosa cross court forehand shot got him back in the service box. Landa gave De La Rosa his second game point by skipping a forehand shot, which was an unforced error. On his second game point, De La Rosa drove serve to the right side for an ace, closing out game two 12-10.

In game three, De La Rosa led all the way. He had an early lead at 5-1, and although Landa made it close at 8-6, and fought off two match points at 10-6, the outcome did seem in doubt at that point, as De La Rosa won the game, 11-7, match, 3-0, when Landa made another unforced error by putting a ball into the floor with his forehand.

The final will be the third all Mexican IRT final. Beltran and De La Rosa have been in the other two as well, and they split them. Beltran winning in Davison in 2013, and De La Rosa winning in New Jersey in 2014. This is Beltran’s first final since April of last year at the Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Ohio. De La Rosa was last in a final at the Galaxy Custom Printing event in Georgia earlier this season in November.

You can see the finals live from Sioux Falls via the IRT Network beginning with the singles final at 11 AM Central Sunday morning with the doubles final following that no earlier than noon.

2017 IRT Lewis Drug Pro-Am, January 19-22
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Semi-finals - Saturday

4) Alvaro Beltran d. 1) Rocky Carson, 6-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-0, 11-9
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. Alejandro Landa, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7

Final - Sunday

2) Daniel De La Rosa v. 4) Alvaro Beltran - 10 AM

IRT Doubles Final - Sunday

1) Rocky Carson & Jose Diaz v. 2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

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