Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 UnitedHealthCare US Open - IRT Preview

For the 22nd time, the best men’s racquetball players in the world will be competing at the UnitedHealthcare US Open. We here at The Racquetball Blog believe this will be one of the strongest International Racquetball Tour (IRT) fields ever, although there are some notable absences. Play begins this Wednesday, October 4, in Minneapolis, where the US Open has been since 2010.

Of the 21 US Opens to date, Kane Waselenchuk has taken home the cup 12 times, including the last 9 years in a row. Waselenchuk, the IRT’s #1 player, has shown no reason for anyone to believe that he won’t do it again. Moreover, Waselenchuk’ll be looking to win both singles and doubles, as he did in 2015 and 2014 with partner Ben Croft. Croft will partner with Waselenchuk once again this year, and the team that beat them last year - and went on to win the title - brothers Jose and Marco Rojas are not in the draw. Even more reason for us to see a Waselenchuk double win next week.

What else makes the field so strong? Sudsy Monchik, a former IRT #1, will make his first IRT appearance since 2012. Moreover, this US Open will only be Monchik’s third IRT event since 2007. Yet, he’s been re-energized from his time coaching the Ecuador National Team, and is playing both singles and doubles, where his partner will be Cliff Swain, another former IRT #1. We’re not sure how Monchik (and Monchik & Swain) will do, but he (and they) is (are) sure to draw a crowd each time he’s (they’re) on court.

There are also several good international players in the draw, and perhaps particularly the Bolivians Carlos Keller and Conrrado Moscoso, who have rarely played IRT events. How good are they? Two years ago at the Pan American Championships, Keller defeated IRT #4 Alvaro Beltran and Moscoso beat IRT #3 Daniel De La Rosa, so you know they are good. They’ll also be playing doubles, although not with each other, as Keller will play with Kadim Carrasco and Moscoso with Keller’s brother Roland.

Other players to watch out for outside the top 16 include Americans Jake Bredenbeck, Thomas Carter and Adam Manilla, Mexicans Rodrigo Montoya, Edson Martinez and Javier Mar, and Ecuadorans Fernando Rios and Jose Daniel Ugalde.

While The Racquetball Blog believes Waselenchuk and Croft are the clear favorites in doubles, there are several notable teams that might be able to cause an upset. The most prominent other team is De La Rosa and Beltran, the #3 and #4 IRT players, respectively. Also, Jose Diaz and Jake Bredenbeck are playing together for a second year, and they were semi-finalists last year. Andree Parrilla and Rodrigo Montoya have had doubles success on the World Racquetball Tour (WRT), but they were beaten last time out by Fernando Rios and Jose Daniel Ugalde, who are a real team - rather than just a couple of guys playing together, as Rios and Ugalde have represented Ecuador at numerous international events.

We’ve mentioned a few other teams above, but to repeat them here, there’s Roland Keller and Conrrado Moscoso, Carlos Keller and Kadim Carrasco, and Sudsy Monchik and Cliff Swain, as well as Javier Mar and Edson Martinez, who was a doubles finalist last year playing with De La Rosa.

As mentioned above, the brothers Jose and Marco Rojas, who were the IRT Doubles Champions last year, are not in this year’s US Open field. We understand that Marco has begun a career as school teacher, so that explains his absence, but we’re not sure on why Jose won’t be there. They will be missed, and if they were there, we might be arguing that this year’s IRT field is the strongest ever.

Note, we haven’t mocked up the doubles draw below, because we’re not sure how the seeding is done. Once we have an answer to that, we will update this piece to give you an idea of how the draw might go. Also, remember that in previous US Open IRT Doubles draws the top four teams were be put into the quarterfinals, so that may happen this time too. Finally, we note that Rocky Carson is not playing doubles this year. At 38, Carson may simply be saving himself for the singles competition.

The IRT will be streaming matches from the Rounds of 32 and 16 as well as the quarterfinals for free via several platforms. You can check where to catch the action from the IRT Facebook page. One of the places for the streaming will be the IRT Network.

The 2017 UnitedHealthcare US Open begins Wednesday October 4 and finishes Sunday October 8 at the Life Time Athletic Target Center club in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2017 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 4-8, 2017

IRT Men’s Singles - Round of 32

(unofficial seeding.current IRT ranking)

1.1 Kane Waselenchuk v. Q16
16.18 Jose Diaz v. Q1

9.11 David Horn v. Q8
8.10 Andree Parrilla v. Q9

5.6 Jansen Allen v. Q12
12.14 Felipe Camacho v. Q5

13.15 Robert Collins v. Q4
4.4 Alvaro Beltran v. Q13

3.3 Daniel De La Rosa v. Q14
14.16 Charles Pratt v. Q3

11.13 Alejandro Landa v. Q6
6.8 Sebastian Franco v. Q11

7.9 Mario Mercado v. Q10
10.12 Samuel Murray v. Q7

15.17 Scott McClellan v. Q2
2.2 Rocky Carson v. Q15

Qualifying Players - Seeds 17-32

Q1 = 17.19 Jake Bredenbeck
Q2 = 18.20 Andres Acuña
Q3 = 19.21 Justus Benson
Q4 = 20.22 Set Cubillos

Q5 = 21.23 Gerardo Franco
Q6 = 22.24 Rodrigo Montoya
Q7 = 23.25 Javier Mar
Q8 = 24.26 Thomas Carter

Q9 = 25.27 Andrés Gómez
Q10 = 26.30 Majeed Shahin
Q11 = 27.31 Dylan Reid
Q12 = 28.32 Edson Martinez

Q13 = 29.34 Nicholas Riffel
Q14 = 30.36 Alejandro Herrera
Q15 = 31.37 Juan Salvatierra
Q16 = 32.44 Francisco Troncoso

Qualifying Players - Seeds 33-74

33.46 Edwin Galicia
34.46 Christian Wer
35.53 John Wolfe
36.60 Adam Manilla

37.62 Teobaldo Fumero
38.62 Jonathan Burns
39.73 Dryan Crosser
40.74 Brad Schopieray

41.77 Jose E. Ubilla
42.77 Lukas Le, Lukas
43.77 Austin Cunningham
44.88 Justin Johnson

45.91 Israel Torres
46.91 Erik Garcia
47.91 Jose Flores, Jr.
48.106 Sergio Acuña

49.111 Cameron Cannady
50.152 Michael Phillips
51.152 Erik Mendoza

>52.NR Nicolas Bousquet
>52.NR Andrés Gómez
>52.NR Gabriel Garcia
>52.NR Roland Keller

>52.NR Carlos Keller
>52.NR Fernando Kurzbard
>52.NR Daeyong Kwon
>52.NR Gunhee Lee

>52.NR Shai Manzuri
>52.NR Sudsy Monchik
>52.NR Hans Mendez
>52.NR Conrrado Moscoso

>52.NR Eduardo Portillo
>52.NR Fernando Rios
>52.NR Noe Rivera
>52.NR Bruce Robles

>52.NR Shawn Royster
>52.NR Michael Silvio
>52.NR Roger Subieta
>52.NR Vignesh Thiyagarajan

>52.NR Jose Daniel Ugalde
>52.NR Brady Yelverton
>52.NR Kyle Ulliman

(note: it’s unknown where the not ranked [NR] players will fall in the draw, and as there is so many of them, we haven’t made a guess at how the qualifying matches will line up, because there’s too much uncertainty)

IRT Men’s Doubles

Kane Waselenchuk & Ben Croft
Daniel De La Rosa & Alvaro Beltran
Jansen Allen & Samuel Murray
Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado

Andree Parrilla & Rodrigo Montoya
David Horn & Gerardo Franco
Felipe Camacho & Teobaldo Fumero
Charles Pratt & Bryan Crosser

Jose Diaz & Jake Bredenbeck
Andres Acuña & Gabriel Garcia
Justus Benson & Erik Garcia
Javier Mar & Edson Martinez

Thomas Carter & Kyle Ulliman
Dylan Reid & Alejandro Herrera
Nicholas Riffel & Adam Manilla
Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso

Carlos Keller & Kadim Carrasco
Fernando Kurzbard & Shai Manzuri
Sudsy Monchik & Cliff Swain
Fernando Rios & Jose Daniel Ugalde
Tim Herman & Michael Myers

Follow the bouncing ball….

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