Saturday, September 9, 2017

Waselenchuk & Carson win semi-finals of 2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am

The new International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season is just like the old IRT season, as the #1 and #2 players will meet in the first final of the 2017-18 season in Canoga Park, California, where IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk and #2 Rocky Carson will face off on Sunday in the final of the Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am. In the semi-finals, Waselenchuk defeated surprise semi-finalist Rodrigo Montoya, 11-1, 11-0, 11-3, and Carson beat IRT #3 Daniel De La Rosa, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.

There was some chatter ahead of the Waselenchuk-Montoya semi, as Montoya is the #1 player on the World Racquetball tour (WRT). He performed admirably, but not at the level of Waselenchuk, who may have been trying to make a point in limiting Montoya’s points. Interestingly, for periods of the match Waselenchuk chose to lob serve to Montoya’s backhand, and Waselenchuk rarely lob serves, even on second serve. Waselenchuk used both straight lobs and nick or kiss lobs against Montoya with success.

But for the most part, Waselenchuk hit bullet drive serves to both the left and right sides, so both Montoya’s backhand and forehand, respectively.

They both hit some great shots during the rallies, and the best rally may have happened in game one, as they were at 4-0 in Waselenchuk’s favor. Then they exchanged several shots, including pure reaction shots, before Waselenchuk hit a winner to make it 5-0.

The match winner was characteristic of Waselenchuk’s play, as Montoya ripped a backhand cross court to the right side. Waselenchuk, a left-hander, quickly went to his knees to retrieve it, and flat rolled the ball with a backhand shot of his own.

In the other semi, De La Rosa led game one from start to finish, but the opposite was true in game two, as Carson went wire to wire. In game three they were tied at 5-5, but Carson outscored De La Rosa 6-1 in the second half of that game to take the 2-1 advantage in the match.

Although De La Rosa didn’t look as good in game three as he had in game one, he did take the early lead in game four at 4-1. Carson closed the gap to one at 6-5 and then he went down, and seemed to injure himself. Indeed, Carson took an injury timeout, which is 7.5 minutes, but he wasn’t off the court for nearly that long.

As play resumed, Carson didn’t seem much affected by whatever knock he picked up. But De La Rosa did extend his lead to 8-5.

Yet that was as many points as De La Rosa would get as Carson scored the next six points to win the game, 11-8, and take the match in four games. Carson’s match winner was a forehand cross court with De La Rosa in center court.

In doubles, top seeds Ben Croft and Waselenchuk will play De La Rosa and Alvaro Beltran in the final on Sunday, as Croft and Waselenchuk defeated Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-10, in one semi-final Saturday with De La Rosa and Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa beating Felipe Camacho and Samuel Murray, 15-10, 15-8, in the other.

The singles final is Sunday at 11 AM and you can watch it via the IRT Network. The doubles final will follow the singles final.

2017 IRT Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Pro-Am, September 7-10, 2017
Canoga Park, California

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. Rodrigo Montoya, 11-1, 11-0, 11-3
2) Rocky Carson d. 3) Daniel De La Rosa, 8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8

Final - Sunday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 2) Rocky Carson - 11 AM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 5) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-10
3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 7) Felipe Camacho & Samuel Murray, 15-10, 15-8

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 3) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

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