Sunday, January 21, 2018

Landa wins 1st IRT title at 40th Annual Lewis Drug Pro-Am

Alejandro Landa became the latest man to win an International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event Sunday, when he defeated Daniel De La Rosa, 15-6, 7-15, 11-10, to win the 40th annual Lewis Drug Pro/Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. De La Rosa was the defending Lewis Drug champion, and was looking to win back to back IRT events, as he won the Los Angeles Open earlier this month. Instead, De La Rosa becomes the first player to lose a final by only one point since the IRT adopted the win by one rule at the start of 2018.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Landa of the win. “I can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. It was emotional. I cried a little bit. I think I’m going to cry more.”

“This is the best feeling ever,” he added. “This is why I train.”

The first two games were lop-sided, although after De La Rosa took a 6-0 lead in game two, Landa did tie it at 6-6. However, De La Rosa held Landa to only one point from there, outscoring him 9-1, to win game two, 15-7, and force a tie-breaker.

It looked like the tie-breaker wouldn’t be close either, as De La Rosa took a 6-0 lead again. Landa had scored a point, making it 2-1, but after De La Rosa scored his fifth point, Landa hit the ball in anger and the ball hit De La Rosa, so Landa was assessed a technical, which meant losing a point making the score 5-0.

De La Rosa made it 6-0, and Landa called a timeout. Coming back from the timeout, Landa got a side out, and then scored three points to cut De La Rosa’s lead in half, 6-3. They traded side outs, then Landa made the score 6-5.

They were back and forth from there, but De La Rosa was the only one scoring, and reached match point at 10-6 with a great forehand reverse pinch shot. Landa prevented De La Rosa’s win with a forehand kill shot in the front court.

With the serve back, Landa got his seventh point with a forehand pinch shot from the left side. Two more forehand winners - a forehand pinch, and a kill - got him to 10-9. Landa tied the match with a drive serve ace to the left side - De La Rosa’s backhand.

At 10-10, Landa hit another drive serve to the left with De La Rosa returning it with a ceiling ball. Landa drove a backhand down the left side, and De La Rosa tried rekilling it. But he left it up, which allowed Landa to kill it with his backhand to claim his first IRT title.

Asked what he was thinking when he served at 10-10, Landa said jokingly “I tried to ace him again,” but then added “I tried to make the serve in a good spot and put him in a defensive position.” And that’s how it turned out, as De La Rosa’s return was a ceiling ball that Landa was able to shoot, and it led to his winner.

Landa is the 37th man to win an IRT event, and did it in just the 4th all-Mexican final. De La Rosa has been in all four of those finals, and now has a record of 2-2.

Landa is the second 1st time winner on the IRT this season. The last season there were two 1st time winners was in 2011-12, when Jose Rojas and Ben Croft won back to back events. Before that you need to go back to the 2001-02 season, when Kane Waselenchuk and Jack Huczek won their first IRT events.

Landa was the 8th seed in singles, and the 8th seed in doubles also won, as Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya defeated 2nd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, 15-13, 15-12, Sunday. Also like Landa, it’s the first doubles win for both Mar and Montoya. It’s also the third time Bredenbeck and Diaz have come up short in a final this season.

The IRT will play next in two months at the 33rd Annual Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, March 15-18, 2018. If you missed any of this weekend’s action, check out the IRT Facebook page or the IRT Network where the matches are archived.

2018 IRT Lewis Drug Pro-Am, January 18-21 2018
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Final - Sunday

8) Alejandro Landa d. 2) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-6, 7-15, 11-10

IRT Doubles Semi-finals - Sunday

8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-13, 15-12

Follow the bouncing ball….

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