Friday, April 6, 2018

Franco defeats De La Rosa to reach quarterfinals at 2018 IRT Cincinnati

Another round, another young Mexican making some noise at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, as Gerardo Franco upset the 2nd seed Daniel De La Rosa, 14-15, 15-10, 11-10, to reach the quarterfinals for the second time in his young career.

Franco will play Mario Mercado in the quarters, as Mercado defeated Felipe Camacho, 15-13, 15-10.

Jose Diaz caused the other upset of the Round of 16 Friday, as he beat 5th seed Jansen Allen, 15-9, 15-8. Diaz will face 4th seed Alejandro Landa in the quarters, as Landa won a tie-breaker against another young Mexican, Sebastian Fernandez, 14-15, 15-3, 11-4.

In their match, Franco led De La Rosa for the second half of game one, and had game point at 14-10. But Franco couldn’t close it out, as the veteran De La Rosa came back to steal the game, 15-14. Franco again led early in game two, and reached 14-10, but this time there was no comeback from De La Rosa.

In the breaker, Franco once again took the early lead at 5-1. But this time De La Rosa responded sooner, and he tied the game at 6-6, and then led 7-6. Franco’s turn to respond, and he did by regaining the lead with three straight points to make it 9-7.

De La Rosa managed to tie it again, getting to 9-9 by diving to hit a forehand cross court pass shot. Franco called a timeout, and when play resumed he took the serve back with a great backhand pinch shot. Franco was hitting his backhand pinch very well in this match, and hit another to make it 10-9.

Franco drove serve to the left on his first match point, and De La Rosa hit a great backhand splat return winner to get the serve back. On the next rally, De La Rosa held up believing Franco was in the way of his shot, and the referee agreed, assessing a penalty hinder against Franco and putting De La Rosa on match point at 10-10.

But Franco fought off that point with a reaction backhand rekill that was flat, which gave Franco his second match point. He again drove serve to the left, which was short. On second serve, he hit a lob to the left, and a rally ensued. De La Rosa drove the ball down the right side, and Franco dove to keep it in play, hitting the ball to the ceiling. That led to a set up off the back wall in the back right corner, and De La Rosa skipped his forehand shot down the line.

It was a crucial error that gave the game to Franco, 11-10, and match, 2-1.

The quarterfinals will be 10 and 11 AM Saturday morning, and can be seen on IRT Network as well as the IRT Facebook page and YouTube, according to a tweet from the IRT. The semi-finals will be 5 PM and 6 PM Saturday with the final at noon Sunday. All times eastern.

2018 IRT Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids, April 5-8, 2018
Cincinnati, Ohio

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Rocky Carson d. Thomas Carter, 15-5, 15-6
8) Sebastian Franco d. David Horn, 15-14, 15-12

Jose Diaz d. 5) Jansen Allen, 15-9, 15-8
4) Alejandro Landa d. Sebastian Fernandez, 14-15, 15-3, 11-4

3) Alvaro Beltran d. Adam Manilla, 15-6, 15-13
6) Samuel Murray d. Hiroshi Shimizu, 15-8, 15-2

7) Mario Mercado d. Felipe Camacho, 15-13, 15-10
2) Gerardo Franco d. Daniel De La Rosa, 14-15, 15-10, 11-10

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson v. 8) Sebastian Franco - 11 AM
4) Alejandro Landa v. Jose Diaz - 11 AM

3) Alvaro Beltran v. 6) Samuel Murray - 10 AM
7) Mario Mercado v. Gerardo Franco - 10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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