Friday, October 5, 2018

Croft & Waselenchuk to defend IRT Doubles title at 2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk will defend their US Open International Racquetball Tour (IRT) doubles title against Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa Saturday at the 2018 UnitedHeathcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis. It will be a rematch of last year's final. Croft and Waselenchuk reached the final by defeated Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, 15-13, 15-6, while Beltran and De La Rosa needed a tie-breaker to get past Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya, 15-14, 8-15, 11-8.

Bredenbeck and Diaz led for much of game one against Croft and Waselencuk, including near the end at 13-11. But a Bredenbeck forehand skip gave his opponents the serve back, and Croft and Waselenchuk scored four straight points, including two forehand pinch shots by Croft, the second of which won the game, 15-13.

In game two, they were close early, but Croft and Waselenchuk went from 2-2 to 6-2, and didn't look back from there. Croft finished that game too, as he hit a forehand cross court shot off a Diaz cross court serve return.

In game one of Beltran and De La Rosa versus Mar and Montoya, they were close all the way, but Beltran and De La Rosa got the biggest lead of the game at 14-10. However, Mar and Montoya got the serve back, called a time out, and then proceeded to score four points on consecutive rallies, fuelled by three winners by Montoya.

However, a De La Rosa forehand reverse pinch ended that run with the score 14-14. Beltran skipped a shot to put his side half down. But on the rally was long, and came to an end when Mar was forced into skipping a shot in the front court.

Game two started the same as game one, as the teams were close. But at 6-6, Mar and Montoya pulled ahead to lead 9-6. Beltran and De La Rosa got the serve back at that point, and called a timeout. When play resumed, they score two points to cut the lead to one at 9-8.

But from there, Mar and Montoya won eight straight rallies - except for a hinder call: two that got them the serve back, and then six points. The end coming when Beltran skipped a forehand.

Cue the tie-breaker. Mar and Montoya got the early lead at 2-0, and then again at 4-2. But the game stalled there as seven rallies when by before another point was scored. That came off a Mar skip, which began a streak of seven straight points for Beltran and De La Rosa, who then led 9-4.

A hideout exchange, and then Mar and Montoya scored three points, including a drive serve ace by Mar to the left side that cracked out. But they could only muster one more point that made it 9-8.

Beltran and De La Rosa got the serve back at that point, and their match point came after Mar skipped a shot that dove into the front court to try to get. The final rally saw an exchange of ceiling balls between Beltran and Mar that ended as Mar hit one that was a reverse - front wall and then ceiling - so the ball set up for Beltran to hit a forehand winner, and that's exactly what he did, smashing it down the right wall.

Thus, Beltran and De La Rosa are in the US Open IRT Doubles final for the second time in as many years.

The IRT doubles final will be live from Minneapolis across their outlets: the IRT Network, IRT Facebook page and IRT YouTube channel. The doubles final is scheduled for 5 PM CDT Saturday.

2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 3-7, 2018

IRT - Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-13, 15-6
2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-14, 8-15, 11-8

IRT - Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 2) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa - 5 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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