Friday, October 24, 2008

US Open - Men's Quarter Final Results - UPDATED

Play has heated up as the quarter finals have begun on the men's side of the US Open in Memphis and upsets have been the order of the day so far. In the first two matches, 5th seed Shane Vanderson defeated 4th seed Jason Mannino, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9, and 11th Kane Waselenchuk beat 3rd seed Alvaro Beltran, 11-6, 11-13, 11-2, 7-11, 11-5.

Observers might have wondered where the water was as the players were diving so often to keep the ball in play. More impressive was the number of times those dives resulted in winning kill shots.

Although an upset by seeding, Waselenchuk's victory over Beltran might not be considered an upset, as Waselenchuk won the first three tournaments of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) season, defeating Beltran in the final of the Kentucky Open. Also, Waselenchuk's won the US Open three times.

Game one of their match was back and forth until they were tied 6-6. After that Waselenchuk pulled away and won 11-6. Game two was similar, but it was Beltran who pulled away in mid-game getting an 9-6 advantage.

But it looked that like wasn't going to be enough as Waselenchuk came back and took the lead at 10-9. However, Beltran dug in, fought off three game points, and then used a drive jam serve to Waselenchuk's backhand to set up a flat pinch shot into the front right corner, winning 13-11.

Game three was all Waselenchuk, as he took an early lead and cruised to an 11-2 victory. For those thinking that was going to be it for Beltran he quickly showed that he had other ideas, as he took a big lead in game four at 5-1 and then 9-1.

No lead is safe against Waselenchuk though, and he did come back to 7-10 before Beltran finished the game, 11-7, with a drive z serve to the back right corner - Waselenchuk's backhand - that forced his opponent to try to play it off the back wall, which was unsuccessful.

The extra energy that Beltran had to use to go from 9 to 11 in game four may have cost him in the tie-breaker, as Waselenchuk took a big lead early at 7-1. Although Beltran came back to 5-7, the early lead suggested the outcome was inevitable, as Waselenchuk won 11-5.

Afterwards Beltran said "hats off to Kane, because I played one of my best matches today, and he still won."

For his part, Waselenchuk agreed with his opponent, saying it was "a great match by Alvaro." Waselenchuk's "missed playing in Memphis," as it's been two years since he was last in the US Open. His absence was a result of a positive drug test when Waselenchuk, a Canadian, played in the 2006 Canadian National Championship.

Vanderson was mostly ahead during his match with Mannino. They were tied at 8 in game one, then Vanderson went on to win 11-8. Game two was back and forth as Vanderson was up 4-0, then Mannino was ahead 7-5, then Vanderson 9-7, and finally Mannino won 12-10.

There were several rallies with multiple dives by Mannino, who's known for going full out all the time, but Vanderson wasn't shy about diving either. In fact, at the end of game 3, he dove and hit a winning pinch in the left front corner for the winning point.

After their match, Vanderson said he "got lucky" as Mannino "was off today."

Mannino expressed his frustration as he felt he "had opportunities and let them go. I missed easy shots." But it's "always a battle" against Vanderson. "We have great matches," said Mannino.

Men's Pro Results (seeding)
Quarter finals

(1) Rocky Carson d. (8) Jason Thoerner, 11-3, 11-9, 11-4
(5) Shane Vanderson d. (4) Jason Mannino, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9

(11) Kane Waselenchuk d. (3) Alvaro Beltran, 11-6, 11-13, 11-2, 7-11, 11-5
(2) Jack Huczek d. (7) Ben Croft, 11-7, 11-5, 12-10

Semi-finals - Saturday

(1) Rocky Carson vs. (5) Shane Vanderson
(2) Jack Huczek vs. (11) Kane Waselenchuk

Follow the bouncing ball....

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