Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

It wasn't such a good weekend for predictions by The Racquetball Blog (TRB) Readers. The Readers chose Rhonda Rajsich and Rocky Carson (in the absence of Kane Waselenchuk) to win in Edmonton, Alberta at the Canadian Racquetball Classic. They both made their respective finals, but neither won, as Paola Longoria defeated Rajsich and Jack Huczek beat Carson.

On Friday, it didn't look like TRB was going to do any better, as our choice on the women's side Christie Van Hees lost to the tremendous teen Veronica Sotomayor in the Round of 16. Then Huczek got clobbered by Mitch Williams's racquet in the fifth game of their quarter final match, as Williams followed through on a shot. It was looking like more evidence of TRB predictions being a media curse on those selected.

But Huczek got back in the court, and played superbly the rest of the weekend.

His victory made us 1 for 2, and TRB Readers 0 for 2. It's the first week TRB Readers have been 0 for the weekend.


The Canadian Classic is the last major tournament before the US Open, so it was the last opportunity to make a major move in the rankings. We'll be interested to see the new rankings as they will be the basis for US Open seeding.

WPRO: The primary questions on the women's side are where will Van Hees fall in the draw, as her loss in the Round of 16 in Edmonton combined with the fact that she won that event last year should mean she'll take a big hit in the rankings.

Yet we're not convinced that her ranking at 10 is accurate for her ability, so her dropping lower will mean some higher seed will have a more difficult road than she wants, as Van Hees could be playing one of the top 4 seeds as early as the Round of 16.

The other question on the women's side will be who has to face Sotomayor? With wins over Van Hees and Kerri Wachtel in the last two WPRO tournaments - as well as taking a game off Cheryl Gudinas Holmes in their semi-final match in Edmonton, Sotomayor has proven that she can play well against the top WPRO players.

IRT: There's really only one question of interest on the men's side: where will Kane Waselenchuk fall into the US Open draw?

Waselenchuk wasn't in Edmonton, although he had claimed he would be. Thus, he didn't improve on his #11 ranking. However, no one close to him in the rankings will likely pass him, so he'll probably be seeded 11th for the US Open.

That would mean he'll be on track for a Round of 16 meeting with Mitch Williams, assuming Williams stays at #6. Williams could match up well with Waselenchuk, as he's got a great drive serve that could result in some easy points. The question would be whether he could be disciplined during rallies and make the smart shot, not going for the spectacular splat but rather the simple down the line pass.

Spectacular play is made up of low probability shots, so it's unlikely to work for a whole match. Moreover, none of the top IRT players have naturally spectacular game styles other than Waselenchuk. Thus, we think high probability shots are the way to beat Waselenchuk. The question is does anyone have the discipline to hit those consistently throughout a match?

At #11, Waselenchuk would also be on track to meet #3 and #2, Jason Mannino and Huczek, respectively, on the way to the final.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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