Friday, January 16, 2009

TRB's Prediction for the New York City Pro-Am

Look what a win can do. Last week, readers of The Racquetball Blog were almost unanimous in their opinion that Kane Waselenchuk would win the International Racquetball Tour's (IRT's) California Open, with only one reader each going for Alvaro Beltran and Jason Mannino.

But in California, Beltran beat Waselenchuk in the semi-finals, and then lost to Rocky Carson in the final. Moreover, Waselenchuk only squeaked by Jack Huczek in the quarters with an 11-9 tie-breaker win after being down two games to one.

This week readers' opinions are still solidly with Waselenchuk to win the New York City Pro-Am, but that's not a unanimous or even a majority view. Several people have also voted for Beltran, Huczek, and Carson, as well as a single vote for Mannino. And three people are saying "Another player" will win it. We wonder who they have in mind? Former doubles World Champion Eric Muller perhaps?

Waselenchuk is on the top half of the draw this week with Mannino and Carson, who he'll likely have to face in the quarters and semis, respectively, prior to the finals. Beltran and Huczek are on the bottom, which will make it hard for Beltran.

We judge Beltran to have the best chance against Waselenchuk, but his record against Huczek isn't good at 5-23 lifetime on the IRT. However, he did win their only meeting this season - a five game match in the semi-finals of the Kentucky Open. Also, people have spoken of Beltran being in better shape this season, which may be a contributing factor to his increased success. Thus, it's certainly possible that Beltran will get by Huczek and get to the final in NYC.

But that's not what we're predicting, because we want to be controversial too! We went with what we thought was the safe bet last week, picking Waselenchuk to win in California, and look what that got us!

So this week we're picking the birthday boy, Jack Huczek to give himself a belated birthday gift and win in New York City.

Our prediction record's not great, so Huczek shouldn't be too chuffed about this. But we're saying he's learned something from his losses to Waselenchuk, as he was reportedly drive serving to him in California, which we think is the right strategy.

Regardless, Beltran's win last week has made the rest of the season more uncertain and therefore more interesting, and we're looking forward to it.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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