Saturday, April 27, 2013

IRT - Waselenchuk wins the Tournament of Champions in Portland

Kane Waselenchuk put in a dominating performance to win the final of the 2013 Ektelon Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon, adding his name to other great International Racquetball Tour (IRT) players that have won in Portland, including Cliff Swain and Sudsy Monchik.

Waselenchuk defeated Ben Croft in the final, 11-2, 11-3, 11-7, by drive serving throughout the match, racking up close to double digit aces against one of the best serve returners in the game.

Croft actually lead in game one, as he served first and Waselenchuk skipped the return. However, Waselenchuk then got the serve back and scored ten straight points to lead 10-1. They exchanged points before the game was over at 11-2.

Waselenchuk served first in game two and scored six points, including three aces, before Croft served. Croft got a side out and then a point off a drive serve to the right side, which was the serve Croft used most in the match, as Waselenchuk skipped the return.

But Waselenchuk got the serve back, and ran the score up to 9-1 before Croft was able to get the serve back. Croft did get two points before Waselenchuk ended game two at 11-3.

There were only 20 rallies in each of the first two games.

In game three, Croft did not just roll over. That despite Waselenchuk again getting the early lead at 5-1. Croft battled back to make it 6-3. Waselenchuk extended the lead again to 9-4, when Croft put together a run of points to make it 9-7 and gave a hint that the match might go into a fourth game.

But at that point there was a long rally that ended with the players trying to make shots up front, and the final shot was a Croft skip that gave Waselenchuk back the serve.

Waselenchuk drove serve to the right, and Croft skipped the return to make it 10-7. After a hinder rally, Waselenchuk hit a drive z serve to the left, and finished the rally with a backhand cross court to end the match.

It's over four years since someone has hit a match winning point against Waselenchuk. He's lost some matches due to injury, but not because someone won three games against him.

Waselenchuk will try to continue his winning streak at the next IRT event, which is the Stockton Pro/Am beginning this Thursday May 2 in Stockton, California.

2013 Ektelon Tournament of Champions, Portland, Oregon


Kane Waselenchuk d. Ben Croft, 11-2, 11-3, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball....

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