Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gutierrez & Cardona to meet in WRT Pleasanton Open final

Top seed Polo Gutierrez will play 2nd seed Alejandro Cardona Sunday in the final of the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) Pleasanton Open in Pleasanton, California, as they won their respective semi-final matches Saturday night. But it was Gutierrez who had the tougher time of it, as he needed a tie-breaker to overcome 4th seed David Horn, 14-15, 15-14, 11-6, while Cardona defeated 3rd seed Jake Bredenbeck 15-6, 15-7.

Cardona controlled his semi, which was a battle of two power players. Bredenbeck tried to overpower Cardona, but simply couldn’t do it Saturday.

Gutierrez versus Horn was more a battle of control versus power, although Gutierrez drove serve for most of the match, when he typically hits half lob serves. Gutierrez started out that way in game one, but found himself down 7-2 to Horn, and made the switch to drive serves.

He got back in game one, tying the game at 9-9. From there they were back and forth, and neither player led by more than one with Horn eventually winning 15-14.

Curiously, some unpleasant words were exchanged after a rally when Horn led 13-12. It was unclear what brought that on or which of the players was the one initially upset. But the referee did step in and cooler heads prevailed.

Game two was close all the way. From 8-8 on they were never separated by more than two points. Horn got to 14 first, leading 14-13. He had two chances to end the match, but failed to convert them, as Gutierrez made winning shots on both rallies.

The match points saved, Gutierrez was able to score the last two points necessary to force a third game.

In the third game, they scored in bunches early. Gutierrez went up 4-0. Horn responded to lead 5-4. Gutierrez regained the lead at 7-5. From there, Gutierrez held Horn to one point while he scored the remaining four to take the match and advance to the final.

Horn hit many good shots in the match, but too many of his shots came into the middle, which gave Gutierrez opportunities to put the ball away. Doing that against an accurate player like Gutierrez is eventually going to lead to a loss.

A case in point was the last rally of the match. Gutierrez drove serve to the left. Horn’s return came into the middle and Gutierrez was able to pinch the ball into the front right corner. Horn appealed for a hinder on the play, which was denied, and that seemed to be correct call. The problem with the rally for Horn wasn’t not getting a hinder. It was that his return was loose, into the middle, where Gutierrez took advantage of it.

The final is Sunday at noon PST, and you can watch it live via the WRT website.

2015 WRT Pleasanton Open
Pleasanton, California


1) Polo Gutierrez d. 4) David Horn, 14-15, 15-14, 11-6
2) Alejandro Cardona d. 3) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-6, 15-7


1) Polo Gutierrez v. 2) Alejandro Cardona

Doubles - Semi-finals

1) Anthony Herrera & David Horn d. 5) Kenny Green Jr. & Chase Robison, 15-5, 15-3
2) Alexi David Cocco Haynes & Mario Mercado d. 3) Jose Daniel Alvarez & Jose Daniel Ugalde, 15-7, 15-14

Doubles - Final

1) Anthony Herrera & David Horn v. 2) Alexi David Cocco Haynes & Mario Mercado

Follow the bouncing ball….

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