Saturday, February 28, 2015

Waselenchuk wins IRT Florida Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk defeated Rocky Carson to win the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Florida Pro-Am in Sarasota, Florida, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12, and with the win could re-take the #1 IRT ranking from Carson. Despite being a straight game match, the match was hard fought, and afterwards Waselenchuk said “that was the best I’ve seen Rocky play me in awhile.”

Indeed, Carson served very well in the final, as he did in the semi-final against Daniel De La Rosa. Unofficially, we have Carson with more ace serves than Waselenchuk, which few would have predicted.

“Rocky was serving great today,” said Waselenchuk, adding “my [drive] serve wasn’t an advantage today.” That feeling may explain why Waselenchuk lob served so much during the match, typically high lobs to the right hand side - Carson’s forehand.

Carson’s serving was one of the reasons he had a lead in all three games of the final. Carson drove serve to the right side - Waselenchuk’s backhand - almost exclusively, and did so even on second serve. We didn’t see any of Carson’s patented z serves to the left side, which also few would have predicted.

Overall, it was a streaky match, as both players scored points in bunches. Waselenchuk got the head start in game one, taking a 4-0 advantage. But Carson scored eight of the next nine points to lead 8-5. However, Waselenchuk got the serve back with a second serve return, and scored seven unanswered points - during which Carson only served twice - and won game one 11-8.

In game two, Waselenchuk’s comeback was even bigger, as Carson led 7-0, only to have Waselenchuk win it 11–8. Several of those points came from Carson errors, but Waselenchuk forced some of those errors.

After they were close early in game three, and tied at 4-4, Carson took a 10-6 lead, and it looked like at least a fourth game was in the cards. However, Waselenchuk had other ideas, as he ran five points to get a match point opportunity at 11-10.

Carson denied that opportunity with a backhand cross court. He tied the game with a forehand rekill, and then got his second game point opportunity with a forehand pinch. But Waselenchuk denied that opportunity at the end of long rally with a soft forehand pinch shot.

Waselenchuk tied it 12-12, then they traded sideouts. Serving at 12-12 for a second time, Waselenchuk scored two straight points with drive serves to the right. He ended the match with a backhand pinch winner.

The victory is Waselenchuk’s sixth of the 2014-15 IRT season. Carson’s won three times, and De La Rosa once.

The next IRT event will be the 30th Annual Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois March 12-15.

2015 Florida Pro-Am
Sarasota, Florida

Final (with seeding)

2 Kane Waselenchuk d. 1 Rocky Carson, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12

Follow the bouncing ball….

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