Saturday, December 1, 2018

Waselenchuk defeats Beltran to win 2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions

Kane Waselenchuk defeated Alvaro Beltran, 15-6, 15-12, to win the 2018 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon on Saturday for his 2nd win of the 2018-19 IRT season. There have only been three events so far this season, and Waselenchuk’s won two of them; he didn’t play in the first event.

Waselenchuk reached the final with a comfortable win over defending Pelham Memorial champion Charles Pratt in the semi-finals, 15-3, 15-5, while Beltran needed a tie-breaker to defeat IRT #2 Rocky Carson, 7-15, 15-10, 11-5, in the other semi.

Waselenchuk jumped out to a 5-0 lead in game one of the final, and never let Beltran get within three in that game, as he went on to win 15-6. He began the game with a drive serve to the left side for an ace, and ended it with a soft forehand shot, which are both characteristic plays for Waselenchuk.

Game two was a long battle. After 33 rallies, they were tied at 4-4. In contrast, game one had 39 rallies total. They then spent 15 rallies at 4-4 before Beltran skipped a backhand serve return of a lob Z to the left side to make it 5-4 in favor of Waselenchuk.

Waselenchuk ran the lead up to four at 10-6, so Beltran called a timeout. It looked like Waselenchuk might run away with the game, and he did extend the lead to 13-6, getting his 13th point with a drive serve ace to the right side.

But Beltran kept working, and got a couple points back, which caused Waselenchuk to call a timeout when he got the serve back at 13-8. However, coming out of the timeout, Waselenchuk skipped a forehand shot to give the serve back to Beltran.

Beltran hit a drive serve ace of his own to the left side, so to the lefthanded Waselenchuk’s forehand, and got another point when Waselenchuk skipped a forehand return of a lob nick serve to the left side, which made the score 13-10.

After an exchange of sideouts, Waselenchuk made it 14-10 with a forehand winner down the right side. But Beltran denied Waselenchuk’s first match point with a great forehand pinch return winner off a lob Z serve to the right side. That led to two more points, as good serves by Beltran forced serve return errors by Waselenchuk.

But at 14-12, Beltran hit a loose drive serve to the left that came far off the back wall to set up Waselenchuk, who drove the ball down the left side for an easy winner. Waselenchuk won the match on his second match point, as he ended a rally, where Beltran dove twice to keep the rally going, with a soft forehand in the front right court.

Game two took 63 min and there were 94 rallies, which might make it one of the longest games in IRT history.

If you missed the final, or any of the other action from Portland, go to the IRT YouTube channel. The IRT will next be in action on the first weekend of 2019, when they’ll play the LA Open in Canoga Park, California, January 3-6, 2019.

2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions
November 29-December 1 - Portland, Oregon

Final - Saturday

8) Kane Waselenchuk d. 6) Alvaro Beltran, 15-6, 15-12

Semi-finals - Saturday

8) Kane Waselenchuk d. Charles Pratt, 15-3, 15-5
6) Alvaro Beltran d. 2) Rocky Carson, 7-15, 15-10, 11-5

Follow the bouncing ball….

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