Saturday, December 1, 2018

Waselenchuk & Pratt to face off in semi-finals at 2018 IRT Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions

Kane Waselenchuk took another step towards reclaiming the #1 position on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Friday at the 2018 Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon, as he defeated current #1 Alejandro Landa, 15-9, 15-8, in the quarterfinals. Waselenchuk will play defending Pelham Memorial champion Charles Pratt in the semi-finals on Saturday after Pratt beat David Horn in two close games, 15-10, 15-14.

Waselenchuk and Landa were close early in game one of their match, and tied at 4-4. But Waselenchuk won the next five points to lead 9-4. Landa called a timeout, and took the serve back and scored two points to make it 9-6. But that was as close as he got, as Waselenchuk went on to win, 15-10.

Game two had a similar story. A tie at 3-3, and then a 8-3 lead for Waselenchuk. This time Landa came back to within one at 9-8. But when Waselenchuk took the serve back at that point he kept Landa out of the service box while scoring the last six points of the match, winning game two 15-8.

In a battle of the Team USA men’s singles players from this past summer’s International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships, Horn and Pratt went toe to toe. But except for a 2-0 lead for Horn in game one, Pratt never trailed. After winning the first game, 15-10, he took a big lead in game two at 8-1.

Horn is a battler, though, and he tied the score at 8-8, and then again at 14-14, when it looked like he was going to force a tie-breaker after fighting off two match points. But Pratt got the serve back with a forehand cross court winner. Then on match point #3, Pratt hit a drive jam serve to the left side that came off the back wall and around to the right side that went for an ace, as Horn could not catch up to it.

The other semi-final will be between familiar foes. IRT #2 Rocky Carson will play #8 Alvaro Beltran for the 48th time on tour. Carson holds a 26-21 advantage over their long careers, although this will be their first showdown in 2018. They met twice in 2017, and split those matches: Carson won in Florida in April, and Beltran in Sioux Falls, SD in January.

In the quarterfinals, Carson beat 7th seed Samuel Murray, 15-4, 15-10, while Beltran upset fellow Mexican Daniel De La Rosa, the IRT’s #3 player, 15-8, 15-8.

The semi-finals will be at 11 AM and noon Saturday, and will be streamed live on the IRT Network and the IRT YouTube channel. The final will be Saturday night at 7:00 PM. All times Pacific.

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

Quarterfinals - Friday

8) Kane Waselenchuk d. 1) Alejandro Landa, 15-9, 15-8
Charles Pratt d. David Horn, 15-10, 15-14

6) Alvaro Beltran d. 3) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-8, 15-8
2) Rocky Carson d. 7) Samuel Murray, 15-4, 15-10

Semi-finals - Saturday

8) Kane Waselenchuk v. Charles Pratt - Noon
2) Rocky Carson v. 6) Alvaro Beltran - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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