Saturday, January 5, 2019

De La Rosa & Waselenchuk to face off in final of 2019 IRT California Open

Daniel De La Rosa, the #3 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), upset #2 Rocky Carson in three games in the semi-finals of the California Open in Canoga Park, California, winning 15-14, 6-15, 11-10. In the final, De La Rosa will play #4 Kane Waselenchuk, who beat IRT #1 Alejandro Landa, 15-0, 15-9, in other semi.

De La Rosa came back from a large deficit to take game one, and the effort led to him not having much for game two, which Carson took advantage of to force a tie-breaker. In the breaker, De La Rosa led early at 6-3, but Carson came back, tied it at 7-7, and then went ahead 9-7.

Momentum shifted again, as De La Rosa tied the game at 9-9 with a drive serve to the right side that cracked out for an ace. He followed that up with a forehand winner on the next rally to reach match point at 10-9. But Carson fought off that point to get the serve back.

They exchanged sideouts with winning serve returns. Then Carson served a drive jam to the left side that forced De La Rosa to get out of the way, and then dive to keep in play. His dive was successful, but after getting to his feet for the next shot, De La Rosa slipped, so he was unable to return Carson’s forehand shot to the right side.

That made the score 10-10 with Carson serving for the match for the first time. De La Rosa fought off that point with a winning forehand shot. Carson thought there was a hinder, but the referee didn’t call one, which seemed like the correct call.

With his third match point, De La Rosa drove serve to the left, but it was short. On second serve, he hit a lob to the right side, and Carson took it early hitting a forehand overhead cross court shot. De La Rosa drove a backhand shot to the front wall, which forced Carson to hit a ceiling ball. That provided De La Rosa with a back wall set up, and he made no mistake driving a forehand shot to the right side where it cracked out along the wall.

In the other semi-final, if you blinked, you might have missed the first game, as Waselenchuk blanked Landa, 15-0. But Landa played quite respectably in the second game, and looked like he might be capable of forcing a tie-breaker. But Waselenchuk pulled away in the middle of the game and when he got to 12-8, it just seemed like it was a matter of time before the end.

De La Rosa could be a double winner Sunday, as he’s in the doubles final also with partner Alvaro Beltran. They defeated Sebastian Franco and Andree Parrilla, 15-10, 15-12, in a very good match. Midway through the second game, it looked like it might go breaker, as Franco and Parrilla led 10-8, but the veterans came through in the end.

The rally of the match happened early in game two, when the ball was in the front court. De La Rosa dove to the right to get it, and hit a pinch to the right corner. Franco dove over De La Rosa to re-pinch the ball to the left corner. The ball came to De La Rosa, who tried to re-dive despite still being on the ground, but he skipped the shot. Not sure we’ve ever seen one player dive over another player to make a shot.

De La Rosa and Beltran will play Landa and Samuel Murray in the final on Sunday, as Landa and Murray beat Jansen Allen and Felipe Camacho, 15-10, 15-7, in the other semi-final.

The final will be Sunday at noon, and it will be streamed live via one of the IRT media outlets: the IRT Network, the IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The doubles final will follow the singles final on Sunday. All times Pacific.

2019 IRT California Open
January 3-6 - Canoga Park, California

Semi-finals - Saturday

4) Kane Waselenchuk d. 1) Alejandro Landa, 15-0, 15-9
3) Daniel De La Rosa d. 2) Rocky Carson, 15-14, 6-15, 11-10

Final - Sunday

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. 4) Kane Waselenchuk - Noon

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 5) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla, 15-10, 15-12
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray d. 3) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho, 15-10, 15-7

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray - 1 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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