Friday, January 4, 2019

Top 4 seeds make the semi-finals at 2019 IRT California Open

Alejandro Landa, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), put a decisive end to Eduardo Portillo’s run through the draw at the California Open in Canoga Park, California, winning their quarterfinal match 15-3, 15-5. Landa will face IRT #4 Kane Waselenchuk in the semi-finals on Saturday, as Waselenchuk was equally decisive in his win over Andree Parrilla, 15-3, 15-5.

Third seed Daniel De La Rosa needed three games to get past Jose Diaz, 15-4, 6-15, 11-5. Both players were diving during the match, and De La Rosa needed to take injury time to deal with a wound to his right knee. He took one such timeout in game two, and then twice in the breaker. De La Rosa was clearly annoyed by injury, as it wasn’t hampering him at all, but still needed to be dealt with.

De La Rosa got the early lead in game three at 5-1, and he extended that lead to 9-2. Diaz kept fighting, and got to within four at 9-5. But De La Rosa hit a backhand return winner off a drive Z to the left. He followed that up with a great forehand splat for his first match point opportunity at 10-5.

The next rally was stopped by the referee seemingly because of a court hinder, although there were reportedly no court hinders, so it’s not clear why the referee stopped the rally. After play resumed, Diaz hit a backhand return winner off a De La Rosa backhand lob to the left side.

However, Diaz couldn’t take advantage, as De La Rosa hit a backhand ceiling ball into the back left corner that Diaz couldn’t return. De La Rosa won the match with his 2nd match point, when Diaz skipped a forehand shot: an unforced error that put a bad end on a good match.

For the 49th time

The last quarterfinal was the 49th match on tour between IRT #2 Rocky Carson and 7th seed Alvaro Beltran. Carson held a 26-22 advantage over Beltran in their 48 previous matches, and he made it 27-22 after coming back to win their quarterfinal, 8-15, 15-11, 11-8.

In the breaker, Beltran led most of the way. He was up 5-1, and then 8-5. But Carson held him at 8, while scoring six unanswered points to come back to win the breaker and advance to the semi-finals, when he’ll play De La Rosa.

Beltran fought off two match points with winning backhand serve returns, but on Carson’s third match point, he skipped a backhand shot that was the fourth shot of the rally to give the match to Carson.

It was the second time Beltran and Carson have played under the best of three games scoring system. They played a tie-breaker in the the first match also. Prior to today, 33% of their matches had gone tie-breaker with only 40% being over in three straight games. Carson has the edge in three game matches under the best of 5 games format: 8-5, but they are even in matches that go breaker, as both have won 8 under the best of 5 format and now one each under the best of 3 format.

The semi-finals are set for 11 AM and noon on Saturday, and they will be streamed live via one of the IRT media outlets: the IRT Network, the IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The final will be Sunday at noon. The doubles semis will be 2 and 3 PM on Saturday and the final will be 1 PM Sunday. All times Pacific.

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

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alejandro Landa d. Eduardo Portillo, 15-3, 15-5
4) Kane Waselenchuk d. 5) Andree Parrilla, 15-3, 15-5

3) Daniel De La Rosa d. Jose Diaz, 15-4, 6-15, 11-5
2) Rocky Carson d. 7) Alvaro Beltran, 8-15, 15-11, 11-8

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alejandro Landa v. 4) Kane Waselenchuk - Noon
2) Rocky Carson v. 3) Daniel De La Rosa - 11 AM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 5) Sebastian Franco & Andree Parrilla - 3 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray v. 3) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho - 2 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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