Sunday, January 20, 2019

Waselenchuk wins 41st Lewis Drug IRT Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk beat Daniel De La Rosa convincingly, 15-4, 15-2, to win the 41st Lewis Drug International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Sunday. Waselenchuk’s win is his 4th tournament victory in as many events this season, and it could propel him back up to the #1 spot on the IRT. Waselenchuk missed last year’s Lewis Drug event due to injury.

The match started out close, with several side outs, and a tie at 3-3 in game one. But Waselenchuk then ran four points, including a drive serve ace to the left side - De La Rosa’s backhand - to take a 7-3 lead. He extended that to 10-4, and then De La Rosa took a timeout.

De La Rosa got a sideout when play resumed after Waselenchuk skipped a forehand shot, but Waselenchuk made no mistake on the next rally, hitting a forehand winner to prevent De La Rosa scoring. Waselenchuk scored four more points on consecutive rallies, including another drive serve ace - to the right side that time, and put himself on game point at 14-4.

De La Rosa seemed like he was biding his time for game two at that point, yet he prevented Waselenchuk converting two game points. However, he didn’t score any himself, and Waselenchuk was successful on his 3rd game point with a backhand winner that made it 15-4.

When De La Rosa got a drive serve ace of his own early in game two - making the score 1-2 - it looked like game on. But that proved not to be the case, as Waselenchuk worked the score up to 6-1, although De La Rosa got sideouts after each of Waselenchuk's points. He just couldn’t score his own points.

De La Rosa did get one to make it 6-2, but a Waselenchuk forehand put an end to that. Four rallies later and the score was 10-2. Then there was a series of sideouts that included a broken ball that cancelled what would have been a point for De La Rosa.

Waselenchuk got the serve back right after the broken ball rally, and ended the match with points on the next four rallies. The winner came appropriately on a drive serve ace to the left side that De La Rosa didn’t move for.

The match commentators speculated that De La Rosa’s lack of enthusiasm may have been due to an injury of some sort, but he’s a mercurial player, so this wasn’t the first time De La Rosa has shown disinterest during a match. Playing Waselenchuk is a difficult match up for De La Rosa, not just because Waselenchuk is a great player, but because De La Rosa is a shooter, who will have to try to outshoot a shooter (in Waselenchuk), and outshoot a shooter who also hits with a lot of power. That’s always going to be a difficult task.

The IRT will be off for almost two months, as the next Tier 1 event is the 34th Annual Shamrock Shootout in Chicago, Illinois, March 14-17. If you missed any of the action from Sioux Falls, check out IRT media outlets: The IRT Network, the IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

41st Lewis Drug IRT Pro-Am, January 17-20 2019
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Final - Sunday

3) Kane Waselenchuk d. 4) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-4, 15-2

Follow the bouncing ball….

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