Saturday, September 21, 2019

Franco into semis at 2019 IRT Valentine Open

Sebastian Franco upset the International Racquetball Tour’s (IRT’s) #4 player, Alejandro Landa, in the quarterfinals of the IRT Valentine Open in Laurel, Maryland Friday. Franco was dominant in the first game, and then narrowly won the second game to win the match in two straight games, 15-3, 15-14. He’ll face IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk in the semi-finals on Saturday, as Waselenchuk won his quarterfinal match against Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-8.

On the other side of the draw, IRT #2 Rocky Carson will take on 6th seed Samuel Murray in the semis. Both Carson and Murray needed three games to advance out of the quarterfinals. Carson dropped the first game against Alvaro Beltran, but came back to win the next two to defeat Beltran, 11-15, 15-10, 11-3. In the first quarter of the afternoon, Murray defeated Andes Acuña, 15-3, 3-15, 11-6.

In the quarterfinals, Acuña scored the first two points of the tie-breaker with Murray, but Murray responded with five unanswered points, including a great backhand pinch shot that made it 3-2 for Murray. Murray led from there, although Acuña got within two points at 7-5 and 8-6.

After Acuña got the point that made it 8-6 - with a forehand pinch shot - Murray took the serve back with a backhand return winner. From there, he was able to serve it out.

Murray made it 9-6 with service winner off a drive serve to the left side that Acuña could only get a racquet on. Acuña asked about a hinder, as his attempted return hit Murray, but the referee ruled the ball would not have made the front wall. Match point came when a strong Murray shot forced Acuña into skipping the ball. Murray converted that match point with a forehand pinch shot to win it.

Look for all the action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The semi-finals will be 11 AM and noon Saturday with the final at 7 PM Saturday. All times Eastern.

2019 IRT Valentine Open, September 19-21, 2019
Laurel, Maryland

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. Mario Mercado, 15-6, 15-8
5) Sebastian Franco d. 4) Alejandro Landa, 15-3, 15-14

6) Samuel Murray d. Andres Acuña, 15-3, 3-15, 11-6
2) Rocky Carson d. Alvaro Beltran, 11-15, 15-10, 11-3

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 5) Sebastian Franco - Noon
2) Rocky Carson v. 6) Samuel Murray - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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