Saturday, September 21, 2019

Waselenchuk & Carson to meet for 80th time on the IRT

Kane Waselenchuk and Rocky Carson - the #1 and #2 players, respectively, on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) - will meet in the final of the 2019 IRT Valentine Open in Laurel, Maryland Saturday night. In the semi-finals, Waselenchuk defeated Sebastian Franco 15-11, 15-6, while Carson beat Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-4. The final will be the 80th time Waselenchuk and Carson have played on tour, with Waselenchuk holding the overwhelming advantage, 76-3.

Waselenchuk took big leads early in both games against Franco. He was up 7-1 in game one, and 8-1 in game two. Franco never stopped working, and he closed the gap in game one to 13-8, and then 14-11, before Waselenchuk won it.

But that comeback suggested Franco might have more to offer in game two. However, Waselenchuk’s big start again put Franco in such a hole that he wasn’t able to dig himself out. Franco did fight off two match points before Waselenchuk finished it off with a forehand cross court from the front court.

In the first semi, it looked like Murray was going to cause the upset, as he was ahead for most of the first game against Carson. While they were close early on, Murray went from 7-6 to 11-6. Carson called a timeout at 10-6, but that didn’t stop Murray from getting another point.

However, when Carson got the serve back at 11-6, he won the next four rallies, as Murray lost some of the accuracy in his shot making and Carson got into a groove. They exchanged four sideouts at 11-10 before Carson tied it, 11-11. Murray had a big forehand set up that he skipped, which made the score 13-11 for Carson. Carson hit a backhand splat to get to game point, 14-11, and then a backhand pinch to complete the comeback, 15-11. He won 9 points in a row to go from 11-6 down to win 15-11.

Carson scored the first three points of the second game before Murray got on the board. But Murray did tie it at 3-3. But that was a brief pause in Carson’s roll, as he scored the next 11 points to lead 14-3. Carson was using his typical Z serve to the left - Murray’s backhand side - and it was putting Murray in a defensive position. Late in game two, Murray tried to cut some of those serves off, which was effective and something he probably should have tried earlier.

Murray fought off three match points at 14-3, but was only able to score once before Carson was able to seal the deal with a winning forehand shot that made it 15-4.

It’s the second year Carson and Murray have played in Laurel, as they were the finalists last year, when Carson won the title.

Look for the final at 7 PM Eastern Saturday via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

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

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 5) Sebastian Franco, 15-11, 15-6
2) Rocky Carson d. 6) Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-4

Final - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 2) Rocky Carson - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….


Commish said...

Great post as usual. Thanks very much

Commish said...

Great post as usual. Thanks very much