Friday, October 4, 2019

Rematch in IRT Doubles Final at 2019 UnitedHealthcare US Open

For the 3rd year running, Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa will play Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk in the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Doubles division at the UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis. Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa are the defending champions, but Croft and Waselenchuk have won the IRT Doubles title at the US Open three of the five years its been contested, including two years ago against Beltran and De La Rosa.

In the semi-finals, Beltan and De La Rosa beat Kadim Carrasco and Carlos Keller, 15-12, 15-9, while Croft and Waselenchuk defeated Alejandro Landa and Samuel Murray, 15-7, 15-7.

For a large part of game one, it looked like Carrasco and Keller were going to win against Beltran and De La Rosa, as they have a lead at 8-4, and 11-8. But the defending champions caught up at 11-11, and then took the lead, 13-11, on back to back backhand pinches by De La Rosa.

Carrasco got his side the serve back with a forehand cross court shot, and Keller scored a point with a backhand winner. But Keller forced to play the ball in the back right corner and skipped it, giving the serve back to Beltran and De La Rosa.

Beltran put his side on game point with a forehand wide angle pass, but they couldn't convert their first three game points. The third was lost when De La Rosa put a ball into the floor attempting a forehand reverse pinch: an unforced error if there ever was one.

No damage came of that mistake, however, as Beltran hit two winners to deny Carrasco and Keller any points. On their 4th game point, De La Rosa hit a pinch shot from deep in the court to win it.

Beltran and De La Rosa ran out to a big lead to start game two, going up 10-3. Carrasco and Keller did close within four twice at 10-6 and 13-9, but they could get no closer. Nonetheless, it took six match points before Beltran and De La Rosa were able to close it out. The winner came when Keller was moving forward, and got jammed, so he skipped his shot.

Although the scores weren't that close, the Croft / Waselenchuk versus Landa / Murray match was close with the three time champs only pulling away late in each game. Landa and Murray actually led, 6-4, in the middle of game one, and looked like that might be able to pull off an upset.

But Croft and Waselenchuk tied the game at 6-6, and then pushed on to score 9 of the next 10 points to win game one, 15-7. The last four points came on consecutive rallies. After a forehand winner by Waselenchuk and then a forehand pinch winner by Croft, Croft hit a drive jam serve to the left side that came around to Landa on the right side, and he skipped a backhand return shot.

Croft and Waselenchuk went out to a 5-0 lead in game two, and it looked like they would just run away with it. However, Landa and Murray didn't quit, and they worked their way back into the game, and got within one trailing 7-6.

Unfortunately for them, Landa and Murray only got one more point in the match, as Croft and Waselenchuk went on to win the game 15-7 and the match in two straight games. But it wasn't a quick ending, as the last 8 points took 27 rallies to get. Landa and Murray served 9 times but only got one point.

Waselenchuk got his side their 13th and 14th points in his typical style: a soft backhand pinch shot for 13 and then 14 was a forehand kill shot as he was falling backwards that most players couldn't have made good on let alone flat rolled. But Waselenchuk isn't most players.

Match point came as Croft hit a high lob that nicked off the right side wall, and Landa couldn't successfully return it as it come close by the back wall.

Check out the action from Minneapolis via the IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

2019 UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 2-6, 2019

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. Kadim Carrasco & Carlos Keller, 15-12, 15-9
2) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 3) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray, 15-7, 15-7

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 2) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - 5:00 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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