Saturday, October 26, 2019

Waselenchuk & Landa into final at 2019 IRT Arizona Pro-Am

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), will have a chance to win another title Sunday, and do so in a place he’s never won, as Waselenchuk advanced to the final of the Arizona IRT Pro-Am in Tempe, Arizona. In the semi-finals, Waselenchuk defeated 5th seed Conrrado Moscoso, 15-10, 15-2, in what was a rematch of the 2019 UnitedHealthcare US Open from earlier this month.

Waselenchuk’s opponent Sunday will be 3rd seed Alejandro Landa, who was a straight game winner over 10th seed Eduardo Portillo, 15-5, 15-9.

Waselenchuk and Moscoso were close in game one, which took a long time to play. Waselenchuk led early, 3-0 and 6-2. Moscoso came back from 7-3 to tie it at 7-7. He then went ahead 10-7. Few players get seven points against Waselenchuk let alone seven unanswered points.

But then Waselenchuk forced Moscoso into skipping a shot, and with the serve back, he hit three forehand winners to tie it 10-10. They exchanged sideouts at that point, and before Moscoso served a second time at 10s, he called a timeout.

Often the player calling a timeout wins the ensuing rally, but that wasn’t the case here, as a Waselenchuk forehand pinch shot produced a sideout. He then ran five points on consecutive rallies to win game one, 15-10.

The win seemed like it came against the run of play, as Moscoso looked to have the momentum in the middle of the game. But he didn’t perform well at the end, and he gifted Waselenchuk the last two points by skipping backhand serve returns of Waselenchuk 2nd serve lobs.

Game one won, Waselenchuk seemed to take it up a notch in game two, as he jumped out to a 5-0 lead, helped by two drive serve aces to the right side - Moscoso’s forehand. Moscoso did get on the board at the point with a drive serve ace of his own - though to the left side.

But then Waselenchuk went on a roll with eight unanswered points to make it 13-1. Moscoso did take a timeout at 8-1, but that didn’t help him, as Waselenchuk hit another ace coming out of the timeout. At that point the writing was on the wall. Moscoso did manage to get another point before the end, but it was a convincing win by the IRT #1, 15-2.

Landa was also impressive in game one against Portillo, winning 15-5. However, Portillo started strong in game two, as he went out to leads of 6-2 and 9-5. But Landa totally flipped the game story at that point, as he scored ten unanswered points to win the game, 15-9, and match, 2-0.

Landa served well against Portillo, and got the match winning point with a great drive serve to the left side that Portillo got a racquet on but that was all. Landa will need to serve like that in the final.

Waselenchuk and Landa faced off three weeks ago in the semi-finals of the US Open, and Waselenchuk was a comprehensive winner, 15-1, 15-2, so Landa will have his work cut out for him on Sunday.

Look for Sunday’s final from Arizona at the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The final will be noon Sunday Mountain Standard Time.

2019 Arizona IRT Pro-Am, October 24-27, 2019
Tempe, Arizona

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 5) Conrrado Moscoso, 15-10, 15-2
3) Alejandro Landa d. 10) Eduardo Portillo, 15-5, 15-9

Final- Sunday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 3) Alejandro Landa - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

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