Friday, December 6, 2019

Bredenbeck into semi-finals for only 2nd time at 2019 IRT John Pelham Memorial event

Jake Bredenbeck's good run of play at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2019 John Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon continued Friday night, as he defeated IRT #2 Rocky Carson in the quarterfinals. Bredenbeck dominated the first game, winning 15-6, helped by 6 ace drive serves. Then Carson retired before game two began.

Carson’s retirement was shocking, as it’s only the 2nd time he’s forfeited a match on tour. The last one was in 1998! Bredenbeck was 7 when that happened.

Bredenbeck’s win puts him into the semi-finals for just the 2nd time of his career, and it’s been awhile since his last semi. In March 2016, he defeated Jansen Allen in the quarterfinals of the Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, where he then lost to Daniel De La Rosa in the semis. Three and a half years later and he's in the semis again.

Alejandro Landa will play Bredenbeck in the semi-finals on Saturday, as Landa defeated De La Rosa in the quarterfinals Friday, 15-10, 15-12. De La Rosa started the match well, and was up 6-2 in game one, when he took a timeout, and seemed to be favouring his right knee.

When play resumed, De La Rosa skipped a backhand shot - an unforced error that gave the serve back to Landa, who proceeded to go on a run of 10 unanswered points to lead 12-6. De La Rosa managed to get a few points back to make it 12-10. He did so by hitting some nice soft shots, including a forehand serve return of a drive Z serve that he just managed to lift away from the back wall and get to the front wall.

But Landa called a timeout at that point, and got a sideout on the ensuing rally with a forehand cross court shot. He closed out game one by winning the next three rallies. Landa got his 13th point with a drive serve ace to the right side that cracked off the side wall. Point 14 resulted from De La Rosa skipping a forehand return of a lob to the right side. Landa won the game with a forehand shot over to the right side.

Landa led all the way in game two, leading 3-0 and 11-4. But De La Rosa came back to get within one point at 11-10. Progress was slow from there, as 17 rallies were needed to get the last 5 points. De La Rosa fought off three match points before Landa was able to end it with a forehand wide angle pass.

Landa said he “felt good serving,” and he did it well, hitting six aces in the match. He drove serve, because “I don’t want to get into his game.”

Asked about playing Bredenbeck, Landa is “expecting a tough one.”

IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk had a tough one with 9th seed Rodrigo Montoya, but won in two games, 15-9, 15-11. It looked like Waselenchuk would run away with the match - as he often does - when he led 7-2 in game one. But Montoya dug in, and got within one at 7-6 and then again at 10-9.

Waselenchuk got a sideout at 10-9, and scored four points on as many rallies to reach game point at 14-9. A great forehand pinch shot by Montoya denied Waselenchuk the game, but an equally great backhand pinch shot return from Waselenchuk off a lob Z serve to the right side prevented Montoya from scoring.

Waselenchuk ended game one on his second game point with a forehand winner from right to left.

They were close early in game two with the score tied at 3-3. But Waselenchuk then ran four points to make it 7-3, and he would never trail again. Montoya did make it close at 7-5 and 9-6. But Waselenchuk got to match point at 14-7.

However, Montoya denied Waselenchuk on his first two match points, and went from 14-7 down to 14-11, again making the game close. But the left-handed Waselenchuk got the serve back then with a forehand splat return of a Z serve to the left side.

Waselenchuk won the match on a classic three shot rally: a strong drive serve to the right side that forced Montoya to hit a ceiling ball, and then Waselenchuk killed it down the left side.

If people didn’t know how strong a player Montoya is, they should now. Also, if Waselenchuk had to play four opponents this strong in every tournament, then he might not have won as many titles has he has. Maybe a couple fewer.

Waselenchuk will play IRT #4 Andree Parrilla in the semi-finals, as Parrilla defeated Thomas Carter in two straight games, 15-4, 15-11. But he had to come back from a 8-2 deficit in game two to win.

The semi-finals will be at 11 AM and noon Saturday, and you can watch them live - or at your leisure - via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The final will be 7 PM Saturday. All times Pacific.

2019 IRT John Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions, December 5-8, 2019
Portland, Oregon

Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 9) Rodrigo Montoya, 15-9, 15-11
4) Andree Parrilla d. 12) Thomas Carter, 15-4, 15-11

3) Alejandro Landa d. 6) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-10, 15-12
10) Jake Bredenbeck d. 2) Rocky Carson, 15-6, forfeit

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 4) Andree Parrilla - Noon
3) Alejandro Landa v. 10) Jake Bredenbeck - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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