Saturday, December 7, 2019

Waselenchuk & Landa into final of 2019 IRT John Pelham Memorial

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), defeated IRT #4 Andree Parrilla, 15-9, 15-4, in the semi-finals of the 2019 IRT John Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon Saturday. He’ll play IRT #3 Alejandro Landa in the final Saturday night, as Landa beat Jake Bredenbeck, 15-5, 15-7, in the other semi-final.

After jumping out to a 5-0 lead in game one against Parrilla, Waselenchuk then saw his opponent score seven points on consecutive rallies and then add another to lead 8-5. Have there been any times that Waselenchuk has surrendered 8 points unanswered? He rarely surrenders 8 points in a game, sometimes not even in a match.

Waselenchuk did pull even at 8-8, but Parrilla got to 9 first with a drive serve ace to the right side - Waselenchuk’s backhand. However, that was Parrilla’s last point of the game, as Waselenchuk put up 7 unanswered points to win it, 15-9. The winner coming off a drive serve to the left that stuck in the back corner, so Parrilla could only get his racquet on it, but not return it successfully.

Game two had a similar pattern, as Waselenchuk went up 5-0, but Parrilla only got within three at 6-3 and 7-4, rather than taking a lead. He got the last five points on consecutive rallies with the match winner coming off a great backhand splat shot that Parrilla couldn’t reach.

Waselenchuk was complimentary of how Parrilla’s game has developed, and said “I like a battle,” which is what he had today. Asked about playing Landa in the final, Waselenchuk said Landa “was solid” against Bredenbeck, and has “been on a nice run” both in the tournament and the season.

The other semi-final was a high tempo match with little time taken between points by either Landa or Bredenbeck. After the match, Landa said “I know Jake hits the ball hard, so I sometimes play with the speed, the shots and when I have to do my thing I just do it.” Varying that pace of play during the rallies kept Bredenbeck off balance, and when Landa needed to put a ball away, he did so.

Landa had big leads early in both games. He was up 8-1 in game one, and Bredenbeck never got closer than five points, as Landa went on to win 15-5. In game two, Landa led 5-0 and 10-4. He reached match point with a drive serve that stuck in the back left corner for an ace. Landa won it on his first match point when Bredenbeck skipped a desperation backwards shot, as a Landa cross court ball jumped out of the back right corner.

Afterwards Landa was told he might move up to #2 in the IRT rankings, which he’d be “happy with.” He’s now #3 behind #2 Rocky Carson, but Carson lost in the quarterfinals, so with a final appearance - and possibly a win - Landa will get substantially more points than Carson from this event. Carson is only 117.48 points ahead of Landa currently.

The final will be at 7 PM Pacific time Saturday night, and you can watch it live - or at your leisure - via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

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

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 4) Andree Parrilla, 15-9, 15-4
3) Alejandro Landa d. 10) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-5, 15-7

Final - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 3) Alejandro Landa - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: