Sunday, December 8, 2019

Waselenchuk wins 2019 IRT John Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions

Kane Waselenchuk won the 2019 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) John Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon Saturday by defeating Alejandro Landa in the final, 15-7, 15-8. The win maintains Waselenchuk’s undefeated season, and he’ll continue to be the #1 player on the IRT. Despite the loss, Landa may move up from #3 to #2 ahead of Rocky Carson, who lost in the quarterfinals in Portland.

Although Waselenchuk took the early lead in game one at 3-1, Landa caught him and then went in the lead himself at 5-3. He got the 5th point with a forehand splat shot, which was perhaps his most consistent shot of the match.

But Waselenchuk took the serve right back by hitting a forehand pinch winner off a lob serve to the left side; Waselenchuk’s lefthanded. He leveled the game at 5-5 with two winning drive serves to the left - Landa’s backhand. That started a run of ten unanswered points putting Waselenchuk up 13-5.

Landa got a couple of points back, including a drive serve ace to the right side that made it 13-7. But this just delayed the end, which came when Waselenchuk hit a drive serve to the left side that Landa returned with a backhand shot, and then Waselenchuk hit a forehand pinch winner. Classic three shot rally.

In game two, they were again close early with ties at 2-2 and 5-5. Landa was still within one at 8-7, when Waselenchuk called a timeout as he was coming up to serve. He got three points on consecutive rallies, when play resumed, which resulted in Landa calling a timeout.

The game did stall a bit at that point, as six rallies when by with only two points being scored - one by each player making the score 12-8. Waselenchuk ended it with three straight points on as many rallies: two forehand winners and then on match point a skip by Landa who was rushing up to the front of the court to get to the ball, which resulted in a skipped shot.

Waselenchuk won for the 4th time this season, and for the 2nd time beat Landa in the final. Waselenchuk is undefeated this season. Over the six events so far this IRT season, Waselenchuk has been a finalist four times with a 4-0 record, Landa has a 1-2 record in finals, as does Rocky Carson. Conrrado Moscoso and Andree Parrilla have also been in a final this season, but neither won.

The IRT will be on break now until after the new year. The next Tier 1 event will be the Longhorn Open in Austin, Texas, January 17-19, which will be the first of three events on back to back to back weekends. The 42nd Lewis Drug Pro/Am will be January 23-26 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the long standing Lou Bradley Memorial will be a Tier 1 event for the first time this season taking place January 30 to February 2 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. If you missed any of the action from Portland, you can watch it at your leisure via the IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

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

Final - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 3) Alejandro Landa, 15-7, 15-8

Follow the bouncing ball….

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