Monday, January 27, 2020

De La Rosa wins twice at 2020 IRT Lewis Drug Pro-Am

Daniel De La Rosa was a double winner Sunday at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 42nd Lewis Drug Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as he won both the singles title and the doubles title with partner Alvaro Beltran. In singles, De La Rosa defeated Eduardo Portillo, who was playing in his 1st IRT final, 15-14, 15-9. Then in doubles, De La Rosa and Beltran won a tie-breaker against Rodrigo Montoya and Javier Mar, 15-14, 10-15, 11-2.

De La Rosa is now a two time winner of the Lewis Drug Pro-Am, and has played in four consecutive finals in Sioux Falls. He won the title first in 2017, when he defeated Beltran in the final, and then was runner up the last two years before taking the title again today.

In game one of the singles final, it looked like it might go Portillo’s way, as he went ahead early, and built up a 9-3 lead. But De La Rosa seemed unfazed, and slowly worked his way back into the game.

He closed it to 10-7, yet Portillo again extended the lead to 13-8. De La Rosa called a timeout at that point after getting a side out, and then put together a run of five unanswered points to tie the game at 13-13.

De La Rosa then made what could have been a crucial error, as he skipped an easy forehand shot going from left to right, which gave the serve back to Portillo. A Portillo backhand winner put him on game point at 14-13.

On the next rally, Portillo was called for a hinder, but De La Rosa appealed for a penalty hinder, and the line judges overruled the referee’s call and awarded the penalty hinder. A flat side wall - front wall forehand shot from deep in the court by De La Rosa tied the game at 14-14, and he won it on the next rally with a forehand cross court shot from a front court position.

In game two, Portillo again led early at 4-1 and 5-3, but this time De La Rosa caught up at 5-5, and then went on to get 10 of the next 14 points to win it, 15-9. He got the match winner with a drive serve ace to the right side to put an emphatic finish on a strong performance.

De La Rosa’s victory comes in his second final in as many weeks, as he was in the Longhorn Open final last Sunday in Austin, Texas, where he lost to IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk. Waselenchuk wasn’t in Sioux Falls due to illness.

In the doubles final, De La Rosa and Beltran jumped out to an 11-3 lead on Mar and Montoya in game one only to see their opponents come back and tie it at 11-11. The teams were tied at 12, 13, and 14 en route to the finish, which came as De La Rosa hit a wide angle pass to the right side.

Game two was closer with each team taking the lead and then giving it up. Again they were tied late at 10-10, but this time Mar and Montoya got the last five points without allowing any against them. De La Rosa and Beltran served twice each down the stretch, but were unable to put points on the board.

Often when there are two close games, the tie-breaker turns out to be a blowout, and that was the case in the final, as De La Rosa and Beltran went from a 3-2 lead to a 11-2 victory. Mar and Montoya had two opportunities to serve, but three winners by De La Rosa and Beltran and a Montoya skip prevented them scoring any points.

At 42, Beltran again show that he can still play at a high level on the right side, where he’s deadly with his forehand pinch shots, and his high lob serve that’s tight to the side wall makes it difficult for opponents, like Mar today, to make an effective return.

The IRT will be back in action next weekend in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin for the Lou Bradley Memorial tournament. If you missed any of the action from Sioux Falls, check out the IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

2020 IRT Lewis Drug Pro-Am, January 23-26, 2020
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Final - Sunday

7) Daniel De La Rosa d. 5) Eduardo Portillo, 15-14, 15-9

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-14, 10-15, 11-2

Follow the bouncing ball….

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