Saturday, January 18, 2020

Waselenchuk & De La Rosa to meet in 2020 IRT Longhorn Open final Sunday

Daniel De La Rosa ended Adam Manilla’s hopes of a 1st career final Saturday night at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2020 Longhorn Open in Austin, Texas, as he defeated Manilla, 13-15, 15-7, 11-2, in the semi-finals. De La Rosa will play IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk in Sunday's final, as Waselenchuk beat 4th seed Alvaro Beltran, 15-1, 15-2.

De La Rosa and Manilla were close all the way in game one, although Manilla was the only one to lead from 9-9 on. At 13-13, Manilla got the serve back with a backhand return winner off a lob serve to the right side - the left-handed Manilla’s backhand side. Manilla won the game, 15-13, on the next two rallies, hitting a forehand pinch shot for his 14th point, and a backhand winner for the 15th point.

De La Rosa got off to a great start in game two, as he took a 11-1 lead. Manilla was able to cut that lead to 11-6, but it was too much to come all the way back. Thus, they needed a tie-breaking third game to decide the winner.

In the breaker, De La Rosa took the early lead at 5-0. An ace serve by Manilla got him on the board at 5-1. But that was just delaying the inevitable, as De La Rosa hit a great forehand pinch shot from deep to get the serve back, and then put up five more points to lead 10-1. Manilla stopped the 1st match point with a great forehand return, but he couldn’t stop the 2nd, as De La Rosa won 11-2.

Afterwards, Manilla said he “didn’t have it in the tank in the end,” and he was missing some shots in games two and three that he’d been making earlier in the match and earlier in the day. Nonetheless, Manilla had a great tournament in making his 1st semi-final at a Tier 1 event.

Waselenchuk has been in many semi-finals, but there are few that he’s played better in than tonight’s at the Longhorn Open. He said afterwards that he “felt it during warm up,” and knew it was going to be a good night for him. He “felt good all match. Gotta love these days,” said Waselenchuk.

Waselenchuk lives in Austin, so he’s playing at home, and several of his friends, who’d never seen him play competitively, were on hand to see the semi-final. With such an audience, it’s “easy to get pumped up,” he said.

Asked about a game plan versus De La Rosa, Waselenchuk said “play like I did today,” although he acknowledged that would be difficult. But regardless “I’m walking away with the W” on Sunday, said the IRT’s #1 player.

You can follow the Longhorn Open action via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The final will be at 12:30 PM* Central time Sunday.

2020 IRT Longhorn Open, January 16-19, 2020
Austin, Texas

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 4) Alvaro Beltran, 15-1, 15-2
7) Daniel De La Rosa d. Adam Manilla, 13-15, 15-7, 11-2

Final - Sunday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 7) Daniel De La Rosa - 12:30 PM*

*note: the R2 draw states noon for the final, but on the live stream of the matches, they have said the final will be at 12:30.

Follow the bouncing ball….

No comments: