Friday, March 13, 2020

Top 8 seeds into quarters at 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout

Kane Waselenchuk, the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), won his first match at the 35th Annual KWM Gutterman IRT Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois Friday, as he beat 19 year old Sebastian Fernandez, 15-6, 15-9. Waselenchuk and Fernandez were close early in game one, but then Waselenchuk took control and pulled away. He carried that momentum over into game two, and won in two straight games.

What was remarkable about Fernandez’s game was that more than once he anticipated where Waselenchuk was going to hit the ball, and went over to cover it. That’s the kind of anticipation that we sometimes see from Waselenchuk, but rarely see from anyone else. It bodes well for Fernandez’s future.

Waselenchuk will next play another young Mexican in Eduardo Portillo. Portillo won two close games against Jaime Martell, 15-13, 15-13, to set up a quarterfinal showdown with Waselenchuk.

Alejandro Landa, the IRT’s #2 player, barely escaped from his Round of 16 match, as he pulled out an 11-10 tie-breaker over 18th seed Adam Manilla, winning 15-10, 12-15, 11-10. They were close in game one until Landa put together a five point run to end it.

In game two, Manilla had the big lead, but Landa worked his way back into the game, and looked like he might pull off the comeback. But eventually Manilla got the last two points to force the tie-breaker.

Landa was in control early in the breaker with leads of 3-0 and 8-4. But the left-handed Manilla tied the game at 8-8, and took the lead at 9-8 with a forehand pinch shot, reinforcing the cliché that lefties like their pinches. Uncharacteristically, Landa called a timeout, because he often doesn’t call timeouts.

When play resumed, Landa got a sideout with a backhand winner off a Z serve to the left side. Landa tied the score at 9-9 with a backhand pinch from deep. Manilla got the serve back with a forehand winner, but couldn’t get a point, as he skipped a backhand shot on the next rally.

A forehand winner by Landa put him on match point at 10-9, but Manilla fought that off with a great backhand return winner off a Landa drive serve to the right side. A Manilla backhand pinch winner put him on match point also at 10-10.

Landa denied Manilla the match with a forehand winner down the left side. Then on his 2nd match point, Landa drove the ball to the right side. Manilla returned it cross court, and then Landa sent it back to the right with a backhand cross court that Manilla couldn’t reach for the match winner.

Landa will play his doubles partner Samuel Murray in the quarterfinals Saturday. Murray defeated Rodrigo Montoya in two games, 15-11, 15-3, in the 16s. That was the only match on the bottom of the draw to be over in two games.

Rocky Carson, the IRT #3 player, defeated 14th seed Eduardo Garay, 15-5, 12-15, 11-7, and he’ll play 6th seed Daniel De La Rosa in the quarters. De La Rosa won another 11-10 tie-breaker, as he came back to beat 11th seed Jake Bredenbeck, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10.

Shamrock Shootout action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The quarterfinals will be Saturday from 10 & 11 AM with the semi-finals at 5:30 and 6:30 PM. The singles final will be 1 PM Sunday. The doubles semi-finals are Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2 PM and the final Saturday night at 8:30 PM. All times Central.

2020 35th Annual IRT KWM Gutterman Shamrock Shootout, March 12-15, 2020
Lombard, Illinois

Round of 16 - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 16) Sebastian Fernandez, 15-6, 15-9
8) Eduardo Portillo d. 24) Jaime Martell, 15-13, 15-13

5) Andree Parrilla d. 12) Gerardo Franco, 15-0, 15-11
4) Alvaro Beltran d. 13) Thomas Carter, 15-8, 15-8

3) Rocky Carson d. 14) Eduardo Garay, 15-5, 12-15, 11-7
6) Daniel De La Rosa d. 11) Jake Bredenbeck, 9-15, 15-9, 11-10

7) Samuel Murray d. 10) Rodrigo Montoya, 15-11, 15-3
2) Alejandro Landa d. 18) Adam Manilla, 15-10, 12-15, 11-10

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 8) Eduardo Portillo - 11 AM
4) Alvaro Beltran v. 5) Andree Parrilla - 11 AM

3) Rocky Carson v. 6) Daniel De La Rosa - 10 AM
2) Alejandro Landa v. 7) Samuel Murray - 10 AM

IRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 8) Justus Benson & Robert Collins, 11-15, 15-3, 11-2
4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 5) Eduardo Garay & Mario Mercado, 15-13, 15-5

3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 6) Jake Bredenbeck & Sam Bredenbeck, 15-8, 15-9
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray d. 7) Andres Acuña & Adam Manilla, 14-15, 15-3, 11-3

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 4) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - 1 PM
2) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray v. 3) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - 2 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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