Saturday, August 14, 2021

Gutsy performance puts De La Rosa into IRT final in Colorado

Daniel De La Rosa put in a gutsy performance in the semi-finals of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) draw at the 2021 World Singles and Doubles Open Championships in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, just outside Denver. He overcame an injury to pull out a win in three games over Eduardo Portillo, 15-4, 10-15, 11-2. The win puts De La Rosa into the finals for the first time since January 2020, when he beat Portillo in Sioux Falls.

Conrrado Moscoso will be De La Rosa’s opponent in Sunday’s final, as Moscoso beat fellow Bolivian Carlos Keller, 15-10, 15-14.

After winning a straight forward first game, De La Rosa found himself trailing Portillo, 5-0 and then 12-6. But he kept working and got within two at 12-10, when De La Rosa lunged for a ball and seemed to jam his leg against the right wall. He went down right away, and it looked like a serious injury.

De La Rosa took some injury time, but chose to continue. He lost the next two rallies, so Portillo won game two, 15-10, which forced a tie-breaker.

When the breaker started, they were back and forth. But it was De La Rosa who was scoring points. He got up to 6-0, and Portillo called a timeout. He got the serve back and scored a point to get on the board, 6-1, but a great De La Rosa backhand put a stop to that.

De La Rosa hit a drive serve ace to the right side to make it 7-1. And he kept going from there to win the breaker 11-2.

Afterwards, De La Rosa said he’d pulled a muscle, and he was certainly hobbling around the court in game three. But De La Rosa also dove for some shots, and seemed to want the win more than Portillo.

When asked about what he was thinking after the injury, De La Rosa said he thought “F this. Let’s go.” He also was thinking of his kids, who were there, and how he didn’t want to give up with them watching.

And the injury seemed to sharpen his focus, as De La Rosa made some great shots in the breaker.

”I’m going to enjoy the victory,” he said, and well he should.

In the other semi, Moscoso also won the first game relatively comfortably, 15-10. Then he had some bother in game two, as Keller came back and got to 14 first with a two point lead, 14-12. This forced Moscoso to fight off game point not once but twice before he was able to close it out to win in two games.

Sunday’s final will be De La Rosa’s 19th, and he has a 4-14 finals record. Moscoso will play his 4th final on Sunday, and he’s 1-2 in the previous three.

The IRT final will be 12:15 PM Mountain time on Sunday. Look for the action via the IRT YouTube channel., as well as its Facebook page.

IRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

4) Daniel De La Rosa d. 8) Eduardo Portillo, 15-4, 10-15, 11-2
7) Conrrado Moscoso d. 19) Carlos Keller, 15-10, 15-14

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

4) Daniel De La Rosa v. 7) Conrrado Moscoso - 12:15 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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