Friday, October 8, 2021

Beltran & De La Rosa into IRT Doubles final at 2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa are the top seeds in the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) doubles division at the 2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but once more they narrowly escaped with a victory, as they had to play another tie-breaker. This time in the semi-finals against fellow Mexicans Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya forced them to three games before the 2018 US Open champions could get it done, winning 15-10, 12-15, 11-8.

Alejandro Landa and Samuel Murray will be Beltran and De La Rosa's opponents in the final, as the 3rd seeds upset 2nd seeds Sudsy Monchik and Kane Waselenchuk, 15-8, 14-15, 11-5, in the other semi.

We had the sense that De La Rosa was really the difference in the first match, as it seemed whenever he hit the ball good things happened. But shortly after thinking that with his side ahead 10-7 in the breaker, De La Rosa skipped two shots - the second of which was a truly "oh my god!" type error, as he hit a forehand shot into the floor almost at his feet when he was standing in the middle of the court.

That skip could have been the turning point, as it gave the serve back to Mar and Montoya, who only trailed by three points. They won the next rally with a good forehand pinch shot by Montoya to make it 10-8.

The next rally was one of those epic scramble, multiple dive type rallies that high level doubles is known for, which ended with a Beltran forehand wide angle pass that his opponents couldn't get. After that Montoya skipped a shot when he attempted to take it behind his back.

On match point three, Montoya made another error as he tried to hit a backhand pinch shot from deep in the back court, but the ball didn't make the front wall.

You had a sense that things might not go as expected in the second semi, when Landa and Murray went up 10-0 in game one. Monchik and Waselenchuk did get within three at 11-8, so the finish was a bit nervy, but Landa and Murray took it when Landa hit a forehand reverse pinch for their 15th point.

Game two was closer the whole way, although Landa and Murray pulled away late to lead 13-8. It looked like they would win in two games, but Monchik and Waselenchuk had other ideas, as they they came back to within two at 13-11.

Landa and Murray called a timeout, and when play resumed they got a side out. Their 14th point came on an appeal, as the referee called a hinder as Murray was going for a forehand shot with Waselenchuk on the floor in front of him. The line judges overturned the referee to rule it an avoidable (penalty hinder).

On the next rally, Murray had a forehand set up for the match that he skipped. That opened the door for Monchik and Waselenchuk who took full advantage by winning four straight points with three Waselenchuk winners and one by Monchik.

Would Murray's skip cost his side the match?

The answer was no, as they again took a big lead to start game three, going up 6-0. Monchik and Waselenchuk cut the lead in half at 6-3, but never got closer, as the Mexi-Can team pushed on to win it, 11-5.

Overall, Landa and Murray just played better than Monchik and Waselenchuk. Murray especially was a big contributor to his side's victory.

Waselenchuk had flashes of brilliance, as usual, but his opponents played most of the balls to Monchik, so as to limit Waselenchuk's opportunities. The strategy proved effective.

The US Open action can be seen via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. The doubles final will be 6 PM Saturday.

2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships
October 6-10, 2021 - Minneapolis, Minnesota

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-10, 12-15, 11-8
3) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray d. 2) Sudsy Monchik & Kane Waselenchuk, 15-8, 14-15, 11-5

IRT Doubles - Final - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 3) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray - 6 PM

Follow the bouncing ball…..

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