Sunday, October 10, 2021

De La Rosa wins his 1st US Open at the 2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Daniel De La Rosa won his first US Open International Racquetball Tour (IRT) title Sunday at the 2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he defeated Carlos Keller, 15-13, 11-15, 11-3. It was the first US Open IRT final to go to a tiebreaker in the 25 years of the event. It makes De La Rosa the first Mexican man to win the US Open, and he joins Kane Waselenchuk as the only men to win both IRT Singles and Doubles at the US Open.

It was truly a day of firsts.

De La Rosa was heavily favoured heading into the final, as he's the #2 player on the IRT, while Keller is #12. Keller got a berth in the final after Waselenchuk's surprise forfeit of their semi-final on Saturday. Waselenchuk was the 12 time defending champion.

But Keller is the two time reigning Pan American Champion, so he's no slouch. Keller proved that in game one, as he got a quick start going up 7-1. In fact, he led the whole way in game one.

That is until it was 13-10. De La Rosa called a timeout then, and got the serve back on the next rally, as he appealed for an avoidable hinder, which the line judges granted. He then won the next five rallies to come back and win game one, 15-13.

The storyline of game two was similar, as Keller again led; this time 7-3. But De La Rosa's comeback was sooner as he tied Keller at 9-9. They tied again at 11-11.

But this time Keller got the last few points to win it, 15-11. De La Rosa did call a timeout at 13-11, but to no avail.

Often it seems that when two close games result in a tie-breaker, the breaker is lopsided. So it was Sunday, as De La Rosa stormed out of the gate in game three, taking a 5-0 lead. Keller called timeout.

Keller won a long rally when play resumed, but a great backhand return by De La Rosa of Keller's drive serve to the left side denied him any points. And De La Rosa kept scoring, as he took the score up to 9-0.

At that point, the referee called a De La Rosa shot a skip, but Keller acknowledged that the ball actually him, so they replayed it. The crowd applauded the sportsmanship, and it seemed that Keller would be rewarded with some good karma as he won the next two rallies, which got him on the board at 9-1.

He got a second point, but that was all Keller could get as De La Rosa was able to finish it, winning 11-3 when Keller hit a weak forehand shot that skipped. That was a sad ending to what was a very good match.

The IRT will next be at the 2021 3 Wall Ball Outdoor World Championships in Las Vegas, October 20-24. Following that the tour closes the year with two Tier 1 events.

They'll play at a combined LPRT/IRT (International Racquetball Tour) event in Arizona, November 11-14, and then on the next weekend, they'll be in Sarasota, Florida for the 2021 Sarasota Open, November 18-21.

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

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 12) Carlos Keller, 15-13, 11-15, 11-3

Follow the bouncing ball…..

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