Friday, October 8, 2021

Waselenchuk & De La Rosa into IRT semis at 2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open

Kane Waselenchuk's mission for his 13th consecutive US Open title (16th overall) remains on track, as he defeated a long time rival in the quarterfinals of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) division at the 2021 UnitedHealthcare US Open in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Waselenchuk beat Rocky Carson, 15-3, 15-5, in a battle of aging veterans; Waselenchuk will be 40 in November and Carson is 42.

Waselenchuk and Carson have been the most frequent opponents in IRT history with Friday's match their 81st on tour, but Waselenchuk holds a decisive advantage winning 78 of those 81 matches.

By contrast in the semi-finals, Waselenchuk will play someone he's only faced once before in Carlos Keller. Waselenchuk won that meeting back in September 2019.

Keller, the 12th seed from Bolivia, advanced to the semi-finals for the first time at the US Open by defeating the Canadian 4th seed Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-12.

It's all Mexico in the other semi, as 2nd seed Daniel De La Rosa takes on 6th seed Andree Parrilla. De La Rosa beat 7th seed Eduardo Portillo, 15-13, 15-8, while Parrilla upset 3rd seed Alejandro Landa, 15-6, 15-11.

In the Keller-Murray match, Murray never seemed to find a groove. He made some spectacular shots, but then Keller would respond with some steady high quality play to keep the Canadian at bay.

In game two, Murray got out to a 7-2 lead, and it looked like a tie-breaker would be necessary. But Keller called a timeout at that point, and then came back in and scored ten unanswered points to lead 12-7.

Then for a brief period the wheels fell off the Keller train, as Murray scored four points to get within one at 12-11. All four points were from Keller skipping backhand shots, a couple of which were unforced errors.

But Keller was able to right the ship, and pull it back together. He did need two match points to get over the finish line with the winner coming off a great get at the back wall. Murray had driven the ball to the back left side, and it was just up enough off the back wall for the lanky Keller to reach back and hit it forward for a winner over to the right side. A solid way to cap a very good performance by the Bolivian.

The first game of Parrilla and Landa wasn't close, but they were neck and neck in game two. Neither led by more than two up to point of being tied at 11-11.

But from there only Parrilla scored, though he did it slowly. It took nine rallies to get to three points to put it on match point at 14-11. Then something odd happened, as Parrilla, who had been using a drive Z serve to the left side - Landa's backhand - went away from that serve. That despite Landa not really doing much when returning that serve.

It took seven rallies to get the last point, as Landa fought off four match points. The last of them was a hinder that Parrilla appealed to be a penalty hinder, which was denied. But he did win it on the ensuing rally with a forehand shot to the left side, which puts Parrilla into the US Open semi-finals for the second time (he was in the semis in 2018).

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

IRT Singles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 8) Rocky Carson, 15-3, 15-5
12) Carlos Keller d. 4) Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-12

6) Andree Parrilla d. 3) Alejandro Landa, 15-6, 15-11
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 7) Eduardo Portillo, 15-13, 15-8

IRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk v. 12) Carlos Keller - 2 PM
2) Daniel De La Rosa v. 6) Andree Parrilla - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball…..

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