Sunday, March 20, 2022

Waselenchuk wins 37th Annual IRT PapaNicholas Coffee Shamrock Shootout

In what was described as “close enough to a centurion final,” Kane Waselenchuk defeated long time rival Rocky Carson, 15-6, 15-9, to win the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 37th Annual PapaNicholas Coffee Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, Sunday. It was Waselenchuk’s 124th IRT title by far the most by any player, and the 82nd time he and Carson have faced off on tour.

Waselenchuk said “I love playing him,” because Carson “is a gentleman” and they respect each other. However, it probably helps that Waselenchuk has won 79 of their 82 IRT matches.

But they hadn’t played each other in a final since February 2019. Carson credited Waselenchuk’s serving for contributing to today's outcome, saying “he played great ball today."

Both players were aware that today’s final might have had the oldest combined age for the players, as Waselenchuk is 40 and Carson 42. That fact led Waselenchuk to say it was close to a centurion final.

He dominated the first game, and led all the way after taking an early 5-0 lead to win it 15-6. Game two was close early with Carson leading at 5-2. However, Waselenchuk scored 12 unanswered points to lead 14-5.

Carson did fight off two match points, as he staged a comeback. But that fell short, as Waselenchuk got the serve back after Carson skipped a backhand shot. On his third match point opportunity, the left-handed Waselenchuk hit a drive serve to the right side that Carson returned down the right wall, but it came off the wall early, which allowed Waselenchuk to hit a backhand winner to end the rally and win the game, 15-9, and match in two straight games.

Carson’s serving strategy was different in the match, as he used mostly off speed serves. When Carson hit Z serves, they were effective, but when they were just straight to either the left or the right side, Waselenchuk’s returns were more effective.

The doubles final was a rematch of last year’s International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Men’s Doubles World Championship final, as Mexicans Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya took on Bolivians Roland Keller and Moscoso with the same outcome: a win for the Mexicans, 15-9, 15-9.

The IRT will next be in action at the 2022 IRT SoCal Open in Fullerton, California, April 28 to May 2. If you missed any of the action from Illinois, check out the IRT YouTube channel, as well as its Facebook page.

37th Annual IRT PapaNicholas Coffee Shamrock Shootout
March 17-20, 2022 - Lombard, Illinois

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

3) Kane Waselenchuk d. 8) Rocky Carson, 15-6, 15-9

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

2) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Roland Keller & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-9, 15-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

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