Sunday, January 8, 2023

De La Rosa, Mar & Montoya win at 2023 IRT Longhorn Open

Daniel De La Rosa won the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2023 Longhorn Open in Austin, Texas Sunday, as the IRT’s #1 player beat IRT #3 Conrrado Moscoso in the final, 15-14, 15-12. In the doubles final, Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya defeated Alejandro Landa and Moscoso, 15-11, 15-6.

”It was a good match,” De La Rosa said after the singles final, and “it feels great” to win it. He complimented Moscoso saying “he reads the ball” really well, and “executes well.”

The singles final was full of great shots, and the score was close throughout both games. In game one, neither De La Rosa or Moscoso had more than a two point lead. There were seven lead changes, and ten ties (not counting 0-0).

In his earlier matches in Austin, Moscoso had closed well, even when the games were close early. Thus, when he eked ahead at 11-9, 12-11, and 14-12, it looked like Moscoso would close out game one too.

He had two chances to do so. But De La Rosa fended off the first with a forehand winner, and on the second he forced Moscoso into skipping a forehand shot. De La Rosa won the game on three straight rallies, as Moscoso skipped a lob serve return, then De La Rosa hit a forehand wide angle pass from the left side of the court to make it 14-14.

The game winning rally was a classic three shot play. De La Rosa drove serve to the left side. Moscoso hit a backhand return that was high, and came big off the back wall, which gave De La Rosa a set up. He flat rolled a backhand shot that gave Moscoso no chance for a reply.

Game two was also close, although De La Rosa had a four point lead twice (7-3 & 11-7), only to see Moscoso come back both times and tie it (at 7-7 & 11-11, respectively). A forehand pinch got Moscoso a one point lead at 12-11, so it looked like he might force a tie-breaker.

But Moscoso skipped a pinch shot on the next rally, and never served again. De La Rosa tied it at 12-12 with a forehand shot down the left side. He went ahead when Moscoso skipped a backhand shot that he hit off speed, which is not really Moscoso’s forte, as he’s a power player.

The next rally was one of the best of the match, as Moscoso dove two and a half times, as well as hitting a shot between his legs. But that was all for naught, as De La Rosa drove a forehand cross court shot home for the winner, as Moscoso slipped trying to get to it.

As in game one, De La Rosa’s game winning rally was three shots. He drove serve to the left side. Moscoso hit a backhand return that was a high pinch, coming across the court and off the right wall, and De La Rosa buried a forehand shot into the front right corner to take the first IRT event of the 2023 season.

In the doubles final, they were back and forth early in game one, and Landa and Moscoso were actually ahead in the mid-game with leads of 8-5 and 9-6. But Mar and Montoya came back and tied it at 9-9 and then again at 10-10.

When Mar and Montoya tied it at 11-11, it was the first of five points on as many rallies that closed out game one. Montoya winners ended four of those rallies, including the last won as he hit a backhand cross court to end the game.

In game two, they were close early and tied at 3-3. But Mar and Montoya took over from there, going out to a 8-3 lead, which they did not relinquish, as they went on to win it 15-6.

The last rally began with Mar lob serving to Landa on the right side. Landa hit a ceiling ball return cross court where Montoya set up for a backhand pinch shot winner.

Thus, Mar and Montoya proved their #1 seeding. They’re former (International Racquetball Federation (IRF)) Men’s Doubles World Champions, winning the title in 2021. Part of what makes them so formidable is that they both rekill shots very well. Mar is especially good at turning what looks like a good shot by an opponent into a winner for his side.

The next IRT event will be in the Lewis Drug Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, January 19-22. That will be followed by the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am in Lilburn, Georgia, February 16-19.

If you missed any of the Longhorn Open action - and you should definitely check out the singles final - go to the IRT YouTube channel.

2023 IRT Longhorn Open
January 5-8, 2023 - Austin, Texas

Men’s Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Daniel De La Rosa d. 3) Conrrado Moscoso, 15-14, 15-12

Men’s Doubles

Final - Sunday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Alejandro Landa & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-11, 15-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

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