Sunday, January 22, 2023

Mosoco wins singles, De La Rosa & Mar doubles at 43rd Annual Lewis Drug IRT Pro-Am

Conrrado Moscoso confirmed his place as the #1 player on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Sunday by winning the 43rd Annual Lewis Drug IRT Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he defeated IRT #2 Daniel De La Rosa, 15-9, 15-12. De La Rosa got a measure of revenge in the doubles final, as he and Javier Mar beat Moscoso and Alejandro Landa, 15-14, 15-10. With that win, Mar will become the #1 doubles player on the IRT.

Question for those who thought Moscoso should not have become #1 after the last IRT event, as he lost to De La Rosa in that final, and De La Rosa was then the #1 player: Are you beginning to believe?

Game one of the singles final was streaky. De La Rosa was up 2-0. Then Moscoso was up 5-2. De La Rosa came back to lead 8-5, and then Moscoso tied it at 9-9. From there he scored six unanswered points to win 15-9.

Moscoso served big in game one, hitting several drive serve aces to the left side - De La Rosa’s backhand. If they weren’t aces, often his drive serve led to a weak return, so he could win it with the third shot of the rally.

Moscoso led all the way in game two, although De La Rosa did get within two points a few times, including at 14-12, after he had fought off four Moscoso match points. But De La Rosa skipped a forehand shot then, which gave the serve back to Moscoso, who called a timeout.

When play resumed, Moscoso hit another drive serve to the left side, which came off the side wall, and while De La Rosa was able to return it his shot wasn’t strong. The return also came off the left side wall, and Moscoso was able to hit a backhand cross court kill shot to win the match.

He dropped to his knees and yelling in joy after hitting the match winner. Afterwards, Moscoso said “I’m very happy. I’m very happy for the championship.”

It looked like Moscoso would be a double winner Sunday, as he and Landa led for most of game one of the doubles final, including at 14-11. However, De La Rosa fought off that game point with a backhand cross court winner to get his side the serve back. After a timeout, he and Mar proceeded to win four straight points, with three of them off Moscoso skips.

But the game winner wasn’t a skip, as Moscoso smashed a backhand return cross court only to see Mar get low to hit a forehand reverse pinch to the left front corner for the game winner.

Throughout game one, De La Rosa hit a lob serves to Moscoso, which was an effective strategy, and we wonder if he wishes he’d done more of that in the singles final. Doubles strategy is somewhat different than in singles, but hitting power serves to power players, like Moscoso, can be playing into their strength.

They were close early in game two, but after being tied 5-5, De La Rosa and Mar opened up leads of 8-5 and 11-6, which put the writing on the wall. Moscoso and Landa did get within one at 11-10, but Moscoso then skipped shots on consecutive rallies to give up the serve.

They never regained it, as De La Rosa and Mar won four straight rallies to take game two, 15-10. De La Rosa closed it out with a forehand rekill off a Moscoso backhand cross court shot.

De La Rosa and Mar hadn’t played together before, but neither of their usual partners - Alvaro Beltran and Rodrigo Montoya, respectively - were in Sioux Falls, so they teamed up. Their success is partly due to their skill at re-killing shots, which Montoya and Beltran are also good at.

Players rekill opponents’ shots when they hit the ball back in for a winner. This is usually done from a front court position, and generally players are not taking a full swing at the ball. Rather they are bumping, or even blocking, the ball back to the front wall or into one of the corners. Part of its effectiveness comes from the difficulty in opponents anticipating the rekill.

The next IRT event will be the Suivant Consulting Pro-Am, February 16-19 in Lilburn, Georgia. If you missed Sunday’s finals, or any of the play from Sioux Falls, check out the IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

43rd Annual Lewis Drug IRT Pro-Am
January 19-22, 2023 - Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Men’s Singles

Final - Sunday

1) Conrrado Moscoso d. 2) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-9, 15-12

Men’s Doubles

Final - Sunday

1) Daniel De La Rosa & Javier Mar d. 2) Alejandro Landa & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-14, 15-10

Follow the bouncing ball….

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