Sunday, March 5, 2023

Montoya wins singles and doubles at 2023 IRT KWM Gutterman Minnesota Hall of Fame Event

Sunday was Rodrigo Montoya’s day at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) KWM Gutterman Minnesota Hall of Fame Event in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he won both singles and doubles. In the singles final, Montoya defeated IRT #1 Daniel De La Rosa, 15-3, 14-15, 11-3. That win came after defeating IRT #2 Conrrado Moscoso in the semi-finals, and #4 Eduardo Portillo in the quarterfinals.

Thus, Montoya’s path to becoming the 45th player to win an IRT event wasn’t an easy one. He’s the sixth Mexican born player to win on the IRT, and the 9th player to win an IRT event as well as an International Racquetball Federation (IRF) Men’s Singles World Championship.

He also won doubles with Javier Mar by beating De La Rosa and Conrrado Moscoso in the final, 15-13, 15-8, and afterwards said "this was a perfect tournament."

In the singles final, Montoya’s margin of victory was surprisingly wide, despite the match going to a tie-breaker. After winning game one, 15-3, Montoya led from the hop in game two, including at 9-4 and 12-10. De La Rosa caught up at 12-12, and then went at ahead 13-12.

Montoya got the serve back at that point, and tied the score when De La Rosa skipped a backhand pinch shot: an unforced error. He won a 17 shot rally with a forehand pinch shot as the ball came out of the back left corner to make it 14-13.

De La Rosa hit a forehand winner to deny Montoya’s match point. He followed that up with back to back points off drive serves to the right side - a service winner and a clean ace - to win game two, 15-14, and force a tie-breaker.

But the breaker was again all Montoya, as he led 4-0, 6-2 and then won it 11-3.

Montoya said he was “super happy” after the win.

In the doubles final, Mar and Montoya led early in game one at 5-0, but De La Rosa and Moscoso came back to tie it at 5-5, and then again at 9-9. The lead went back and forth from there with another tie at 13-13.

De Le Rosa skipped a backhand shot that gave the serve back to Mar and Montoya at 13-13. Montoya returned the favour as he skipped a forehand shot on the next rally. Then Mar hit a winner in the front court to put his side on game point at 14-13.

De La Rosa hit a forehand reverse pinch shot to put his side back in the service box needing two points to win game one. But Mar hit a winning return to put De La Rosa and Moscoso half down. They seemed to tie the game 14-14 on an avoidable call, but Mar and Montoya appealed it, and both line judges disagreed with the referee, so the score remained 14-13.

De La Rosa skipped a backhand shot on the next rally, giving Mar and Montoya a second game point opportunity. But a De La Rosa reverse pinch denied them that opportunity.

Prior to their third game point, Mar and Montoya called a timeout. When play resumed, a powerful Montoya drive serve to De La Rosa’s backhand led to a weak return that came off the back wall, and Mar hit a forehand kill shot to win it, 15-14.

Mar and Montoya carried the momentum of game one over into game two, taking a 11-1 lead and reaching match point at 14-4. That put the writing on the wall, and while De La Rosa and Moscoso did score a few more points, the outcome wasn’t in doubt, as Mar and Montoya finished it off at 15-8.

Mar said it “feels really good” to win, especially as he was coming off a right shoulder injury. Mar thanked his partner “for all the effort that he makes,” as well as Conrrado and Daniel: “they are incredible players.”

Both said they felt more motivation going forward. “This is just the beginning,” said Mar. “We are going to try to win more and more.”

Given that between them they have won all four of the IRT doubles titles this year - two of them together and one each with different partners - as well as an IRF Men’s Doubles World Championship, the news that Mar and Montoya are more motivated can only be bad news for the rest of the field.

The IRT will be back in action in two weeks at the 38th Annual Papa Nicholas Coffee Shamrock Shootout in Lombard, Illinois, March 16-19.

If you missed any of Montoya’s impressive play, or the other fun matches in Minneapolis, check out the IRT YouTube channel.

2023 KWM Gutterman Minnesota Hall of Fame Event
March 2-5, 2023 - Minneapolis, Minnesota

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

6) Rodrigo Montoya d. 1) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-3, 14-15, 11-3

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Daniel De La Rosa & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-13, 15-8

Follow the bouncing ball….

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