Monday, April 24, 2023

3s beat 1s at 2023 IRT KWM Gutterman SoCal Open

Threes were wild Sunday at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2023 KWM Gutterman SoCal Open in Canoga Park, California, as the 3rd seeds were winners in both singles and doubles. Jake Bredenbeck upset top seed Conrrado Moscoso, 15-12, 15-11, in the singles final, while the doubles final went to a tie-breaker with the top seeds, Alvaro Beltran and Rodrigo Montoya, losing to 3rd seeds Daniel De La Rosa and Alejandro Landa, 15-8, 14-15, 11-9.

The singles final began oddly, as it was a match up of two power players, which generally means a lot of drive serving. Bredenbeck did drive serve, but Moscoso mostly used lob serves throughout the match, hitting a lot of them to the right side: Bredenbeck’s forehand.

Also, while the scores of both games were close, it felt like a Bredenbeck win was inevitable, which was strange because Moscoso is not only the current IRT #1 player, but he also won the 2023 Pan American Championships two weeks ago - beating Bredenbeck in the semi-finals - and the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championship last year, so he was clearly the favourite going in.

But Bredenbeck took an early lead in game one at 3-0, and never trailed or was even tied in that game. He reached game point at 14-8. Moscoso came back to 14-12, so Bredenbeck called a timeout. That led to a side out, and then Bredenbeck got the game winning point by hitting a backhand to the left side, which was out of Moscoso’s reach.

Moscoso got his first lead of the match by scoring the first two points of game two, and then went out to a 8-3 lead. However, Bredenbeck tied it at 8-8, and they were back and forth from there with ties at 9-9 and 10-10.

Then Bredenbeck opened up a 13-10 lead. He reached match point off a forehand reverse pinch shot that made it 14-11. Unlike game one, Bredenbeck only needed one opportunity to end game two, as he hit a drive jam serve that came off the left side wall at the dashed line and Moscoso skipped his backhand return shot.

Afterwards, Bredenbeck said “it feels good,” to win his 2nd IRT title. “I’ve been getting closer and closer. Made a few finals, a few semis, and just was coming up a little short. And today was able to get it done.”

He was also complimentary to Moscoso, saying “hats off to Conrrado. He’s obviously a hell of a player. He’s got me the last two times. It was nice to get this one, especially in a final.” It was the second straight final between Bredenbeck and Moscoso, and Moscoso previously winning last month in Lombard, Illinois.

The doubles final was a bit of twist in that Beltran and De La Rosa are usually partners, and in fact, are the current IRF Men’s Doubles World Champions winning the title for Mexico last year. But they were on opposite teams Sunday.

We’re not sure why they didn’t play together, but De La Rosa participated in the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championship with Landa, and they won the title. That suggests De La Rosa will be playing for the USA from now on, and it could simply be that he wants to continue his partnership with Landa, rather than play with Beltran, who, at 44, must nearing the end of his career.

However, Beltran’s not done yet, as his good play in the final demonstrated.

De La Rosa and Landa were in control throughout game one, but Beltran and Montoya took a 6-0 lead early in game two. De La Rosa and Landa tied the game at 6-6, and they were back and forth up to 12-12.

Beltran and Montoya reached game point at 14-12, when Montoya hit a forehand shot down the left side that cracked out. However, a De La Rosa winner put his side back in the box.

He and Landa got two points, but then a great Beltran pinch from deep in the court denied De La Rosa and Landa’s first match point. On the next rally, Montoya hit a backhand pinch shot in the front court that ended the game, and forced a tie-breaker.

Beltran and Montoya led for most of the breaker, including at 6-2, 8-5 and 9-7. But Montoya skipped a shot at 9-7, which yielded the serve to his opponents. They never served again.

De La Rosa and Landa scored four unanswered points to win the game, 11-9, and match 2-1. Landa scored the last two points with a forehand pinch shot for their 10th point and then won it with a forehand kill shot.

The next main event will be in August, when the KWM Gutterman World Singles and Doubles Open happens in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, August 10-13. However, there will be a smaller event in Costa Rica in June, and the 2023 Outdoor Nationals are in July.

If you missed the SoCal finals - or any of the other action, and the singles semi-finals were good too, both went to a tie-breaker - go to the IRT YouTube channel and click on the “Live” link.

2023 KWM Gutterman SoCal Open
April 20-23, 2023 - Canoga Park, California

IRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Conrrado Moscoso d. 5) Rodrigo Montoya, 13-15, 15-14, 11-2
3) Jake Bredenbeck d. 2) Daniel De La Rosa, 15-8, 6-15, 11-6

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

3) Jake Bredenbeck d. 1) Conrrado Moscoso, 15-12, 15-11

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso, 15-8, 15-10
3) Daniel De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa d. 2) Adam Manilla & Andree Parrilla, 15-10, 15-10

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

3) Daniel De La Rosa & Alejandro Landa d. 1) Alvaro Beltran & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-8, 14-15, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

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