Saturday, January 27, 2024

Big comeback puts Murray in final at 2024 IRT Lewis Drug Pro/Am

Rodrigo Montoya and Samuel Murray will face off Sunday in the final of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Lewis Drug Pro/Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Montoya advanced to the final after Kane Waselenchuk forfeited due to an injury he picked up during his quarterfinal win over Andrés Acuña. Murray’s route to the final was more difficult, as he came back to defeat Conrrado Moscoso, 13-15, 15-14, 11-2.

In an interview prior to the Murray and Montoya match, Waselenchuk said that he didn't think his injury was serious, but also didn't want to push it, especially as he's just recently returned to full fitness following the achilles injury that sidelined him for about a year.

Early on in the Moscoso-Murray semi-final, it seemed that Murray, the 7th seed, might have an easy time of it, as he was up 9-1 in game one against Moscoso, the 3rd seed. However, Moscoso caught up to Murray at 13-13, and then closed it out to win game one 15-13.

Moscoso carried that momentum over into game two, as he went up 6-0, 8-3 and then 14-3, at which point it seemed that was match over.

But Murray doesn’t quit.

He came all the way back to pull the game out of the fire, when it was almost completely burnt. Murray did it with some great serving. He hit drive serves to the left that cracked off the side wall just past the short line. If they were short, he hit some hard Z serves to the right side that were deep and difficult for Moscoso to return.

Thus, the match went to a tie-breaker, and as we’ve pointed out before, when the first two games are close - like 15-13, 15-14 - then the tie-breaker is often not close. So it proved to be today.

Moscoso served first, and got the first two points. But then it was all Murray, as he scored 11 unanswered points.

Moscoso called a timeout when he was down 7-2, but to no avail. Murray got to match point as he hit a strong forehand down the right side that Moscoso tried to return with a side-side front shot that fell short.

Murray’s first match point went by as he skipped a backhand pinch shot from deep in the court. But Murray got the serve right back with a backhand re-kill off a Moscoso forehand pinch shot on the next rally.

The winner came as Murray hit a drive serve to the left side that came off the side wall early, so Moscoso hit a ceiling ball that allowed Murray a chance to drive the ball down the right side. Moscoso then tried to hit a forehand reverse which skipped.

With the match over, Murray made little reaction, perhaps he - like The Racquetball Blog staff - couldn’t quite believe that he’d come back from so far down.

Although Murray was down 14-3 in game two, he only faced three match points in coming back to win that game and force the tie-breaker.


The doubles final will be a Mexican showdown, when the top seeds Javier Mar and Montoya take on 3rd seeds Andree Parrilla and Eduardo Portillo. Both teams needed three games to advance to the final.

Mar and Montoya came back from a game down to defeat 4th seeds Kadim Carrasco and Moscoso, 13-15, 15-6, 11-8, while Parrilla and Portillo held on to defeat 7th seeds Alvaro Beltran and Adam Manilla, 15-13, 12-15, 11-3.

The singles final will be Sunday at 11 with the doubles final at noon, or following the singles final. You can see the finals via the usual IRT media outlets: The IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page. All times Central.

2024 IRT 44th Lewis Drug Pro/Am
Sioux Falls, South Dakota - January 25-28, 2024

IRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

4) Rodrigo Montoya d. 17) Kane Waselenchuk, injury forfeit
7) Samuel Murray d. 3) Conrrado Moscoso, 13-15, 15-14, 11-2

IRT Singles - Final - Sunday

4) Rodrigo Montoya v. 7) Samuel Murray - 11 AM

IRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Kadim Carrasco & Conrrado Moscoso, 13-15, 15-6, 11-8
3) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo d. 7) Alvaro Beltran & Adam Manilla, 15-13, 12-15, 11-3

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya v. 3) Andree Parrilla & Eduardo Portillo - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

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