Sunday, January 7, 2018

De La Rosa wins singles, Landa & Murray doubles at 2018 IRT LA Open

Daniel De La Rosa won the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) 2018 Los Angeles Open in Canoga Park, California Sunday as Kane Waselenchuk was unable to play due to an injury he picked up in his semi-final match on Saturday. Waselenchuk completed his semi versus Mario Mercado, but in the first game he slipped on the court in attempting to retrieve a ball, and we think that’s where the injury occurred. Waselenchuk didn’t miss a beat in the match, so appeared to be fine, but when he got up on Sunday morning, his knee was stiff and swollen. Waselenchuk did go to the club in an effort to prepare to play the final, but those preparations were unsuccessful in getting him ready for De La Rosa. Thus, he forfeited the match.

The win is De La Rosa’s 3rd on tour, and his first since the 2017 Lewis Drug event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the next event on the IRT calendar, so De La Rosa will go into that event as both the defending champion and the latest winner on tour.

The Los Angeles Open doubles final was great, which did a lot to make up for the singles final forfeit. Fifth seeds Alejandro Landa and Samuel Murray narrowly defeated 2nd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz, 15-14, 14-15, 11-9. The match featured great shots and great gets by all four players.

In game one, Bredenbeck and Diaz were up 14-12, but a backhand winner by Murray denied them the first game point, and then a Landa wide angle forehand winner denied them the second game point. With the serve back, Landa and Murray won three straight rallies to take the game. Bredenbeck skipped a forehand shot that make it 13-14. Then Murray hit a backhand shot that went between Bredenbeck and Diaz, and neither of them went for it, making it 14-14. Then a Murray winner winner finished off the game 15-14.

Landa and Murray led most of the way in game two, and when they got to game point at 14-9, it looked like they would win it in two straight games. But an avoidable hinder call on Landa gave the serve back to Bredenbeck and Diaz, who got three straight points with Diaz serving that made it 14-12. Then Landa hit a forehand pinch winner and Murray a forehand cross court winner, so they were serving for the match once again.

But Diaz hit a forehand pinch return winner off Landa’s serve, and then hit another pinch to end the next rally, so Landa and Murray were 0 for 3 on match points. Thus, the situation was just like game one. One team was up 14-12, and it played out the same way, as the team on 12 came back to win 15-14.

Still at 14-12 it looked like a comeback wasn’t in the cards when Diaz skipped a touch shot from inches away from the front wall. However, Murray skipped a backhand shot that made it 14-13. Then Bredenbeck tied the game at 14-14 with a backhand pinch winner, and they forced Murray into skipping a backhand shot that ended the game 15-14.

Often when the first two games of a match are close, the tie-breaker is not close. It looked like that would be the case in this match, as Landa and Murray went up 6-0 in game three. But Bredenbeck and Diaz worked their way back into the match, and cut the deficit to two at 9-7.

A Murray backhand got his side the serve back, and a Landa pinch put them on match point again - for the 4th time - at 10-7. But an avoidable call on Murray followed by a mis-hit forehand by Landa once again denied them the match.

Thus, it looked like game three might mirror games one and two where the team that got to game point first did not win the game. That seemed likely when Murray skipped a backhand for the third time in seven rallies to make the score 8 serving 10. A Diaz forehand cross court shot made it 9-10, and caused Landa and Murray to call timeout.

When play resumed, Bredenbeck skipped an open forehand shot, and then was forced into skipping a backhand shot, so Landa and Murray got their sixth match point opportunity. This one they made good on with Bredenbeck again taking the last shot: a backhand cross court that skipped.

The next IRT event will be the 40th Annual Lewis Drug Pro/Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, January 18-21, 2018.

2018 IRT Los Angeles Open, January 4-7, 2018
Canoga Park, California

Final - Sunday

4) Daniel De La Rosa d. 2) Kane Waselenchuk, injury forfeit

IRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

5) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray d. 2) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-14, 14-15, 11-9

Follow the bouncing ball….

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