Kane Waselenchuk demonstrated the damage he could do when healthy, taking the Coast to Coast California Open in a 3-game final against Rocky Carson, “always a class act” as Kane posted on Facebook later. Click below to follow the match recaps and HERE to view the pro draw.
Kane Waselenchuk d Rocky Carson 5, 0, 7
Kane Waselenchuk demonstrated why it was “good to be healthy again” as he powered through the draw to face Rocky Carson in the finals.
Rocky was off in game one, skipping a few in the beginning while Kane looked strong and “totally in control,” as he posted after his semifinal win against Jose Rojas. The top seed reached 6 points before Rocky scored his first. Rocky started to show more confidence as he racked up a few more. It wasn’t enough. Kane took off with the game, winning 11-5.
The rest of the match played out much the same, with Rocky on the defensive and Kane demonstrating the damage he can do when healthy, taking games 2 and 3 11-0 and 11-7.
#2 Rocky Carson d #3 Alvaro Beltran 4, 4, 8
After hitting through 9 games on Friday, Alvaro seemed to be tired, losing the first two games 11-4. In true Alvaro form, he made a run in the third game to tie it up 8-8, until Rocky squeaked out the next 3 points to win 11-8 for the match.
#1 Kane Waselenchuk d #4 Jose Rojas 6, 0, 2
Jose came out shooting just like he had finished off his quarterfinal match against Daniel De La Rosa last night, going up 6-5 in the first. That seemed to wake Kane up, as the #1 pro caught fire scoring 16 points in a row for games one and two, 11-6, 11-0, as only Kane can do. He continued to roll well into the third game, reaching 9-0 before Jose scored a point. Undeterred, Kane won the third game 11-2 for the match.
#2 Rocky Carson d. #7 Marco Rojas 5, 5, 7
Though the crowd was expecting quite a battle between the old guard and the new guard, Rocky’s Z serves and control game were too much for Markie to handle, dispatching him 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 in front of Rocky’s home crowd.
#1 Kane Waselenchuk d #9 Jansen Allen 7, 2, 1
After watching Jansen play well against Ben Croft in the Round of 16s earlier, fans felt that the #9 seed would give the top pro in the draw a fight in this “battle of Texas” match-up. The first game was close, and it looked like Kane would be tested, although he won the first 11-7. From there, it was “all aboard” the Kane train, as he cruised to an 11-2, 11-1 victory and advanced to the semi finals.
#4 Jose Rojas d #5 Daniel De La Rosa (8), (5), 2, 8, 5
After winning games one and two 11-8 and 11-5, De La Rosa was unable to stay hot, skipping too many shots. The more experienced Rojas outplayed the up-and-comer in the next three, winning them at 11-2, 11-8, and 11-5 for the match.
#3 Alvaro Beltran d #6 Chris Crowther
Chris was sharp and able to hold off a late charge by Alvaro take take game one, 12-10. Alvaro came back to completely keep Chris off balance, behind him on the court to dominate games 2, 3 and most of game four to win 11-3, 11-1, and 11-8.
Round of 16 Results:
#2 Rocky Carson d #18 Matt Majxner 10, 2, 0
#7 Marco Rojas d #10 Jose Diaz 7, (6), 6, (6), 5
#6 Chris Crowther d #11 Alejandro Landa (6), 9, 6, 4
#3 Alvaro Beltran d #14 Hiroshi Shimizu (4), 5, 8 (10), 11
#4 Jose Rojas d #13 David Horn 3, 1 8
#5 Daniel De La Rosa d #12 Javier Moreno 1, 3, (5), 0
#9 Jansen Allen d #8 Ben Croft 10, 7, 1
#1 Kane Waselenchuk d #17 Tom Fuhrman 3, 4 , 2
The 2nd half of the IRT season kicked off in Rocky Carson’s backyard, Reseda, CA with only Tony Carson pulling out due to injury. “I’m resting, taking time off from racquetball until I feel fit to play at a high level. I will not be attending New York this year, unfortunately.” #5 ranked Ben Croft, whose status was iffy during the Coast to Coast Press Conference call, got the all-clear to play, and was seeded 8th due to the “flip” in the draw.
To avoid the same players meeting when there’s no movement in the rankings after each tournament, the IRT seeding system shuffles the match-ups to “flip” the top 5-8 players in the draw. The system adds incentive to reach a top-four slot in the draw, since each of the top four players bumps up into a better quarterfinal draw, against someone ranked 5-8 rather than above them. Conversely, those ranked 5-8 all face off against a top 4 player.
The first tournament of the season and every Grand Slam is always a “straight draw,” where players are seeded by rank. #1 tops the draw and #2 fills the base with the remaining players in between, #8 versus #1, #7 versus #2, and so on. The first two tournaments of the 2013-2014 season used a straight draw: NovaSors Ghost of Georgetown Kansas City Championships, which started the season, and 2014 UnitedHealthcare US Open Championships, a Grand Slam.
The next two Tier 1 tournaments are “flipped” one of three ways:
Flip 1: 1‐6, 2‐5, 3‐8, 4‐7
Flip 2: 1‐7, 2‐6, 3‐5, 4‐8
Flip 3: 1‐5, 2‐8, 3‐7, 4‐6
By incorporating three different patterns, the Tour puts every pairing into play. This is why you’ll see a pro like #5 Ben Croft seeded #8 at the Coast to Coast California Open.
Coast to Coast California Open Kicks off the Second Half of the Season
By Becky Weise
The second half of the IRT professional men’s racquetball season kicks off January 2-5 in sunny southern California. The Coast to Coast California Open offers players a great location, a great facility, and great racquetball for every level of player. “It’s Southern California in January—we’re close to the beach, great restaurants, fun things to do, and a full slate of high intensity racquetball,” says Deb Moore, tournament director. “What could be better than that?”
The tournament will be held for the second year at the beautiful 360 Health Club in Reseda. The facility has seven racquetball courts, one of which is a stadium court with a glass back wall and seating behind for great viewing opportunities. The club will provide players with access to its sports performance center, fitness center, physical and massage therapy services–even valet parking. Spectators and players will enjoy the onsite restaurant and café as well as the tournament expo booths featuring the latest and greatest in racquetball equipment and clothing vendors.
The tournament kicks off Thursday, January 2, with amateur and pro qualifying matches as well as a special event with the pros. The Pro/Am doubles competition will provide sponsors an opportunity to play a round robin will all the pros, playing games to 7 and all in fun, although that’s not to say the competitive juices won’t already be fired up. With pro quarterfinals on Friday, semis on Saturday night, and the final on Sunday, the entire weekend promises to be filled with great racquetball.
The second half of the pro season looks to be as exciting as the first half which saw four different champions in the five Tier 1 IRT tournaments in the fall, adding the slightest bit of instability in the top rankings. The #1 rank had been held by Kane Waselenchuk with an iron fist for the last five seasons. Waselenchuk lost in the semis at the beginning of the season followed by winning a record-setting sixth consecutive (nine overall) US Open championships. Injury and scheduling conflicts prevented Kane from accruing enough points to maintain the #1 rank until the last Tour stop before the holiday break, when he reclaimed his #1 ranking along with the Rollout New Jersey Open title.
The Coast to Coast California Open rings in the new year with the first of three Tier 1 tournaments in a row, where mental and physical fitness become even more critical as the grueling second half of the season kicks off.