Kane wins 100th Title and 12th US Open

Kane Waselenchuk captured his 12th US Open Title while Paola Longoria won her seventh US Open Title. Photo by Meredith Gilbert

Top ranked Kane Waselenchuk beat #2 Rocky Carson 11-2, 11-2, 11-6 at the 2016 US Open for his 12th US Open Title and 100th overall career Title. 

US Open Pro Men’s Singles Draw

US Open Pro Men’s Doubles Draw

Singles Championship Final on Sunday

#1 Kane Waselenchuk d #2 Rocky Carson 11-2, 11-2, 11-6

Championship Final Recap

Kane Waselenchuk left little to question that he’s the best professional athlete in the history of racquetball with his 100th career title on the IRT Tour and an unprecedented 12th US Open Title with his 11-2, 11-2, 11-6 victory over Rocky Carson in Sunday’s final.

If Waselenchuk felt any pressure, it wasn’t apparent as he jumped out to a 7-0 lead in game 1 and stretched it to 9-1 before closing it out after a Carson skip ball and a kill shot.

In game 2, it was much of the same early on as he took a 4-0 lead. Carson did close the gap to 4-3 before Waselenchuk used a 7-0 run to finish out the match. Carson was penalized one point on a technical in the match when he left the court during a challenge.

Despite being down two games, Carson played tough in game 3, coming back from an early 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead. Waselenchuk regained the lead at 6-5 only to see Carson tie it at 6-6 with an ace serve.

From there it was all Waselenchuk, who went on a 5-0 run in his final serve to win the match.

Waselenchuk was emotional during the post-match awards presentation when telling the crowd about his recent visit to his grandfather, who was just placed into hospice care. He dedicated the win to his grandfather.

Waselenchuk also thanked Carson for continuing to play hard and pushing him each time they play.

Doubles Championship Final on Saturday

2016 US Open Doubles Champions Jose_Markie Rojas_Meredith Gilbert

The Rojas brothers captured the 2016 US Open Men’s Doubles Title over Daniel De La Rosa and Edson Martinez. Photo by Meredith Gilbert.

#4 seed Jose Rojas/Markie Rojas d #6 seed Daniel De La Rosa/Edson Martinez 15-10, 15-5

The Rojas brothers who knocked off two-time US Open Champions Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk in the semifinals on Friday are the second doubles team to win the championship in its three year history.

Championship Final Recap

By Dale Gosser

The US Open men’s doubles final was all Stockton, California, this year as the brother duo of Jose and Markie Rojas cruised to a two-game sweep of Daniel De La Rosa and Edson Martinez, 15-10, 15-5.

The Rojas brothers were dominant throughout the match. Markie Rojas used a high lob serve to the forehand to force numerous unforced errors and weak returns by both De La Rosa and Martinez. Jose Rojas was just as dominant on the backhand side.

In game 1, the Rojas’ trailed 4-2 early but a 7-0 run made it 9-4. A kill by Markie, a ball hitting De La Rosa and then a crushing kill by Jose underneath his brother started the rally with three straight points. Two of the next four points came via errors by De La Rosa and Martinez on a skip and miss hit.

It looked as though the game was in hand but three straight skips by Markie Rojas made it 9-7. De La Rosa and Martinez started double serving Markie Rojas on the forehand side with high lobs, which resulted in two straight kills, one by Martinez and one by De La Rosa.

The Rojas’ fell behind 10-9 before calling a crucial and much-needed time out.

Two straight kills by Markie Rojas put the brothers back on serve for good. A skip by Martinez tied the game at 10-10 before two straight kills by Markie Rojas made it 12-10. Jose Rojas then crushed a backhand kill to make it 13-10.

Perhaps the best shot of the match came on the next play. Markie Rojas faded to his right and from his knees blasted a kill shot to make it 14-10. The final point came via an ace by Markie Rojas on a lob serve that Martinez couldn’t return.

In game 2, De La Rosa and Martinez jumped out to a 3-0 lead. However, it was the Rojas brothers who went on an 8-0 run to basically put the match away. During that stretch, Markie Rojas had four kills and Jose added two more. Unforced errors by De La Rosa and Martinez accounted for the other two points.

An ace and a kill by Martinez closed it to 8-5 but the Rojas’ closed out the match on a 7-0 run. Leading 8-5, they added three points on their next serve to go up 11-5. One side out later, the brothers finished off the match with four straight points, three of which came off skips by De La Rosa and Martinez.

Singles Semifinals on Saturday

Rocky Carson d Daniel De La Rosa 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-0

Kane Waselenchuk d Jose Rojas 11-1, 11-6, 11-1

Semifinals Recaps

By Dale Gosser

Rocky Carson d Daniel De La Rosa 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-0

Despite taking a 2-1 advantage to start the match Daniel De La Rosa couldn’t hang on as No. 2 Rocky Carson edged him in game 4 and never allowed another point en route to an 8-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-0 victory to advance to the finals against No. 1 Kane Waselenchuk.

De La Rosa played strong in games 1 and 3 but appeared to run out of gas against the ageless Carson, who just got stronger as the match went on.

Trailing 8-6 in game 4, De La Rosa failed to get anything going and Carson put the pressure on with a kill after a big rally and then benefitted from a skip ball to go ahead 10-6. De La Rosa closed the gap to 10-7 on a strong Z-serve and the pair traded side outs before Carson took the game on his third game-point attempt with a drive jam serve.

It was all Carson in game 5 but it took a while to get there. Carson and De La Rosa traded 10 side outs before Carson scored the first point of the game. De La Rosa couldn’t find any momentum and Carson methodically added the pressure by jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Carson scored in bunches, scoring three at a time twice to lead 10-0 and won the semifinal on his second match-point attempt.

Kane Waselenchuk d Jose Rojas 11-1, 11-6, 11-1

In the second men’s semifinal, Waselenchuk dispensed of Jose Rojas in three straight games, 11-1, 11-6, 11-1. Rojas scored his lone point on his first serve of the game and from there it was all Waselenchuk. Two straight aces and two skips by Rojas helped Waselenchuk build a 5-1 lead. Leading 6-1, Waselenchuk had two more aces, two more skips by Rojas and a kill on game point to win.

In game 2, Rojas put up a fight and kept it close for much of the match. It remained tied at 2-2 and 4-4 before Waselenchuk went on a five-point run to take a 9-4 lead. Rojas made it 9-6 but Waselenchuk closed it out.

Game 3 was never in question as Waselenchuk jumped out to a 5-0 lead on his first serve and cruised to the win.

Singles Quarterfinals on Friday

Jose Rojas d Alvaro Beltran 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6

Daniel De La Rosa d Jake Bredenbeck 8-11, 11-1, 11-5 WBF – Injury

Rocky Carson d Markie Rojas 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2

Kane Waselenchuk d Sebastian Franco 11-2, 11-4, 11-4

Quarterfinals Recaps

By Dale Gossser

Jose Rojas d Alvaro Beltran 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6

The quarterfinals started by pitting No. 4 Alvaro Beltran against No. 5 Jose Rojas in the match of the day. Rojas came out on top but started rather slow, dropping the first two games before winning, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6.

Game 1 lasted a lifetime as the two felt each other out and see-sawed back and forth. Rojas had the early lead at 3-1 and then 8-4, but Beltran battled back with a 6-0 run to lead 10-8. Rojas slammed a cross-court pass to cut it to 9-10 before tying it when Beltran skipped a forehand lob serve return. Beltran took the game with two consecutive points on his next serve. 

It appeared Beltran was on track to win it in three straight after taking game 2, however, Rojas found his groove and jumped out to a 6-2 lead in game 3. Beltran rallied to cut it to 6-5 but Rojas used solid drive serves to extend it back to 10-5. Beltran picked up one more point a behind-the-back kill shot but Rojas closed out the game on a forehand lob serve that tied up Beltran in the corner after a failed cutoff attempt. 

Beltran jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in game 4 but Rojas tied it 4-4. Beltran was poised to finish out the match after a 5-0 run made it 9-5, but Rojas went on a 7-0 run for the win. The final two points came off skips by Beltran.

Game 5 was close at 3-2 in favor of Rojas before he used the momentum of the previous two games to take a commanding 10-2 lead. Beltran closed to within 10-6 before Rojas finished off the match.

Daniel De La Rosa d Jake Bredenbeck 8-11, 11-1, 11-5 WBF – Injury

In what probably should have been the match of the quarterfinals on paper, Daniel De La Rosa versus Jake Bredenbeck, turned out to be anti-climatic when Bredenbeck was forced to stop with a shoulder injury after a dive attempt late in game 3. 

Bredenbeck edged out De La Rosa in game 1, 11-8, before De La Rosa turned up the heat in game 2, winning easily, 11-1. After taking a 4-1 lead in game 3, De La Rosa narrowly led 5-4 and 7-5 when Bredenbeck landed awkwardly after a dive to his right. After an injury timeout Bredenbeck wasn’t the same and was visibly hurting. De La Rosa served out the game with Bredenbeck not even attempting to return the final point. Down two games to one, Bredenbeck was forced to stop play due to injury.

Rocky Carson d Markie Rojas 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2

The third match of the day saw No. 2 Rocky Carson outmatch Markie Rojas, 11-2, 9-11, 11-6, 11-2. Carson cruised to an easy win in game 1 before Rojas found new life in game 2. Rojas went up 8-7, Carson tied it at 8-8, Rojas went up 9-8 and Carson tied it again at 9-9. After consecutive side outs, Rojas took serve and went up 10-9. The winning point came on a second serve drive Z to Carson’s backhand.

Rojas’ momentum was short-lived as he played into Carson’s methodical approach. After taking a 3-0 lead, Rojas could only play defense as Carson went on an 8-3 run using a variety of drives and drive Z serves. Rojas closed to within 8-6 but Carson closed out the game with three straight points, 11-6.

Game 4 was all Carson as he jumped out to an 8-0 lead before surrendering two points to Rojas. Carson then served out the match on his second serve opportunity of the game. 

Kane Waselenchuk d Sebastian Franco 11-2, 11-4, 11-4

In the final quarterfinals match of the day, No. 1 Kane Waselenchuk dominated No. 8 Sebastian Franco, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4. Franco gave Waselenchuk a tougher match than his previous 11-0, 11-0, 11-0 win over Andree Parrilla in the Round of 16s, but the match was never in question. 

Waselenchuk led 6-1 in game 1 and never looked back. In game 2, he jumped out to a 7-0 advantage before Franco rallied for three consecutive points to cut it to 7-3 before Waselenchuk rolled off three points for a 10-3 lead. Franco managed another point before falling.

In game 3, Waselenchuk again took a big lead at 6-0 before Franco cut it to 6-3. Waselenchuk led 10-3 and finished off the match 11-4.

Doubles Semifinals on Friday

Daniel De La Rosa/Edson Martinez d Jose Diaz/Jake Bredenbeck 15-3, 15-12

Jose Rojas/Markie Rojas d Ben Croft/Kane Waselenchuk 12-15, 15-11, 11-5

Semifinals Recaps

By Dale Gosser

Daniel De La Rosa/Edson Martinez d Jose Diaz/Jake Bredenbeck 15-3, 15-12

In the first men’s doubles semifinal, there was a bit of an odd twist in the match between Jose Diaz and Jake Bredenbeck versus Daniel De La Rosa and Edson Martinez. Bredenbeck had previously injured his right shoulder in a dive attempt and had to forfeit his men’s singles quarterfinal match against De La Rosa before this doubles semifinal. 

Throughout the rest of the day, it was the talk of the tourney on whether or not Bredenbeck would be able to play in the doubles semifinals.

Much like Kane Waselenchuk and Ben Croft last year when Croft injured his swinging arm, many expected Bredenbeck and Diaz to play in the I-formation with Diaz taking on De La Rosa and Martinez by himself. What many didn’t expect was that Bredenbeck would show up to play left-handed.

The fact he played left-handed was odd enough, but that he played well was remarkable. However, it was not nearly enough. De La Rosa and Martinez cruised in game 1 and closed out a tight game 2 to sweep the match, 15-3, 15-12.

In game 1, De La Rosa and Martinez jumped out to an 8-0 lead on their initial serve and never looked back. At times, Bredenbeck and Diaz switched places to allow Diaz to take the backhand serve return. In most cases, Diaz took the shoot when possible, however, Bredenbeck played well, serving with some power and putting away several shots in the front court with soft hands.

In game 2, Diaz and Bredenbeck tried everything to throw off their opponents, including the I-formation. Bredenbeck scored the first three points of game 2 for the lead. De La Rosa and Martinez rallied for a 13-6 advantage.

In one last chance effort, Diaz and Bredenbeck each put away soft shots in the front court and cut the lead to 13-9. De La Rosa added one more point but Diaz and Bredenbeck forced one more side out.

Trailing 14-9, Diaz and Bredenbeck added a point on a De La Rosa skip and then scored twice more on Bredenbeck’s serve with Diaz kill shots. However, De La Rosa and Martinez put the match away when a shot by Diaz skipped.

Jose Rojas/Markie Rojas d Ben Croft/Kane Waselenchuk 12-15, 15-11, 11-5

There will be no third straight championship for Kane Waselenchuk and Ben Croft in men’s doubles at the U.S. Open. Despite Croft being healthy (compared to last year when he could barely swing a racquet), he and Waselenchuk couldn’t hold off the Jose and Markie Rojas who came away with a hard-fought 12-15, 15-11, 11-5 victory.

The Rojas brothers will now face Daniel De La Rosa and Edson Martinez in the final.

After splitting the first two games, the Rojas brothers trailed early 4-2 in the tiebreaker. They quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead on their first serve only to see Waselenchuk and Croft score four unanswered points.

The Rojas’ then went on a 6-0 run to go up 8-4. Croft and Waselenchuk made it 8-5 but that’s all they could muster. The Rojas’ scored the final three points on their next serve to close out the match.

The first two games were anything but easy for either team. Markie Rojas made several outstanding shots in the first part of the match, while it was Jose Rojas who helped close down games 2 and 3.

In game 1, both teams struggled to gain consistency. The largest lead at any point came at 9-5 when the Rojas brothers went on a three-point run after leading 6-5. Trailing 10-7, Croft and Waselenchuk tied it at 10-10 on three straight points off Waselenchuk kills.

Leading 13-12, Croft hit his first winner of the game to make it 14-12. Waselenchuk finished out the game but not before the Rojas’ had two more chances.

In game 2, it appeared Waselenchuk and Croft wold close out the match, jumping out to a 7-2 advantage and then an 8-3 lead. However, the Rojas’ caught fire and went on a 5-0 run to tie it at 8-8. An ace by Waselenchuk made it 9-8 before a 3-0 run by the Rojas’, including two kills by Markie, made it 11-9. Back-to-back kills by Croft and Waselenchuk tied it at 11-11.

After a quick kill by Croft on Markie Rojas’ first serve, Jose Rojas went on a 4-0 run to send the game to the tiebreaker. Markie had a kill to make it 12-11, two consecutive skips by Waselenchuck made it 14-11 and then Jose smashed a kill for the winning point.

Doubles Quarterfinals

Ben Croft/Kane Waselenchuk d Andree Parrilla/David Horn 13-15, 15-5, 11-6

Jose Rojas/Markie Rojas d Dylan Reid/Charlie Pratt 15-13, 11-15, 11-9

Daniel De La Rosa/Edson Martinez d Alvaro Beltran/Rocky Carson 15-6, 15-13

Jose Diaz/Jake Bredenbeck d Sebastian Franco/Mario Mercado 15-13, 10-15, 11-7

Singles Round of 16s

Kane Waselenchuk d Andree Parrilla 11-0, 11-0, 11-0

Sebastian Franco d Felipe Camacho 10-12, 11-8, 11-1, 11-4

Jose Rojas d Alejandro Landa 11-1, 11-7, 11-0

Alvaro Beltran d David Bobby Horn 11-4, 1-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7

Daniel De La Rosa d Jose Diaz 11-3, 5-11, 11-5, 11-0

Jake Bredenbeck d Javier Mar 11-2, 11-5, 4-11, 12-10

Markie Rojas d Eduardo Garay 11-6, 11-2, 11-4

Rocky Carson d Andres Acuna 11-1, 11-1, 11-3

Singles Round of 32s

Jose Rojas d Samuel Murray 11-9, 11-6, 11-1

Alejandro Landa d Robert Collins 11-5, 11-4, 11-5

David Horn d Mauricio Zelada 11-7, 11-2, 7-11, 11-13, 11-0

Alvaro Beltran d Mauro Rojas 11-4, 1-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7

Daniel De La Rosa d Dylan Reid 11-6, 11-2, 13-11

Jose Diaz d Scott McClellan 11-0, 11-5, 11-2

Jake Bredenbeck d Edson Martinez 11-2, 9-11, 5-11, 11-3, 11-3

Javier Mar d Jansen Allen 11-8, 11-1, 11-2

Markie Rojas d Jonathan Burns 11-4, 3-11, 11-4, 11-8

Eduaro Garay d Mario Mercado 11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10

Andres Acuna d Charlie Pratt 11-6, 12-10, 11-5

Rocky Carson d Thomas Fuhrmann 11-3, 11-5, 11-3

Kane Waselenchuk v Rodrigo Montoya 11-2, 11-5, 11-6

Andree Parrilla d Cliff Swain 6-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9

Felipe Camacho d Teobaldo Fumero A. 11-1, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6

Sebastian Franco d Christian Longoria 7-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-0, 11-2

Thursday Doubles Pro Qualifying

Dylan Reid/Charlie Pratt d Andrew Conti/Justus Benson 15-9, 15-2

Daniel De La Rosa/Edson Martinez v Brad Schopieray/Erik Garcia 15-10, 15-2

Sebastian Franco/Mario Mercado d Nicolas Bousquet/Samuel Murray 6-15, 15-13, 11-6

Andree Parrilla/David Horn d Mike Orr/Shawn Royster 15-2, 15-5

Wednesday Singles Pro Qualifying

Cliff Swain d Erik Garcia 11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-4

Rodrigo Montoya d Jaime Martell 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 13-11, 11-5

Christian Longoria d Majeed Shahin 11-6, 11-6, 11-1

Teobaldo Fumero A. d Anthony Herrera 11-3, 11-2, 11-5

Alejandro Landa d Christian Wer 11-4, 11-0, 11-4

Samuel Murray d Gerardo Franco 10-12, 9-11, 11-2, 11-1, 11-3

Mauro Rojas d Thomas Carter 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4

David Horn d Tim Prigo 11-0, 11-7, 11-0

Jose Diaz d Bradly Rogers 11-6, 12-10, 11-3

Dylan Reid d Hiroshi Shimizu 12-10, 11-3, 12-10

Javier Mar d Hans Mendez WBF- Injury

Edson Martinez d Fernando Rios 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-1

Jonathan Burns d Francisco Troncoso 11-6, 11-9, 11-7

Thomas Fuhrmann d Moon Gyun Kim 12-10, 12-10, 10-12, 11-5

Andres Acuna d Brad Schopieray 11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 3-11, 12-10

The 2016 UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships Preview

2016-us-openThe 21st annual UnitedHealthcare US Open Racquetball Championships, the reigning “triple crown” featuring the men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT), Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT), and amateurs, who play in clinics, exhibitions, and competition where the IRT’s top-ranked Kane Waselenchuk vies for his 100th major title and 12th US Open Championship win.

From Oct. 5-9 in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota over 800 competitors and fans will arrive at the hosts clubs, anchored by the Target Center’s 1,400 stadium seats overlooking the clear-walled show court wired for sound and laser lights. Inside the glass, the top men’s and women’s pros in the world vie for $67,000 in prizes, glory, and good old bragging rights.

The IRT Men’s Pro Draw

Waselenchuk’s game speaks the loudest as he steps inside the Lucite walls with 99 major wins, a record many say will never be broken. Like Pete Rose’s 4,256 hits, Usain Bolt’s 9.58-second 100-meter dash, and the Chicago Cubs 108-year World Series drought, Waselenchuk has already cemented his place in sport’s history. He continues to dominate, but no one is handing him a pass.

Head Penn’s #2-ranked Rocky Carson, the most decorated man in this history of the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships, continues to search for the key to topple Kane. 2015 US Open finalist and Waselenchuk’s ProKennex teammate, #3 Daniel De La Rosa, has been called the next #1. Is this the tournament he’ll prove it?

Up-and-coming players have shown they’re ready, and able, to take on top pros, with #26 Alejandro Landa defeating #5 Jose Rojas to reach the quarterfinals of the 2016 Ghost of Georgetown Kansas City IRT ProAm season opener, two years after he’d proved the upset-maker at the 2014 UnitedHealthcare US Open as the (then) #14 ranked Landa defeated Jose Rojas and #5 Daniel De La Rosa. Yet, in 2015 the #13-ranked Landa lost to #20 Javier Moreno in the early rounds. Will Landa once again overcome his higher-ranked rivals? Another rising star, #13 Jake Bredenbeck powered through #4 Alvaro Beltran at the “2016 Ghost” before falling to Landa’s charge, and many will be watching and waiting to see if Bredenbeck can control his power deep into the draw. Sebastian Franco, Jansen Allen, and Felipe Camacho have made semifinal appearances at Tier 1 tournaments. Expect them to make a run at the sport’s marquee event.

Pro doubles will return for the third year in a row, as the fan favorite event showcases new pairings along with the familiar. Two-time US Open Pro Doubles Champions, Kane Waselenchuk and Ben Croft, will defend their crown against experienced partners like 2016 IRF Silver medalists and 2015 US Open Pro Doubles finalists, Jake Bredenbeck-Jose Diaz, Rocky Carson-Alvaro Beltran, and Jose Rojas-Markie Rojas along with new teammates Daniel De La Rosa-Edson Martinez and Felipe Camacho-Andres Acuna.

Off Court Activities

Between watching and competing in singles and doubles matches, attendees can visit the 8,000 square foot players village featuring the newest products, refreshments, and charity auction, which is also featured online (irt.auctionanything.com). Proceeds from the auction and the 32-team pro/am charity doubles benefits St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, Rapha House, and the JDRF. It all contributes to keeping people healthy, something title sponsor UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to nationwide, by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 500 health and well-being company

Participate Online

Can’t make it? Watch the IRTNetwork.com for live streaming, and check IRT–Tour.com, Facebook.com/IRTFan (Live video!) Instagram @irtproracquetball, and Twitter @proracquetball. And check out UnitedHealthcare US Open media coverage with live streaming on Facebook, daily updates at UnitedHealthcareUSOpen.com and (new!) on Instagram @usopenracquetball. Also follow USA Racquetball on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @usaracquetball.

However you watch and participate, in person or online, you’ll have the chance to join fans and players from around the globe to be part of an event that may make history, again. The US Open has always been a place for racquetball fans to dream. Logic and statistics aside, the US Open has a certain atmosphere and pressure that challenges even the toughest mental fortitude. The question becomes, who thrives off of this high-pressure climate? Who will be able to harness the crowd’s energy? If Waselenchuk wins, it will most likely be beautiful racquetball, of which may never be seen again. He would also march farther away from his predecessors in the history books but one cannot help but to wonder, what if? After all, it is the US Open. 

Media Coverage

http://kstp.com/news/racquetball-2016-us-open-in-minneapolis-this-weekend/4284923/?cat=81