What We’ve Seen So Far…
So far the 2011-2012 IRT season has been filled with great match-ups and exceptional play. With the first men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) T1 and the US Open in the books, Kane Waselenchuk, #1 ranked player in the world won every match he played. He met #2 Rocky Carson in the finals of the Kansas City Open and the US Open, where he only lost a single game.
Along the way, Waselenchuk captured his 7th US Open title. Waselenchuk has proved to be the best in the world holding on to a 122-match win streak, an unbelievable feat to accomplish. However, Waselenchuk has hopes to take his streak above 200 wins. While losing only two games total all season while giving up a mere 98 points to his opponents, Waselenchuk is on an astronomical pace to set records that have not even been established.
We have seen amazing racquetball from everyone else on tour as well. At the Kansas City Open, we witnessed #11 Anthony Herrera steal a game from Kane Waselenchuk. #12 Javier Moreno upset #6 Chris Crowther in the Round of 16s. #13 Alvaro Beltran can be seen trying to climb back up the ladder to the top of rankings. #5 Jose Rojas is making a strong statement as he continues to win big and play hard. At the US Open, #9 Charlie Pratt took on #13 Alvaro Beltran in a five game match that led him to his first quarterfinal match of the season. We also saw two great quarterfinal matchups between #5 Jose Rojas over #7 Andy Hawthorne and #6 Chris Crowther over #3 Ben Croft. With plenty of upsets, 4 and 5 game matches, along with the show-stopping players on tour, watch for the unexpected.
What We Can Expect To See…
Two T1 tournaments loom around the corner, the Red Swain Shootout in Davison, MI October 27-30 and the Seattle Pro/Am the following weekend on November 3-6. With what has happened so far, we can expect plenty of upsets and plenty of big rallies. Each player must be treated as though he can win on any given weekend. No player can let his guard down now.
As the season grows older and more matches are played, we will see if the pressure of making a run to the top will wear down on the rookies and veterans. Keep an eye open for guys like Jose Rojas, Charlie Pratt, Anthony Herrera, Andy Hawthorne, Alvaro Beltran, and Shane Vanderson. Potential upsets can come from any player right now, but look closely at Jose Rojas as we enter into the next two T1 events. He will coming off of plenty of rest after the US Open, giving him a potential edge over some of the players coming back from the Pan American Games this past week. And continue to be amazed as Kane Waselenchuk continues his shock-and-awe campaign on the courts. It will be a sight to see as he attempts to extend his lead and his dominance on the tour.
Stay posted, as new statistics will try to show a clear marker for true dominance on the court.
By IRT Intern, Seth Brody. Photo credits: www.restrungmag.com