#1 Kane Waselenchuk rolled through the Red Swain Shootout, taking each opponent out in three straight games. Click to read the full story, match recaps, and more about the event.
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#1 Kane Waselenchuk d #3 Alvaro Beltran 5, 5, 1
Recap by John Beninato
After a very long 5-game match against Rocky, things only got harder for Alvaro. He had to face the number 1 player in the world and Kane came out shooting. Kane took care of Shane Vanderson easily in the semifinals and was well-rested for this final match. In game 1, Kane jumped out to an early lead and Alvaro did his best to keep him off balance by drive serving, but it did not work well. Waselenchuk got 10 points, but started making some errors which gave Alvaro a quick 5 points. Kane put an end to the small run and took this game, 11-5.
In game 2, Kane continued to dominate by using many different serves, which were very powerful and accurate. Beltran could not return the serves effectively and gave Kane a lot of setups. Even though his drive serve was good, Kane was not shaken and cruised to a game 2 victory, 11-5.
Kane seemed to be unstoppable for this match and Alvaro could not string any points together because of his dominance. Alvaro got a lead in this game, but it was ephemeral. Kane continued to impose his will on Alvaro and took this match very easily, 11-1. Kane continues to dominate the competition, but maybe he will be challenged in future events.
Semifinals Results: Recap by John Beninato
#3 Alvaro Beltran d #2 Rocky Carson -1, 1, (12), (11), 12-10
This match definitely did not look like it would go to a tiebreaker. Alvaro started very strongly and Rocky did not look like himself at all. It took 21 points and almost two full games for Rocky toet his first point. Alvaro hit every shot cleanly and put the ball down very effectively. Carson was visibly frustrated and did not make many good shots. In game 1, Beltran stuck to a high lob to Rocky’s forehand and got a lot of setups and skips from it. Carson could not cut it off well and this led to a quick 6-0 lead for Alvaro. Rocky took a timeout here and needed some time to regroup and slow down Alvaro’s game. Beltran switched to drive serves after the timeout and held Carson at zero. He played incredibly and Rocky walked off the court at 10-0, which got him a technical. Alvaro took this game, 11- -1.
Rocky did not play much better in the second game. He finally scored his first point after Alvaro went up 8-0. Carson did not play many shots off the back wall and was not being patient at all. He kept going for the kill instead of the smart shot and that’s how he lost this game, 11-1. It seemed to be all over for Rocky, but he fought incredibly hard for the rest of the match.
In game 3, Alvaro started to skip a few balls and gave Rocky a 2-0 lead. Then Beltran turned it on again. Rocky became incredibly frustrated and had a lot to overcome in order to stay alive in this match. Alvaro was able to get 9 points and could see the end, but Rocky dug deep to show everyone just how good he is. Very slowly, he started to make shots and score some points. He started to play smarter and make Alvaro work. This put a tremendous amount of pressure on Mexico’s #1 player and he started to make mistakes. Carson somehow fought back to stay in this match and won this game, 12-10.
Rocky came alive as this match continued. Beltran skipped some shots and suddenly, this match was not so one-sided. Rocky’s drive serves started to work very well and he jumped out to a 9-2 lead. Now it was Alvaro’s chance to fight back and avoid a fifth game. They battled back and forth, but Rocky held on to force a tiebreaker, 11-9.
Both players worked so hard and there were some great rallies. Rocky and Alvaro had some great gets and they both put in a lot of effort. It came down to this last game. The winner gets the right to face Kane in the finals. Even though the longer rallies favored Rocky, Alvaro put in a ton of effort to keep points alive. It was an incredible breaker and there was a tie at 10-10. After all of the work, Carson came so close to pulling off an unreal comeback, but he fell just a little short and lost this one, 12-10. An incredible match and hopefully Alvaro will have enough energy left to take on Kane in the finals.
#1 Kane Waselenchuk d. #7 Shane Vanderson 2, 0, 2
Being involved in two (5 game) battles yesterday showed, as Shane was in disarray for all 25 minutes of today’s match. Or, could it be the fact that Kane aced Shane more than 15 times. Either way, it doesn’t look like Shane needs to shower after Kane lays the smack down 11-2, 11-0, 11-2. The Kane Train rolls onto the finals, once again.
#2 Rocky Carson d. #7 Crowther 3,1, 1
Seems like the only time this match was close in each game was when it was 0-0; Rocky won 11-3, 11-1, 11-1. The rumblings through the crowd were that Chris’s legs just didn’t seem to be there. In Chris’s post match interview, he admitted that he didn’t sleep well due to his roommates snoring (you can’t make this up, people), and felt sluggish. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that Rocky played well, and took care of business. He’s on to the next round, awaiting the winner of Alvaro Beltran vs. Tony Carson, which has all the makings of being the match of the night.
#1 Kane Waselenchuk d. #8 Ben Croft 5, 2, 3
We can sum it up like this: after the match, one fan said to another “Ben did good – he made Kane run around the court, and it wasn’t a blowout”. Kane is so good that he changed the essence of a blowout, even on the run he still beat Croft 11-5, 11-2, 11-3 in a barn burner. Honestly though, the match was closer than the scores.Two things you can count on from Croft are that he will play as hard as he can every point and he will be entertaining.It was a good racquetball match, despite the scores. Kane awaits the winner of Jose Rojas vs. Shane Vanderson.
#3 Alvaro Beltran d. Tony Carson. (1), 3, (6), 9, 3
When was the last time Alvaro won the first game in the quarters, semi’s or finals? Starting out slow, as per usual, Beltran dropped the first game 11-1 while hobbling around the court,nursing a back injury nagging over the past few months. Seemed like he was all warmed up and ready to go in the second, winning 11-3. Tony served well in the third, putting away shot after shot, going on to win 11-6. The match was won/lost in the fourth game, where Tony had plenty of chances to put the match away, only to have Alvaro pull away for the 11-9 victory. They traded point for point in the fifth game, until Alvaro started pulling way. After Alvaro compiled a 6-3 lead, the two players were trading serves, until Alvaro went on a 5-0 run to go on to win the match 1-11, 11-3, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3.
#7 Shane Vanderson d. #4 Jose Rojas 7, (9), (8), 10, 4
Recap by John Beninato
Great match from these players! Definitely a hard fought battle from both athletes. Jose came out in game 1 with some great passes and seemed to have complete control of the match. Shane’s lob serves were ineffective in the beginning, but got him many points as the match continued. Both players were taking some risky shots and were trying to put the pressure on their opponent whenever possible. Aggressiveness was a common theme throughout this match. Rojas mixed up his serves very well in this game and tried his best to keep Shane off balance. However, Jose could not score points when he needed to and Shane’s lob serve got him a first game win, 11-7.
Vanderson’s momentum from the previous game carried him to a 4-0 lead in game 2. Jose needed a new strategy and he started to use different lob serves to get some points off Shane. Rojas was able to string some points together this way and kept mixing up his serves which kept Shane guessing. Even though he was down 4-0, Jose went on a 6-0 run and started to put the pressure back on his opponent. Shane skipped a lot of balls as this match went on and could not seem to get his first serve into play. A short run at the end of this game was not enough for Shane as Jose fired back at him with an 11-9 win.
Jose wanted to keep the momentum in his favor. He did just about everything to keep the point alive and to keep the pressure on Vanderson. He showed a tremendous amount of effort and the audience could tell that he wanted to end this match quickly. The two players battled in this game and it was very close. Rojas used his timeouts very effectively and was able to regroup and take this game, 11-8.
Shane did not want this match to end in four games. He dug deep to keep this match going and showed just how good of a player he can be. He took control of this game by keeping Jose out of center court. His serves kept Rojas on defense and he knew that he had to make Jose shoot from deep court. Rojas was getting upset with a few calls from Charlie Pratt, but he seemed to get over them easily. This game was all tied up a 9. Even though Jose caught a lucky break on a ball to the right side, Vanderson was able to take this game, 12-10.
It finally came down to a tiebreaker. It was such an intense match up until this point and both players put forth incredible effort and provided a great show for all the spectators. Shane knew that he needed to start out strong and he lived up to that expectation. Jose left a lot of shots up which ultimately led to a 4-0 lead for Vanderson. Even after a smart timeout call by Rojas, Vanderson was still able to maintain control and got a 6-1 lead. The audience was hoping for a miraculous comeback, but Jose could not pull it off and ended up losing an hard fought match to Shane, 11-4.
Round of 16’s Results:
#1 Kane Waselenchuk d. Alex Ackermann 2, 0, 4
#8 Ben Croft d #9 Andy Hawthorne 7, 5, 6
#4 Jose Rojas d #20 Marco Rojas 4, 8, 5
#3 Alvaro Beltran d #19 Jansen Allen (7), 3, 9, 7
#6 Tony Carson d #11 Anthony Herrea 3, 4, 6
#7 Chris Crowther d #10 Charlie Pratt (7), 5, 4, 9
#2 Rocky Carson d #18 Felipe Camacho 2, 9, 1
The Round of 16s starts at 10 a.m. EDT today, with 2011 Red Swain Shootout finalist, #7 seed Chris Crowther facing #10 seed Charlie Pratt and #2 Rocky Carson pitted against #18 Felipe Camacho.
At 11 a.m. EDT, #9 Andy Hawthorne, who took out former top pro #25 Mitch Williams (who has stepped out of retirement for the last two tournaments) will meet #8 Ben Croft, who is looking to recoup after an early exit from the U.S. Open. At the same time, #16 Alex Ackerman, the upstart who delivered early round U.S. Open upsets to Croft and Anthony Herrera, faces 2011 Red Swain Shootout Champion, #1 Kane Waselenchuk.
At noon, the second Round of 16 matches sees #3 Alvaro Beltran, who achieved the #3 ranking after his U.S. Open semifinal finish, facing #19 seed Jansen Allen, who pushed through the draw with a Round of 32 WBF against #14 Juan Herrera. Also playing are #11 seed Anthony Herrera and #6 Tony Carson, who did not have to qualify for the pro draw after his quarterfinal finish at the big show in Minneapolis earned him the #8 IRT ranking.
At 1 p.m. EDT, hard-hitting #5 seed Shane Vanderson faces showman #12 seed Javier Moreno and #4 Jose Rojas battles his brother, #20 Marco Rojas, who defeated local favorite #13 seed Brad Schopieray .
Red Swain Shootout Preview
The past, present, and future of men’s professional racquetball will combine to make the 2012 Red Swain Shootout November 1-4 at the Davison Athletic Club in Davison, Michigan, including top ranked professional players #1 Kane Waselenchuk, who has been undefeated for three years running; Cliff Swain, the retired former 6-time #1 ranked player; and several up-and-coming players including #13 Brad Schopieray, who will be playing on his home court. Other top ranked professional players will be vying for a total purse of $18,000. After hosting a successful event during its inaugural foray in 2011, Don Schopieray, tournament director, and his team have made a few changes this year that promise to make the tournament even more exciting. “One of the things we’re doing this year instead of a pro/am event is to offer our VIP Gold and Silver level sponsors the opportunity to hit with the pro one-on-one for an hour. The sponsors are really excited about the chance to spend time with a player of their choosing on the court to hit and ask questions. And the players are excited about it, as well.”
An additional change that has generated a lot of excitement both from players and spectators is holding the championship matches on Saturday night. Thursday evening will include the VIP sessions and qualifying matches; the round of 16 matches take place throughout the day on Friday. Saturday starts with the open semifinal matches and the pro semis, followed by a short break. The finals for both the open and pro tournaments cap off the evening. “The intensity will build throughout the day—we’re expecting a wild atmosphere as spectators and players get into the excitement of these matches,” says Schopieray.
The historic Davison Athletic Club venue makes the tournament both unique and prestigious. “This club was built for racquetball,” explains Schopieray. “The club hosted some of the first pro events back in the late 70s to mid 80s. Then, when Cliff Swain moved to Michigan a few years ago, we worked together to re-establish a pro tournament hosted at the Davison Athletic Club, named the tournament after Cliff’s father, and welcomed the IRT back in 2011.” This venue means a lot to players because they know the history of racquetball at Davison. “Last year, Kane Waselenchuk told me that, while winning and getting checks is nice, having his name on the list of winners at this club really means something to him,” says Schopieray. Former winners such as Jimmy Floyd, Chris Cole, and Jim Hiser, who all claimed Davison as a home court, may be in attendance as spectators.
While Waselenchuk and the other top-ranked professional players will represent the best of professional men’s racquetball today, Cliff Swain and Brad Schopieray represent the best of the past and the promise for the future. Schopieray, who played his first pro season in 2011-12, has been working with Swain to understand the pro mindset and how to approach the mental aspect of matches. Swain also coaches him during on-court practice sessions. “They’ve gone head-to-head a couple of times in competition,” says Don Schopieray, who is Brad’s father. Swain isn’t one to back off in deference to youth, however. “If there’s money on the table, you’ll have to work hard to beat him [Swain].”
Tournament attendees will have the opportunity to advance the future of U.S. Junior Racquetball through purchasing raffle tickets for various prizes including golf outings, memorabilia, and other donations. Proceeds from the raffles will help with expenses for the Junior Team USA as they prepare for their world tournament in November.