It was a cold weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from January 17-20, but the #1 ranked player on Tour, Kane Waselenchuk, residing in Austin, Texas was red hot at the 41st Annual Lewis Drug Pro/Am.
Round of 16s
Waselenchuk started the Tier 1 tournament in a Round of 16 match against the young and promising, Sam Bredenbeck, from Corvallis, Oregon. The younger brother of Jake Bredenbeck and a skilled athlete in his own right, Sam tried his best to challenge Waselenchuk, but was defeated 15-5, 15-2.
Former Top 8 player on Tour, Tony Carson, from Eugene, Oregon found his way back to a Tier 1 draw after his impressive performance at the 2018 Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions in Portland, Oregon. Carson almost took game one of his Round of 16 match against Waselenchuk, but didn’t have enough in game two and lost 15-11, 15-4 in Portland. Carson matched up against the #6 ranked player on Tour, Alvaro Beltran from Tijuana, Mexico and was deafeated 15-9, 15-7.
The #8 ranked player on Tour, Samuel Murray, from Quebec, Canada advanced through his round of 16 defeating Sebastian Fernandez, from Tijuana, Mexico by scores of 15-7, 15-1. Rocky Carson, from Landera Ranch, California also advanced to the quarter-finals after defeating Gerardo Franco, from Monterrey, Mexico by scores of 15-10, 15-4. Jose Diaz, from Stockton, California also advanced to the quarter-finals after defeating John Goth, from Lakeville, Minnesota by scores of 15-11, 15-2.
Andree Parrilla, from San Luis Porto Si, Mexico was tested during his round of 16 match against Jake Bredenbeck, from Marine, Minnesota. The #5 and #14 ranked players the IRT battled it out in a three-game tiebreaker that Parrilla won, 15-14, 14-15, 11-0.
The #4 ranked player on the IRT, Daniel De La Rosa, residing in Gilbert, Arizona had a tight battle with #13 on Tour, Adam Manilla, from Centennial, Colorado. De La Rosa had to work for his quarter-final spot, defeating Manilla by scores of 15-13, 15-10.
One of the most exciting, and shocking to some, round of 16 matches from the 41st Annual Lewis Drug Pro/Am was played between Alex Landa, from Juarez, Mexico and Rodrigo Montoya, from Chihuahua, Meixco. The #1 ranked player on Tour at the time, Landa, has his hands full in this match as it went to a three-game tiebreaker. Montoya came away with the victory by final scores of 15-8, 9-15, 11-10. Absolutely fantastic match to go back and watch if you’re a fan of the IRT action.
Montoya carried his momentum from his round of 16 tiebreaker into his quarter-final match against Beltran. Game 1 was super tight with neither native Mexican wanting to give an inch. Montoya took game one 15-12 and never let up, winning game two (15-6) and advancing to the semi-finals awaiting the winner of Murray and De La Rosa.
De La Rosa and Murray faced off in their quarter-final where De La Rosa squeaked out a victory in game one 15-13. Murray battled in game two and had an early lead, but De La Rosa took control midway through and took game two (15-8) and the match.
Waselenchuk had a familiar test in his quarter-final match, facing the young Parrilla, a match we’ve seen on Tour over five times now. Parrilla plays fearless and leaves everything out on the court, especially when he faces the “King”, but it still hasn’t been enough to get the best of Kane. Parrilla played Waselenchuk close, as usual, but came up short in both games 15-8, 15-11.
Diaz looked to reach his first Tier 1 semi-final this season when he faced Carson in their quarter-final match. Carson wouldn’t let Diaz get his chance though as they battled in a tough two-game match that Carson won 15-10, 15-9.
Before their semi-final match, Waselenchuk and Carson shared a moment on the court during their warm-ups. Following up with both players, that moment was “funny between us both because it’s rare that we match up in a semi-final,” said Waselenchuk. Usually on Tour we see Carson and Waselenchuk on opposite ends of the draw because of their rankings, in Sioux Falls, things were different. Waselenchuk absolutely took control of game one and finished at 15-2. Carson battled back and made a couple runs in game two, but came up short by a final score of 15-9.
In a highly anticipated semi-final matchup for the crowd, De La Rosa made sure everyone was aware of the rankings, defeating Montoya in two games by scores of 15-1, 15-4. Montoya was upset with his semi-final performance but understood it was no easy task taking out Landa and Beltran before facing De La Rosa.
Waselenchuk and De La Rosa faced off in the finals for the third time this season (US Open, California Open and Sioux Falls). Past results have been closer, but in Sioux Falls it was all about the “King”. Waselenchuk defeated De La Rosa by scores of 15-4, 15-2.
In a surprising three-game semi-final matchup, Parrilla/Montoya took out US Open Doubles Champions Beltran/De La Rosa by scores of 14-15, 15-11, 11-10. “One of the best doubles matches in IRT history,” according to former C.E.O. of the Tour, John Scott, from Washington, Missouri.
Parrilla/Montoya advanced to face the fire/ice duo of Landa/Murray in the doubles finals. Landa is always fired up on the court and ready to show his aggression/passion, whereas Murray is more cool and collected on the court and ready to just take care of business. It was an exciting final in Sioux Falls with game one going to Parrilla/Montoya 15-11. Landa/Murray played from behind in game two and never could knot it up to take the lead, losing game two and the match at 15-11.
Head Staff Writer:
Kelly R. Diesel