The IRT in California at the 2023 KWM Gutterman SoCal Open
by Karen Grisz and Todd Boss
The IRT was in Canoga Park, CA at the Athletic Society West Valley in mid-April for the 2023 KWM Gutterman SoCal Open.
Thanks to Cindy Tilbury, Bobby Horn, all of the tournament sponsors (especially Keith Minor), our IRT sponsors, and the IRT team of Pablo Fajre, Mark Gibbs, Favio Soto, and Rodrigo Mendoza.Our sport would not be possible without the tireless work of its volunteers and sponsors.
Going into the tournament, the IRT has continued to see a variety of individual event winners emerge through the spring, although the last few tournaments have gone back and forth between Conrrado Moscoso and Daniel De La Rosa (DLR), the (then) #1 and #2 players on tour.Would the tour’s return to Southern California result in another win for the tour’s top players, or would we see a new player join the list of title winners on tour?
Most of the top players on tour were in action in California, although a few players were missing: Lalo Portillo, Andre Acuna, Sam Murray (injury) and Javier Mar. Moscoso was the #1 seed, Daniel #2, and surging Jake Bredenbeck #3.The draw reflected the change to the way the pro tournaments are done – the top 8 no longer get a bye into the round of 32s, and therefore have to play an extra match.
Pro Singles Recap:
In the round of 32s, with the top pros playing lower ranked players instead of getting byes, everything went according to seed.The only tiebreaker was when #11 Jaime Martell was pushed to a breaker by #22 Oscar Elias Nieto.
In the round of 16s, there were several close matches, but only one upset by seed, wherein #11 Martell upset #6 Alejandro Landa15-14, 15-12.Landa was recovering from a couple of simultaneous injuries suffered in an IRT match earlier this season and the opportunistic Martell took advantage.The only other close match in the 16s was #2 Daniel De La Rosa grinding past #15 Sam Bredenbeck 15-7, 15-12.
In the Quarters, #1 Moscoso cruised past the much-improving #8 seed Alan Natera.#5 Rodrigo Montoya continued his recent dominance over #4 Andree Parrilla , beating him for the 5th straight time in all competitions to move into the semis. With this win, Montoya should ascend into the top 4 on the IRT for the first time.#3 Bredenbeck raced past the upset-minded Martell 15-11, 15-2 to move into the semis for the 5th time in six tournaments this season, after having made a grand total of 5 pro semis in his entire career prior.
#2 De La Rosa moved past the lefty Adam Manilla 15-12, 15-6 to setup a critical meeting against Jake that has significant ramifications both for the pro tour and for USA national rankings as we approach National US Team Qualifying singles (at the end of May in Chicago).
In the semifinals, Moscoso and Montoya had their customary “nothing between them” first two games, splitting it 14 one way and 13 the other, before Conrrado ran away with the tiebreaker to move into the final.
In the bottom half, DLR seemed to have the edge, as he is 13-2 lifetime against Bredenbeck and has beaten him several times this season. Bredenbeck had other plans, taking game 1, getting a huge lead in the tiebreaker and holding off a comeback attempt to take the semi and advance into the final.
In the Finals, another upset emerged as Bredenbeck took out Moscoso in two straightforward games to get his first ever win over the Bolivian and claim his second career title after taking Portland in December. Jake played solid, calm, tactical power racquetball to take out the world #1. A well-earned win!
This tournament marked the triumphant return of Alvaro Beltran to the tour after months away, and also marks a new pathway forward for Beltran. For a while, he has been hinting at retiring from playing singles but still wanted to play doubles. However, his long-time doubles partner De La Rosa has been forced to find new partnerships in his absence.
Since Alvaro’s injury, DLR has played with Kadim Carrasco (semis loss in Florida), Sebastian Fernandez (semis loss in Austin), Javier Mar (a win in the Lewis Drug), Alex Landa (a win at US nationals, then a Finals loss in Atlanta before this weekend), and then with Moscoso (a loss in Minnesota). Suffice it to say, DLR needs a regular partner. Has he found one in Landa? Maybe so; he and Landa eased into the final by topping Chicago’s champs Parrilla and Manilla in the semis.
There, they met … DLR’s old partner Beltran, who teamed with Montoya this week in Mar’s absence and got a very solid win over the PARC finalists from Bolivia Moscoso & Carrasco to get there.
In the final, the former partners battled it out to an 11-9 tiebreaker, with DLR and Landa taking the title, their first since taking US Nationals in February, though Beltran was a crowd-pleaser, making his normal array of fantastic shots.
You can see all of the results here: https://www.r2sports.com/website/event-results.asp?TID=41100
And more IRT statistics at: https://www.proracquetballstats.com/cgi-bin/results_front_new.pl?tour=IRT