Dec. 7th - 10th

Pleasanton, CA

Dec. 7th - 10th

Pleasanton, CA


GSO Day 2 Recap

GSO Day 2 Recap

by Rob Sabo

His hair may be peppered with gray, and the back may be a little creaky at times, but International Racquetball Tour veteran Rocky Carson proved he can still find some magic in his racquet on Day 2 of the Golden State Open at Bay Club in Pleasanton.

Fantastic Friday at the GSO did not disappoint, with several upsets among a crowded field of IRT professionals. Perhaps none was bigger than Carson’s 15-11, 15-9 victory over No.5 Andree Parilla in the round of 16. Playing in just his third tournament of the season, the 44-year-old Carson showed some of the moxie that propelled him to No.1 tour rankings in the 2017-2018 and 2008 seasons.

The 21st-ranked Carson defeated No.12 Javier Mar 15-10, 9-15, 11-4 in round of 32 to advance. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals, however, by the always-steady Rodrigo Montoya, 15-1, 15-13.

With more than two decades of tour experience upon which to draw, Carson said that making adjustments to the slower black Gearbox ball and unique venue of the all-glass show court, helped propel his run through the field at the GSO.

“When I played in the SoCal Open (in April), I was pretty disappointed in my play there,” he said. “It was my first time playing with the black ball, and I was pretty lackluster in my execution. I felt good in Colorado (at the KMW Gutterman World Singles and Doubles Open), but I got served off the court by Conrrado Moscoso – he was as good as I have ever seen him play. I didn’t get a lot of opportunities, so it was tough.

“The biggest thing is understanding the game – this is not the same as the purple ball,” Carson added. “The (glass) court is definitely slower as well, but it’s always been like that. Now that I understand the ball a little bit it allowed me to execute better.”

In other Day 2 matches, top-seeded Daniel De La Rosa clinched the 2023 No.1 overall IRT ranking with a 11-15, 15-9, 15-9 victory over  No.8 Andres Acuna in the quarterfinals. It’s the third consecutive IRT season title for De La Rosa, who faces Montoya in the semifinals. DLR’s IRT season title was solidified when No.2 Jake Bredenbeck was ousted from the GSO in the quarterfinals by Eduardo Portillo Torres, who faces Moscoso in the semis.

Moscoso earned a berth in the quarterfinals with a decisive win over Kane Waselenchuk in the round of 16. After dropping Game 1 to Waselenchuk, 10-15, Moscoso found his stride and won the next two games 15-4, 11-4 to claim his first IRT victory over Waselenchuk.

In doubles play, Carson teamed with fellow tour veteran Alvaro Beltran and put together a thrilling match against top-seeded Mar and Montoya, who are widely regarded as the best doubles team in the world. Despite flashes of brilliance from both players, including Beltran diving for balls like a player half his age, the duo fell 15-13, 15-13. Mar and Montoya advance to today’s semifinal matches against Moscoso and Kadim Carasco, who eliminated Jake and Sam Bredenbeck in two games (15-12, 15-7) to advance.

In the final doubles match of the night, Parilla and Adam Manilla were eliminated by Torres and Acuna 15,7, 15-9. Acuna and Torres face Alex Landa and De La Rosa in today’s other semifinal. Landa and DLR needed a tiebreaker to oust the team of Erick Trujillo and Robert Collins in the quarterfinals but prevailed 13-15, 15-6, 11-8.

Day 2 of the Golden State Open on the glass show court was an amazing display of IRT play, tournament director Manilla said.

“It’s fun, people are enjoying it, and we hope we can do it again next year,” he said. “It’s a full venue that really makes you feel like a professional out there.”