December 8th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen
Things really started to kick up a notch with the Men’s Quarterfinal rounds of the 2006 US OPEN Racquetball Championships. Each match seemed to have its own little point of interest ..
MQ1 – Jack Huczek def. Mitch Williams ((7), 4, 1, 4)
This was the first quarterfinal appearance for Mitch Williams at the US OPEN. He had been playing very well all week so far, and seemed ready to step up to the number one player in the world. Along with the quarterfinals appearance came some limelight – Mitch got his first Tennis Channel interview, and seemed right at home. Things kicked off with a bang, and Mitch took game one before Jack knew what happened. Huczek quickly re-grouped during the between game break, and had Williams forcing bad shots and chasing balls for the next three games.
MQ2 – Jason Mannino def. Cliff Swain (8, 11, 2)
Both players had heavy minds during this match – Cliff Swain had announced retirement earlier this year, and this was possibly his last match on the stadium court, ever. Mannino had torn a calf muscle in the early rounds, but was able to use smart game play to nurse his wounds. Cliff would clearly take advantage of any possible weakness, so this would undoubtabley be Jason’s first hardcore match with the injury. It was to my great surprise, that Jason stepped on the court and dominated from beginning to end, taking the match in three straight games. Does this guy have a chance at the title?!
MQ3 – Shane Vanderson def. Alvaro Beltran ((8), 7, 6, 1)
This was a quarterfinal that many thought could go either direction. Alvaro Beltran has been playing some great ball lately, and just picked up a new sponsor – Pro Kennex. Shane Vanderson had also been playing some great ball, and was poised to take it to the next level here in Memphis. After losing a tight first game, Shane was able to hit a stride, and finish the match in four games.
MQ4 – Rocky Carson def. Andy Hawthorne (2, 8, 6)
Andy Hawthorne has been making some huge waves this season, and continued his run by taking out top 10 seed Jason Thoerner in the round of 16 during a 3+ hour (so goes the rumor) five game showdown. The cheers from this match were heard all the way from the back courts to spectators of the stadium court. This match seemed to take the wind out of Andy sails, and this combined with Rocky’s make-no-mistakes offense, resulted in a three game victory for Rocky.
- 2006 US OPEN Coverage – Women’s Quarterfinals & Round of 16/32
- 2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Rounds of 16/32
- 2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Semifinals
- 2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Finals
- 2006 US OPEN Coverage – Women’s Semifinals & Finals