November 19th, 2007 by Adam Katz
By the time Rocky and Jack took to the court, the capacity crowd at the Racquet Club of Memphis had been treated to some absolutely fantastic racquetball. First, by Ruben and Woody in the CPRT Finals, won by Ruben in 5, then by Rhonda and Cheryl in the WPRO finals. So Rocky and Jack had a lot to live up to as they entered the stadium court at the 12th Choice Hotels US OPEN. Luckily, they didn’t disappoint.
Rocky came out on fire and simply could not miss. Most people around me were saying that he was “in the zone” and I would heartily agree. While Jack was playing well, he simply couldn’t keep up with Rocky in the first game and the 11-3 scoreline is both a testament to how well Rocky played and how tough a competitor Jack is…the fact that he was able to score any points with the way Rocky was hitting proves that Jack is truly worthy of his Number 1 ranking.
Further proof was delivered in the second game. The crowd was definitely feeling a Rocky sweep after that first game, but Jack refused to allow that to happen. He changed things up and kept attacking Rocky every chance he got. Although Rocky was still playing very solidly, Jack just refused to lose this game. They were together throughout until Jack closed it late to tie things up 11-7 to Jack.
Now the crowd decided it would be best to settle in and just enjoy the moment. Getting riled up for the TV Cameras seemed to have pumped up both of the competitors as they were definitely playing some amazing racquetball.
As the third game started, it was pretty obvious that both players were going to try and impose their will on this game in order to get the 2-1 lead and obtain the better odds of clinching the title and having their name etched on the Champions Cup of the Choice Hotels US OPEN. Points seemed very hard to come by as both players spent a lot of time diving and hitting to the ceiling to keep the ball in play. When the dust settled, though, Rocky had strung together enough at the end to squeak out the game 11-8.
At this point, Rocky could sense his time was coming. However, Jack has earned that number 1 ranking and he wasn’t about to potentially give it up without a major fight. Both players traded points early in the game until Rocky went on a run that would bring him to the verge of the title. He got the score to 10-5 and then he stalled…or more appropriately, Jack really turned his own game up. Rocky served for the match at least 6 different times, but at the same time, he only gave up one more point himself during this long stretch of time. Rocky did have one moment when he thought that he had finally ended it with a dive in the right side front court, but side Referee, Andy Hawthorne called it two bounces and so the celebration was postponed. Each time Rocky stepped into the service box, the crowd started chanting, “Rocky, Rocky” so when he finally ended things it was only natural that the theme song from the movie would boom out in the stadi um court area.
As to my earlier report on the women’s final, I did see Rhonda as I was leaving the club for the airport and she mentioned that on that tough play in the 3rd game, when she hit Cheryl on her backswing, it threw her off quite a bit and after she had hit the ball, her own racqet came up and caught her in the nose. All I can say is that it was very bloody.
This concludes my Choice Hotels US OPEN experience.
The US Junior Team heads to Cochabamba, Bolivia for the IRF Junior Worlds in about 3 weeks. A few of the team members made the trip to Memphis and they all appear very eager to get down there and start playing. I will do the best I can to get updates out to everyone as I receive word from those that will be there.
Next up for me, potentially, will be National Doubles in February in Tempe, AZ. Still not 100% certain, but we’ll see.
Anyway, I just got home, and I haven’t had a chance to upload the pictures that I did take from my camera and won’t be doing that tonight. When I have, I will send some out to everyone…I am not a Geoff Thomsen or Mike Boatman by any means, so please keep that in mind.
In the meantime, I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving this coming week!
- 2007 US OPEN – Semifinals
- 2007 US OPEN – Final Thoughts
- Photos: 2004 Choice Hotels US Open
- 2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Quarterfinals
- US Open Recap