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2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Finals

The men’s finals of the 2006 US OPEN Racquetball Championships had everyone guessing.  Would the “rested” Rocky Carson who had not dropped a single game all tournament steamroll Jason Mannino who was injured and also off a huge five game battle royal?  Would Jason’s drive and confidence propel him to his second US OPEN title?  I think most people expected four or five games, but Jason Mannino won his second US OPEN title in three straight.

MF – Jason Mannino def. Rocky Carson (9,8,5)

Double Donut Gallery Link for 2006 US OPEN

December 8th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Semifinals

The Men’s semifinal rounds of the 2006 US OPEN Racquetball Championships truly set the tone for the finals on Sunday.  Rocky started out with a quick finish over Shane Vanderson, and many noticed that he seemed rested and ready for the match on Sunday.  On the other half of the draw, there was a blood bath that will not soon be forgotten in Memphis.  Jack Huczek and Jason Mannino played an INCREDIBLE five game battle royal that even had Shawn Royster dancing on the announcer’s desk near the end of game five.  Jason’s torn calf muscle seemed to be having little impact on his play, and his mental game seemed unshakable.

MS1 – Jason Mannino def. Jack Huczek (5,6,(6),(9),10)
MS2 – Rocky Carson def. Shane Vanderson (5,8,3)

Double Donut Gallery Link for 2006 US OPEN

December 8th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Quarterfinals

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.

 

Double Donut Gallery Link for 2006 US OPEN

December 8th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 US OPEN Coverage – Women’s Semifinals & Finals

Super Saturday lived up to its name at the 2006 US OPEN Racquetball Championships with some incredible matches from the WPRO.  Brenda Kyzer made her semifinal debut on the stadium court, but Christie Van Hees was successful at keeping her in the back court and rolling everything in sight.  The bottom half semifinal was a tense five gamer between Cheryl Gudinas and Kerri Wachtel.  Kerri has been charging up the ranks of the WPRO this year, and won the pro stop right before the US OPEN.  She jumped to early leads in all the games against Cheryl, but Gudinas was able to dig deep and finish the games she needed for a spot in the finals.

The finals was all Christie Van Hees, as she rolled to a quick victory over Cheryl.  Christie only lost a single game on her way to the title, which was to Rhonda in the quarterfinals.

WF – Christie Van Hees def. Cheryl Gudinas (3,2,2)
WS1 – Christie Van Hees def. Brenda Kyzer (3, 3, 9)
WS2 – Cheryl Gudinas def. Kerri Wachtel (0,(5),10,(2),9)

Double Donut Gallery Link for 2006 US OPEN

December 8th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 US OPEN Coverage – Women’s Quarterfinals & Round of 16/32

There were some truly great women’s matches in the early rounds of the 2006 US OPEN Racquetball Championships.  The first thing I can say about the women’s matches, is that they really seemed to get the short end of the stick as far as stadium court time went.  Very few early rounds made it in front of the grand stands, as well as a single quarterfinal match.  End of rant.  Angela Grisar battled her way to the quarterfinals, with TOUGH five-game matches against Adrienne Fisher and Toshiko Sakamoto.  The number one seed, Rhonda Rajsich, faced long time opponent Christie Van Hees in her quarterfinal.  Christie proved she still had the game (even after missing most of the recent WPRO stops), and was able to take Rhonda in four games.

Coverage included:

W16 – Angela Grisar def. Adrienne Fisher ((10), 9, (11), 6, 1)
W16 – Cheryl Gudinas def. Paola Longoria (4, 5, 2)
W32 – Angela Grisar def. Toshiko Sakamoto ((10), 12, (1), 4, 6)
WQ1 – Christie Van Hees def. Rhonda Rajsich (10, (7), 3, 6)

Double Donut Gallery Link for 2006 US OPEN

December 8th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

2006 US OPEN Coverage – Men’s Rounds of 16/32

Things got off to a rocky start for Double Donut Studios during the event coverage for the 2006 US OPEN Racquetball Championships with a stranded battery charger in some “delayed” luggage from the airlines.  I didn’t get to take as many photos as I would have liked during some of the early rounds on Thursday, but I still ended up with some good shots.

Match Coverage
The early rounds on the Men’s side went off pretty much as expected.  The biggest news included:  Jason Mannino tearing(?) a calf muscle in his round of 64 match against Micah Rich (he continued to play, and won the match);  Sudsy Monchik slipping a disk in his back during a match against Alvaro Beltran (which caused him to forfeit his match); Andy Hawthorne upsetting number 7 seed Jason Thoerner to earn a spot in the quarterfinals (in a LONG 5 gamer that had a HUGE crowd);  Ruben Gonzalez making the round of 16 YET AGAIN (superman for sure); and an absolute SLUGFEST between Mitch Williams and Chris Crowther (these guys were blasting PHOTONS all match long, and hit each other with the ball several times.  Neither player would even flinch after getting pelted with a 170+MPH kill).

The matches on the Stadium Court included:

  • M32 – Rocky Carson def. Charlie Pratt (1, 6, 2)
  • M32 – Jason Mannino def. Mike Keddie (1, 7, 1)
  • M32 – Jack Huczek def. Kris Odegard (2, 4, 2)
  • M32 – Alvaro Beltran def. Brian Fredenberg (2, 6, 5)
  • M32 – Shane Vanderson def. John Ellis ((9), 5, 5, 3) (non-stadium, but I don’t get to cover John Ellis often)
  • M16 – Shane Vanderson def. Ben Croft (2, 6, 4)
  • M16 – Rocky Carson def. Hiroshi Shimizu (3, 6, 3)
  • M16 – Mitch Williams def. Chris Crowther (11, 8, (3), 6)
  • M16 – Jason Mannino def. Woody Clouse (3, 8, 3)
  • M16 – Jack Huczek def. Ruben Gonzalez (7, 5, 4)

Double Donut Gallery Link for 2006 US OPEN

December 6th, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

US Open Recap

Another great tournament in Memphis!  This was another success story for USA Racquetball and Doug Ganim as the 2006 Choice Hotels US OPEN Racquetball Championships showcased the world’s premiere players along with world class event production.  Congratulations to this year’s champions, Jason Mannino (now two-time US OPEN champion), and Christie Van Hees (women’s first three-time US Open champion).  Some of the event highlights include: Ruben Gonzales debuting his new Ektelon 03 RG signature racquet; Shawn Royster standing on the commentator’s desk swinging his jacket during Jason Maninno’s incredible five-game win over Jack Huczek; full event production for the Tennis Channel; and a memorable party with the pros on Saturday evening.  As in previous years, the pro divisions seemed to have great semifinal battles on Saturday night, and then somewhat anticlimactic finishes on Sunday (both finals were three straight games).

Double Donut Stats:
Hours spent at club over 4 days: 56
Redbulls: 12
Dr. Pepper: Countless
Total pictures taken: ~8,000

2 comments November 21st, 2006 by Geoff Thomsen

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