The 2012 Cactus Salon NYC ProAm: Kane Forfeits in Final

The 2012 Cactus Salon NYC ProAm: Kane Forfeits in Final

Post-Final handshake Carson (L) Waselenchuk by

With two top-tier men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) pro stops starting the second half of the 2011-2012 IRT season, there wasn’t a break after the Coast to Coast California IRT Open as the Cactus Salon NYC ProAm immediately followed January 12-15, 2012. In 2010-2011 IRT Season Jack Huczek beat Rocky Carson in a five-game championship match after Kane’s injury forfeit in the semifinals. Would there be any surprises this year?
Click HERE to view the pro draw.

6-time #1-ranked World Racquetball Champion, Kane Waselenchuk ended his 134-match unbeaten streak spanning three years, one of the longest active winning streaks in professional sports history, when he forfeited due to injury during the first game of the Championship match against the #2 ranked player, Rocky Carson at the Cactus Salon NYC Pro/Am January 15, 2012 at Synergy Fitness North, Syosset, NY.
By IRT Intern Seth Brody
Carson d Waslenchuk (6-2, forfeit by injury)
Rocky Carson sprinted out of the gate to a 5-0 lead. Then, the unthinkable happened. Kane Waselenchuk stepped off of the court for an injury timeout. Waselenchuk later said that he had hurt his back last weekend at the Coast-to-Coast California Open, but had kept it under wraps. It’s bothered him since, but he’d managed to loosen it up. Not today. To follow the proper timeout and injury timeout procedures, Waselenchuk was allowed one minute for a regular timeout plus a 15-minute injury timeout. Waselenchuk was off of the court for 16 minutes, which in reality felt like hours. Waselenchuk’s 136-match winning streak would be over if he didn’t step back on the court to play.
Waselenchuk should never be counted out, and he did not let himself go down with a score of zero. No donuts on Sundays. Waselenchuk got back into the clear-walled box and attempted his final stand. He managed to get on the board with 2 points before laying down his crown to Rocky Carson. No one wants to see a game end that way, but the most important thing is the health and well being of the players.

In the post-game interview, Carson said that he never wanted to win that way. Carson wanted to play through the tough times, referring to their numerous meetings for the championship title. However, unpredictability in life must be dealt with as best as possible. Waselenchuk was upset afterwards, but realistic. “Such is life.” He’d felt a problem in the warm up when he “couldn’thit the ball with pace or do anything.” He said he’d always try, but his back was telling him “no” while his mind said “yes.” He was grateful for the people and support around him since without them, he’d “probably do something stupid and try to play.” He was going to go home and get it fixed. He never got into racquetball to have a streak like he has; his overall goal is to be #1. If that means he’ll have a winning streak, so be it. But, “losing once in awhile is okay, too.”
He finished the interview by saying that he looks forwards to getting back in full swing at the next Tier 1, MonaVie Salt Lake City Pro-Am in Utah, February 1-4. “I don’t have to tell anyone that I’ll be back and 100%. I’ll be ready for it. I have, like, three weeks off and will get it fixed. The old Kane will be back.”
He will still remain the #1 player in the world and arguably the best player to ever play the game of racquetball.
He may have saved his streak if he had forfeited before stepping on the court. But a champion cannot give up. So it all ends, in a case of unfortunate events, at 137.
 Finals – Another Take by Bryan Shaw

Waselenchuk by

It was Déjà vu all over again as Kane and Rocky were scheduled to duel in the Sunday final. Rocky played Kane well the prior week, so the crowd was curious as if Rocky found a chink in Kane’s armor.
Rocky jumped out to a 5-0 lead and Kane called for a timeout. His mobility was

R. Carson by

noticeably affected. A regular timeout turned into an injury timeout. He managed to get on the board, but once Rocky built a 6-2 lead Kane had to pull out of the tournament with a back injury that prevented him from finishing the match. Rocky took the victory. Kane took to the recovery room. He has three weeks to heal and get ready for the next tier one in Salt Lake.
Semifinals by Bryan Shaw
The first semi-final featured a familiar pairing seen this season: Kane vs. Jose. While anybody facing Kane has a seemingly impossible challenge, the situation normally appears even worse for Jose. Jose entered the match 0-9 against Kane, and aside from a 12-10 loss at the US Open in Memphis years ago, Jose can’t seem to score more than five or six points in a game against Kane. This day was no different, as Kane had an answer to every move Jose made, winning in three games 11-5, 11-0, and 11-6.
The second semi-final featured Rocky Carson and Chris Crowther. Despite Rocky winning 96% of their previous tier one match-ups (24-1), they typically have great battles. This match was no exception. Chris couldn’t get his serve going and Rocky took quick advantage, winning game one 11-3. Chris suddenly locked in and started blasting lasers, winning the next couple of games 11-5 and 11-3. Rocky started mixing up speeds again and messed up Chris’ timing, winning the fourth game 11-3. Rocky’s superior conditioning appeared to play a factor in the fifth. Chris was still hanging, but didn’t have the energy he showed during the first part of the match. Rocky built a lead and kept Chris at bay, winning the fifth game and match 11-3, 5-11, 4-11, 11-3, and 11-6.
And, another take on the Semifinals by IRT Intern Seth Brody
Waselenchuk d Rojas (11-4, 11-0, 11-6)
It must be hard to be the guy who plays Kane Waselenchuk, and Jose Rojas knows that feeling quite a bit. Jose Rojas is the #4 ranked player on the IRT tour, an amazing player who shows tremendous growth and potential, just doesn’t have enough to make a move on Waselenchuk. Waselenchuk powered his way through game 1 beating Rojas with a score of 11-4. Rojas had several chances to make things happened when they counted but there is always that other guy in the court. That other guy in the court, #1 in the world, completely dematerialized Rojas’s chances in game 2. Waselenchuk would hand Rojas a donut (11-0).
Thinking that Rojas was out for good was pushing it a tad too far. Rojas is young and reacts like a coil. Push him enough and he will start pushing back harder. Rojas crept back in to game 3 and even took a one-point lead at 5-4. That faint vision of hope would be short in duration as Waselenchuk was on the run again. Waselenchuk gave up too many points already, because Waselenchuk plays for wins. Even more, he plays for huge point margin wins. Waselenchuk, at match point, 10-6, calls a timeout. Why? Not exactly sure, but it sure made Rojas dwell on the inevitable. Waselenchuk advances to the finals where he will be matched up yet again with #2 Rocky Carson, who just played a long and emotional 5-game match with #6 Chris Crowther.
The question is this: Will Rocky Carson be able to give Kane Waselenchuk another scare like he did last week at the Coast to Coast California Open? That will be answered in due time on Finals Sunday.
Carson d Crowther (11-3, 5-11, 4-11, 11-3, 11-6)
Game 1, began with an unusual start to a Carson-Crowther matchup. Chris Crowther was on fire and on point. Carson was not having one of his greatest games. He didn’t give up. He ground his way through the match, apparently knowing that he might have to win ugly. If he did, he won big – 11-3. Crowther seemed to use the game to work out some kinks and attempt to beat Carson for the second time this season.
Crowther started out Game 2 in his favor, never letting up as he delivered a punishing 11-5 loss. As the match grew longer, Carson’s temper rose while Crowther stayed calm, cool, and collected.
Game 3 was all Crowther, beating Carson 11-4. Carson’s performance seemed to be spiraling downwards, his temper appeared ready to burst, and his confidence shaken. If, down two games to one, Carson were to get back in the match, he’d have to continue grinding along, possibly using his temper in a John McEnroe-esque manner.
Game 4 started out neck and neck as both Carson and Crowther fought for every point, every shot, and every square inch of center court space. Then, almost from pure adrenaline or maybe a second wind, Carson woke up and played like SoCal’s own. He made more consistent shots, smarter choices, and placed Crowther on the losing side of this game with a score of 11-3.
Game 5 was the tiebreaker for all the dough. The biggest moment of the entire match was the entire match – the last 11 points. Crowther began with the short lead at 4-1. Carson earned a technical, losing a point to bring Crowther’s lead to 4-0. A player in any sport never wants a technical, yet Carson may have needed that foul to boost him back into the match. And so it was! Carson pulled off an amazing streak of points, eventually beating Crowther (11-4) for the match win. Crowther had the opportunity to take the win, but “hindered” himself by not calling a timeout earlier and by getting angry with the referee.
Carson advances to the finals where he’s been a consistent contender this season. He’ll face the winner of the match between #1 Kane Waselenchuk and #4 Jose Rojas.
Quarterfinals by Bryan Shaw

Gutierrez (L) v Crowther by

The quarterfinals were set to showcase Kane Waselenchuk vs. Shane Vanderson, Jose Rojas vs. Alvaro Beltran, Polo Gutierrez vs. Chris Crowther, and Rocky Carson III vs. Andy Hawthorne.
Kane cruised past Shane in three quick games, 11-5, 11-5, and 11-3. Andy played great in the first game and caught Rocky flat-footed, winning 11-9. Rocky struggled to get comfortable, but played well enough to take the next three games and the match, 9-11, 11-4, 11-4, and 11-8. Crowther was in the zone and put on a power clinic and ended Polo’s run with a crushing 11-4, 11-4, and 11-4.
The last quarterfinal match featured a replay of last week with Alvaro Beltran facing Jose Rojas. Alvaro was previously undefeated against Jose, entering the match with a 4-0 head-to-head record in tier one events. Alvaro won in four games last week in Canoga Park, dominating the last two games. The question was who went to the drawing board and studied the most during the past week to prepare for this potential match-up.
Both players came out firing. Alvaro has a more laidback approach, but hit hisalt shots nonetheless. Jose ripped his angles and played tough. He pulled out a tight first game 11-9 and repeated for a close second game 11-8. With his back against the wall Alvaro kept hanging around and chipping away to win the next two 11-8 and 11-6 to tie the match. Experience dominated the fifth game and Alvaro stayed cool and played his game to win the match 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, and 11-6.
Quarterfinals, another Take by John Beninato
IRT Intern/Tour Reporter
Rocky Carson (#2)  d Andy Hawthorne (#7)    (9), 4, 4, 8 
Great play from both Andy and Rocky out there! Hawthorne was using the court to his advantage in game 1 by serving along the glass side walls. Andy’s points coupled with a few questionable calls got to Rocky, which earned him a warning from the referee and a loss in the first game, 11-9.
Amped up for the second game, Andy tried to keep the pressure on Rocky. However, after a call to Fran Davis, Rocky started to focus and reached an early lead. Carson was in control of this game, despite his apparent anger towards the referee, Tony Carson. Rocky continued to be in control in game 3 and had a commanding 10-0 lead. Andy did his best to get to stay in the game, flying around the court and diving to the floor in hopes of putting any amount of pressure on Rocky. Carson was prepared to hand out a donut, but Andy scored a quick 4 points. Unfortunately for him, he could not keep the run going and lost, 11-4.
Game 4 was the last hope for Andy to end his winless record against Rocky. Carson kept the pressure on, reaching a 7-0 lead. The door was closing on Hawthorne, but he did not go down without a fight. Andy scored 7 unanswered points attempting to force the match to breaker, but Rocky took over, winning, 11-8.
Kane Waselenchuck (#1)  d Shane Vanderson (#8)   5,5,3
altAfter recently announcing that this would be his last full season on tour, Shane Vanderson stepped into the box with nothing to lose against the best player in the world. Early on, Shane was hitting some awesome shots and took an early lead, but, it was short-lived. Kane once again showed his incredible shot-making ability and took game 1, 11-5.
Game 2 was more of the same from both players. Vanderson started with an early lead and then Kane powered his way back into the game. There were some awesome points and both players were covering each other’s shots well. Shane was up, but Kane kept charging and took this one, 11-5. Kane was in complete control of the match now, even though Vandy got a couple points in game 3. There were some wonderful rallies, with both players hitting the floor and scrambling to get the ball to the front wall. Shane tried his best to put some more points on the board, but Kane was on fire and won the match, 11-3. Kane stopped with 136 wins for now, but we will see if he can raise that number in the semis tomorrow.
Chris Crowther (#6) d Polo Gutierrez (#19)   4, 4, 4
After defeating Ben Croft in the round of 16, Polo Gutierrez looked to keep his amazing upset win streak alive by defeating Chris Crowther. However, Crowther brought his top game and put a ton of pressure on Gutierrez. In game 1, Crowther stuck to a drive serve, keeping Gutierrez off balance and controlling the match. Gutierrez tried his best to effectively return the serve, but the pace of the ball proved too much. He lost the first game, 11-4.
Gutierrez came into the second game looking for a strong start. With an early 4-0 run; he found a way to get points, hitting some jaw dropping pinches into the left corner. Crowther needed a side-out and got one. He stepped into the box and relied on his blistering drive serve, which again took him to victory in the second game, 11-4.
In game 3, Crowther played some incredible racquetball. He put the ball down when he had to and set up points with his serve. Gutierrez’s game proved to be ineffective against Crowther, as he kept trying to string some points together. Crowther held Polo to 4 in this game. Avoidable hinder ended the match in 3 games.
Chris Crowther will meet Rocky in the semis and if he plays as well as he did in the quarters, it will be a long and hard match.
Jose Rojas (#4)   d   Alvaro Beltran (#12)   9, 8, (8), (6), 6
This was definitely one of the most exciting matches of the entire tournament! Beltran defeated Rojas in California last week and wanted to repeat that great win. The confidence showed as Beltran took an early 3-0 lead, but Rojas came into the match ready to shoot and kill. Pressure from Rojas led to a lot of unforced errors from Beltran, who’s momentum was coming to a halt. Even with all the donated points to Rojas, Beltran made it a tight game, yet still ended up losing 11-9.
Beltran needed to get something going, but he looked sluggish out there. He constantly hit the ball into the floor and Rojas capitalized on his mistakes. Beltran started to use a high lob serve to Rojas’ forehand and was able to get some points, but ended up losing this game too, 11-8. 
Things were looking grim for Beltran and thoughts of a repeat victory, like the one last week, must have been fading. Rojas kept nailing shots, putting Beltran on the defensive. It was clear that Rojas wanted to end this one in 3. But, Beltran fought hard, got the lead, and eventually won 11-8.
During the later games of the match, Beltran continued to battle riding on a second wind. Both players fought for every point, but Beltran came out on top, 11-6. Incredibly, Beltran forced a tiebreaker after looking somewhat lackadaisical and defeated in the earlier games. Suddenly, the 2 game lead Jose had was meaningless.
Could Beltran pull this one out in the breaker? He fought so hard to get to game 5, trying to knock out Rojas for the second week in a row. Rojas got an early 3-0 lead in breaker and put immediate pressure on Beltran. As the game went on, Jose stepped into the service box having racked up 10 points to Beltran’s 2. Rojas was one point away from victory. However, Beltran was not done fighting and denied Rojas many of match point opportunities. Ultimately, Beltran fell, 11-6. Beltran’s comeback was truly remarkable, but he could not seal the deal. Rojas moves on to face Waselenchuk in the semifinals.
Round of Sixteen by Bryan Shaw
Blast from the Past in Qualifying

Sudsy Monchik by

Possibly the most highly anticipated aspect going into the tournament was the return of formal great Sudsy Monchik. He committed to play several pro stops this season, and New York was the kickoff. He faced a tough draw getting through the qualifying rounds as he faced three consecutive tough matches on Thursday against Agustin Tristan, Vincent Gagnon, and then Javier Moreno in order to advance to the round of sixteen. Sudsy’s miracle run through the draw was stopped before it began as Agustin took advantage of Sudsy’s rust and won in three quick games, 11-7, 11-3, and 11-3.
Several players saw their first berth of the season into the round of sixteen after advancing through the qualifying rounds: Ruben Gonzolez, Agustin Tristan, and Polo Gutierrez. Also noteworthy was that Brad Schopieray made his second appearance in the round of sixteen for the season.
Top seed Kane Wasenlenchuk disposed of Ruben in a quick three games, and Rocky Carson followed suit by taking out Brad Schopieray in three games. Chris Crowther ended Agustin Tristan’s run in three games, and Andy Hawthorne sent Anthony Herrera packing in three games. Jose Rojas gave Alejandro Landa a rude welcome with an 11-0 first game. Landa rebounded nicely in the second game but lost 12-10, and Jose finished off the third game 11-7 to advance to quarterfinals. Jose has not been upset in the opening round so far this season.

Alvaro Beltran by

The first round of sixteen match to go beyond the minimum of three games was #12 seed Alvaro Beltran against #5 seed Charlie Pratt. Alvaro has an artificially low seeding due to a couple years of not playing much due to injuries. As he works his way back up the ladder, it creates extremely difficult opening round matches for the top eight players. This week it was Charlie Pratt who drew the short straw. A rarity to get a glimpse of the first time players face each other, this was actually the first match-up in tier one history between these two players. The first game was tight, but Charlie executed his shots with precision to show why he was a top player on tour, taking game one 11-9. Alvaro made the necessary adjustments, dialed in his game, and took the next three games to win the match in four games, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, and 11-9.
The next round of sixteen match to go extra innings was #8 Shane Vanderson and #9 Tony Carson. Shane has had a relatively disappointing season. Aside from getting knocked out in the opening round in Kansas City, he has gotten to the quarterfinal of every other tournament but unable to advance beyond that. Shane has finished the season as high as fifth several times in his career, but last season slipped to seventh, and this year is looking worse unless he can turn it around the second half of the season.
Tony Carson is on the doorstep of getting into the top eight. He advanced through every qualifying division this season but couldn’t get past the round of sixteen. Last week in Canoga Park he upset Charlie Pratt to earn his first quarterfinal appearance. With the taste of quarterfinals still in his mouth he came out and played exceptional ball, capitalizing on Shane’s mistakes and took the first two games. Shane rebounded and won the third convincingly, and Shane squeaked out a tight fourth game to force the tie-breaker. It was a good fifth game but Shane ended up on top, winning the match 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10, and 11-7.

Ben Croft (L) v Polo Gutierrez by

The final round of sixteen match that went beyond the minimum number of games showcased #3 Ben Croft against #19 Polo Gutierrez. Despite Croft establishing himself as a top player and deserving of his top four ranking, Polo was not going to be a walk in the park. Polo doesn’t play a lot of tier one events, but he is an excellent player. He has a very laidback style but still manages to be very quick, and he has a very unique grip that allows him to hit unorthodox shots with remarkable precision. The players had only faced each other a handful of times in the past and Polo won all those tier one match-ups.
Play was tight the first game. Ben was having a little trouble getting his lines dialed in and seemed frustrated most of the game, but he was able to edge it out with an 11-9 win. Game two was much of the same, but Polo raised his level of play and kept Ben frustrated, winning 11-9 to even the match. Ben fell into the vortex in the third game as Polo’s style kept Ben off balance and frustrated. Ben never quite seemed in it and lost 11-3. Down big in the fourth, Ben fought back. It looked like Polo was going to win but Ben clawed back and fought off two match points to eventually come out on top 13-11 and force a deciding fifth game. The players dueled another masterful game in the tie-breaker. The players were tied deep in the match, and tough call against Ben late opened up the door for Polo who finished it off 12-10, winning a very exciting match for the fans 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-13, and 12-10.
Rocky Carson (#2) d Brad Schopieray (#15) 2, 3, 8
Andy Hawthorne (#7) d Anthony Herrera (#10) 5, 7, 6
Shane Vanderson (#8) d Tony Carson (#9) (9), (5), 5, 10, 7
altKane Waselenchuk (#1) d Ruben Gonzalez (#17) 3, 3, 2
This match was all about Kane and he showed everyone just how well he can play. From the very beginning, he was in control against the legend, Ruben Gonzalez. He was rolling shots from all parts of the court and kept Ruben off balance. Kane was able to string together a lot of points with a lob serve, which he stuck with for most of the match.  Game 1 went to Kane, 11-3.
Ruben used a drive served to get an early lead in game 2, but Kane quickly ended Ruben’s brief run and scored 11 in a hurry. In game 3, Kane was drive serving and absolutely dominating his competition. The respect between the players was clearly visible as they complimented each other’s great shots and offered courtesy hinders. It was great to see two magnificent players compete against each other, even though Kane dictated the entire match. Kane logged his 135th win and faces Shane Vanderson in the quarters at 6:30.
(Recap by IRT Intern John Beninato)
Polo Gutierrez (#19) d Ben Croft (#3) (9), 9, 3, (10), 10
 What an early round match! Ben Croft came in to the match wiht a 0-1 tour record against Polo and was out to prove that he could win. Game 1 started with an early lead for Polo, who was looking very comfortable against Ben. He was hammering shots into the corners and Croft tried to just get something going. As the game moved on, Ben tied it up, earning points from tremendous backhands. Croft ended up taking this game, 11-9. He seemed to be ready to chalk up a win against Gutierrez.
Game 2 was very even and both players were hitting some great shots. Ben had a chance to win it, but a skipped the ball gave Polo the game, 11-9. It had started to become a battle. Both players were fighting for points and doing anything they could to get something going. Ben was getting very upset about some of the referee’s calls, which may have cost him the game. Also, Polo was playing on top of his game, which upset Croft even more. Polo cruised to victory in game 3, 11-3.
Polo was looking to shut the door on Ben in game 4, but Ben had other plans. Even after a penalty hinder was called on Ben, Polo could not find his stroke and was cooling down a bit. This game was tight at 10-10, but Ben was able to pull it out and force a breaker by winning 13-11.
Game 5 was a hard fought battle between both competitors and it was anybody’s game. Both players were looking a little fatigued and had to dig deep to grab the win. It was tight and looked like anyone could take it, but Polo was able to squeeze out a win for the game and the match, 12-10. Tremendous play by both Polo and Ben!
(Recap by IRT Intern John Beninato)
Chris Crowther (#6) d Agustin Tristan (#27) 8, 5, 5
Jose Rojas (#4) d Alejandro Landa (#13) 0, 10, 7
Alvaro Beltran (#12) d. Charlie Pratt (#5) (9), 6, 4, 9
Early Rounds
5-time #1 World Racquetball Champion and Staten Island Hall of Fame 2009 Inductee, Sudsy Monchik stepped out of retirement to compete in the Cactus Salon NYC ProAm on the men’s International Racquetball Tour (IRT) held at Synergy Fitness North, in Syosett, NY through January 15th. He joins 200 competitors including hometown favorites, rising star Nick Montalbano and former #1 Ruben Gonzalez, who is capping his 30+ year racquetball career by attempting to reach a top 10 ranking in the two years before he retires at age sixty.
Seeded #38, Monchik lost to the #27 seed Agustin Tristan, who went on to defeat #33 Vincent Gagnon and #11 Javier Moreno to face #6 Chris Crowther in the round of 16. Monchik later explained his loss.
“It’ll be a process as far as results. Sometimes it’s easy to expect amazing things immediately. Unfortunately at 37, it’s not the case right away. I’m excited that Ektelon has given me the change to play. I’ve been touched by the support of the racquetball community, through texts, e-mails, and calls. It’s been overwhelming, an awesome feeling. I’ll train harder and be ready to hopefully do some damage and show how I’m capable of competing.” Monchik’s next appearance will be in Tempe, AZ at the 45th National Doubles Championships where he’ll partner with former Major League Baseball star, Jeff Conine.
IRT Red Swain Scholarship winner, Brad Schopieray played through to the round of 16, taking out #18 Hiroshi Shimizu. The round of 16 matches for Friday, 1/13 are set. The Quarterfinal round starts at 5:30 pm.
Next Stop: Cactus Salon NYC IRT Pro/Am
Kane Waselenchuk took a tight, 4-game final against Rocky Carson last Sunday, capping his 3-year winning streak, which he’ll defend at the Cactus Salon NYC Open starting Thursday. The top pros will cross a generational divide along with the geographical distance as hometown favorites compete in the qualifying draw: rising star Nick Montalbano; the legendary Ruben Gonzalez on his Fairwell Tour; and 5-time world champion Sudsy Monchik, Ektelon ambassador since last May.
Last year, Gonzalez played into the 32s while in the talks with Ektelon that led to his Farewell Tour and signature product line. #18 seed Montalbano defeated #15 Javier Moreno in the round of thirty-two before bowing to #2 Rocky Carson in the round of sixteen, Montalbano’s best finish of the four tournaments he played. This season Montalbano took Shane Vanderson to four games in the US Open, but has not been able to push past the 32s.
The event, named after Long Island Press’ 2010’ “Best Hair Salon” and “Best Day Spa,” a thirty-plus year old business with twenty-eight locations, evolved from the storied, twenty-year history of the Long Island Open. Tournament director Tom Keogh credits the tough competition that still brings players from over a dozen states to watch and enter the event.
There’ll be plenty of room for all comers. The main club, Synergy Fitness North, is an 11-court, 40,000 square-foot facility with showcase glass courts. Players will join a draw that includes up to 300 entrants filling the courts from eight o’clock in the morning until midnight—all starting on time under Keogh’s attentive watch. In addition to a reliable schedule, players enjoy meal vouchers for menu items at the on-site restaurant, whenever they’re ready to eat. Each finalist receives a cash or racquetball-related prize.

by Lawman Photography

The 2011 Cactus Salon NYC Open’s top prize went to #4 seed Jack Huczek, who won by forfeit in the semifinal round against an injured #1 Kane Waselenchuck. Meeting #2 Rocky Carson in the finals, Huczek came out ahead in the five-game championship before abruptly retiring just prior to the season-ending Ektelon Nationals presented by Penn grand slam in May.
All eyes will be on the courts January 12-15, enjoying amateur matches and watching professionals like #1 player Kane Waslenchuck demonstrate his game-changing dominating technique that has him defeating his competition over the last three seasons. Will 2012 be the year that his opponents bring his winning streak to an end?
For more information on the Cactus Salon, call 631.586.4849. Visit Restrung Magazine at