by Justin Johnson
Jaime Martell’s storied run at the 2016 U.S. Open came to an end on Thursday, falling to No. 1 seed Rocky Carson 11-8, 11-8, and 11-2.
The youngster went toe-to-toe with the former U.S. Open champion and threatened to win games one and two, but Carson made timely runs at the end of each game before controlling game three to close out the match.
“He beat two great players to get to where he was at, so I knew I had to be ready to play,” Carson said. “He was grooved into his game and I knew I just had to jump on top of the rallies and control them. Finishing the rallies was definitely not the best most of the match, but the last game I played better.”
The win propels Carson into the quarterfinals for a matchup with Marco Rojas. For Martell, it ends a week of racquetball he will remember forever.
“I think it’s the best moment of my career. I’ve had one or two tournaments where I’ve had good results, but this is the grand slam,” Martell said. “This is the best tournament of the year and to play in the stadium in the round of sixteen is one of the things I’ve been dreaming of all my life.”
Martell made an impression on racquetball fans who witnessed his play throughout the tournament, drawing considerable applause and attention for his intensity and shot-making ability. His play carried him to wins over Cliff Swain and Mauricio Zelada, and after battling with Carson one thing is clear – the kid can play. His name should be noted as one to keep an eye on in the years to come.
“I feel good because I think that now I can compete against these guys and I’m always hungry,” he said. “I’ll still continue training and will be back to get better results.”