The former runner-up at the World Championship is out of the 20th Annual Jai Alai Citrus Tournament in Orlando – on Jan 23/24th. The veteran will be replaced by the young (and running hot, as of late) Diego, who some will feel should have been included in the initial selections, instead of being a replacement player.
Diego was an injury replacement in the 2008 Citrus/World Cup Tournament, where he had a very quiet showing, when play was dominated by the two teams from the Miami fronton; Rekalde/Lopez (Champions) and Goichoetxea/Irastorza (2nd place).
The cancha at Orlando is known as a notoriously fast court and with the top 16 players in the U.S. (and arguably the top four in the world) one can expect the pelota to see plenty of action. This is not a night for those faint of heart or lacking in skill. If you have a weakness in your game, it will get exploited by these players and you will find yourself sitting down quite often.
While the official program has not been published yet, past tournaments will have the tournament players playing in ‘mixed’ warm-up games – where they team with each other in quinella style games, as regular fronton players (i.e. they will not play with their tournament partners). On Friday the 23rd, the feature games will then be the singles matches – when all the frontcourters will play against each other, and all the backcourters will go at it. The scoring is single points for both the fronts and backs and the game goes to seven points. In 2008, this is how the teams finished:
Zuri: 7 points, WIN
Barrondo: 6 points, PLACE
Lopez: 6 points, SHOW
Irastorza: 4 points
Sierra II: 3 points
Felix: 2 points
Oyarbide: 1 point
Hernandez: 0, (subbing for Enbil)
Goikoextea: 7 points, WIN
Egi: 2 points, PLACE
Barronio: 2 points, SHOW
Arriaga: 2 points, FOURTH
Aperri: 2 points
Lander: 1 point
Rekalde: 1 point
On Saturday the 24th, they will again have the players play in ‘mixed’ warm-up games, with the feature being the tournament doubles game player to TEN straight points. Last year, the teams finished:
Rekalde and Lopez: 10 points, WIN
Barronio and Sierra II: 6 points, PLACE
Goikoextea and Irastorza: 3 points, SHOW
Aperri and Zuri: 3 points
Lander and Felix: 2 points
Hormaetxea and Barrondo: 2 points
Arriaga and Oyarbide: 2 points
Egi and Hernandez: 0
For the 2008 tournament there were 2 teams that were flown in from Spain to compete:
Lander and Felix:
Hormaetxea and Barrondo:
Unfortunately for this years Citrus there are no teams from overseas – hence the thrid team each from Dania and Miami.
For the current lineup of players you can have a look at the official Orlando Jai Alai website:
Stay tuned, cesta punta fans.