Saturday 2nd May
BENGOETXEA VI beat PATXI RUIZ 22-4
It took defending champion Oinatz Bengoetxea just over half an hour to defeat Patxi Ruiz in this quarter final match, the first test in his title defence. The 24 year old had talked a good game earlier this week and delivered on all fronts against an opponent who was not himself. Some journalists had likened Patxi Ruiz to a broken record, such was his insistence on talking about his physical woes but on this showing, the 2003 champion was not crying wolf. As reported by Diario Vasco, some spectators were unhappy at shelling out their precious cash to watch a player who arguably should not have been on the court. One stated that “it is unacceptable to pay 40 euros to see Patxi Ruiz play under these conditions…Patxi suffered…but I too suffered at seeing him”. Ruiz, who played with strapping on his back, was simply unable to move as he needed, which was particularly obvious when he tried to bend. It was a night this great servant of the game will want to erase from his memory.
Despite Patxi’s obvious affliction, it would be churlish to ignore the prowess displayed by Bengoetxea. It is always difficult to play a wounded rival but to his credit, the defending champion was utterly professional, both in his play and his demeanour. He took no risks, hardly employing his fearsome right handed sotomano, but had little need to. He overwhelmed Patxi with his strength and accuracy, served excellently, and showed impressive spark with his right, which bodes well for the challenges to come. For his part, the native of Leitza declared himself satisfied with his important first victory and his form but warned that more challenging rivals will await. He knew then that he would face either Sebastian Gonzalez or Juan Martinez de Irujo in his semi final on 17th May and he now knows that he will face the latter, who today triumphed 22-16. A harder challenge indeed.
Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 9-1, 9-3, 15-3, 15-4 and 22-4.