Sunday 8th November, Astelena, Eibar
TITIN III beat RETEGI BI 22-13
It is twelve years since the famous Cuatro y Medio final of 1997. The epic duel between Retegi II and Titin III has gone down in history as one of the greatest games of all time and its shadow was never far from Astelena on Sunday. Retegi II and Titin met again but in very different circumstances, as the former coached his son, Julen, against the player he once defeated. Titin, now aged 40, has withstood the test of time and succeeded against the son where he failed against the father.
Julen Retegi looked tight and nervous from the off, a pale imitation of the player who had so spectacularly thwarted Aimar Olaizola in the quarter finals. Titin raced to a 6-1 lead while Retegi failed both in direction and positioning on the fronton. The young forward pulled two points back by way of two errors from Titin but at 13-3 to the Riojan legend, the game appeared to be up for Retegi. However, much to the delight of the Tolosa faithful, Retegi rallied, showing flashes of his quarter final dominance. In the course of the game’s middle section, in which Retegi closed to 13-16, Titin committed six errors, some more unforced than others, but Retegi also displayed some dazzling shot making prowess. This was nowhere more apparent than in the beautifully worked txoko at 13-4 and in the stunning dosparedes winner which took the score to 13-10. However, just as the game appeared to be shaping up for a battle royal, Retegi lost all his momentum after a falta which ripped into his confidence. The man from Pamplona failed to add to his score as Titin ran away with it, 22-13.
Retegi appeared utterly dejected and it is easy to see why. In his previous match he had pulled off one of the upsets of the year in totally outplaying the defending champion, the man who has dominated Cuatro y Medio in recent years. He showed tantalising glimpses of that form here but proved unable to sustain it. He needs to find an extra gear if he is to compete at this level on a consistent basis. Titin for his part played with impressive verve and his customary passion. He has the ammunition to make quite some mark on the remainder of this tournament; Irujo and Gonzalez must be on their guard when faced with the evergreen warrior from Tricio.
Scoring sequence: 0-1, 6-1, 6-3, 7-3, 13-3, 13-10, 14-10, 14-11, 16-11, 16-13 and 22-13.