Sunday 16th May, San Sebastian
MARTINEZ DE IRUJO beat BENGOETXEA VI 22-10
Manomanista Group A
On Sunday, Manomanista favourite Juan Martinez de Irujo made short work of Oinatz Bengoetxea to make absolutely sure of his place in the last four. Bengoetxea, the 2008 champion needed a big victory to progress, but he came up against an Irujo in a typically aggressive mood, and never came close. The result also means that Asier Olaizola is assured of his semi final slot. He will probably play Xala, while Irujo will face either Patxi Ruiz or Retegi Bi.
As if to state his intent to finish his opponent off as quickly as possible, Irujo raced to a 5-0 lead. Bengoetxea rallied to 5-4 but that was as close as he got to the tournament favourite, who surged to 13-5 and 20-6. He relaxed a little as he reached the finishing line, but he had plenty breathing space, and though he moved on to 10, Benogetxea was in an inferior league to Irujo here. The former champion committed ten errors, and the lack of competition between the two was reflected in the short duration of many of the rallies. Irujo simply had too much power and played with too much speed, and only 117 balls were required to seal the win.
This is the third consecutive visit to the Manomanista semi finals, and he has arrived at this point with three wins from three in the contest. He must now be the favourite, although Asier Olaizola uncovered weaknesses in his armoury. Xala may have something to say about the supposed top status of the man from Ibero, and as the form pelotari of the year as a whole, may prove his most formidable rival. A final between the two would be a match to savour.
Scoring sequence: 5-0, 5-4, 13-4, 13-5, 13-6, 20-6, 20-7, 21-8, 21-10, 22-10
Image from Noticias de Alava, by Javi Colmenero