The San Mateo tournament got underway in Logrono, Rioja, on Sunday and the first two matches have gone rather against the expected. On Sunday, reigning pairs champions XALA and ZUBIETA lost to SARALEGI and BEGINO, 22-16. Ekaitz Saralegi was the undoubted star of the show, notching up 17 winners to Xala’s 5. Whereas Xala was below par, the 31 year old from Amezketa was inspired, displaying dogged defence as well as lethal attack. The defenders were more evenly matched. Xala broke free in an extent in the second part of the match the champions came between three points of their rivals at 16-19, but despite a minor strain to Begino’s arm, the Asegarce pair finished the job.
On Monday, BENGOETXEA VI and PATXI RUIZ scraped through 22-21 against TITIN III and BARRIOLA. In a game full of emotion, the Asegarce pair held sway for the majority of the encounter, leading 13-8, 16-12 and 20-13, with Bengoetxea rampant and Ruiz his perfect foil. However, to rapturous approval from the Logrono faithful, Titin and Barriola scrapped their way back to 17-20, before saving four match points to reach 21-21. The fifth proved one too far though, as a txoko from Ruiz won the day.
The battle continues tonight, as MARTINEZ DE IRUJO and PASCUAL take on XALA and LASKURAIN, who stands in for Zubieta. Tomorrow, Wednesday, TITIN III and BARRIOLA take on BERASALUZE VIII and APRAIZ. There will, sadly, be no coverage on ETB Sat.
Image from: Noticias de Gipuzkoa, by Jose Sampedro