There were five matches in the Cuatro y Medio first round this weekend, and they served up some memorable pelota, notably from Iker Arretxe, who upset the odds, and a white hot Pablo Berasaluze.
Friday 22nd October, Sodupe: ARRETXE II beat XALA 22-14
Iker Arretxe pulled off the coup of the first round on Friday, condemning big name Yves Salaberry to an early exit in Sodupe. The 25 year old from Valcarlos in Navarre moved his more illustrious opponent around the court with ease, and nailed him wide with expert assurance. He managed 12 winners to 2 errors, while Xala’s 11 winners were tempered by 6 mistakes. It was a night to erase from the memory for the Manomanista runner up.
Saturday 23rd October, Pamplona: PATXI RUIZ beat OLAETXEA 22-20
In form Patxi Ruiz made the quarters in a tight encounter against Mikel Olaetxea, through hard graft and toil. He dominated the early exchanges but a mid-match wobble allowed Olaetxea a life line, which he took with both hands. However, Patxi showed the nerve and steel which have made him a winner this summer to come through unscathed, by a two point margin.
Saturday 23rd October, Gernika: BERASALUZE VIII beat OLAZABAL 22-3
Pablo Berasaluze was the most emphatic winner of the week, thrashing Mikel Olazabal with no recourse to mercy. The forward from Berriz was superior in all areas to his younger opponent, and sealed another win for Asegarce in a weekend when Barriola was Aspe’s only success story.
Sunday 24th October, Eibar: URRUTIKOETXEA beat ZUBIETA 22-12
First year pro Mikel Urrutikoetxea took the considerable scalp of Pairs Champion Aitor Zubieta in the first game of the Cuatro y Medio double header at Astelena. The 21 year old looked at ease against his more experienced opponent, hitting many apparently easy winners and finding excellent lines and angles. Zubieta was forced to work hard for everything he could get, and the young talent deserves his place in the quarter finals on merit.
Sunday 24th October, Eibar: BARRIOLA beat SARALEGI 22-13
Abel Barriola, the favourite for this match, was made to battle for half of the encounter by Ekaitz Saralegi. Barriola found himself down to the Asegarce forward at 11-13 but from that juncture hit the afterburners, flying to 22 and a place in the last eight against local rival Oinatz Bengoetxea, so devastating in his first round demolition of Beroiz last week. That will be a tie to savour.
The draw for the quarter finals is now complete and is as follows:
Friday 29th October, Balmaseda: DIAZ v URRUTIKOETXEA
Saturday 30th October, Pamplona: BARRIOLA v BENGOETXEA VI
Sunday 31st October, Urretxu: PATXI RUIZ v ARITZ LASA
Monday 1st November, Eibar: BERASALUZE VIII v ARRETXE II
Berasaluze made short work of Olazabal
Image from El Correo