Sunday 28th November, Eibar
MARTINEZ DE IRUJO beat GONZALEZ 22-13
Cuatro y Medio Semi Final
In theory, defending champion Sebastien Gonzalez had a chance to advance to the 2010 final. Facing him was Juan Martinez de Irujo, whom he beat for the title last year, and a win by seven points would have seen him through. However, Irujo was not about to let history repeat itself, and in a frenetic duel, the Manomanista Champion vanquished his erstwhile nemesis.
The early part of the match was close and tense, with the players level on 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Irujo always emerged the better off however, repeatedly forging a slender lead and never allowing himself to be headed. When Irujo opened a three point lead at 9-6, the die was cast for Gonzalez, who was forced to try and play catch up. However, Irujo’s firepower and pace were too high for the txapela holder, and from 12-8, he hit four winners in a row to give him the sixteen points he needed to progress. Gonzalez continued to battle, but the gap grew, and he never came within five points of the man from Ibero, who appeared to relax and swing harder in the knowledge of his safety.
Irujo remains the only unbeaten player in the tournament, and will aim to keep things that way when he takes on Abel Barriola in the final at Atano III in San Sebastian on 12th December. He will start as clear favourite on the strength of his reputation and his earlier win over the same opponent. However, Barriola looked imperious in his victory over Titin on Saturday, and has the class to subdue Irujo. It will be a fascinating battle of fire against ice for the year’s final championship.
Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 5-3, 5-5, 6-5, 6-6, 9-6, 9-7, 12-7, 12-8, 16-8, 16-9, 17-9, 17-12, 18-12, 18-13, 22-13
Duration: 34:15, with 6:38 of actual playing time
Service winners: Irujo 2, Gonzalez 0
Service faults: Irujo 0, Gonzalez 2
Balls hit: 184
Winners: Irujo 10, Gonzalez 5
Errors: Irujo 7, Gonzalez 8
Image from: Noticias de Navarra