On Friday, Irun saw a masterclass from tournament favourites Xala and Barriola, who trounced Titin III and Pascual 22-10. But for a late rally orchestrated by Titin, always venemous when behind, it could have been even worse for the losers, who were down 15-5 and 20-6. Titin and Pascual had nothing to throw at their opponents, who controlled every facet of the game. Barriola, as solid as the walls themselves in defence, served up opportunities to Xala on a plate, and Lekuine’s finest did not disappoint, hitting winner after winner past the nose of the Riojan veteran, who could only look on aghast. Pascual was under pressure from Barriola throughout the game, and rarely broke free from his grip. Despite a late flourish, there was no hope for the eventual losers, and their body language said it all. Xala and Barriola march ever onwards.
Martinez de Irujo and Merino II condemned Gonzalez and Laskurain to their fourth straight defeat, winning 22-10 in Pamplona. Irujo, recovered from his hand problems, scored nine winners and three aces, and was in a different league from Gonzalez who appeared largely powerless. Laskurain leaked points while his young opponent, David Merino, returned with aplomb and read the game beautifully. The Riojan talent is growing in confidence all the time in this his first top level tournament. The scoreline was overwhelming: 2-0, 9-1, 11-4, 16-4, 18-9, 20-10 and 22-10. In only 39 minutes and 311 balls, the win was sealed, and Irujo and Merino are very much back in the semi final fight.
Image from: Noticias de Navarra