Saturday 22nd October, Pamplona
OLAIZOLA II beat GONZALEZ 22-15
Aimar Olaizola, in beating Sebastien Gonzalez on Saturday, became the second player to book his place in the semi-final league of the Cuatro y Medio, regaining his position in the elite four after his shock exit to Retegi Bi in 2009 and injury induced absence in 2010. The four time champion therefore keeps alive the hope of a fifth title, which would take him past Julien Retegi as the greatest Cuatro y Medio player in history.
Aimar had won his previous two Cuatro y Medio meetings with Gonzalez, beating him 22-14 in 2004 and 22-8 in 2006, but here the loser did rather better, racking up 15 points and giving his stellar opponent an early scare. Gonzalez went ahead 4-0 and tensions flared when a dubious call went to way of Aimar to reduce his deficit to 1-4. These two players are well documented as not being the best of friends, and there was no love lost on the fronton as Gonzalez complained bitterly and threw everything he had at the man from Goizueta. He once again extended his lead to 7-2, but gradually, bit by bit, Aimar came back at him, eating into both his lead and his morale. He gained ascendency for the first time at 11-10 and never let Gonzalez close to within fewer than two points. Both players blew hot and cold, errors symptomatic of the tension of the situation and the high stakes that existed. Aimar is not quite in the stunning form which he carried through the summer, but having reached the last four, he will strike for glory once again with his customary coolness and cast iron determination.
Scoring sequence: 0-4, 2-4, 2-7, 7-7, 7-9, 11-9, 11-10, 14-10, 14-11, 16-11, 16-14, 18-14, 18-15, 22-15.
Olaizola II: winners (10) errors (7) service winners (5) service faults (0) 4 ½ line faults (0)
Gonzalez: winners (7) errors (6) service winners (1) service faults (0) 4 ½ line faults (1)
Match time: 50:31
Balls hit: 250
Botilleros: Asier Olaizola with his brother Aimar and Ramuntxo Mujika with Gonzalez