This is a current awareness blog that links to the latest sources of information on Basque Pelota matches and Tournaments. It covers both North and South Basque modalities: Mano, Main Nue, Pala, Paleta, Remonte, Cesta Punta, Jai Alai, and minor modalites. We link to match articles, statistics and video highlights and/or full match videos.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Main Nue--Trinquet Garat Super Prestige singles tournament--Tour 4

The 23rd Super Prestige is a singles tournament, an EP 2000 competition played at the cathedral of Main Nue, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port's (Donibane Garazi) "Le Garat"(1)(2).

It will be played on Mondays from November 28, 2016 to January 8, 2017. This is a seeded singles tournament,  with 2 matches each Monday. The tournament will be played in knockout fashion with 4 "tours", followed by two semi-finals and a final (played on a Sunday). Seeding in one bracket (from low to high) is: Guichandut, X. Lambert, Bilbao, and Larralde. And in the other bracket: Ospital, de Ezcurra, Waltary, and Ducassou. The seeding can be seen graphically here.

2015 SP results

The tournament is organized by Garaziko Pilota (Societe Sportive Goizeko Izarra)

Tournament Competition page

The ongoing results of the tournament will be available on a "ladder" chart. Statistics and commentary for only the most recent Monday matches should be available, but it is unknown whether they will be available for every match. Esku Pilota sometimes puts these statistics into a spreadsheet. If they do, they will be linked to. If not, because of the importance of this tournament, I will copy them.

Tour 1 (November 28, 2016)

Tour 2  (December 5, 2016)

Tour 3 (December 12, 2016)

Tour 4 preview article (Pilota Ttiki)

Source for match statistics for both matches: H. Ocafrain (via spreadsheets provided by Esku Pilota)

December 19, 2016

1. Gonzalez  defeated Bilbao 40-37.

2. Ospital defeated Waltary 40-34

Match article for both matches (Pilota Ttiki)

Match article for both matches, including complete statistics (Excel format), an audio interview with Mathieu Ospital, and full match videos for both matches (Esku Pilota).

Full match videos for both matches (Esku Pilota Youtube site--see below)

1. In a match that had 8 lead changes, Gonzalez had the final rally, coming back from 30-33 down with a decisive 7 point run to win. If you look at the match statistics you will see that not only did Bilbao keep Gonzalez' serve under control, he actually out aced Gonzalez. Bilbao was in the lead for most of the early part of the match, leading by as many as 10 points (13-3). But Gonzalez fought back to near equality and the match see-sawed from there. Last week I noted that because of Gonzalez' high service ace numbers in his first 3 matches, he must have a tremendously powerful serve. Actually watching this match was a cautionary tale about making assumptions based only on numbers. What Gonzalez has is two serves, a low and fast (but not overpowering) one and a high and deep one. And he can put either one of these serves exactly where he wants to, from left to center to right. Even when he doesn't serve aces, he seems to be able to keep his opponent (and Bilbao is a great defensive back courter) off balance. The match ended on a controversial note when, at 37-39, Bilbao thought he had won a point with a shot into the mesh work of the side dugout. The judge disagreed. Bibao refused to shake his hand, and was greeted with a chorus of boos. Watch the point below and judge for yourself. Gonzalez' 5th and penultimate (he hopes) step up the ladder will come next Monday v Peio Larralde.

Gonzalez v Bilbao

Gonzalez' final rally (30-33--37-33)

Final point

2. During Mathieu Ospital's great 21-2 run to end the match, it appeared that he was actually breathing fire. It was, alas, an illusion. It was so cold at the Garat late in this second match that you could clearly see his breath. But he might as well have been breathing fire, the way he completely dominated the last half of the match to win and move on to next Monday's semi-final against Baptiste Ducassou. Waltary was up by as many as 13 points early in the match (16-3), dominating Ospital with service ace after ace (Waltary really does have a tremendously powerful serve) and using the three walls in front like a pinball machine to move toward what looked like an easy victory. Ospital tried to fight back but never got the deficit below 6 points going into the 6th decade. Then, at 19-32, Waltary made a seemingly innocuous service fault. Ospital took the small opening and completely turned the match around. He used his great shot selection and some very timely excellent serves to do the job. In the audio interview after the match Ospital said it best: "Je ne m’attendais pas à gagner aujourd’hui, je suis très content!"

Ospital v Waltary

Waltary's fateful service fault