Manomanista Championship: Aimar thwarts brave Urberuaga by frontonnews
May 14, 2009, 12:58 pm
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Sunday 10th May
Astelena, Eibar

For many, Xabier Urberuaga has been the surprise package of this championship. Entering the competition in round one, the 27 year old from Aulesti defeated Retegi Bi and Begino to win his chance to compete for a place in the semi finals. Nobody gave him much chance on Sunday where he faced Aimar Olaizola, the formidable champion who has two Manomanista txapelas to his name, as well as a further five from other championships. Urberuaga is no slouch, having won the second tier title in 2007 and the second tier pairs championship this year, but his resume was no match for that of Olaizola, and neither was his reputation. However, the underdog proved once again his fighting spirit, and despite ultimate defeat, Olaizola was made to work for his win.

The match started in predictable fashion with Olaizola dominant. The native of Goizueta showed impressive spark with his right, which augers well given his ongoing problems with his right shoulder which earlier in the year looked to have robbed him of some edge. He also defended well and volleyed excellently with both hands. From 3-4 down, Aimar reached a 13-4 with ease and composure. As his supremacy continued, 13-4 became 17-6 and then 21-7 and Urberuaga, whose numerous supporters in the upper tiers of the fronton could do nothing to lift him, appeared down and out. However, the game changed when Urberuaga won the serve in the next point and, with his choice of ball, applied his own tempo to the match. He succeeded in producing a slower game, which suited his game rather than that of Aimar, and allowed him room and time on both sides. Aimar, unexpectedly rattled, called three time outs in an attempt to regain his composure, and regain it he did; the elusive 22nd point came his way.

Urberuaga’s supporters had sensed a miracle in the air but in reality, Aimar was never threatened to the point of panic. He returns to the Manomanista semi finals after last year’s quarter final defeat to eventual winner Oinatz Bengoetxea and will have his sites firmly set on title number three. His next opponent will be Ruben Beloki, whom he will face on May 23rd at Labrit. Beloki has won this tournament on four occasions but the last of these came eight years ago and by his own admission, he now needs to rely on guile to make up for waning speed and firepower. Olaizola, five years his junior, is by contrast very much a man of the moment and if their semi final goes to the form book, it is hard to envisage him failing to reach what would be his fifth Manomanista final.

Scoring sequence: 0-2, 3-2, 3-4, 13-4, 13-5, 14-5, 14-6, 17-6, 21-7, 21-16 and 22-16.
Playing time: 63 minutes and 54 seconds, with 16.18 minutes of actual play

Aimar Olaizola, a semi finalist again

Aimar Olaizola, a semi finalist again

Manomanista Championship LIVE on Sunday by frontonnews
May 9, 2009, 10:29 pm
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Sunday sees two time champion Aimar Olaizola take on Xabier Urberuaga for a place in the semi finals. This will be live on ETB-Sat:

Sunday 10th May
Astelena, Eibar

This will be preceeded by the following doubles match:

Aimar Olaizola: looking for number three

Aimar Olaizola: looking for number three

Manomanista Championship: Urberuaga upsets the form book in defeat of Retegi Bi by frontonnews
April 5, 2009, 10:40 pm
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Saturday 4th April

Labrit, Pamplona


Julen Retegi was the undisputed favourite at Labrit on Saturday as he faced Xabier Urberuaga in the first round of the Manomanista Championship. Retegi surely hoped he could take his first footsteps on the path of his great father, Julian, who won this tournament an astonishing eleven times between 1980 and 1993 but in his way stood Urberuaga, who had obviously committed to mind the adage that it is never over until the fat lady sings.

From the outset, Urberuaga, winner of the second division title in 2007, showed that he would be no pushover for the young pretender and he was soon up 8-3. However, Retegi showed his growing maturity in bringing his impressive armoury of resources to bear, and took the match to 8-8, then 12-8 and 19-8. Especially impressive were his left arm and his serve. His father, playing botillero, must have been well pleased.

However, things were to change in emphatic style. Urberuaga found his rhythm and never looked back, playing like a man possessed to pass and crush the dreams of his rival. Retegi managed only one further point as Urberuaga cruised past him at barely a canter to reach victory at 22-19. It was a triumph based on hard work, sweat, toil and determination for the man from Aulesti, who also exhibited a veritable pick and mix of shot making prowess. Retegi for his part looked one dimensional; he was impressive with his left but power elsewhere seemed lacking. Still, there are many years ahead for the talented son of his famous father, and surely much success too. Urberuaga will face Aritz Begino next Sunday for a place in the third round.

Scoring sequence: 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 5-2, 5-3, 8-3, 8-12, 9-12, 9-18, 17-18, 17-19 and 22-19

Sources: Diario Vasco, El Correo

Xabier Urberuaga: through to face Begino

Xabier Urberuaga: through to face Begino

Second division mano pairs final: victory for Berasaluze IX and Urberuaga by frontonnews
March 24, 2009, 11:10 pm
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Saturday 21st March

In front of a capacity audience in Amorebieta, Asier Berasluze and Xabier Urberuaga were crowned champions in the second tier pairs competition on Saturday. The Aspe pair totally outclassed the Asegarce partnership of Aratz Mendizabal and Ibai Zabala. Zabala played a solid match but could not dent the armoury of 27 year old Bizkaian Urberuaga. The latter gave invaluable support to his attacking partner Beraslauze who used speed and guile to both outwit and out-hit Mendizabal and was especially deadly with his right hand and in his serve. This was a first pairs triumph for the victors, who have both previously won the second tier manomanista title, Beraslauze in 2006 and Urberuaga in 2007. Urberuaga has the added pleasure of going to the top, for the time being, of the rankings.

Asier Berasaluze

Asier Berasaluze

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