Saturday, August 28th proved to be a huge day for Magic City in day 1 of the Pro Division of the 2nd Annual USNJAC at Magic City Jai-Alai in Miami, Florida. Reigning singles champion of the 1st USNJAC (Dec 2020), Dania’s Jairo, was eliminated by Magic City’s Julen by a score of 3-7. To top that off, the icing on the cake came when Dania’s Arrieta from the 2020 USNJAC winning doubles team of Goitia-Arrieta was eliminated by Magic City’s Spinner by a score of 3-7 in their singles match. These were huge upsets in the eyes of Dania fans. Magic City Jai-Alai fans couldn’t be prouder of their on-court accomplishments Saturday. It’s a win-win regardless of the final outcome on Sunday’s final events.
Dania’s Erik, eligible for the 2nd annual event as he became a U.S. citizen in the last year, did not disappoint for Dania. Erik bested Frank in his opening round by a score of 7-4 and then proceeded to win against Dania foe Zulaika in the next round by a score of 7-3. Erik has been Dania’s top player in recent years and considered one of the best front-court players in the world. Dania fans expect him to be the singles USNJAC tourney favorite.
James Langhans, playing under the name Douglas I, and father of Magic City stars Douglas and Benny, earned his way into the Pro Division Singles tourney by making the finals in the Master’s Division which was played on Friday, the first tourney day of the three-day USNJAC. Douglas I did not disappoint the Langhans family by winning his first two matches in the Pro Division, besting Dania’s Urbieta by a score of 7-3 in Round 1 followed by a Round 2 win of 7-3 against Magic City’s Bueno (Chris Bueno), son of Dania Player Manager Benny Bueno. Douglas I has some solid talent and superb form and looks great on the court with his serious set of specialty shots. His next match is against Erik on Sunday morning and should be a good one. It’s no wonder sons Douglas (Matt) and Benny have developed their skill sets so quickly with a coach like former pro player James! Dania’s Goita narrowly squeaked by Magic City 18-yo phenom Benny, younger brother of Douglas, by a score of 7-6 in a tightly contested 2nd Round match or it would have been a “Langhans Trifecta” making it to the final 8 for the Sunday showdown.
Connecticut player Goya (Matt, owner of the short-court practice fronton facility in CT) did not disappoint in the Masters Division and was the other player making the finals. Goya advanced to the Pro Division by making the final two but was ousted in Round 1 against Goitia by a score of 2-7. Tourney fans were in awe of Goya’s talent for his age. He’s a former professional Jai-Alai player from 40-years ago and certainly did not disappoint fans from the northeast. Goya plays in the Master’s Division Singles final Sunday morning against Douglas I and is also in the Master’s Division Doubles final match of Beach-Goya vs Mickey Mo-Suits. Jai-Alai fans won’t want to miss these Master Division finals!
The final 8 in the Pro Division singles tourney finals to be held on Sunday, 8/29 are: brothers Julen vs Goitia, Douglas I vs Erik, Spinner vs Douglas, and Ladutxe vs Carballo. Magic City players are in three of the four matches and represent half of the players in the final showdown of these eight players. There were (7) Pro Division Singles matches on Saturday where Magic City players faced off against the seasoned Dania players. The Magic City players out-played their far more experienced Dania opponents in those singles matches by a combined point score of 39-37, even with one of those matches including an early games Magic City player. These (7) 7-point matches of Magic City players vs Dania revealed another interesting statistic. All Magic City players scored at least 4-points in the 7-point matches while the seasoned Dania players scored just 3-points in three of the seven 7-point matches against Magic City. Sounds like another win for Magic City. SayHiLi.com is sure Scott Savin, Stu Neiman and Juan Arrasate could not be any prouder of the Magic City players and how far they’ve come in such a short time. Congratulations Magic City for making an event like this possible!
The Pro Division Doubles tourney has been pared-down to (8) remaining teams. Only the first round was played on Saturday with finals on Sunday. The 1st Annual USNJAC doubles winners Goitia-Arrieta were the last doubles match of the day and faced off against the winner of a round-robin match of the losing round 1 teams. They were victorious against the team of El Nino-Gallo by a score of 7-3 to advance to the final eight teams. The doubles match of Frank-Johnny vs Anderluck-Bradley was perhaps the most exciting match Saturday with a comeback victory by Anderluck-Bradley. They were down by 5-1 and then 6-3 and survived 4-game point attempts by Frank-Johnny to claim a hard-fought victory of 7-6 and make the final eight teams. Congratulations Anderluck-Bradley for sticking it out and earning that hard-fought victory.
The final 8-teams for Pro Division Doubles with the Sunday pairings are as follows: Goitia-Arrieta vs Ubilla-Zulaika, Benny-Douglas vs Anderluck-Bradley, Carballo-Spinner vs Brodie-Kubala, and Erik-Ladutxe vs Jairo-Urbieta. The Dania fan favorite team of Erik-Ladutxe won against Mickey Mo-Suits by a score of 7-2 in Round 1. Mickey Mo-Suits team earned their shot in the Pro Division by making it to the final two teams in the Masters Division on Friday.
Magic City wonder boy, Douglas, played in 3-matches on Saturday (two singles and one doubles) and did not disappoint his huge fan base. Douglas was sitting out for the last week of pari-mutuel play at Magic City, having rolled his ankle in mid-August. His tourney debut was astonishing yesterday as he won 21-points and lost only 1-point for the day, besting all other tourney players by a country mile in that category.
All tourney matches and scores can be seen in the blog post for USNJAC scores.