The 3rd Annual USNJAC ended on Sunday, August 21st, with (2) sets of Magic City Jai-Alai brothers making it a complete sweep of the entire $25,000 in Pro Tourney prize money.
Pro Singles Championship:
1st Place to Inaki defeating Aratz 9-3 to win $7,500, 2nd Place was $2,500
Pro Doubles Championship:
1st Place to brothers Goixerri-Aratz over brothers Inaki-Julen 9-6 to win $10,000, 2nd Place was $5,000
Here is the total Pro Tourney prize money breakdown for these 4-players, all on the Magic City Jai-Alai roster (Note: Doubles Tourney prize money is split between players):
Inaki – $10,000
Aratz – $7,500
Goixerri – $5,000
Julen – $2,500
Last year Douglas won over Inaki (Dania’s Goitia at that time) in the Pro Singles Finals. Inaki suffered an injury late in the match, breaking two bones in his hand. After Dania closed in November 2021, Magic City extended an offer to Goitia to join the Magic City Jai-Alai roster and he was fully recovered and started playing at the start of the 10-week short-season on February 14th this year. Inaki has been the hottest singles player in late game feature Pelota games 6 & 8 (pari-mutuel games) over the last 2-months with his leading 22.0% win rate (50-11-6-10). Inaki also had the highest % ITM for late game Pelota singles in the last 2-months, 54.0%, which was tied with Douglas for the highest. He proved at the USNJAC Pro Tourney he is indeed one of the top US short-court players in the country, if not the best!
Dania’s top star Erik failed to advance to the Final Four in Pro Singles when he experienced the well-established “Curse of Julen,” losing 7-6. Julen has a history of surprise upsets and key-point wins over top contenders at Magic City, including both Douglas and Goixerri. Previously, Erik had won against RonRon 7-4 in Round 2 of the Pro Singles Tourney after given a bye in Round 1.
Other strong contenders; Douglas, Manu, Goixerri and Zulaika surprised many fans by none of them making the Pro Singles Finals. Douglas, winner of last year’s Pro Singles Tourney had been playing exceptionally well lately, winning both games 6 & 8 of the Pelota games on August 14th, which was the last day of games before the USNJAC. Douglas had a bye in Round 1 and then lost to Aratz in the next round 7-6. Manu had beaten Kubala and then Jairo both by near shut-out scores of 7-1, making it to the Final Four where he got knocked-out by Inaki 7-3. Likewise, Goixerri, a very strong front-court player and current leader of the Magic City Singles Championship, got a bye in Round 1 and then handily beat the young, back-court player Benny, 7-0, but then failed against the experienced veteran Manu, where Manu won handily by a score of 7-4. Zulaika won his Round 1 match 7-3 against Masters Singles finalist, Douglas I, the former pro player James Langhans who is father of brothers Matt & Ben Langhans (aka Magic City players Douglas & Benny). Zulaika then met the Invincible Inaki in Round 2 who quickly sent him packing with a score of 7-1.
The Pro Doubles Championship Sunday turned out to be the (3) Magic City brother teams in the Final Four plus Dania’s best team of Erik-Ladutxe, the 2nd Place winners in last year’s USNJAC Pro Doubles. Note that Ladutxe now plays at Magic City Jai-Alai in 2022 under the name Manu, thus the team of Erik-Manu this year. The brothers teams were; Douglas-Benny (last year’s Pro-Doubles winners), Inaki-Julen and Goixerri-Aratz. Inaki-Julen out-scored Douglas-Benny 7-4 to reach the Finals and Goixerri-Aratz defeated Erik-Manu 7-3 for the other Finals spot. Fans were treated to an incredible match ultimately won by Goixerri-Aratz by a score of 9-6.
Congratulations to the Magic City brother winners and a big thanks to Magic City Fronton and sponsors Betrivers & Cigar City Brewing Jai-Alai IPA for this great event which unites the best Jai-Alai players in the USA to display their mastery of the fascinating sport of Jai-Alai! The announcing team of Stu and Andrew did a fantastic job covering the USNJAC and deserve major kudos along with Scott and Lindsay Savin and the rest of the support crew, including those responsible for the amazing video shots! The back glass wall allows for some close-up angles of Jai-Alai matches that have never been seen before! Be sure to watch the replays on watchjaialai.com if you missed the live Jai-Alai matches over the weekend (tip – click “Browse” on the website).
Magic City Pelota games return on Sunday, August 28th at 1:30-pm with Jai-Alai H2H Doubles match-ups following at 5-pm. Be sure to enter the weekly Fantasy Jai-Alai H2H contest and to be there for the live viewing of Pelota and H2H on Sunday the 28th at the Magic City Fronton if you can make it! Also, be sure to note the schedule change for Pelota and H2H games starting in September! No more Sunday Jai-Alai as it’s tough to compete with the NFL. There are 2022 calendar links on the Magic City website and on SayHiLi.