Despite not having played competitively on US soil since Dania closed in November last year, the team of Erik-Manu had a strong showing at Magic City in the 2nd World Super Court qualifying event at Magic City Casino & Jai-Alai in Miami today. The team of Erik-Manu (also known as the top doubles team of Erik-Ladutxe from Dania) won all 3-matches in straight-set victories over their opponents to capture the top 2nd qualifier prize of $2,000 along with one of the 8-spots in the $50k World Super Court finals at Magic City on October 13th where the first place team wins $25,000 and second pays $12,000!
Erik-Manu handily outscored the Filipino team of Robin-RonRon 6-0, 6-0 in the first round match and won 6-5, 6-2 against Jairo-Nicolas in the second round. The first set against Jairo-Nicolas was won by Erik-Ladutxe after Jairo lost his footing when they were tied at 5-5. That first set was a 21-minute set which is one of the longest sets in H2H style Jai-Alai matches where there’s 3-sets to a match, with sets to 6-points (first team to 6-points wins the set), and the first team to win 2-sets wins the match.
The Magic City Jai-Alai brother’s team of Inaki-Julen (also known as Goitia-Julen, Goitia the name Inaki played under at Dania) faced off against Erik-Manu in the final match of the 2nd WSC Qualifier after they had beaten Bueno-Nicolas and Carballo-Arta. This was another great match for viewers and did not come easy for Erik-Manu who won the first two sets 6-3 and 6-5, almost going to a 3rd set. Inaki-Julen also advance to the WSC Finals at Magic City on October 13th and won the 2nd place prize of $1,000 for their incredible effort today.
The 3rd match in today’s first round was an outstanding match of abilities between Dania’s Zulaika-Arrieta and Magic City player Carballo paired with Arta and is a must see match for fans around the world of all types of Jai-Alai. The Magic City team of Carballo-Anderluck was initially slated to play, but was changed early in the week to Carballo-Arta when Anderluck scratched for the 2nd WSC event. The 6’3” Arta had played at Dania in both front court and back court positions in early games and in the last month has done judging for Magic City Jai-Alai. The Carballo-Arta team had little practice together and lost a hotly contested first set 6-5 against Zuliaka-Arrieta, both late game Dania players, however, Carballo-Arta won the next two sets 6-3, 6-5, winning the match to proceed further in today’s qualifier. They lost their next match in 2-sets, 4-6 and 1-6, to the Magic City brother’s team of Inaki-Julen. Teams that won their first round sets today are eligible to compete again in future qualifiers if there are open spots.
The Erik-Manu team has vast experience playing together and is considered one of the best, if not the best, Jai-Alai doubles teams in the world. Their late game doubles team record playing in pari-mutuel games at Dania from September of 2018 through November of 2021 is impressive when one considers there are 8-teams in each pari-mutuel game played. The late game team record is 151-53-29-20 for an incredible 35.1% wins while an average team would have 12.5% wins, thus Erik-Manu were 2.8-times better than the average late-game team at Dania.
Today’s two qualifying teams will join the two brother’s teams of Goixerri-Aratz and Douglas-Benny who qualified at the 1st WSC Qualifier event at Magic City on February 16th. The 3rd Qualifier is at Magic City on June 8th at 3-pm EST and the 4th Qualifier is expected to be at a location in Spain in September, exact date/time TBD, at a court similar in size to the Magic City fronton short-court (120’ long x 40’ wide).
To view the replay of the WSC Qualifier II on watchjaialai.com, CLICK HERE
Here is a detailed scoring of all the matches for this 2nd WSC Qualifier event, compliments of SayHiLi.com’s Battle Court / H2H Jai-Alai Sports Writer Jabracadabra (aka Joel A.):