Champions at Málaga

Tuesday, 4 August, 2015

Bela-Lima, “the predators”, champions at Malaga

It is really difficult to explain how Fernando Belasteguin and Pablo Lima became champions of the Cervezas Victoria Malaga Master. The easier way will be to say that they defeated Juan Martin Diaz and Maxi Sanchez 7/6 and 6/3 and conquered their 4th consecutive title and maintain a 19-0 record.

And why is it difficult to explain. Because the number 1 couple had lost the first set but came back to win it and was about to lose the second when the final looked finished. A quite exceptional final, changing, exciting, but with the same outcome as always… Bela and Lima are the champions.

The moment was unique, ideal. The majestic Martin Carpena was full of fans anxious to witness the revenge, the second chapter of the Juan vs. Bela movie. Nevertheless it was here in Malaga where planet padel shuddered after the announcement of separation of the best couple in the sports history.

But lets focus on the final. The game looked very positive for Juan Martin and Maxi, even better than the start at Palma 15 days ago. A few minutes from the start they were winning 4-0 after two breaks with Diaz serving for 5-0. They had one occasion to get it but Bela and Lima had the break on the first opportunity they encountered in the whole set.

This was a hard knock for Juan and Maxi’s morale who despite having one break of advantage, left the court looking defeated. And so we moved from 4-0 to 4-4 in just a moment, after a new break to Maxi’s serve.  Equality continued until the tiebreak where the number 2 couple gained an advantage of 2-1. This provoked a new reaction from the “predators” who won 6 consecutive points to win the first set.

The second set looked like a replay from the Mallorca game. Belasteguin and Lima were untreatable, they pushed really hard into Sanchez’s corner and after some minutes they were leading 5-0. The final looked over, no one was expecting what was about to happen. After winning his serve and getting out of the court Belasteguin called his physiotherapist.  No one could appreciate discomfort and the affected zone was the left leg thigh. After getting back on the court the Argentinean looked like he couldn’t even stand up. He tried to stretch and walk but the grimace on his face was becoming more pronounced.

Juan Martin served on the sixth game and that was moment for the first match ball (30-40).  The saved the situation and won their first game.

Lima served and had on his hands the chance to end the game. But the Brazilian looked affected by his partner’s pain, he was devolved, faced up to the fans, made some errors and finally conceded the break.

Bela couldn’t move, not even walk inside the court. Maxi managed to win his serve with some craftiness, serving down style like Michael Chang on the famous Rolando Garros 1989 game against Ivan Lendl.

Everyone was now expecting the abandonment of the player from Pehuajo. Score was 5-3 and Bela’s turn to serve. Nobody can tell where he found energy to continue but truth is he started walking faster and could even hit two powerful smashes. The second match ball was here and saved again by Juan and Maxi who couldn’t save the third and definitive.

The audience surrendered to the champions, the “predators”, the undisputed leaders of the World Padel Tour ranking. Now the big question of the padel planet is still… when will the first defeat come?