Eight teams qualify for Portugal Match Cup quarterfinals, but Hansen and Presti are already on the ropes
[Source: World Match Racing Tour] After a long day stretched to the limits of sunset, Round Robin racing has been completed along with three flights of two pairs in the Quarter Final stage of the Troia Portugal Match Cup. Eight teams have advanced to this next stage in the competition out of 12 who came here for a slice of the 50,000 Euro prize money purse at the beautiful Troia Resort.
After a fitful start in the morning and an entire flight of matches abandoned for lack of wind, the westerly seabreeze finally filled to perfect strength, with 8-14 knots available all afternoon to complete the six flights of three matches left in the Round Robin. Emerging from the pack as winner of this stage on the strength of 9 wins was Philippe Presti (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team, though he went 1-1 on the day. His success in this stage was also due to a tie-break with fellow member of the French Match Racing Team Mathieu Richard.
Highlights from day 3 of the Portugal Match Cup. Troia, 19 June 2009. Video copyright World Match Racing Tour
Others advancing to the Quarter-Finals include, in order of finish in the Round Robin, Peter Gilmour (AUS) and the YANMAR Racing Team, Ian Williams (GBR) and his Bahrain Team Pindar, Adam Minoprio (NZL) and his Emirates Team New Zealand/BlackMatch team, Sebastian Col (FRA) and his French Match Racing Team/K Challenge, Torvar Mirsky (AUS) and his Mirsky Racing Team, and Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and his Team Onboard.
While finishing in 9th place and therefore not advancing to the next stage, its noteworthy to mention the extraordinary efforts put in by Phil Robertson (NZL) and his WAKA Racing team. In his matches against two other young Down Under talents, fellow Kiwi Minoprio and Aussie Mirsky, Robertson was extremely tough, taking both to their limits amidst heated pre-start and mark-rounding action. He and his team got beaten for not having quite that extra polish the others have in having spent the last two years in Tour competition, but his performance today certainly makes him one to watch for the future.
Quarter-Final pairings will be as follows: Presti vs. Mirsky; Richard vs. Hansen; Gilmour vs. Minoprio; and Col vs. Williams. And as the sun started descending into the Serra Arrabida, three flights of the Quarter-Finals were completed for the Presti-Mirsky and Richard-Hansen matches.
One victory on Saturday and Mirsky can be in the semifinals. Troia, 19 June 2009. Photo copyright Wander Robertor
With the depth of talent here at this event, it is perhaps of no surprise that the Round Robin winner is already on the ropes, as Presti has lost two to Mirsky in the first-to-three point round. Mirsky showed excellent timing and near-flawless teamwork to win his first two before falling to Presti in the critical third match.
Meanwhile it is Richard who has Hansen in a must-win situation for their first encounter tomorrow, having won the first and third matches in this stage. Their matches were particularly contentious, with furious tacking and gybing duels, numerous lead changes, and even a penalty in the first against Richard which he was just barely able to shed on the finish line.
Quarter-Final action resumes on Saturday morning at the Troia Portugal Match Cup.
Round Robin Results
1st Philippe Presti (FRA) French Match Racing Team
2nd Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team
3rd Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing
4th Ian Williams (GBR) Bahrain Team Pindar
5th Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch
6th Sebastien Col (FRA) French Match Racing Team/K-Challenge
7th Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing
8th Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Team Onboard
9th Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing
10th Alvaro Mourinho (POR) Seth Sailing Team
11th Ian Ainslie (RSA) Team Proximo
12th Andrew Arbuzov (RUS)