Dubai: Fernando Belasteguin, famously known as Bela, showed why he is still considered one of the best in the world as former world No 1 was in full force against Panthers to level the set for Cheetahs in the last match of Day Two of World Padel League at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on Friday.
Trailing 2-1, Cheetahs saved the best for the last when Bela and Miguel Yanguas unleashed a series of aggressive shots to thump their rivals Javi Garrido and Alex Ruiz 6-2 to level the match 2-2. At the end of Day Two, Panthers are still in the lead with 43 games, followed by Jaguars 42, while Cheetahs and Tigers are equal at 35.
There is plenty to play for on Saturday as the top two teams in the table at the end of the three days of intense action will reach the Sunday’s final.
A complete game
Bela was a different player to the first day, when the same duo were overpowered by Jaguars’ Momo Gonzalez/Carlos Daniel Gutierrez 6-2. The Argentine was in his elements on Friday and said he is happy with the level of his game and credited his fitness to his success.
“Padel is a complete game. From the outside one may not see it as a tough sport, but it requires good condition, physically and mentality. I requires a good combination of physical, technical and mental abilities,” the 44-year-old told Gulf News.
Bela is excited to be part of the World Padel League and says he is feeling a lot different in the new team format.
“This sensation is different. I feel good playing with the team and it really works for the league. I hope this event gets bigger and better in the coming years,” added Bela, who has been a regular visitor to the UAE and has played in the NAS Ramadan tournament.
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Panther on the net
It was an eventful game for the Cheetahs, who lost the first two sets. Panthers’ Arturo Coello and Lucia Sainz rallied from 3-5 down to edge out Cheetahs’ duo Miguel Yanguas/Virginia Riera 7-5 in the first set, while Arutro Coello/Fares Aljanahi eased to a 6-3 win over Pablo Lima and Abdulla Ahli to increase Panthers’ lead to 2-0.
“He is a Panther on the net,” Sainz spoke about her partner Coello. “He is really competitive and he is awesome and makes it really easy, which is one of the important thing and he is an unbelievable player and makes my job even easier.”
It was first left to World No 1-ranked Ariana Sanchez/Paulo Josemaria to lead Cheetahs come back and the top stars didn’t disappoint as they crushed Zazu Osoro and Bea Gonzalez 6-3 in the third set, before Bela and Yanguas levelled in the last match to keep them.
The Argentine is confident that the sport will be adopted by many countries across the world in the years to come.
“It a very young sport but with time it will grow and more countries will be playing the sport,” he concluded.