Reigning ISAF Match Racing World Champion Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing declared his victory over close friend and fierce rival Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team in the final of the Danish Open as one of the best of his life.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the first to three point series, Minoprio
in the final match but battled back for the most dramatic victory of his career.
Finals day in Bornholm played host to some of the most exciting and extraordinary racing of the year, which included a dead-heat in the petit final, a Mirsky fightback from 2-0 down in the semis and plenty of controversy. The victory boosted Minoprio's chance of retaining his title, moving him up to second in the standings cutting Mathieu Richard
(FRA) French Match Racing Team lead to just 17 points with two rounds left of the 2010 Tour.
The pair matched each other blow for blow in the first to three point contest and after four matches the scores stood evenly matched at 2-2. Mirsky had already proved himself to be the comeback king having overturned a 2-0 deficit against Richard in the semis. He looked set to do it again when he bounced back from 2-1 down to lead Minoprio in the deciding race, but Minoprio showed all the steel and skill that saw him win the Tour last year to hold his nerve and reel in and pass Mirsky on the second beat. An elated Minoprio said, "We're absolutely ecstatic, it's great to get another win on the Tour.
"That was the best match race we've been in. We looked to be up against it when the scores were 2-2 and we were trailing but I'm really pleased that we had the skill to stay in there and catch them. The result is so important for us as we were lying third coming into the Danish Open. Now we can look forward to Bermuda and try and close the gap more on Richard
How the Match Unfolded
In the opening race of the final Mirsky had a horror start, coming late to the line which immediately put him 1.5 boat lengths down which was soon extended to four lengths when they first crossed tacks. By the top mark Mirsky was a distant seven lengths down and never had a realistic chance of catching Minoprio who opened up an early 1-0 lead.
Mirsky wasn't going to let Minoprio have it all his own way and bounced straight back to take the second race. After an even start Mirsky played the wind to perfection to lead at the top mark and hold his advantage to the finish, leveling the scores at 1-1.
The start came back to plague Mirsky in the third match as he jumped the gun allowing Minoprio to immediately open up a four length lead. However he battled his way back into the race and as the two boats came out of the top mark they were overlapped. The boats were again neck and neck at the leeward mark where Mirsky picked up a penalty for hitting the buoy. Minoprio seized the advantage and opened up a large lead which he maintained to the end to go 2-1 up.
In the fourth race Mirsky dominated Minoprio from the outset, leading off the start line and all the way to the finish. The final race looked as though it was going exactly the same way, with Mirsky maintaining a narrow lead for the whole of the first lap. On the second upwind leg he favoured the right and kept only a loose cover on Minoprio, who seized the opportunity to find better pressure and a good shift to on the left cross a length ahead and take control of the match.
"It really felt as though the race was ours but we let it go. It was a crushing moment when Adam passed us …and I had a little outburst
," Mirsky said. His second place moves him up to third position overall in the championship, ahead of Ian Williams
(GBR) Team GAC Pindar.
Minoprio's victory was his second of the year having won Match Race Germany in May and cut Mathieu Richard's Tour lead with the Frenchman suffering a horror morning, going into meltdown to throw away a 2-0 overnight lead in the semis to lose 3-2 to Torvar Mirsky.
Semi Final Round Up
Richard's collapse was all the more spectacular considering how well he has sailed all season, having won three events and opened up a strong lead at the top of the Tour's standings. However Richard's dominance started to unravel in his first race this morning when he collected two penalties, allowing Mirsky to take a comprehensive victory.
Spectators anticipated fireworks throughout the next race as both teams pressed as hard as possible for an advantage, but it was Mirsky who came out on top and with the momentum firmly on his side he took the decider to take his place in the final.
The Petit Final
Richard picked himself up for the petit final against Francesco Bruni
(ITA) Azzurra which he won 2-1 in a fiercely close contest which saw the boats finish in a dead-heat in the third and deciding match. This meant the pair had to race again and Richard's chances looked to be dashed when he collected a penalty, however he threw caution to the wind on the final upwind leg by going all the way to the left hand side of the course which worked for him as he extended his lead and completed his penalty then crossed the line ahead to took third place.
A philosophical Richard said, "Of course we would have liked to have won here but if you look at the last two weeks we have to be happy with a win and a third place which keeps us in the lead for the Championship. At the start of the season we said one of our goals was to finish every regatta with a win and we have done that again here in the petit final. It was good to finish third
beat Torvar Mirsky
Adam Minoprio beat Francesco Bruni 3-0
Torvar Mirsky beat Mathieu Richard 3-2
Adam Minoprio (NZL) ETNZ/BlackMatch Racing 25
Torvar Mirsky (AUS) Mirsky Racing Team 20
Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team 15
Francesco Bruni (ITA) Azzurra 12
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Global Team 10
Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing 8
Ben Ainslie (GBR) TEAMORIGIN 6
Bertrand Pacé (FRA) Aleph Sailing Team 4
Mads Ebler (DEN) Ebler Matchracing
William Tiller (NZL) Full Metal Jacket Racing
Susanne Ward (DEN) Team Ward
Michael Buckley (USA) MB Sailing
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