Mumbai, Dec 19 (UNI) Sailing true to form, Russian Andrey Arbuzov and German Tino Ellegast, ranked 15 and 40 in the world respectively, scored convincing semi-final victories to set up an intriguing final clash in the Provogue Mumbai International Match Race 2007 here today.
In the first of the two best of three semi-finals, Ellegast beat Russian E Nikiforov in two straight races, while Arbuzov got the better of ''close friend'' Crd R Mahesh of India, also in straight races.
With Farokh Tarapore failing to make it to the last four grade, India's hopes rested on the capable sailing skills of Mahesh, but he couldn't surpass Arbuzov, who had a near blemish less run to the final. His only loss in the run-up was against Ellegast in the second round robin league. It remains to be seen if the German can carry this psychological edge against Arbuzov in the final.
Mahesh began well in the first semi-final race against Arbuzov and took the lead initially, however, the Russian not only caught up but also managed to win. The second race saw Arbuzov lead from the start to finish. A disappointed Mahesh admitted that he and his team committed a couple of mistakes which cost them the first race and they were then outclassed in the second.
German Tino Ellegast had it easy against the Russian E Nikiforov, winning the first two best of three semi-final races.
''The light wind conditions favoured us,'' said Ellegast and modestly added that it was a close race and the Russians gave us a tough fight.
However, Nikiforov said his team was outclassed because ''Tino is a very experienced sailor.'' Ellegast is confident of facing Arbuzov in Thursday's final as he is riding high on confidence after beating Arbuzov in the second round and he wishes for light wind conditions.
Arbuzov, in turn, prefers windy conditions and will be banking on his experience to defeat Ellegast.
Earlier, in the round robin league, Ellegast won all his five races for a cent percent record, followed by Arbuzov who won four and lost only to Ellegast.
Mahesh and Nikiforov finished third and fourth respectively, with two wins and three losses. Tarapore's performance was disappointing as he could only win one out of the five races.
Tarapore, also one of the organiser, was a satisfied man with the success of the tournament. While the participants were very pleased with the hospitality, the thing that saddened him was the poor response from the spectators.
Results: Semifinals (Best of Three): Andrew Arbuzov (Russia) bt R Mahesh (India) 2-0; Ellegast Tino (Germany) bt E Nikiforov (Russia) 2-0.
Round Robin 2: Ellegast Tino (Germany) 5 from 5 (5 points, 100 per cent); Andrey Arbuzov (Russia) 4 wins from 5 races (4 points, 80 pc); R Mahesh (India) 2 from 5 (2 points, 40 pc); E Nikiforov (Russia) 2 from 5 (2 points, 40 pc); P Kochnev 1 from 5 (1 Points, 20 pc); Farokh Tarapore (India) 1 from 5 (1 point, 20 pc).