- Fantasy Basho
Haru 2021 Day Thirteen
Hoshoryu not only deliver an uchigake, or inside leg trip, but did it in a match where he looked dead to rights. Hoshoryu did get a double inside grip, but Kagayaki instantly wrapped his arms tight around Hoshoryu's. So Hoshoryu just decided not to use his arms and carefully hooked his right leg around Kagayaki's left leg and sent him to the clay.
Match of The Day
Komusubi 1 East Takayasu versus Maegashira 2 West Wakatakakage
Takayasu kept trying to get closer and get a grip on Wakatakakage's mawashi. Wakatakakage expertly avoided that grip, but it resulted in just backing up to the tawara. Then, he kept fighting around and around. This happened multiple times, and the two kept reengaging. Takayasu finally worked Wakatakakage carefully backwards well enough to execute a throw. Somehow Wakatakakage successfully reversed the throw and made Takayasu hit the ground first.
The Yusho arasoi has a much different look than even just one day ago. That's largely down to two men. Takakeisho is now just one win off the lead, although that's a big gap with two days to go. He did it by preventing Asanoyama from executing his game plan, the withstanding it long enough to eventually get a slap down at the edge. That pulled Asanoyama back to a tie with Takakeisho and three others at 9 wins.
Wakatakakage is one of those three. He also made the yusho arasoi more interesting. His defeat of Takayasu was hard earned, and a sign he might be on the verge of a Sanyaku stay. He is also in with a chance at the yusho. Like Takakeisho and Asanoyama, he needs to win out and hope one of the two leaders drops a match. Yet his win makes a wild, multi-man playoff more likely.
A playoff of any kind does seem like a strong possibility. Certainly, this is not a yusho that will be won because a rikishi blew the doors off all opponents. The highest winning total can be 12, although that could be a total that requires a playoff between Takayasu and Terunofuji. The wilder option is that multiple rikishi could end at 11-4, an historically low win total for a yusho, requiring a playoff round robin at the end of Day 15.
Takayasu and Terunofuji control their destinies, but in different ways. Takayasu sees Tobizaru on Day 14. Tobizaru is ranked Maegashira 8 West, but has had a really good tournament. Still, that's not much compared to Terunofuji's opponent, Ozeki Asanoyama. Although he lost on Day 13, Asanoyama isn't out of the yusho race. Terunofuji's Day 15 opponent needs to be Takakeisho. That's a tough road to the Emperor's Cup.
And mathematically, Wakatakakage, Aoiyama, and Hidenoumi are not eliminated from contention. Those last two haven't squared off yet, and they might be destined for a final day matchup. They aren't facing each other on Day 14, because Wakatakakage and Aoiyama are squaring off. Likely, the schedule will be determined by Day 14 results. Hidenoumi wins and he gets the victor of Wakatakakage-Aoiyama. Or Hidenoumi loses, Aoiyama wins, and the Bulgarian faces Takayasu on Day 15. In other words, we aren't done yet.