Hatsu 2021 Day Thirteen
Match of the Day
Maegashira 2 East Takarafuji versus Maegashira 7 West Tobizaru
Takarafuji and Tobizaru had a marathon in sumo terms. Takarafuji is generally a defensive rikishi, withstanding his opponents' attacks and redirecting their efforts. Tobizaru used all his efforts to deploy any kind of attack. It's not so much that Takarafuji beat Tobizaru as it was Tobizaru never found a way to best Takarafuji.
Nothing is really obvious here, which is probably worth noting in itself.
Hoshoryu won with an uchigake, the inside leg trip. Or more appropriately, Hoshoryu's third attempt to nail the uchigake on Shimanoumi was finally the one that worked.
The basho largely just kept moving along. The two leaders are still the two leaders, as both Daieisho and Shodai won. Shodai did have one of his signature narrow escapes at the edge, but he won nonetheless. Daieisho simply overpowered Ryuden. Asanoyama, Terunofuji, Ichinojo, and Kotonowaka all won as well to stay two wins back. With two days left, they do technically have a chance. They just need everything to go right.
Shodai will see Terunofuji on Day Fourteen and Asanoyama on senshuraku. That's tougher than Daieisho, who will be facing 5-8 Tamawashi on Day Fourteen. He could close with Ichinojo and Kotonowaka, but the schedulers decided against it. Likely, he'll get one of them on the final day, especially if only one of them wins. So the chasers will have a say in the outcome, but they'll still need some help.
Elsewhere, Sadanoumi secured a demotion to Juryo with his 8th loss. In happier news, Takayasu and Mitakeumi won their 8th match of the basho. They'll both remain in Sanyaku. In fact, the only Sanyaku without a kachi-koshi (and guaranteed Sanyaku status for March) is Takanosho. He's at 7-6, and he'll need just one more win to keep his rank. With Daieisho's 11 wins so far, he is more than worthy of an extra slot in the named ranks. Takarafuji could also require a space if he gets two more wins. Sanyaku will be crowded in March.
Day Fourteen could be another holding pattern. Wins from Shodai and Daieisho might seem boring (although Shodai-Terunofuji sure seems guaranteed to be something), but it will set up a great Day Fifteen.