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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - McCreery Champion of Champions - new-york (USA)

Ceulemans more than a legend at New York stage

Posted by on August 6, 2018

Ceulemans  more than a legend at New York stage

©Stefan Osnabrug/archive
Raymond Ceulemans, the old maestro, showing his skills at the McCreery gala

NEW YORK - The first smoke has been cleared at the McCreery gala in New York. The 600.000 dollar event has three unbeaten leaders after the opening day, the American Pedro Piedrabuena launched the marathon of mtches with a brilliant start and 81-year-old Raymond Ceulemans was the first champion killer at the world stage. The Belgian, undisputed record holder with 21 global titles in three cushion, was invited in New York as a tribute to his career. On the first day, the old maestro showed that he's not only a living legend in this field of world stars. He beat the first star player at the gala and took him down a notch: Ceulemans-Piedrabuena, 40-31 in 26.

The McCreery 3 Cushion Champion of Champions, played over seven days with a total of 69 matches, is led after the opening by Frédéric Caudron, Eddy Merckx and Semih Sayginer. The two Belgians and the Turk are on top with two victories followed by a long middle part of six players. Torbjörn Blomdahl, Marco Zanetti and Sung-Won Choi faced two losses and are at the bottom of the table. The level of play was below expectations on the first day. Caudron is the only player with two average. The general level of the twelve players after two rounds is 1.481. That's pretty far below the World Cup level, but should be raised a lot in the next days.

The first day was mainly dominated by the new tournament setting and design, the technical innovations, high frame rate cameras, decors of billiard arenas without spectators and, in sportive way, Pedro Piedrabuena's powerful start. The 46-year-old, multiple American champion, who rarely scores high rankings in world tournaments, surprised Dick Jaspers with a great performance. The Dutchman, triple world champion, was outplayed in a whirling match, which Piedrabuena won 40-19 in 12 innings, 3.333 of average for the winner. Among all the other winners, Frédéric Caudron and HaengJik Kim with wins in 18 and 19 came closest to that glorious start.

The American, interviewed by Ceulemans' son Kurt Ceulemans, looked somewhat perplexed after his match and said with some trepidation: ,,I came here, like all other players, to win all matches. This start is great, my confidence has grown a lot after this start.'' The optimism was roughly disrupted one round later by the match in which he was facing Raymond Ceulemans. Piedrabuena wasn't even a shadow of the player in the opening session and went down against the Belgian all time phenomenon. Ceulemans won 40-31 in 26 innings, Piedrabuena scored only 1.240 after his amazing 3.333 against Jaspers.

Raymond Ceulemans told some intimates before the event: ,,I am very happy with the invitation, I'll try to show what I still can do at the billiard, but don't make illusions.'' After his first match, which he lost to Frédéric Caudron 40-20 in 18/17, his comment was: ,,This is a very different ambiance and atmosphere than we are used to, without spectators, in a beautiful room and with many, innovations. I feel very happy that I can make part of it.''

The opening gala, judged sceptical by the usual Kozoom viewers, confirmed in sporting terms the Belgian hegemony of Caudron and Merckx, the world's numbers one and two in the ranking and this year's stars in global three cushion. Semih Sayginer already showed in previous events that he is on his way back to the world top. He has settled in the wake of the two Belgians and must be counted among the big contenders.

Frédéric Caudron started the tournament with wins against Ceulemans and Sung-Won Choi (40-33 in 22/21), Eddy Merckx first defeated Hugo Patiño (40-28 in 29/28) and then Marco Zanetti (40-32 in 25) , Semih Sayginer was the better of Zanetti (40-35 in 29) and Torbjörn Blomdahl (40-37 in 30/29). The three players on top are followed in the rankings after one day by six players with one win and one loss: Pedro Piedrabuena, Dick Jaspers, HaengJik Kim, Raymond Ceulemans, Dani Sánchez and Hugo Patino.

The world class players Torbjörn Blomdahl, Marco Zanetti and Sung-Won Choi started the tournament unlucky and disappointing. The Round Robin system, however, offers the three players a chance to come back in business.

The results of the matches on the first day:

Caudron-Ceulemans 40-20 in 18/17

Piedrabuena Jaspers 40-19 in 12

Kim-Choi 40-35 in 19/18

Sánchez-Blomdahl 40-36 in 25

Sayginer-Zanetti 40-35 in 29

Merckx-Patiño 40-28 in 29/28

Jaspers-Kim 40-25 in 24/23

Caudron-Choi 40-33 in 22/21

Ceulemans-Piedrabuena 40-31 in 26/25

Sayginer-Blomdahl 40-37 in 30/29

Patiño-Sánchez 40-38 in 31

Merckx-Zanetti 40-32 in 25.

The ranking after one day:

1 Frédéric Caudron 4-2.000-8

2 Eddy Merckx 4-1.482-6

3 Semih Sayginer 4-1.356-8

4 Pedro Piedrabuena 2-1.919-9

5 Dick Jaspers 2-1.639-7

6 HaengJik Kim 2-1.548-8

7 Raymond Ceulemans 2-1.395-7

8 Dani Sánchez 2-1.393-10

9 Hugo Patiño 2-1.152-5

10 Sung-Won Choi 0-1.744-7

11 Torbjörn Blomdahl 0-1.352-14

12 Marco Zanetti 0-1.241-6.











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