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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Cup - Antalya (TUR)

Early exit for Merckx and Jaspers

Posted by on April 27, 2018

Early exit for Merckx and Jaspers

© Kozoom
Caudron is the only remaining top-3 player in Antalya

ANTALYA - The first World Cup of the season has lost two players of the world's top three on the first day. In the Turkish resort Antalya, where tourists come by the millions every year, the elite of global 3-cushion is in the spotlights this week. Spectators in the Bosphorus Hotel were fully entertained on the opening day, with  Frédéric Caudron, Nikos Polychronopoulos and Jae-Ho Cho as the headliners. Dick Jaspers and Eddy Merckx, two and three on the ranking, have left the battlefield after the first day.

Semih Sayginer is still in the tournament as one of the crowd favorites, after his win over Sung-Won Choi. Murat Naci Coklu won the clash with Can Capak, Dani Sánchez dealt with the revelation of the qualifying days, Muammer Rahmet. Lütfi Cenet was showered with applause after his rapid dismissal of Dick Jaspers (40-29 in 15) and Dong-Koong Kang beat another illustrious Korean, Jae-Guen Kim. It means both Korean world team champions from Viersen are out of the tournament.

The excitement in Antalya began with the world number one, Caudron, as he ran 18 points to the finish in his match against Hugo Patino. The American wildcard recipient travelled to Turkey for only 12 innings and 5 points: 40-5 to the world champion. Jae-Ho Cho had a sluggish start against Dutchman Jean Paul de Bruijn, was 21-11 behind after 9 innings, but then crushed his opponent with a formidable run of 21. It paved the way for the Asian champion who ended matters at 40-28 in 16, his third shining performance after his two earlier victories in 15 innings.

Nikos Polychronopoulos, the only remaining Greek in the tournament, grabbed the spotlights with one of his characteristic quickie matches. Two decisive runs, an 11 in the 11th inning, a 6 in the last, was too much for Anh Vu Duong: 40-12 in 13. It gave the Greek hope to improve his ranking position, crucial for him since he is around the 14th spot.

The quick exit of Dick Jaspers and Eddy Merckx shakes things up in the top-5. The Dutchman will almost certainly drop back to 7th or 8th after Antalya (he wins 8, loses 54 ranking points). Merckx had a better buffer, he may hold on to his top-3 position.

Dick Jaspers and Lütfi Cenet have fought many tough fights in the past few years, and this time the Turk was again a stumbling block for the favorite Dutchman. Cenet had the initiative from the 7th inning when it was 17-16, made the gap with a run of 7 and kept Jaspers at arm's length. He averaged 2.666 in the match, Jaspers had to settle for 1.933. Eddy Merckx, in the last session of the day, could not keep up with Spaniard Javier Palazón, who accelerated with a run of 10 in the fifth inning, and went from 18-11 to 34-18 and finally 40-31 in 24.

Jung-Han Heo used the first round to kick Martin Horn out of the tournament. The German made a comeback from 20-8 to still have a chance in the equalizer (needing 7). It was too much to ask: 40-35 to Heo, and Horn will have to wait until the next World Cup to climb the ranking. Tayfun Tasdemir was not given the chance to shine in front of his home crowd: Vietnamese Dinh Nai Ngo overpowered him 40-28 in 21.

Eddy Leppens has started the new season with a mission. He wants to be in the top-20, which would be his ticket to play the lucrative Masters series. The Belgian is currently on 21, and his win over Sameh Sidhom should elevate him at least two spots. The match had a remarkable ending: Sidhom looked to be on his way to finish with a run of 10, but he unexpectedly missed the last one. Leppens needed two, got lucky with his first and finished: 40-39 in 26.

Quyet Chien Tran had a deadly finish against Jérémy Bury, in a match that was fairly dull until the Vietnamese ran a 12 to finish: 40-26 in 27. Dani Sánchez was solid but not yet red-hot against Rahmet (40-25 in 30). Marco Zanetti found his rhythm when he ran a 12 in the 12th inning, making the gap against Savas Bulut (40-29 in 21). Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, the whirlwind, was much too strong for  Hyung-Kon Kim (40-21 in 18) and Haeng-Jik Kim dealt with Adnan Yüksel (40-35 in 32) in a match that never got in full gear. Murat Naci Coklu and Semih Sayginer brought the number of Turks in the next round to three, with victories over Can Capak and Sung-Won Choi. Coklu was one of the best players of the day (17 innings). Sayginer opened strongly, 11-0 in 5 and 23-8 after a run of 9. He then slowed down but another late run of 9 denied the Korean: 40-28 in 25.

The matches in the second round:
11.00 Turkish time:

13.00 uur:
HJ Kim-Cho



Caudron: brilliant run of 18 to finish


Polychronopoulos: quickie win in 13 innings

Sayginer: two runs of 9 to beat Sung Won Choi

Palazon: the Spaniard sent home Eddy Merckx


Merckx: his ranking is safe for now


Cenet: once again he defeats Jaspers


Jaspers: will fall on the ranking to 7th or 8th


Best Turkish winner today, in 17 innings


Zanetti: a win in 21 innings


Horn: making a comeback is hard


Leppens got through by a single point


Patino: a long trip for 5 caroms

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