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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Cup - Blankenberge (BEL)

European finals: Merckx, Jaspers, Sayginer and Poly

Posted by on June 16, 2018

European finals: Merckx, Jaspers, Sayginer and Poly

© Danny Coen/De Living
Eddy Merckx shows his joy to the audience after he beat Tayfun Tasdemir in 12 innings

BLANKENBERGE - The first World Cup in Blankenberge will enter the final day with four Europeans in the semi-finals. Semih Sayginer plays on Sunday morning against Nikos Polychronopoulos (11.00), Eddy Merckx faces Dick Jaspers (13.00). The four winners of the quarter finals were taken to the doping control after the matches. Eddy Merckx is recording an unimaginable average after his victory over Tayfun Tasdemir (40-25 in 12 innings). The only Belgian player in the tournament has 3.076 of average over three matches (12, 15 and 12 innings). The world record is in the hands of Dani Sánchez with 2.777 that he played last year in Luxor. Dick Jaspers said at the end of the Saturday sessions: ,,Merckx plays so fantastic, for me he is the big favourite.''

The main news on Saturday was that Kurt Ceulemans and Jan Peeters, the two organizers, have agreed with the world federation that the World Cup will be on the calendar also for the next two yearx. The success of the first edition, with full stands in the match room of the casino, was the reason for an evaluation before the last day. Kurt Ceulemans announced the news on the 'players party' on Saturday night. ,, We will definitely continue, because this great organization is ready for a three World Cups cycle.''

The sportive success for the Belgians this first year in the hands of Eddy Merckx after the elimination of the other two Belgians, Frédéric Caudron and Eddy Leppens. The top favourite and world champion Caudron was defeated by the young Spanish revelation David Zapata. Eddy Leppens had an unlucky ending of his match against Semih Sayginer and lost 40-39.

Eddy Merckx was the super man again on Saturday night. The start with fifteen made the gap against Tayfun Tasdemir, who still came back to 26-25 in 10. Two innings later, Merckx finished the match at 40-25. Dick Jaspers had to deal with a a dangerous opponent. The coming-man Myung-Woo Cho is already known as a never-give-up man in the circuit. ,,I knew that had to take my few chances at the end, luckily I finished with a final run of six.'' Jaspers was leading 29-24 when Cho made a wonderful 9 and took the lead at 33-30. Then, Jaspers put up his strong weapon when he was 35-34 down. He closed the match with six.

Semih Sayginer made an end to the illusions of David Zapata in a one-way match in the first quarter final session. The Turk had a rocket-start of 11 and built his lead up to 36-10 in 14 and 40-15 in 18 innings. Nikos Polychronopoulos will certainly improve his ranking with his place in the best four. The Greek removed the last Vietnamese from the tournament. Minh Cam Ma, who scored the best run of the tournament so far (18), stumbled over his opponent's attacking power and was defeated 40-24 in 22.

Quarter finals

The run-up to the quarter-finals, for the last time in an arena in with four tables, was most devoted to 25-year-old Spaniard David Zapata Garcia. The World Cup revelation was the better of Frédéric Caudron, the best of all Belgians in the after-Raymond Ceulemans era. Therefore, Zapata shone already with wins over Tran and Kang. The audience in the full stands was ready to cheer the world's best, but was facing a little miracle. The first poke came from the young Spanish star, who led 19-2 after the start to everyone's amazement. The stop came at 20-8, from then, Zapata continued to score cold-blooded. He ran to 27-13, 31-13 and in a deathly silence, he finished with his last nine in the 13th inning. Caudron looked at a painfull 40-13 on the scoreboard and luckily showed some of his brilliance to the spectators in the equalizer, with a final run of 15 (40-29 in 13).

The young man from San Javier near Murcia was still trembling on his legs, ten minutes later, when he said: ,,I can't believe that I played the best match in my career here on this stage against the world champion.''

The Spanish, former junior European champion, is one of the procucts from the training school where José Marie Quetglas is the federal coach. Zapata took eight Spanish titles in his young years. The remarkable right arm, with his hand diagonally inwards, is one of his striking features. ,,I play with this arm since I started at thirteen years old. When I joined the Spanish training in the next years, Quetglas has tried to change it, but it's my style of playing, I can't change it.''

With Caudron, also Eddy Leppens disappeared from the tournament on Saturday morning. Semih Sayginer bowed a 39-35 score in favour of the Belgian to 40-39 by a run of five in the last inning. That was his third stunt in two days, after victories over Carlsen and Zanetti in the shoot-out. The Turkish prince said: ,,I worked hard for my come-back for two years, now, I finally have the feeling that I deserve to win these kind of tough matches.''

Eddy Merckx, doing great again in that second round, remains the only Belgian on stage after his victory over Dinh Nai Ngo 40-17 in 15 innings, with 18-5 and 23-7 to the break. The world's number two is on course for the world record with his 2.962 over two matches. Tayfun Tasdemir was the second Turk to win in that round with a victory over Dani Sánchez 40-32 in 21. ,,I feel that I'm ready for a return to the top'', Tasdemir said afterwards. ,,I have been away for a while, but after my marriage and now that I have almost recovered from my shoulder injury, I will try to improve my ranking.''

Dick Jaspers had a smouth start and ran out to 16-8 in six and 24-8 in 8 against Can Capak, but needed some time to finish. The last two points were brilliant for the win, 40-32 in 21.

Nikos Polychronopoulos wasted a 24-9 and 31-15 lead in the last part of the match against Hyung Kon Kim. The match ended 40-40, then the Greek got the better in the shoot-out scoring 4-0. Minh Cam Ma was much stronger than Chung-Won Choi (40-18 in 15). The little Myung-Woo Cho, the youngest player in the field of sixteen, needed a great final rush to beat his seasoned countryman Jung-Han Heo 40-39 in 18 innings.

The matches on Sunday again will be broadcast live by

Dick Jaspers, who beat little Korean Myung-Woo Cho, is facing Eddy Merckx in the semi-finals.

Semih Sayginer, three tough wins, now in semi-finals against Polychronopoulos

Nikos Polychronopoulos after his victory over Kim in the quarters



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