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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Cup - Guri (KOR)

It’s open season, even on a world champion.

Posted by on September 6, 2013

It’s open season, even on a world champion.

© Kozoom photo
Lütfi Cenet had a very close finish and a narrow escape against Barry van Beers

GURI - Reputations don’t count anymore in 3-cushion these days. Everybody is a target, everybody can be beat, and unknown players produce world class matches with averages of 2.000 or higher. Not even  Eddy Merckx, the current world champion and world record holder (50 in 6) was safe from the ambitions of an unknown but extremely proficient player from the qualifications.

Scoring when he could, playing safe when he had to, Vietnamese Ngo Dinh Nai chalked up the best victory of his career by overcoming the Belgian superstar 40-38 (21).

It was not the only surprise in the opening round of the World Cup tournament in Guri (Korea). The nr. 9 of the world ranking, K.R. Kim, was a victim too. He was defeated by his countryman Hwang Hyung Bum (40-25 in 21).

The other top player held their own, even though the nr. 3 player in the world, Jérémy Bury, had all sorts of trouble to bring home his match with O Takeshima (40-38 in 40). Torbjörn Blomdahl did not yet demonstrate the form he dazzled us with in Suwon last year, but he did record a relatively simple victory over Xuan Cuong Ma (40-28 in28). Sung Won Choi ended the illusions of Jean Paul de Bruijn: 40-28 in 23.

Four of the world’s best were unanimous in their idea about the new 40 point format: Zanetti, Caudron, Jaspers and Sanchez all used exactly 20 innings. Zanetti walked all over Korean Choong Bok Lee (40-15), poor Leppens, who keeps being drawn against Caudron, got as far as 18, Sánchez was made to work by Tae Hyun Lee (40-29), and Jaspers granted Carlos Campino only 16 points.

The Dutchman is still searching for the form that should bring him back into the top-4 of the world. His beautiful closing run of 10 should raise his spirits.

The best match of the opening round was played by Murat Naci Coklu. The likeable Turk had qualified via the back door (2nd place in his flight), and found the dangerous Jung Han Heo as his opponent.

The Korean ran away with a quick 9, but was hit with a 15 by Coklu. The former European champion looked superbly focused, he kept scoring and finished his match in just 16 innings (2.500).

There was a close finish between Dong Koong Kang and Riuchi Umeda: 40-38 in 31 to the Korean. Tatsuo Arai needed 31 innings to defeat Ruben Legazpi (40-35). Lütfi Cenet had to equalize from the spots against Barry van Beers (40-40 in 34), but he was the coolest player in the shoot-out: 1-0. Jae Ho Cho finished just 1 point ahead of Can Capak: 40-39 in 27.

Ko Kyung Nam made a name for himself by scoring a 12 against Kasidokostas, but it did him little good: the Greek ran a 13 and won in 21 innings: 40-35. Roland Forthomme played himself into the eighth finals by overcoming Kouji Funaki: 40-28 in 29 innings.

All this results in the following matches for tomorrow:

Blomdahl – Dong Koong Kang, Arai – Sung Won Choi, Cenet – Ngo, Jae Ho Cho – Zanetti, Bury – Kasidokostas, Jaspers – Coklu, Sanchez – Hwang Hyung Bum, Forthomme – Caudron.

Bert van Manen 

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