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

Jaspers wins with willpower and passion

Posted by on June 17, 2018

Jaspers wins with willpower and passion

© Kozoom Studio

BLANKENBERGE - He had to wait two years, but now he is back on the highest podium. Dick Jaspers, the 52-year old Dutchman beat the 53-year old Turk Semih Sayginer in the final of the Blankenberge World Cup: 40-33 in 17 innings. The tournament was played on a superbly high level. Of the top twenty players, nine were over 2 average. Dick Jaspers, emotional after the ceremony, is back in the winning mood after four losing World Cup finals: ,,I am happy I can win again, in this important year with so many major events.''

Semih Sayginer was in the final of a World Cup for the first time since 2007. In Blankenberge, he demonstrated tremendous fighting spirit with two wins in shootouts and two 40-39 victories. ,,I am not pleased, because I have lost the final, but it will only make me stronger for coming tournaments.'' Eddy Merckx and Nikos Polychronopoulos shared third place. Especially the "little big man" Merckx had wanted badly to win in front of his home crowd, and he had started the tournament at world record pace: over 3 average after his first three matches. Polychronopoulos had opened with the best match of the week: 40 in 9.  

The talking point of the final between Jaspers and Sayginer was a contentious point by Jaspers in the 12th inning. The referee counted the point, and the replays later revealed that it was - at the least - up for debate. It was the third point of the run for Jaspers, and he ended up making seven, bringing him to a 29-21 lead.  ,,I was not in the best position to see it, but I was convinced it was good because the referee was so certain. That's why I did not hesitate and played on.''

Semih Sayginer was annoyed, and he showed it after the match. ,,That ball missed, 100 %. It was later demonstrated. Dick was on top of it, he must have seen it. I don't think he's a gentleman. If he says he did not see it, he needs eye surgery.''

Both players, and their colleagues, did agree about one thing: professional 3-cushion should implement "hawkeye" , the tennis system. ver één ding eens: het professionele driebanden zou het systeem van de hawkeye, zoals in tennis, moeten invoeren. Nikos Polychronopoulos: ,,Now that we are professionalizing to this degree, every point is crucial. We deserve a second chance, in cases of doubt.''

Sayginer: ,,I should have had the option of asking the referee to watch that point again in slow motion replay. That would have made it clear it was a miss.'' Jaspers: ,,I agree, because if Sayginer would "steal" a point against me, I would be upset as well.''

The World Cup podium with Dick Jaspers, Semih Sayginer, Nikos Polychronopoulos and Eddy Merckx

Dick Jaspers enjoyed his victory nevertheless. The Dutchman demonstrated that he is ready for the challenges in the remainder of the year. In an exclusive invitational in the USA, the winner can earn 150.000 dollars, and the Masters series (first one in Seoul in July) carry a first prize of 40.000 dollar. The Blankenberge World Cup was rewarded with a 16.000 Euro cheque for Jaspers. Sayginer won 10.000, both bronze medallists 6.000.

The first World Cup in Belgium in fourteen years was further marked by the early elimination of Belgian players in the qualifications, and the exit of all Dutch players except Jaspers. The Vietnamese winner of the last WC, Quyet Chien Tran, lost to the Spanish tournament revelation David Zapata. The 25-year old former junior European champion had two more major surprises up his sleeve. He beat Dong Koong Kang in the first round of the main event, and then World Champion Frédéric Caudron in the second round.

Torbjörn Blomdahl, Marco Zanetti and Murat Naci Coklu were also gone after day 1. The Swede was eliminated by Minh Cam Ma, who was responsible for the high run of the event: 18. Zanetti lost a shootout to Sayginer: 2-1. Coklu was stopped by Vietnamese Dinh Nai Ngo, the runner up in Ho Chi Minh, who would lose to Merckx a round later. Tayfun Tasdemir stuck around longer, and he got the better of Dani Sánchez. ,,I am on the way back after my marriage, and an injury to my shoulder'', said the Turk who also fell victim to the mighty Merckx.  


Nikos Polychronopoulos-Semih Sayginer 39-40 in 19

For the fourth time in five matches, Semih Sayginer was just a hair better than his opponent. The Turkish / Greek clash between two of the most spectacular players in the circuit came alive at the halfway point. Nikos Polychronopoulos had a 19-7 lead but Sayginer ran a wonderful 14 to regain the initiative. His lead grew to 33-24 and 36-31 but Polychronopoulos was not done yet. He ran eight and missed a difficult seven-rail shot because it was an inch short of speed. Semih Sayginer answered as he had done earlier: with a merciless finish, this time a run of four.  ,,It was my last chance, and I took it.'', said Sayginer after the match. Nick Polychronopoulos: ,,I lost that match on a single inch, that is my summary right there.''

Dick Jaspers-Eddy Merckx 40-23 in 18

The second match of the semifinals started with Jaspers playing the perfect break shot. The Dutchman made 16 points in his first inning, a body blow for Merckx. The Belgian had no immediate reply, and halftime was reached after only four innings: 22-5. It looked like a one-sided match, but then Jaspers had six empty innings in a row and Merckx was back in with a chance. Jaspers' drought lasted another five innings, and the score got back 25-20. Eddy Merckx said later: All I could do was try to score some points and keep him from making a run. That almost worked, because at 25-20, I was almost back.'' An inning later, Dick Jaspers found the throttle again. With a closing run of fourtee, the Dutchman reached 40 points: 40-23 in 19. ,,What a strange match'', admitted Jaspers later. ,,I don't know what happened in that middle part, but we were both totally unable to score points for a while. I am glad I could finish the way I did.''

The Belgian organization led by Kurt Ceulemans and Jan Peeters could look back with satisfaction at the first World Cup in Blankenberge. Ceulemans, an organizer by nature, said on the final day: ,,The event was of superior quality, the spectators have enjoyed fantastic matches and excitement on the final day.'' On Saturday afternoon, Ceulemans had already announced that after evaluation of this tournament, the event will be kept on the calendar for at least two more years. ,,We are back on the calendar, and we want to stay there. Find us one more big sponsor, and we will make it even better than it was now. Thanks to everyone, the volunteers, the referees, the spectators, Kozoom, the guys from "De Living", you have turned this into a great tournament.''

Final standing of the 2018 Blankenberge World Cup:

1 Dick Jaspers 2.061-16

2 Semih Sayginer 2.010-14

3 Eddy Merckx 2.465-15

3 Nikos Polychronopoulos 2.208-11

5 Myung Woo Cho 1.982-9

6 Minh Cam Ma 1.824-18

7 Tayfun Tasdemir 1.810-10

8 David Zapata 1.759-9

9 Frédéric Caudron 2.464-15

10 Jung Han Heo 2.078-13

11 Sung-Won Choi 2.071-9

12 Dani Sánchez 1.674-7

13 Hyung Kon Kim 1.568-10

14 Eddy Leppens 1.549-7

15 Can Capak 1.469-10

16 Dinh Nai Ngo 1.461-10

17 Birol Uymaz 3.222-8

18 Marco Zanetti 2.105-7

19 Nguyen Quoc Nguyen 1.750-10

20 Jae-Ho Cho 1.608-5.

The new UMB ranking:

1 - Frédéric Caudron 458

2 - Eddy Merckx 399

3 - Marco Zanetti 317

4 - Haeng-Jik Kim 304

5 - Dick Jaspers 272 (+4)

6 - Torbjörn Blomdahl 266

7 - Cho Jae Ho 254 (+1)

8 - Murat Naci Coklu 252 (-1)

9 - Sameh Sidhom 220 (+2)

10 - Heo Jung Han 216 (+2)

11 - Tran Quyet Chien 216 (-1)

12 - Choi Sung Won 214 (+1)

13 - Dani Sanchez 211 (-8)

14 - Nguyen Quoc Nguyen 201

15 - Nikos Polychronopoulos 184

16 - Ma Minh Cam (173 (+3)

17 - Semih Sayginer 168 (+6)

18 - Ngo Dinh Nai 165 (+2)

19 - Eddy Leppens 158 (-2)

20 - Cho Myung Woo 149 (-4)

21 - Jérémy Bury 149 (-3)

22 - Kang Dong Koong 145 (-)

23 - Tayfun Tasdemir 142 (-2)

24 - David Martinez 135 (+1)

25 - Lütfi Cenet 134 (_1)

26 - Duong Anh Vu 125 (-)

27 - Roland Forthomme 115 (-)

28 - Pedro Piedrabuena 110 (+1)

29 - Ma Xuan Cuong 108 (-1)

30 - Can Capak 105 (-)


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