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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Cup - Porto (POR)

Tayfun Tasdemir is on the way back to the top

Posted by on July 7, 2018

Tayfun Tasdemir is on the way back to the top

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Tasdemir beats Jaspers, Cenet and Merckx in Porto. Can he go all the way?

PORTO - His cue went up in the air and his fist was pumped, as the crowd looked on in Porto. Tayfun Tasdemir had fought his way past some pretty strong opponents on his way to the final four. Dick Jaspers was his first victim, then Lütfi Cenet and now, on this Saturday evening, Eddy Merckx. The 42-year old stylist had slipped down the ranking duet to loss of form and a shoulder injury. Currently 23d, he's on the way back. Tomorrow, in the semifinals, he'll face Sung Won Choi. Frédéric Caudron will play Jung Han Heo in the other semi.

It is a hunger for success that Tasdemir shares with Semih Sayginer, that other Turkish billiard magician. And with Sung-Won Choi, who followed up his world title of 2014 with two national team titles in Viersen but lacks World Cup results. Another candidate for the podium, Jung Han Heo, can point to his one World Cup win (El Gouna 2016). Tasdemir is in a similar position with one win (Ho Chi Minh 2015). Of the four semifinalists, Frédéric Caudron is of course by far the most experienced and successful, with his 19 wins. The Belgian world champion defends the honor of his country, after Merckx got eliminated by Tasdemir.

There were two close finishes in the quarterfinals, one between Tasdemir and Merckx, and one between Heo and Sayginer. Tasdemir ran a 12 to make it 31-20, then a five to make it 36-24. The Belgian never gave up, ran a four and a six to get back to 36-36, but Tasdemir finished the job with a run of four: 40-36 in 21.

Semih Sayginer and Jung-Han Heo were neck and neck in the first half. The Turk then ran away to 31-22, but Heo hit back with an eight and got in front: 36-34. He managed the four last points, and left Sayginer at 40-37 in 17.

The now 53-year old Turkish comeback kid was on his way to another podium, after his runner-up finish in Blankenberge, but in Porto he just missed out. In the city where he won his only European title in 1999, he will not play on the final day.

Frédéric Caudron was never in danger against Chi Yeon Cho: from 20-11 and 31-16 the Belgian routinely won 40-28 in 26 innings. Sung-Won Choi got the better of the other Choi Wan Young Choi, with a 40-23 in 25 score.

The last sixteen had the same starring actors as the last 32 had on the opening day. Frédéric Caudron and Tayfun Tasdemir used only 15 innings to get past Murat Naci Coklu and Lütfi Cenet respectively. Caudron, as usual, was the quickest (29-18 in 11, 40-19 in 15), 2.667 against Coklu's 1.267. Tasdemir ran away with a 14 in the 4th inning, made it 22-10 and finished at 40-27 in 15.

There was more tension in the other matches: Eddy Merckx against Kostas Papakonstantinou and Eddy Leppens against Jung-Han Heo. Merckx-Papakonstantinou had a phenomenal ending, when both players produced 5-7-10-7-7-5. It was 26-25 to Kostas when Merckx first made 5, then 10 to the finish. Papakonstantinou ran two sevens to equalize. Merckx started the shootout with another 7, and the Greek responded with 5, to his unlucky elimination. He could be proud of his play, though.

Eddy Leppens played three good matches from the last qualification, but always had trouble making the last few points. He got away with it against Jae Ho Cho on Friday (40-39), but against another Korean, Jung Han Heo, he was punished for a few errors. Leppens had made it 37-32 with a good run of seven, but then added just a single point in the next five innings. That opened the door for Heo, who finished with a three in the 25th inning: 40-38.

Sung-Won Choi was the better player in the match against Torbjörn Blomdahl, a replay of the final of a world championship in Korea. Torbjörn had the much better start (17-8, 24-15), but in the second half the Swede was powerless and got beaten 40-35 in 25. Semih Sayginer unexpectedly had a walk in the park against Marco Zanetti, who had played a solid first round against Korean Oh but could not get anything going against the Turk. Semih played well as he has done for months now, ran away with a ten in the 9th inning (29-6) and finished at 40-14 in 20. The two Koreans who received wildcards for the 3CC Masters also made it through this round. Chi Yeon Cho was much too strong for Javier Palazón (40-23 in 18), Wan Young Choi stopped the victory march of David Zapata: 40-25 in 21.


Caudron: the obvious favorite of the four semifinalists

Sung Won Choi beat his countryman, the other Choi

Jung Han Heo gets past Sayginer in the home stretch

Papakonstantinou, lost in a shootout to Merckx

Merckx: edged out by Tasdemir

Chi Yeon Cho: beats Palazon, loses to Caudron

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