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

World top five: going up, going down

Posted by on September 29, 2017

World top five: going up, going down

© Kozoom/Korea
Jae-Ho Cho, one of the day's winners, was to be sworn to sportiness before the start

CHEONGJU CITY - The first knock-out stage at the World Cup, far away in Cheongju City, already brought the world's top five on the move. The gala was opened by Dani Sánchez and Torbjörn Blomdahl with two world matches, not so much later, Frédéric Caudron and Marco Zanetti disappeared from the stage. The global level is still going up: in ten of sixteen matches, the final average was over two. The world champion, Sánchez, opened with the best match, 40-11 against a Korean newcomer in 12 innings. The almost-sensation came from a lost son: the Korean In-Won Kang stumbled over one single carom from victory against Semih Sayginer.

Two other Koreans followed in the shadow of the best starters. Jae-Ho Cho outplayed the near-to-form-crisis Nguyen Quoc Nguyen with a comfortable score (40-14 in 14), Choong-Bok Lee launched himself as an outside player for a podium place with a win in fifteen. Dick Jaspers closed the day with a 40-in-14 win. The Dutchman spoke in an interview with a Korean lady about ,,a little luck and a bit of bad luck''," but was especially pleased with his perfect focus. Murat Naci Coklu came back from a serious backlog against Tayfun Tasdemir in the ever-prestigious Turkish bump. Tayfun lost the control in the final part, Murat passed the finish as the winner 40-36 in 30.

The world's top five went up and down on the first day. Dani Sánchez, Dick Jaspers and Haeng-Jik Kim came very strong out of the starting blocks. Marco Zanetti and Frédéric Caudron made an early retreat. Torbjörn Blomdahl, with his smooth start, might return to the top five after five World Cups. Three other players from the top 14 were also eliminated: Nikos Polychronopoulos, Nguyen Quoc Nguyen and Quyet Chien Tran.

The amiable In-Won Kang, who spent a part of his billiards life in Germany and the Netherlands, returned to the scene. He received his wildcard because of his high ranking in the regio, but shone with a great startup against Semih Sayginer. The Korean, with his special blonde and red hairs in his European years (Eddy Merckx' opponent when the Belgian played his world record match, 50-6 in 6 innings), matched with Sayginer, had chances to win at 39-38 and 39-39, but went down under the tension. Semih decided the match with a harmonica: 40-39 in 22.

The final sixteen field consists of eight Europeans (four Turks), five Koreans, two Vietnamese and an African. The Turkish opening day was very glorious with wins for Lütfi Cenet (2-1 in the shootout against Min Gu Kang), Murat Naci Coklu, Kiraz Tolgahan and Semih Sayginer. The famous Belgian enclave was reduced to one. Eddy Merckx showed a faded Vietnamese pre-round player the world's level (40-12 in 20). Roland Forthomme was good (2.058), but ran into an even better Jung-Han Heo (40-35 in 17). Frédéric Caudron, not rarely vulnerable in the first round at a World Cup, missed his last carom against the Vietnamese Duong (40-39 in 32). The Belgian loses 80 ranking points in this tournament and makes a dive on the ranking.

Marco Zanetti, celebrated in the Seoul big-money event two weeks ago, went out in his match with Sung-Won Choi (40-31 in 20). Birol Uymaz, dreaming of his breakthrough, was 19-9 ahead against Blomdahl, the Swede attacked with 10 and overwhelmed the Turk in the final battle.

Nikos Polychronopoulos could not show his strong weapon, the fast and furious high runs, Xuan Cuong Ma and Quyet Chien Tran could fall out of the top 14 after his loss against Tolgahan Kiraz.

The matches for the next knockout session, Korean time:

Heo-HJ Kim
Cho Duong


Dani Sánchez, the world champion, best on the opening day

Torbjörn Blomdahl, good win and close to return in top five

Dick Jaspers, wonderful win, with some 'lucks and unlucks'

Eddy Merckx, left from the three Belgians in the final rounds

Sung-Won Choi outplayed the recent Seoul winner Marco Zanetti

Murat Naci Coklu, perfect endrush in Turkish bump with Tasdemir

In-Won Kang the lost son, was near by a sensational win against Sayginer

Anh Vu Duong outsprinted Cauidron on one point

Haeng-Jik Kim, top five player starts hopefully

Choong-Bok Lee, outside player for a podium place

UMB president Farouk Barki to open the World Cup in South Korea

The 32 final players for the main draw



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