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Belgium vs Korea, Vietnam vs Vietnam in knock-outs

Posted by on September 16, 2020

Belgium vs Korea, Vietnam vs Vietnam in knock-outs

© Quoc Khanh
Vietnamese Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, one of two group winners in the pre-rounds

Two Vietnamese, one Korean and one Belgian will meet each other on Saturday in the semi-finals for two final places in the third UMB Challenge. Roland Forthomme and Nguyen Quoc Nguyen were the most impressive performers with three wins in the preliminary rounds. Jun Tae Kim and Dinh Nai Ngo were the runners-up for the fight in the knock-outs. The two world top ladies, Therese Klompenhouwer and Sruong Pheavy, Nikos Polychronopoulos (best average and run) and Dion Nelin were eliminated.

The matches for the semi-finals:
Thursday, 12.00 (West Europe)
Roland Forthomme-Jun Tae Kim
Thursday 17.00:
Nguyen-Quoc Nguyen-Dinh Nai Ngo
Saturday 12.00: Final match

Roland Forthomme, who previously practiced at the table of his club and has his own Gabriels table at home for two and a half years now, showed himself the master of the breakshot in these pre-rounds. The 49-year-old Belgian managed to lay down flawless positions for a sequel to make high runs. That allowed Forthomme big victories against Ngo (50-17 in 12 with 2 runs of 10) and Polychronopoulos (50-40 in 15, 1 time 10, 3 times 7).

''I didn't feel the break on the first day'', the Belgians commented after the preliminaries in an interview with commentator Torb,jörn Blomdahl. ''Then, after the first day I adjusted my stroke a bit, with a different, slower speed and better technique. This format requires a different, special approach: normally you start from the break once in a match, here, ten or more times, so the focus has to be different.'' Nikos Polychronopoulos, who had more troubles with the starting position: ''My breakshot was much less, which often resulted in a difficult second position. I could not make high runs and in this system it is not possible to stop a very strong playing Forthomme, because you cannot play defense.''

Vietnamese Nguyen, who plays his matches in his new billiard club 'DS Quoc Nguyen', came just like Forthomme with the maximum of match points through the preliminary rounds. His best match was against Therese Klompenhouwer in 13 innings, his last against Dion Nelin in 15 and against Jun Tae Kim in 18. The final sprint was very solid with runs of 9 and 8 in the last five of 15 innings. The Vietnamese finished unthreatened. Dion Nelin had a glimmer of hope in his comments afterwards: ''With my average it could turn out well, but then Therese has to beat Kim.''

There was no so much chance going that way in the entire match of the world champion, who remained just under 2 average and had too much problems with the optimal breakshot. Jun-Tae Kim, the 27-year-old Korean who finished twice on second position and one time third at the Junior World Championships, dominated from the start, scoring a decisive ten for a score of 29-18 in 9 and then finished it at 50-33 in 18. Therese confessed that she had not played well in that last match. As a result, her average dropped to 2,325 with a best run of six over three matches.

Dinh Nai Ngo secured his place in the top four in his last match against Sruong Pheavy. The Cambodian concluded: ''I didn't play well, sorry for that.'' Still, she finished 50-40 in 24 innings. The second lady on the world ranking scored 1,685 over three lost matches. Nikos Polychronopoulos played an unlucky tournament and finished with the best average of eight players (3.447, run 13) as number three in his group.

The final ranking in Group A:
1 Roland Forthomme 6-3,125-10
2 Dinh Nai Ngo 4-2,340-7
3 Nikos Polychronopoulos 2-3,447-13
4 Sruong Pheavy 0-1,680-5.

The final ranking in Group B:
1 Nguyen Quoc Nguyen 6-3,260-11
2 Jun Tae Kim 4-2,959-10
3 Dion Nelin 2-3,050-9
4 Therese Klompenhouwer 0-2,325-6.

Roland Forthomme, in the room where he played impressive matches

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Final; Friday 18 September

Message 1/1 - Publish at September 18, 2020 10:20 AM

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