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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - AGIPI Masters Finals - Schiltigheim (FRA)

Big names walking on thin ice

Posted by on March 22, 2012

Big names walking on thin ice

© Didier Fioramonti
Sung-Won Choi after his win in the final against Jérémy Bury last year.

SCHILTIGHEIM - The famous arena, where the best players in the world meet each other on the Agipi Masters gala every year, is ready for the next showdown. The first lustrum of the tournament after victories of Torbjörn Blomdahl, Dick Jaspers (twice) and Sung-Won Choi, is again the platform for eight world class players.

The preliminaries with matches on high level and with lots of tension were a foretaste for the big final stage. The spectacle, watched by the audience in the arena, live on Eurosport and Kozoom, will point out the winner of the fifth edition.

It is a select and a mixed bunch that will battle it the final round, which will be played acoording to the knockout system. The Koreans participate with two (Sung-Won Choi and Kyung-Roul Kim), the other six are Dick Jaspers (Netherlands), Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden), Dani Sánchez (Spain), Eddy Merckx (Belgium), Filipos Kasidokostas (Greece) and Martin Horn (Germany).

They will play for the main prize of 20.000 euros, the second of 8.000, 3000 for the losing semi-finalists, 1500 for the losing quarter-finalists and all those other bonuses for high runs, winning matches and short games. The total price money will be over 100.000 Euros.

The champions, with lots of world titles, victories in World Cups and records on their names, are walking on thin ice in the Masters. Who will survive the trenchwar to the end, who will be shot down in the man-to-man battles? Ask the players themselves, they all will ensure: the Agipi Masters is the most attractive and important tournament of the year.

What tension and stress, when they play for big money, can do with world class players, could  be seen in the final stage of the qualifying rounds, in the match between Dick Jaspers and Marco Zanetti. The thrilling match was decided on one carom. The Dutchman eventually won after five missed matchballs. He just had a bit more luck than his Italian opponent, who certainly deserved to play the final.

How small the difference is between all these top players, was demonstrated this week in the leagues in Germany and Belgium. The match between Eddy Merckx and Torbjörn Blomdahl in the bundesliga ended in a draw (50-50 in 31 innings). Dick Jaspers and Martin Horn, who meet each other in Agipi on Friday, faced in Belgium on Monday in a team match, which also finished in a tie: 50-50.

On Thursday (March 22) the Agipi Masters final 2012 will start with the match between Kyung-Roul Kim and Dani Sánchez at 17:00. Sung-Won Choi and Eddy Merckx play at 20.00 that day.

On Friday, the other two quarterfinals are played: at 17.00 Filipos Kasidokostas against Torbjörn Blomdahl; at 20.00 Dick Jaspers against Martin Horn.

On Friday at 13.30 the losers of the first day play against each other for the classification.

All matches can be followed directly on Kozoom for the holders of a Premium Pass.

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