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Dani Sánchez showmaster at Jaspers-party

Posted by on July 23, 2016

Dani Sánchez showmaster at Jaspers-party

© Kozoom/Korea
Dani Sánchez showing his big smile to his opponent after he beat Dick Jaspers on his birthday party

PORTO - Dick Jaspers' 51st birthday party during the Porto World Cup was ruined by his quarterfinal opponent, the elusive Spaniard Dani Sánchez. The match between the two FC Porto club mates was decided when it was only five innings old. The superior Spaniard had the dream start and built up a 33-2 lead. He closed the door on Jaspers after 13 innings: 40-18. Frédéric Caudron (against Sung-Won Choi), Nikos Polychronopoulos (against Haeng Jik Kim) and Marco Zanetti (against Torbjörn Blomdahl) were the other quarterfinal winners.

The semifinals on Sunday:
Dani Sánchez-Frédéric Caudron
Marco Zanetti-Nikos Polychronopoulos

Dick Jaspers could do no other than look for excuses. ,,I did not feel the table, could not get a grip on the cue ball, but mind you, Dani played perfectly.'' The always gentlemanly Spanish champion on the other hand, felt on cloud nine after the match. ,,In those first five innings, I played the best 3-cushion of my life.'' Jaspers dreadful error of missing the break was instantly and severely punished by Sanchez, who ran eleven in his first attempt. He did not let up after that: 4, 6, 8 and 4 for Sánchez, with Jaspers unable to hit back: 0, 2, 0 and 0. The Dutchman knew that from 33-2, there was no coming back.

,,It just makes little difference to me if I have ten, or fifteen, it's all about winning the match and that was already impossible after those five innings.'' Jaspers did get some opportunities later on, because Sánchez miscued and got kissed out in four innings where he had lost the plot. Jaspers left the tournament after a strong first match (11 innings), a fascinating struggle with Vietnamese Ma (40-39), and in the quarterfinal this painful thrashing by Sánchez, who will face Caudron in tomorrow's semifinal. The Belgian beat former world champion Sung-Won Choi in and exciting encounter: 40-39 in 29 innings. The match was balanced after 10 innings (14-13), then Caudron took the lead (29-21), but Choi got back into it with a run of seven. The Korean missed one chance at his final point, and Caudron jumped on it to finish: 40-39.

Torbjörn Blomdahl and Marco Zanetti met in the second session, and produced a true titanic battle. The Swede said before the match: "We've met three times in the quarters, in the last five World Cups. Twice Marco won, I beat him once.'' A Blomdahl win looked imminent, when the Swede ran nine and was just a point away from the finish line. Both rivals refused to give in, and Zanetti's equalizer put the scoreboard on 40-40. Blomdahl started the shootout and played a poor break-off. He had to play his second point left-handed, and missed by a hair. Zanetti raised the tension even further by making the break only just, but he had no problem with the second, winning point.

Nikos Polychronopoulos shows his joy to the audience after he beat Haeng Jik Kim

Nikos Polychronopoulos and Haeng Jik Kim also battled to the bitter end: the Korean balanced the match when he ran nine in the 14th inning. The Greek lost his rhythm for a while, and uncharacteristically for him, could not produce a high run himself. He still reached the finish line first, thanks to contributions of six and four in the 16th and 17th innings. Haeng Jik Kim needed four to equalize, but missed after two points. He left the room with a wry smile: ,,I'll see you later, I'm off to the bar now.'' Nikos patted his opponent on the back and said: ,,See you in a little while, my friend, save one for me...''

Frédéric Caudron, in the earlier round, had equaled Jaspers best match of the tournament, by using only 11 innings to beat Korean Jae Ho Cho, 40-19, 3.636 average, and two runs of eight by Caudron in the last two innings. Sung-Won Choi eliminated the last of the Turks, Hakan Incekara, and did that by a margin: 40-14 in 19. Torbjörn Blomdahl faced one of the tournament revelations in the early Saturday round: the new Korean star Hyung Kon Kim. ,,I was lucky because my opponent, who played so well, was unable to make his last point'', said Blomdahl modestly. The Swede made the final point to win 40-39.

Javier Palazón looked on his way to beat Haeng Jik Kim, but the young Korean ran nine and needed just one more. He finihed the match in the next inning, to win 40-38 in 23. Dani Sánchez had no problems with Sameh Sidhom in his first match of the day (40-15 in 17, two runs of nine for the Spaniard). Dick Jaspers escaped against Vietnamese Minh Cam Ma, whom he had beaten in a shootout in the Ho Chi Minh World Cup. There was no repeat of that, but it was close, Jaspers winning 40-39.

Marco Zanetti felt Jung Han Heo breathing in his neck, but got over the line just in time: 40-36 in 17. Nikos Polychronopoulos showed his glorious form when he played Eddy Merckx: from 29-28 the Greek changed gears and ran away to win 40-31 in 21.

Torbjörn Blomdahl laughing when Marco Zanetti just hit the ball by a millimeter at the break for the shoot-outs

Tomorrow's semifinals at 11.00 and 13.00:

Caudron-Sánchez
Polychronopoulos-Zanetti.
The final is at 17.00.

Frédéric Caudron reached the semi-finals after a nek-to-nek race with Sung Won Choi

Dani Sánchez: I played my best billiard ever in five innings against Jaspers

Torbjörn Blomdahl and Marco Zanetti in a friendly atmosphere after the match

Sung-Won Choi in his match against Caudron which he lost to one point

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