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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Duke Challenge - Nistelrode (NED)

Duke Challenge launched with 200.000 viewers on Ziggo

Posted by on January 21, 2021

Duke Challenge launched with 200.000 viewers on Ziggo

© Ton Smilde
Turkish star player Tayfun Tasdemir, the best after first knock-out sessions

NISTELRODE - The first selection in the knock-outs of the Duke Challenge, the first major European tournament in 2021, separated eight winners from eight losers on the second day. Sixteen players started on Wednesday in the awesome arena in the Duke hotel owned by main sponsor Jumbo in Nistelrode. The numbers one to five of the UMB world rankings, Dick Jaspers, Marco Zanetti, Torbjörn Blomdahl, Eddy Merckx and Tayfun Tasdemir, advance to the quarter-finals, accompanied by Martin Horn, Murat Naci Coklu and Peter Ceulemans. The 40-year-old Belgian player from the Ceulemans family was one of the protagonists in the first selection with the elimination of Semih Sayginer.

Two Turks, two Belgians, one Dutchman, one Swede, one Italian and one German entered the final phase to take a shot at the main prize of 16,000 euros on Friday. Dick Jaspers and Murat Naci Coklu joined the six players that qualified previously, making the field complete on the second day of the tournament that received an overwhelming TV, Kozoom and Youtube attention on the first day.

Three players finished in that first round with averages over two: Tayfun Tasdemir 2,846, Dick Jaspers 2,625 and Martin Horn 2,050. The maximum run of 10 was made three times: on the first day by Sayginer, on the second day by Jérémy Bury, both accidentally eliminated after losses against Ceulemans and Coklu. And in the last round of the first session there was a 10 by Dick Jaspers. The Dutch number one finished his last set with the maximum. That was extremely unfortunate for Roland Forthomme, who had no equalizer and therefore had no bonus to win the match. Four of eight matches ended in a 3-2 score, the other four in a 3-1.

The order of play in the quarter-finals, scheduled from 1:00 pm on Thursday:
Marco Zanetti-Martin Horn
Tayfun Tasdemir-Peter Ceulemans
Eddy Merckx-Torbjörn Blomdahl
Dick Jaspers-Murat Naci Coklu.

In the final rounds, three of four invited Dutchmen have to watch from the stands in the arena. Joey de Kok, the youngest, was pushed out of the tournament by Torbjörn Blomdahl, despite a very nice set in two innings (2 x 5). Jeffrey Jorissen was knocked down by a superb playing Tayfun Tasdemir, Jean van Erp in a five-setter by Martin Horn. The Belgians only lost Roland Forthomme, eliminated in a fascinating fight by Neerland's undisputed world top player Dick Jaspers.

The Dutchman started furiously against Forthomme 10-3 in 3, the Belgian came back 10-4 in 4, Jaspers took the lead again 10-5 in 4, but Forthomme came back again: 10-8 in 6. When the score was 2-2, Jaspers scored the maximum 10 from the break and won 3-2.

Murat Naci Coklu had a narrow escape in his match against Jérémy Bury's on the second day. The French maestro led 2-1 in sets and took a shot to four match point in a row in the fourth set. The Frenchman missed four times, therefore his Turkish opponent could come to 2-2 with a 10-9. Coklu, lucky with his last chance, also took the win 10-3 in the fifth set.

The system of short sets with a fast time clock was appreciated by all players. The purpose of the organization (BEN, Biljart Events Netherlands) was to make the knock-out matches attractive for the live broadcasts on Ziggo Sport. The number of watchers on the first day on Sports channel were spectacular: 218,000 viewers on Ziggo Sport on the first day and many tens of thousands more on Kozoom and the other Youtube channels. Harry Mathijssen, the organizer: ''That is an amazing start, I am very happy with it.'' Dick Jaspers: ''I actually can understand it: a lot of people love billiards and they haven't seen any matche for a whole year. So, it's logical that they all want to watch now when billiards is back in the picture.''

The players comments were unanimous: the first performance after the long stop should be the start for more organizations. For example, Torbjörn Blomdahl, the world champion, said: ''We should be very grateful to the Dutch organization for getting this chance in a fantastic location.'' And Frenchman Jérémy Bury: ''This event shows that we can play billiards with strict COVID rules, so let's hope others will follow. We need it so badly.'' Anyway, all players and billiard fans are waiting for new initiatives in the wake of the Asians to offer the European players in particular new opportunities to pick up the playing rhythm again.

The ranking after the first knock-out phase:
1 Tayfun Tasdemir 2-2,846-7
2 Dick Jaspers 2-2,625-10
3 Martin Horn 2-2,050-8
4 Eddy Merckx 2-1,947-8
5 Peter Ceulemans 2-1,875-5
6 Torbjörn Blomdahl 2-1,737-7
7 Murat Naci Coklu 2-1,667-5
8 Marco Zanetti 2-1,270-8

The eliminated players:
9 Roland Forthomme 0-1,867-7
10 Jérémy Bury 0-1,800-10
11 Jean van Erp 0-1,474-8
12 Gwendal Maréchal 0-1,444-5
13 Semih Sayginer 0-1,400-10
14 Jeffrey Jorissen 0-1,250-3
15 Joey de Kok 0-1,167-5
16 Antonio Montes 0-0,806-3.

Dick Jaspers closed the first knock-out sessions with a win over Roland Forthomme

Murat Naci Coklu had a narrow escape in his match with Jérémy Bury

Roland Forthomme, strong game against Jaspers, a loss without an equalizer

Peter Ceulemans among the stars on the first round matches








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