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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Verhoeven Open Tournament - New York (USA)

Eddy Merckx winner in New York in a fabulous final

Posted by on August 12, 2019

Eddy Merckx winner in New York in a fabulous final

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Eddy Merckx, winner Verhoeven Open 2019 after a terrifying final day in Carom Cafe

NEW YORK - On the final evening, Belgian billiard phenomenon Eddy Merckx raged with the power of a tornado through the Carom Café in New York. Twelve victories in a row, unbeaten and a magic final shot crowned Merckx as the Verhoeven Open winner. The tournament started with 98 players and ended on Sunday with a final between two great champions. Eddy Merckx defeated Swede Torbjörn Blomdahl in a one-way final 40-10 in 10 innings after a final run of 18!! It was a symbol of his supremacy in New York.

The victory was marked by an undefeated series of nine in the semi-final with four groups of ten players. On the final day, Merckx first outplayed his fellow countryman Roland Forthomme in the quarter finals 40-29 in 27 innings, in the semi-final Dani Sánchez 40-13 in 9 and finally Blomdahl in the fight for gold 40-10 in 10. The latter match was a real demonstration: after 9 to 8 for Blomdahl in the sixth inning, Merckx finished the match 6-8-0-18. He received a thunderous applause from the spectators and players in the billiard arena of Flushing, in which he used only 24 innings for his last 102 caroms: a terrifying average of 4,250.

Merckx was on the podium with the three other players who were seeded at the start of Verhoeven Open: Torbjörn Blomdahl, Dani Sánchez and Semih Sayginer. The young Korean Myung-Woo Cho, who showed his outstanding class in the first days, was defeated by Semih Sayginer on the final day. Dion Nelin, another fantastic player in the tournament, lost to Dani Sánchez.

Eddy Merckx was cheered on stage by Charly Brown, the sports leader in the Verhoeven Open and Michael Kang, the organizer of the famous tournament, in which many world stars have put their names on the list of honour. Merckx himself proved to be the modest winner. "I thank everyone for the support, Michael Kang for the wonderful organization and I hope to be invited again next year."

And long after the ceremony in a reaction: ''I'm not that good in history, but I think this was my 7th or 8th time here in New York and now I won two of them. Today was a curious day: I came from far down against Roland Forthomme and had to fight back. And then, facing Sánchez and Blomdahl, I played two of my best matches ever. And most of all, I won all my matches, that's really special. I first played exhibitions in Mexico for 7 days, so I already left on July 30. Coming home again will be blissful. And then, on to the Survival in Turkey and the LG Cup in Korea. I'm looking forward to these wonderful events."

 The two final players in Carom Cafe: Eddy Merckx and Torbjörn Blomdahl

The top four players and the organizers

The overview of the final day in Verhoeven Open:

Merckx-Sánchez 40-13 in 9

The tenth win in a row by Eddy Merckx in the Carom Cafe is very impressive. Rarely, Dani Sánchez must have felt so desperate in a match over 40 points. The unbeaten Belgian in 10 matches leads 15-13 after 5 innings. Sánchez misses four times in the next four innings, Eddy Merckx finishes in the last three innings with 11, 4 and 2. The second to last is a wonderful bankshot, the last, with a curious kiss, a lucky ball. The averages speak for themselves: 4,444 for Merckx, 1,444 for Sánchez.

Blomdahl-Sayginer 40-28 in 21

Torbjörn Blomdahl's highlight with a run of 11 seems to fire up the match that brings two famous players together. Semih Sayginer, however, misses the level he showed in his previous performances. Typical for Semih's match is that he has a best run of four in 21 innings. The feeling and the confidence are lacking, there is some bad luck and not one moment of serious pursuit. The Swede runs from 18-14 to 29-14 with his attack in the 14th inning and can finish it off with small runs.


Sayginer-Cho 40-24 in 15/14

Semih Sayginer's start with an opening run of 11 brings Myung-Woo Cho in a state of paralysis. The margin is increased in the next inning to 16-1 and after that killing start, it never will be a real battle. The Korean has lost has flawless feeling from the first days and misses too many good positions. He once strikes back with 8, but after that the resistance is broken. Semih Sayginer can finish it off after 35-22 in the tenth with the winning shot in the 15th inning.

Blomdahl-Seo: 40-26 in 29

The Swede's lead in the 10th inning (13-5) has never been in danger later in the match. The margin is shortens to five (19-14), but the Korean outsider in this field can't be threatening. Torbjörn Blomdahl crosses the finish line comfortably.

Merckx-Forthomme: 40-29 in 27

The match turns remarkably after Roland Forthomme's strong start when he leads in the Belgian clash 12-6 and 20-14. Then, Merckx shows his power in the second part. Two runs, 6 and 8, bring the score to 32-27 in Merckx ' advantage. Forthomme has a poor second half and scores only 9 times in the last 14 innings. Eddy Merckx shows to be superior at the end.

Sánchez-Nelin 40-34 in 31/30

The most exciting match of three in the quarters, because it can still both ways in the 30th inning at 37-34. Dion Nelin leads to 20-18 in the match. Dani Sánchez' important and decisive 8-run in the 24th starts the attack to a winning final. Sánchez decides the match with 3 on a score of 37-34 in the 30th inning.

The final four: Eddy Merckx, Torbjörn Blomdahl, Semih Sayginer and Dani Sánchez

Eddy Merckx on his way to victory in the final with Torbjörn Blomdahl

Torbjörn Blomdahl, great performance, no chance in final facing the master Eddy Merckx

Semih Sayginer and Dani Sänchez

Roland Forthomme and Dion Nelin

Chang-Hoon Seo and Myung-Woo Cho




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My Comments

More Prize Money
Great tournament and a great job by tournament director Charles Brown in organizing it. I was surprised by the participation of so many top players for the modest sum of $8,000 for the winner when prize money has gone up substantially in UMB tournaments. Michael Kang mentioned that he’d like to see the prize money increased in the future so he seems to recognize it’s an issue.

Message 1/1 - Publish at August 12, 2019 11:43 AM

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