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Frédéric Caudron king of Porto, king of the world

Posted by on July 24, 2016

Frédéric Caudron king of Porto, king of the world


PORTO - The highest step at the world stage was again reserved for Frédéric Caudron, the world's number one who is in an unstoppable flow, dominating almost all the World Cups this year. In the final in Porto, the 48-year-old Belgian champion defeated the ten years younger Greek Nikos Polychronopoulos 40-25 in 16 innings. The final scenario was a repetition of the performance in the semi-final against Spaniard Dani Sánchez (40-23 in 12 innings). The supremacy of the champion on the final day was impressive. ,,I am obviously in the best years of my career'', the Belgian star player concluded after the ceremony where he was accompanied on stage by three other European players: Nikos Polychronopoulos, Dani Sánchez and Marco Zanetti.

,,We all know how strong the invasion of young Koreans and Vietnamese is, but with our experience, high class and knowledge we are still able to dominate the World Cups.'' In three of four World Cups, Caudron showed up in the final this year. Only Dick Jaspers could beat him (in Bursa), in the last two, Caudron won. In Ho Chi Minh followed by Porto this weekend, he increased his status as the ranking leader.

On the final day at the Dragon Calxa stadium, a few steps from the FC Porto stronghold, the Belgian super star showed all his beauty. ,,I could open the attack twice in my last matches and run away from my opponents'', said Caudron looking back. Both times, in the semi against Dani Sánchez and the final against Nikos Polychronopoulos, the opening was so strong that Caudron was never in danger in the final part. That resulted in a comfortable 40-23 in 12 in the semis against Sánchez (3.333/1.916) and in the final against Polychronopoulos, after 23-4 in eight innings, eventually 40-25 in 16 (2.500 / 1.562).

How high the overall level was in this World Cup, was demonstrated by the scores of the top five: Caudron 2.197, Polychronopoulos 1.989, Sánchez 1.986, Zanetti 1.869, Jaspers 2.041. Nikos Polychronopoulos played his third World Cup final in his career. The Belgians were always his 'angstgegners': two times the champion of his country lost to Frédéric Caudron, in Sluiskil and Porto, once against Eddy Merckx in Matosinhos. ,,I am defeated in this final by a world star'', concluded the Greek. ,,The most important for me is that I played a great tournament, in which I could show my level and confidence. I am convinced that my time will come to win my first World Cup.''

The stage at the Porto World Cup with Frédéric Caudron (middle), Nikos Polychronopoulos (left), Dani Sánchez and Marco Zanetti

The two finalists were competing for gold after they dealt with Dani Sánchez and Marco Zanetti in the semis. The Italian, who did not feel 100 % physically on the last day, ran into the explosive power of Polychronopoulos. Two runs of eight from Zanetti, one of nine for the Greek resulted in an equal score in the final stage: 31-31 and 36-36. Polychronopoulos was slightly irritated by three 'butages' (jumping balls) at some key moments, but could turn the match with three into his favor: 40-37 in 25.

Frédéric Caudron had a walk-over against Sánchez after two grueling matches, against Sayginer 40-38 and against Choi 40-39. He kick-started (nine from the break), followed by thirteen in the sixth, including three magnificent shots, making the gap almost unbridgeable for the Spaniard (28-11). ,,This was a match in which the balls did not love me'', said Sánchez looking for an excuse after his loss: 40-23 in 12.

The ever-growing invasion of Koreans (with 22.000 clubs in their homeland and 160.000 carom billiard tables) and the Vietnamese in the World Cups could not prevent that another four Europeans on the final day battled for the top spots. The finals of the four World Cups so far were all matches dominated by Europeans and especially the Belgian/Dutch hegemony showed. Dick Jaspers won in Bursa, Eddy Merckx in Luxor, Frédéric Caudron in Ho Chi Minh and Frédéric Caudron again in Porto.

The American Pedro Piedrabuena, the Korean Jae Ho Cho and Vietnamese Nguyen Quoc Nguyen were the only non-Europeans on the podium. The World Cup in Porto was marked by a high level in the main draw. Hyung Kong Kim, the new star of the Koreans, advanced with 2.666 on the last qualification day. His first appearance in the main tournament was promising, he only missed his last carom against Torbjörn Blomdahl and was punished at 40-39. The good news for the Koreans is that Sung-Won Choi, the world champion two years ago, showed to be on his way back.

Dick Jaspers and Frédéric Caudron played matches in 11 innings, the Dutchman also recorded the highest run with 15. Dani Sánchez stole the hearts of his home crowd in the match against Dick Jaspers, in which he played, in his own words, the best billiard of his life for five innings ( 33-2).Nikos Polychronopoulos, the whirlwind from Athens, sparkled with spectacular attacks, Tayfun Tasdemir and Sung-Won Choi met in a royal drama, in which the Korean pulled the trigger at 40-40 with nine in the shoot-out race.

Frédéric Caudron, finishing it off in front of the full stands at FC Porto World Cup

With his victory, Frédéric Caudron increased his margin in the world ranking. The Belgian leads with 396 points ahead of Blomdahl 350, Merckx 311, Jaspers 303 and Zanetti 232. Nikos Polychronopoulos, for the first time back in the top twelve, rose from twelfth to seventh position. Tayfun Tasdemir disappeared from the elite ranking, Haeng Jik Kim took his place.

The tournament was a disappointment for the Turks: only Hakan Incekara was surprisingly among the best sixteen. The South American star player Robinson Morales (nicknamed Robin Hood) had a brief adventure on European soil, Victor Tenorio, the rookie from Peru, was like a sweet young panda getting acquainted with the harsh laws of the jungle in his match against Dick Jaspers. The two-headed Portuguese delegations, with wildcards for Manuel Rui Costa and Joao Ferreira, was quickly back home. Young Ferreira nevertheless showed his growing progress to his FC Porto captain Blomdahl.

In the complete tournament 37 series over 10 were made, 32 matches were won with an average over 2.000 and six winners averaged over 3.000. The age-old debate about the match length briefly erupted in the corridors again. Dani Sánchez: ,, Because of the higher level, more and more matches at the top are  decided after five innings. This is a good time to bring the tension back, and play in sets again. You can't offer a World Cup audience games that are decided after fifteen minutes. ''

Tournament organizer Alipio Jorge, who enjoyed the packed grandstands during the closing days, did not want to prejudge the future of his World Cup. ,, We will decide to go ahead within a month, but we have big plans to expand the tournament. "" The Portuguese figurehead of the organization, a commentator himself during matches, cherished the growing media interest in the FC Porto stronghold. ,, The future looks healthy."

Marco Zanetti at the front, Dani Sánchez, Frédéric Caudron and Nikos Polychronopoulos

Final ranking of the Porto World Cup:

1 Frédéric Caudron 2.197
2 Nikos Polychronopoulos 1.989
3 Dani Sánchez 1.986
3 Marco Zanetti 1.869
5 Dick Jaspes 2.041
6 Haeng Jik Kim 1.815
7 Torbjörn Blomdahl 1.714
8 Sung-Won Choi 1.565
9 Hyung Kon Kim 1.880
10 Javier Palazón 1.857
11 Jung Han Heo 1.727
12 Eddy Merckx 1.690
13 Minh Cam Ma 1.580
14 Sameh Sidhom 1.447
15 Jae Ho Cho 1.439
16 Hakan Incekara 1.102
17 Murat Naci Coklu 2.071
18 Choong-Bok Lee 1.904
19 Semih Sayginer 1.652
20 Victor Tenorio 1.545.

Frédéric Caudron and Nikos Polychronopoulos starting the match for gold

The new world ranking after Porto:

1 Frédéric Caudron 396 punten
2 Torbjörn Blomdahl 350
3 Eddy Merckx 311
4 Dick Jaspers 303
5 Marco Zanetti 232
6 Dani Sánchez 221
7 Nikos Polychronopoulos 218
8 Sameh Sidhom 195
9 Jae Ho Cho 174
10 Dong Koong Kang 169
11 Roland Forthomme 166.

12 Haeng Jik Kim 160
13 Tayfun Tasdemir 154
14 Jung Han Heo 143
15 Riad Nady 142
16 Murat Naci Coklu 140
17 Quyet Chien Tran 131
18 Jérémy Bury 126
19 Pedro Piedrabuena 122
20 Lütfi Cenet 119.

Dani Sánchez and Frédéric Caudron talking about the match after the semi-final

Nikos Polychronopoulos is back on top



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