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Jaspers and Blomdahl: top duo for final day World Cup

Posted by on December 3, 2021

Jaspers and Blomdahl: top duo for final day World Cup

© Paul Brekelmans
Torbjörn Blomdahl slightly growing to his best form: magnificent run of 22 to the finish in Sharm El Sheikh

SHARM EL SHEIKH - The battle of titans, with such a long history, was between the numbers one and two of the world. For Dick Jaspers, it was important to maintain his position and also a revenge for the final two years ago at the Red Sea. The Swedish world champion pulled off another master piece two hours later: Torbjörn Blomdahl finished his match with HaengJik Kim for the quarterfinals with an improbable run of 22. The World Cup in Sharm El Sheikh can't get enough of all those highlights on the way to the final day of the spectacle. Dick Jaspers plays the semi-final against Sung-won Choi at 11.00 (Egyptian time) on Saturday morning, Torbjörn Blomdahl the other semi-final against Semih Sayginer at 13.00. The final is at 16.00.

Two years ago in Sharm El Sheikh, Marco Zanetti won the World Cup final against Dick Jaspers. The Dutchman was now the first to reach the last four of the tournament in a thrilling final with a minimal margin. Jaspers won 50-49 (28 innings) after the match was littered with wonderful moments from 44-44. The end of the game was so exciting and nerve-racking that both players had used up their five time-outs and a quick reprieve and time trouble were decisive for the match win. The winning carom (at 49-48 for Jaspers) set the arena on fire. The Dutchman cheered as if he had already won the tournament.
On the final day of the World Cup in Sharm El Sheikh, three Europeans face one Korean Sung-won Choi after three Asians were eliminated from the four Koreans in the quarter-finals. Sung-won Choi remained after winning the match against his countryman Jung Han Heo 50-45 in 31. In that first session, Jaspers narrowly escaped from Zanetti. Two Europeans faced two Koreans in the next session: Blomdahl against Haeng-Jik Kim, Sayginer vs Jun Tae Kim. The Turkish wizard ran away from his opponent after the break: after 26-21 the first attack was good for 39-26, the end came at 50-37 in 32/31. The phenomenal finish by Torbjörn Blomdahl, the reigning world champion who is gradually returning to his best form, was the wonderful crown to so many high runs in this tournament. The score could still go either way at 22-17. Then, suddenly, there was Blomdahl's sensational moment: a final run of 22 for a score to 50-17 in 19/18 innings.

Torbjörn Blomdahl, in his best form to a run of 22

HaengJik Kim, victim of Blomdahl to face his long run

Dick Jaspers, celebrating his victory over Zanetti

Semih Sayginer, the better of Jun Tae Kim, tomorrow the match with Torbjörn Blomdahl

Sung-won Choi, the last Korean in the best four

Best sixteen, eighth finals

The session with the last sixteen, for the first time to 50 points on the early Friday morning, is launched by Peter Ceulemans with a glorious run of 19. Therefore, he equals the 19 of HaengJik Kim the day before against Dion Nelin, with which Kim came just one point short. Ceulemans, who once made a 20 run in the Dutch premier league, is constantly in control against Heo, usually with 2 to 5 points ahead of his opponent. The end of the match is merciless for Ceulemans: he misses four times for his two last caroms and in the end Heo finishes on a score of 50-38 in 33/32.

The Belgian, who can also prepare for the World Championships in a few days' time, concludes after the sour loss: ''This must have been the stress, these were unusual circumstances for me here and at this stage. It is a wonderful experience though and all the way I am very satisfied with my tournament. There was an enormous tension in the hall, also a nice atmosphere with the Belgian supporters. But I have to admit: for now, the disappointment will dominate.''

Dick Jaspers puts an end to the adventure of the Korean revelation Choong Bok Lee, who has been in this World Cup from the second day and has shown magnificent averages. His come-back in the World Cups can be seen as one of the most remarkable facts in this event. Jaspers starts the match with a 23-10 lead after five innings, Lee comes back strongly with 10 to a score of 23-20 and then usually follows with a 10-point margin (41-33) behind his opponent. The Dutchman stayes cool and still goes smoothly to the end at 50-36 in 20.

The last home player, Sameh Sidhom, gets no chances from Marco Zanetti after the win over Sayginer in his previous round. It's not the battle the home crowd has been expecting. Zanetti sprints to a comfortable 47-18 in 17 and finishes at 50-24 in 20. The match between Sung-won Choi and Nikos Polychronopoulos, two teammates from the Molinari stable, also lacks excitement due to the unexpectedly big dominance of the Korean master tactician, who wins 50-34 in 34.

How much bad luck can a man have, mourns Eddy Merckx after his match with Semih Sayginer. The Turk has a 'slow start' with some hiccups around the stop and a bit further in the match around 28-14, but the final part goes to 44-33. The Belgian then feels reasonably comfortable despite not too high scores, but Sayginer gets a rebound with a run of 11 that suddenly brings him back into the match, alive at kicking at 44-44. The final phase is up and down, with chances back and forth. The last word, at 47-46, is for Sayginer, who eliminates the last of two Belgians in an unfortunate way. Eddy Merckx misses four match balls, coincidentally just like Ceulemans had done earlier this day. Two of those crucial balls disappear into a small gap into a mouse hole. At the last miss, Sayginer takes advantage with a liberating last carom that puts 50-49 in 35 on the scoreboard. The 'sadness of the Belgians' overshadows the later evening with the fans.

Dion Nelin and HaengJik Kim, two unpredictable players from different cultures, make a long run-up of their match. The Korean has ten points after 15 innings (16-10 behind), but gets into a flow after the break. When Nelin remarkably stops scoring, not helped by any luck, Kim scores three times eight and gets to the line with six for a still rather generous 50-28 in 26. The Dane disappears from the tournament by two consecutive losses to Kim.

The outstanding player of the day before, Torbjörn Blomdahl, finds himself in the run-up to the World Championship, in which he defends his title after a long time. The second and last World Cup of this year should give the Swede that final push of confidence. He is well on his way, especially in that powerful ten innings match against Wan Young Choi. The match against Tayfun Tasdemir has a bit less quality, with a start of 22-19 in 17. Then Blomdahl takes a bit of initiative and comes close to the finish at 44-32 in 26. The victory comes at 50-43 in 32.

Jun Tae Kim, with his fantastic junior days behind him, has two World Cups in a row in Veghel in his fingers, is also feeling very well here at the Red Sea and continues his rise to the top, playing against Jérémy Bury. Until a score of 24-22 (in 9 innings), the two players do not give each other a margin, then the game turns in Kim's direction. In the decisive part, it becomes 31-26, then the Korean breaks away to a bigger score. He wins 50-33 in 18.

Marco Zanetti played the last home player from Sharm El Sheikh stage

Semih Sayginer, a thriller match with Merckx, victory on one point

Jun Tae Kim going on in his winning streak

Dick Jaspers knocked down the revelation, Choong Bok Lee

Sung-won Choi beat Greek player Polychronopoulos

Jung Han Heo survived a 19 from Ceulemans and beat his opponent to the end on two single points

Peter Ceulemans, a farewell with a win over Jaspers and a high run of 19






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