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Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - Kozoom 3C Challenge Cup Group D - Andernos-les-Bains (FRA)

Nikos hits back and leads Challenge to thrilling climax

Posted by on June 3, 2021

Nikos hits back and leads Challenge to thrilling climax

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Nikos Polychronopoulos in a thrilling come-back on the second day of play

ANDERNOS - The tension is back in the last preliminary round phase of the Kozoom Challenge Cup. The climax in the battle for the last final place goes with Roland Forthomme as the frontrunner and Nikos Polychronopoulos as the main rival. The difference between the two players in the lead is only two sets (8-6), the come-back of the Greek, who also raised his average, guarantees an exciting final day. Nikos' last attempt to balance the score failed in the final stage. With a score of 9-9 (Forthomme/Polychronopoulos) and 8 for Nilsson in the last set of the second day, the showdown was a game of nerves. Nikos had the 7-7 lead within reach, but failed to score the winning point. Nilsson stayed on two caroms, Forthomme scored the two winning points with two wonderful shots. Therefore, the Belgian deserved to go into the final day as the leader in the ranking.

In the early stages of the second day, the battle went the other way around. Roland started with a four-set lead over the Greek (6-2), Michael Nilsson won the first set of the day (10-9-5) and Polychronopoulos made up for his disappointing first day by winning three sets in a row. The first win was a 10-3-0 in 3 innings, then even 10-6-0 in 2 innings and in the 12th set 10-3-2 in 5 innings. That brought the tension right back: Forthomme still led with a minimal margin 6-5, but the match entered a new phase towards the end of the second day with two contenders for the final win.

Roland Forthomme found his rhythm and confidence again in the 13th set with a winning score of 10-6-4. Polychronopoulos immediately hit back (10-5-3) and further increased the tension. Michael Nilsson joined the fray once more in the penultimate set (10-6-5) and in the important last set it went to the finish with equal chances for all three players. Forthomme scored two sublime points under high tension in that final phase, won that last sprint with one point against Polychronopoulos, who missed his set point.

The Greek showed his fighting spirit in the interview afterwards: ''I am disappointed that I could not bring the score to 7-7. But the tension is back in the match, I'm getting ready for a nice final day.''

The ranking after two days:
1 Roland Forthomme 8-118-78-1.513-9
2 Nikos Polychronopoulos 6-110-79-1.392-8
3 Michael Nilsson 2-76-75-1.013-7

The set scores on the second day:

Set 9:
Nilsson 10, Polychronopoulos 5, Forthomme 9
Set 10:
Polychronopoulos 10, Forthomme 3, Nilsson 0
Set 11:
Polychronopoulos 10, Nilsson 6, Forthomme 0
Set 12:
Polychronopoulos 10, Forthomme 3, Nilsson 2
Set 13:
Forthomme 10, Polychronopoulos 6, Nilsson 4
Set 14:
Polychronopoulos 10, Forthomme 5, Nilsson 3
Set 15:
Nilsson 10, Forthomme 6, Nilsson 5
Set 16:
Forthomme 10, Polychronopoulos 9, Nilsson 8.

Nikos Polychronopoulos, ready for a wonderful last battle on the final day

Roland Forthomme in the counter attack to stop Polychronopoulos

Michael Nilsson, satisfied to win two sets on the second day





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