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Semih Sayginer finally the best: winner Survival in Seoul

Posted by on September 22, 2019

Semih Sayginer finally the best: winner Survival in Seoul

© Kozoom
Semih Sayginer showing his joy and happiness after he won the Survival Masters in Seoul

SEOUL - The long hunt for Semih Sayginer's first big trophy after his come-back was finally rewarded. The Turkish prince, called the wizard of billiards, grabbed the victory in the Survival 3 Cushion Masters in Seoul in the final with three other stars, two Koreans and one Belgian: Jae-Ho Cho, Eddy Merckx and HaengJik Kim. The Korean audience witnessed the resurrection of the player, who interrupted a major career for another love, the stage of show business. But luckily for the entire billiard world, at the age of 54, Sayginer again opted for a new life as a professional billiard player. He was crowned this Sunday, in the new, famous billiard country with the top prize in the Survival Masters, 50,000 dollars.

He deserved it more than anyone else after the catch-up race he had to deliver to be among the world top players in three cushion again. The 2003 world champion is back now after having been on stage many times, but could not win a major event so far. On the late Sunday evening in Seoul, in the town loved so well in billiards, cheered by an enthusiastic crowd, he finally hit the bull's eye..., finally for Semih and for his thousands of fans.

The preliminary stage was not flawless, because in his first performance he even was passed by the young, 21-year-old and pretty unknown Korean Jang and in the semi-final, Sayginer had to put up a hard fight against another Korean outsider, Ji-Hun Ahn. But in the run-up to the real stage and the big money, Sayginer stepped on the golden throne after beating another star on the final day, Jae-Ho Cho, the feared finalist Eddy Merckx and one of the other best Koreans, HaengJik Kim.

The first leader in that final match was Eddy Merckx with a 46 score, 34 for Kim and 30 for Sayginer. The match was still in balance at the stop when Merckx started his attack (to 77), followed by Jae-Ho Cho with 69 and Sayginer in the waiting room with 46. Then, finally, Semih launched his sprint with a fantastic short-long-short-short-short shot after a miss by Merckx. The run was decisive for the later victory. Sayginer could only cheer his victory after Cho's counter with 5. The exuberant Turkish star then showed how happy he was. And how wonderful he celebrated that with a hug for his last rival Cho.

Semih Sayginer's comment after the ceremony: ''I'm back in my hotel after a long talk with the press and celebrations in the venue, but now I can say: I'm really happy to win, of course, I was pushing so hard to take my first big win. I was practicing a lot, preparing myself, updating my game, but not only that. I had to addapt a new kind of 3 cushion. And now I can say: I did it well and I can be happy, even though I was the last to come to the final. I had to make a big attack, but I had the right mind set. And after the first session, when I missed a massé in the hole, which was a mistake, I was upset and I told myself: Semih, just wait when they give you a chance. I was waiting, faced some hard shots, but I made it. I really survived, I needed it, because I missed it so hard.'' 

The final ranking in the golden match
1 Semih Sayginer 91-2,000-8
2 Jae-Ho Cho 79-1,812-5
3 Eddy Merckx 39-1,187-5
4 HaengJik Kim 31-1,062-7.

Semih Sayginer and Jae-Ho Cho, the champion and the runner-up

The champion and the number two in the hug after the match

Semih Saygineer and the joy after his last point: yesssss

Two European stars disturbed the dreams of two Korean outsiders, who came from the pre-rounds with 104 players, in the first semi-final match. Dae-Hyun Jang, only 21 like the main Korean talent Myung-Woo Cho, came into the spotlight on global stage for the first time in his young career. Eddy Merckx and Semih Sayginer finished on one and two in the standings. The Belgian started his attack with a run of 16 in the sixth inning, leading him to 71 when Sayginer was on 31.

The second part of the competition didn't touch that high level. Still, the tension was unexpectedly high at the end, when the best Korean in this match, Ji-Hin Ahn, started his last attack on Sayginer's second place. The Turk finished 1-0-0, the Korean scored a 5 that brought him closer. He had to score three points in his last inning, but missed his second: Sayginer made it barely to the final.

The scores:
1 Eddy Merckx 109-2.187-16
2 Semih Sayginer 53-1.312-6
3 Ji-Hun Ahn 45-1.187-5
4 Dae-Hyun Jang 33-1.000-4.

Eddy Merckx in his run-up to the final

Semih Sayginer, the second in the last chance and the second in the semi's, but the winner at the end

Ji-Hun Ahn, wonderful performance with a semi-final

Dae-Hyun Jang, only 21 and among the big guns in the Survival

HaengJik Kim had a brilliant start in the second semi-final from the start. The run of 14 in the first inning put a high pressure on his three rivals, Jae-Ho Cho, Dani Sánchez and Quyet Chien Tran. With an 'eight' in the fourth, Kim already ran out to a hundred score. Jae-Ho Cho was the first to go down to 0, Sánchez soon followed at minus 6 and Tran at minus 8.

The leading position was never in danger in the second part. Kim continued his domination, came to 135 and finished on 124. Jae-Ho Cho and Sánchez battled it out for the second position in the final, Quyet Chien Tran, one of the best players in the first two days, was no shadow of that major player and was far down at the end. Cho, the first to take his extra bonus before the break, found his flow in the second part and ran far away from Sánchez.

The scores:
1 HaengJik Kim 124-2,933-14
2 Jae-Ho Cho 92-2,400-10
3 Dani Sánchez 20-1,200-6
4 Quyet Chien Tran 4-0,933-4.

HaengJik Kim and Jae-Ho Cho: good luck in the final

HaengJik Kim, great score in the run-up

Jae-Ho Cho, strong matches, highlight with a run of 26

Dani Sánchez, missing the finals

Quyet Chien Tran, not good enough on the final day

The fifth Survival Masters from Kozoom, of which the previous were won by Caudron, Sánchez, Jaspers and Merckx, were marked by high runs and many averages over two. The absolute highlight came from Jae-Ho Cho in the quarter finals on Saturday. The Korean excelled with a tremendous run of 26, with a score of 160 points and achieved 4,071 on average. Semih Sayginer played 3,250 in that session with 165 points and a run of 13. HaengJik Kim was the third on average with 3,153.

High runs came apart from Jae-Ho Cho's 26 from Dick Jaspers and the same Jae-Ho Cho with 17, Eddy Merckx with 16, Roland Forthomme, HaengJik Kim and Jérémy Bury with 14, Sayginer with 13, Zanetti with 12, Tasdemir, Sung Won Choi and Heo with 11.

Two players from the qualifications, Koreans Dae-Hyun Jang and Ji-Hun Ahn, made a stunning debut and even reached the semi-finals. Therese Klompenhouwer, the women's world champion, received her first invitation for a Survival. The start was promising with a second place in her group ahead of the world top player Quyet Chien Tran. The second chance match was less strong, but the Dutch enjoyed every second in the tournament. "It was a fantastic experience and I really hope for another invitation," she said before her departure.

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My Comments

jerseychris
jerseychris
Boring Format
Stupefying. So boring even Semih couldn't rescue it. Good luck getting to the Olympics with this one.

Message 1/3 - Publish at September 22, 2019 6:58 PM

backnineblues
backnineblues
Nail Biter!
If Jae had made that short-long-long shot and three more, he would have won. Also, a run of 26 earlier in the tournament. I found it compelling!

Publish at September 22, 2019 9:35 PM

Tiger8896
Tiger8896
IOC denied billiards as an event
I think the IOC rejected having billiards as an Olympic event for the next Olympics. It's a niche sport which doesn't require any athletic ability, it would be like having chess in the Olympics. I doubt we see it in the Olympics, pocket billiards stand a better chance imo. I'd love for carom to gain a foothold in the US but there are so few venues to play in the States, most places in the states you can't even find a table to play on.

Publish at September 23, 2019 2:04 AM

denostar
denostar
@backnineblues
So true, so childish, so nonsense. So what?

Publish at September 23, 2019 2:46 AM

Knguyen
Knguyen
The Wizard...
Just as I expected, soon or later and more to come. Bravo!!!

Message 2/3 - Publish at September 22, 2019 9:34 PM

Beetle
Beetle
CONGRATULATİONS MASTER SEMİH
Well done Semih SAYGINER ! This is big competion format and battle style.

Message 3/3 - Publish at September 23, 2019 8:45 AM

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