Frederic Caudron of Belgium with a final match the likes of which have never been seen before - a performance for the ages - defeated Dick Jaspers to win the 2017 UMB World Cup Bursa. Caudron's scoring onslaught with runs of 12, 10 and 11-and-out resulted in a 40-14 win in only seven innings for a mind-boggling 5.714 average. Jaspers retains his number one ranking winning 54 points for a total of 432 with Caudron earning 80 points and not far behind at 392. Our story and pictures follow.
Once again the city of Bursa, Turkey's fourth largest city, was host to the inaugural event of the World Cup cycle (February 6-12.) Just as in 2016, the World Cup series boasts seven events for 2017. A new seeding rule takes effect with this first event, where the top 14 players on the UMB ranking are automatically entered in the main event (previously 12.) Only three wild cards join them as the remaining 15 slots are filled through a series of qualification rounds that precede the main event. The UMB has also increased the prize fund for 2017 to 17,000 Euros per World Cup with 8,000 Euros to the winner.
The maximum players have been entered in the event and in fact players are held in reserve in the event of last minute cancellations. Included in the 150 entrants are the top fourteen in the UMB ranking list: Frédéric Caudron (Belgium), Dick Jaspers (Netherlands), Dani Sánchez (Spain), Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden), Eddy Merckx (Belgium), Marco Zanetti (Italy), Nikos Polychronopoulos (Greece), Murat Naci Coklu (Turkey), Haeng Jik Kim (South Korea), Jérémy Bury (France), Jae Ho Cho (South Korea), Sameh Sidhom (Egypt), Roland Forthomme (Belgium) and Tayfun Tasdemir ( Turkey). The UMB wildcard goes to Huberney Cataño from Colombia, the wildcards of the Turkish federation as organizer to Semih Saygıner and Can Capak. Fans from the US will note that neither Pedro Piedrabuena, a regular at many World Cup events and ranked 19 in the world, nor current US and Pan-American Champion Hugo Patino have been entered.
The format follows the usual pattern: To start 3-days of "pre-qualifcation" and one qualification round, all in round-robin groups of three. Then follows a single elimination main event with 32-players starting. Here are some highlights of the early round play.
Day One - PPPQ Round
Every player dreams of entering a World Cup and making it through the earliest round to the finals. Here is where that dream begins. On the first day in the pre-pre-pre-qualification round the weakest group of hopefuls began the tournament. Still, there was some excellent play. And if you follow along you will see who continued through in the day's that followed!
Best Game: Erkan Arik (TR) and Furkan Senel (TR) 30 in 15 innings (2.000 average)
High Run: Sung Il Jeong (KR) - 12
Games Over 2.0: Erkan Arik (TR) 2.000; and Ferken Senel (TR) 2.000
The 16 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Ümit Demircan 4-1.363-5, 2 Furkan Senel 4-1.333-7, 3 Ramazan Durdu 4-1.250-7, 4 Bora Yayalar 4-1.176-8, 5 Tae Kwan Kim 4-1.176-6, 6 Spiridon Lianos 4-1.176-4, 7 Tas Soner 4-1.132-6, 8 Im Gwon Kim 4-1.111-6, 9 Myoung Gyoo Pak 4-1.034-7, 10 Sung Il Jeong 4-0.937-12, 11 Muharrem Peker 4-0.882-4, 12 Karsten Witte 4-0.833-4, 13 Allan Jensen 4-0.800-7, 14 Hao Tri Vo 4-0.689-4, 15 Tuncay Aslan 3-1.250-6 and 16 Vedat Yilmaz 3-1.034-6.
Day Two - PPQ Round
Play continued in the next day's pre-pre-qualification round. Several from day one made it through day two including the day one leaders Umit Demircan and Furkan Senel. Koreans Sung Il Jeong and Tae Kwan Kim also survived with Jeong taking best game honors with a 2.500 performance.
Best Game: Duc Anh Chien Nguyen and Sung Il Jeong (KR) 30 in 12 innings (2.500 average)
High Run: Sung Kyu Oh (KR) -14; 2nd high run to Tonny Carlsen (DK) - 13
Games Over 2.0: Ji Hun Ahn (KR) 2.000; Barry Van Beers (NL) 2.000; Turgay Orak (TR) 2.000; Volkan Cetin (NL) 2.307; Sung Kyu Oh (KR) 2.307; Duc Anh Chien Nguyen 2.500; and Sung Il Jeong (KR) 2.500
The 16 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Selim Özden 4-1.666-5, 2 Sung Il Jeong 4-1.500-10, 3 Seung Jin Lee 4-1.333-7, 4 Muharrem Peker 4-1.276-10, 5 Furkan Senel 4-1.276-7, 6 Sang Ku Kang 4-1.176-6, 7 Jose Maria Mas 4-1.153-6, 8 Salih Tekkeli 4-1.153-4, 9 Savas Gungor 4-1.000-6, 10 Tae Kwan Kim 4-0.923-7, 11 Ümit Demircan 4-0.895-9, 12 Turgay Orak 3-1.714-9, 13 Duc Anh Chien Nguyen 2-1.718-11, 14 Omer Karakurt 2-1.432-6, 15 Volkan Cetin 2-1282-7 and 16 Ji Hun Ahn 2-1.177-6.
Day Three - PQ Round
The last of the pre-qualification rounds brought more skilled players into the fight. Young Spanish Star Jose-Maria Mas led the day moving up from his mid-ranking on day two. Turkey's Furkan Senel and Korean Sung Il Jeong survive another round - their third winning performances. Vietnamese star Duc Anh Chien Nguyen was another repeat victor from Day Two.
Best Game: Dinh Nai Ngo (VN) 30 in 12 innings (2.500 average)
High Run: Tolgahan Kiraz (TR) - 13; 2nd high run to Dinh Nai Ngo (VN) - 12
Games Over 2.0: Selim Ozden (TR) 2.307; Dinh Nai Ngo (VN) 2.500; Muharrem Peker (TR) 2.000; Jose-Maria Mas (ES) 2,000 (twice); Tolgahan Kiraz (TR) 2.307
The 16 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Jose Maria Mas 4-2.000-10, 2 Turgay Orak 4-1.621-6, 3 Hakan Incekara 4-1.428-11, 4 Birol Uymaz 4-1.428-8, 5 Duc Anh Chien Nguyen 4-1.428-6, 6 Jung Ju Shin 4-1.333-9, 7 Hideaki Kobayashi 4-1.333-6, 8 Savas Gungor 4-1.304-9, 9 Seung Jin Lee 4-1.304-5, 10 Furkan Senel 4-1.250-6, 11 Jose Juan Garcia 4-1.224-6, 12 Kwang Yeol Park 4-1.153-6, 13 Ji Hun Anh 4-1.016-6, 14 Kostas Kokkoris 4-1.016-5, 15 Sang Ku Kang 4-0.967-5 and 16 Sung Il Jeong 3-1.052-9
Day Four - The Qualification Round
If anyone was unsure that the real tournament actually begins in the Qualification round all they need do is look at the level of play. There were two matches with 40 points in 10 innings! Sung-Won Choi (KR) bested Ragay Henry (EG) 40-11 in 10 innings (4.000 average!) with a high run of 10. But the real drama was the match between Jose Juan Garcia (CO) and Dong Koong Kang (KR). The match seesawed back and forth with high runs of 10 by both players. But it was Garcia's final surge of 10 at the end to close the match with a 4.000 average 40-36 in 10 innings (after 1 point in the equalizer for Kang.) Incredibly Kang had one of the highest averages in the event so far in defeat - 3.600. And even more incredibly both Garcia and Kang qualified to advance. Count on more fireworks to come!
Best Game: Sung Won Choi (KR) and Jose Juan Garcia (CO) 40 in 10 innings (4.000 average)
High Run: Jung Han Heo (KR) - 16; 2nd high run to Nguyen Quoc Nguyen (VN) -15
Games Over 2.0: Jung Han Heo (KR) 2.666; Eddy Leppens (BE) 2.105; Lufti Cenet (TR) 2.222; Jose Maria-Mas (ES) 2.105; Nguyen Quoc Nguyen (VN) 2.105 (twice); Sung Won Choi (KR) 4.000; Dong Koong Kang (KR) 3.600 & 2.222; Jose Juan Garcia (CO) 4.000; Ji Hun Ahn (KR) 2.500;
The 15 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Sung-Won Choi 4-2.424-14, 2 Nguyen Quoc Nguyen 4-2.105-15, 3 Jung-Han Heo 4-1.951-16, 4 Lütfi Cenet 4-1.951-9, 5 Eddy Leppens 4-1.818-8, 6 Hyung Kon Kim 4-1.777-14, 7 Ji Hun Ahn 4-1.739-7, 8 Birol Uymaz 4-1.600-7, 9 Kostas Kokkoris 4-1.538-14,10 Myung Woo Cho 3-1.588-8, 11 Dong Koong Kang 2-2.714-10 and 12 Chi Yeon Cho 2-1.333-8. The three runners-up who also advance: 1 Minh Cam Ma 3-1.454-9, 2 Jose Juan Garcia 2-1.852-10, and 3 Seung-Jin Lee 2-1.809-7.
The Main Tournament Begins - 1/16 Final Round of 32
The Main Event - and it's knock-out time! The first round of 32 players in the 2017 Bursa World Cup brought the world's best against the survivors of the qualification stages. Twelve countries were represented in the finals. The Koreans fielded the largest contingent with 10, followed by the Turks (6) and Belgium (4). Colombia, Greece and Vietnam had two each, with a single player from the remaining countries: Egypt, Italy, Sweden, Spain, France and Netherlands.
A quick take on the results of the day's play: Frédéric Caudron 40 - Birol Uymaz 38 (close!); Roland Forthomme 40 - Jose Juan Garcia 30 (Garcia out!); Sung-Won Choi 40 - Myung Woo Cho 25 (experience!) Nikos Polychronopoulos 40 - Chi Yeon Cho 35 (steady!); Sameh Sidhom 39 - Dong Koong Kang 40 (too close!); Marco Zanetti 37 - Hyung Kon Kim 40 (upset!); Tayfun Tasdemir 32 - Ji Hun Ahn 40 (upset!); Torbjörn Blomdahl 40- Eddy Leppens 30 (weak game!); Dani Sánchez 40/6 - Jung-Han Heo 40/5 (three shootouts!); Jae Ho Cho 40 - Huberney Cataño 14 (expected!); Eddy Merckx 40 - Semih Sayginer 17 (sad for the Turk at home); Jérémy Bury 40 - Minh Cam Ma 18 (outperformed!); Murat Naci Coklu 30 - Seung Jin Lee 40 (upset!); Quoc Nguyen Nguyen 40 - Can Capak 22 (best game!); Haeng-Jik Kim 39 - Lütfi Cenet 40 (won with a fluke!) and Dick Jaspers 40 - Kostas Kokkoris 14 (playing like number 1.)
Best Game: Nguyen Quoc Nguyen (VN) 40 in 13 innings (3.076 average)
High Run: Lufti Cenet (TR) - 13
Games Over 2.0: Jae Ho Cho (KR) 2.857, Seung Jin Lee (KR) 2.000, Nguyen Quoc Nguyen (VN) 3.076, and Dick Jaspers (NL) 2.857
The 16 Survivors: Here are the 16 who advance by match-up for the next day's play: Frederic Caudron - Roland Forthomme; Sung Won Choi - Nikos Polychronopoulos; Dong Koong Kang - Hyung Kon Kim; Ji Hun Ahn - Torbjorn Blomdahl; Dani Sanchez - Jae Ho Cho; Eddy Merckx - Jeremy Bury; Seung Jin Lee - Nguyen Quoc Nguyen; and Lufti Cenet - Dick Jaspers.
Day Six - 1/8 and 1/4 Final Action
Six from Korea, three from Belgium and one each from Greece, Sweden, Spain, France, Vietnam, Turkey and the Netherlands remain to begin the sixth day of competiion with the 1/8 final round.
- Frederic Caudron quickly dispatched his fellow countryman Roland Forthomme 40-22 in 16 innings for a 2.500. After a close game yesterday in opening round Caudron appeared to have settled in to his rhythm
- Sung Won Choi failed to make his breakshot in the equalizer and suffered a hearbreaking loss to Nikos Polychronopoulos
- Dong Koong Kang had no problem with Hyung Kon Kim 40-29
- Ji Hun Ahn played well but never threatened Torbjorn Blomdahl who won 40-25 in 14 innings
- Dani Sanchez was completely off his game and succumbed to Jae Ho Cho 40-19 in 16 innings
- Eddy Merckx was surprised by a strong Jeremy Bury in a nice 40-32 win for the Frenchman
- Seung Jin Lee rolled over an unsteady Nguyen Quoc Nguyen 40-13 in 17 innings
- Lufti Cenet was no match for Dick Jaspers who produced the best game of the day... a delightful 40-14 win in 8 innings for a 5.0 average.
The Bursa tournament continued to deliver an incredible level of play... having produced games at averages over 3 - Dong Koong Kang (KR) 3.600 and Nguyen Quoc Nguyen (VN) 3.076, averages over 4 - Sung Won Choi (KR) and Jose Juan Garcia (CO) 4.000 and even over 5 from current World Number 1 ranked Dick Jaspers 5.000. But there is even more in store!!!
Best Game: Dick Jaspers (NL) 40 in 8 (5.000!)
High Run: Dick Jaspers (NL) 15
Games Over 2.0: Frederic Caudron (BE) 2.500, Torbjorn Blomdahl (SE) 2.857, Jae Ho Cho (KR) 2.500, Jeremy Bury (FR) 2.222, Seung Hun Lee (KR) 2.352 and Dick Jaspers (NL) 5.000
Immediately following the 1/8 final rounds came the quarter-finals.Three Koreans and one each from Belgium, Greece, Sweden, France and the Netherlands remain. As the event moved on the old guard from Europe whittled away at the dominant Koreans. The results in the quarter final rounds proved no different.
- Frederic Caudron continued his march with a close win over Nikos Polychronopouos 40-35 in 28 innings.
- In spite of a high run of 12 in the equalizer, Torbjorn Blomdahl could not catch Dong Koong Kang who advances as the last Korean standing in a 40-37 win
- Jeremy Bury delivered an incredible effort destroying the hopes of Jae Ho Cho who went down in defeat 40-7 in 9 innings. Bury averaged 4.444.
- Dick Jaspers fell back from his incredible 1/8 round performance but nonetheless eliminated the last Korean hope winning 40-25 over Seung Jin Lee
Best Game: Jeremy Bury 40 in 9 innings 4.444 average
High Run: Torbjorn Blomdahl 12
Games Over 2.0: Only Jeremy Bury put in a better than 2.0 performance with his 4.444 effort
Day Seven - The Finals
The final four matched up in the morning session on Day Seven. No one in the arena could have been prepared for what was to come. In the first semi-final match Frederic Caudron played steady averaging 2.000 and defeated Dong Koong Kang. Once again the Europeans sent a player to the finals while eliminating a talented hopeful from the Korean contingent. Next, the much anticipated second semi-final match pitted Jeremy Bury of France (best game 4.444) against Dick Jaspers of Netherlands (best game 5.000) Bury fought hard, managed a high run of 7 and finished with a respectable 21 points in his 13 innings. But Jaspers reached 40 in those 13 innings averaging 3.076 and moving once again into the finals of a world cup.
And so it was two old rivals - Frederic Caudron of Belgium and Dick Jaspers of the Netherlands - who once again met in a decisive final match. Caudron reached the finals with games of 1.739, 2.500, 1.379 and 2.000. Jaspers arrived with games of 2.857, 5.000, 1.666 and 3.076. If you were handicapping the match you might have predicted that Jaspers had the advantage. He had the higher average overall and games of 3.076 and 5.000. He looked like he was on top of the world as his number 1 ranking would indicate. But what happened in the final round was explosive, shocking, yet filled with beauty. Caudron won the lag and opened with a run of 12. followed with two short runs of 3 and 4 before running a 10 in inning 4. He missed his next two shots, but would not miss again as he ran eleven and out to reach 40 in 7 innings for a 5.714 average. Frederic Caudron had won the opening World Cup Tournament in Bursa Turkey with a performance for the ages. Even though the win was not enough to (yet) regain the number one ranking , Caudron surely won the hearts of 3-cushion billiard players around the world. We share the joy with Frederic Cuadron in his record victory!
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