The second UMB World Cup of the 2017 season was won by Dani Sanchez of Spain. This is Part 1 of our full coverage of the event through the qualification rounds. Part 2 of our coverage, the main event through the final, can be found here - Dani Sanchez Wins World Cup in Luxor, Eqypt.
Set in the historic city of Luxor, Egypt and running from March 26 through April 1, six Gabriels tables were the battlefield for the combatants in the beautiful Sonesta St George Hotel ballroom. Unlike previous World Cup events that were fully inscribed, only 124 players were on the list of players this time. Nonetheless, the top 14 players in the world all confirmed and would first appear on the fifth day when the main tournament commenced. Multiple qualification rounds in 3-man round robin groups preceded, whittling the field of hopeful challengers down to just 15 who would join the top players and three wildcard entries for the 32-man single elimination format that determined the champion.
Day One - PPPQ Round
The World Cup draws the best in the world seeking the challenge and the prestige associated with a win against the tops in 3-cushion. And with a multi-day format even the average player can enter and take a chance that he will rise to the occasion. We at 3-Cushion Billiards like to follow the players who make it through the early qualification rounds. Rarely do they last all the way to the main tournament. But often we are surprised at the quality of play from the lesser known competitors. Unfortunately the event in the city of Luxor has gotten off to a slow start compared to some of the previous competitions. No player managed a game over 2.0 and no player managed a run over 10 on the first day. Perhaps Day Two will bring us some of the excitement and surprises we hope for.
Best Game: Jung-Sub Kim (KR) 30 in 16 (1.875 average)
High Run: Myoung-Gyoo Park (KR) - 9
Games Over 2.0: NONE!
The 12 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Su Hyun Cho (KR) 4-1.578-7; 2 Jungsub Kim (KR) 4-1.248-7; 3 Jacob Haack Sörensen (DK) 4-1.304-8; 4 Ronny Brants (BE) 4-1.176-7; 5 Serdar Gumus (TR) 4-0.983-6; 6 Myoung Gyoo Park (KR) 4-0.882-9; 7 Dong Keun Jung (KR) 4-0.882-4; 8 Bo Gustavsson (SE) 4-0.674-4; 9 Fadi Abousaleh (LB) 4-0.566-6; 10 Ahmed Hatem (EG) 4-0.540-5; 11 Frank Loosveldt (BE) 4-0.491-5 and 12 Magdy Salah El Din (EG) 4-0.444-5.
Day Two - PPQ Round
Day Two of the Luxor World Cup ended with Dutchman Glenn Hofman leading in all categories: Best Game, High Run, Games Over 2 and overall winner of the day! His run of 12 in a sparkling 12 inning effort clearly showed the world that he is in top form and ready to compete. If he can maintain this level throughout he is a serious contender. As the competition gets a little better each day, previous day's winners find it tougher to advance. Day One leader Su Hyun Cho was eliminated along with 10 others, while only Jacob Haack Sörensen (DK) managed to hang on. We'd love to see the two top players from day two make it through to the main event. Let's see how they fair tomorrow.
Best Game: Glenn Hofman (NL) 30 in 12 (2.5000 average)
High Run: Glenn Hofman (NL) - 12
Games Over 2.0: Glenn Hofman (NL) 2.500; Jacop Sorensen (DK) 2.000
The 12 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Glenn Hofman (NL) 4-1.818-12; 2 Jacob Haack Sörensen (DK) 4-1.363-8; 3 Barry van Beers (NL) 4-1.224-4; 4 Jung Ju Shin (KR) 4-1.153-6; 5 Vinh Ly The (VN) 4-1.090-7; 6 Jose Maria Mas (ES) 4-1.052-6; 7 Lars Dunch (DK) 4-1.034-6; 8 Seung Jin Lee (KR) 4-0.952-7; 9 Ji Hun Ahn (KR) 4-0.857-5; 10 Sang Ku Kang (KR) 3-1.000-6; 11 Wan Young Choi (KR) 2-1.311-7 and 12 Quang Hai Dinh (VN) 2-1.040-5.
Day Three - PQ Round
Day Three of the Luxor World Cup ended with a new leader on top and the top two from the previous day's session... gone! Dutchman Glenn Hofman went from leading in all categories to exiting the tournament losing to Korean Young Hoon Lee who was second best of the day. The new leader was Dutchman Jean Paul De Bruijn who showed consistent play and garnered high run honors at 13. Jacob Haack Sörensen (DK) the only day one entrant remaining was also eliminated. More experienced players entering at this PQ stage moved the playing caliber up a notch as five players managed games over 2.0 and four runs over ten appeared. Japan's Hideaki Kobayashi ran 12 in his unfortunate losing effort losing to Spaniard Jose Maria Mas in his group. Jung Ju Shin (KR), Jose Maria Mas (ES), Seung Jin Lee (KR) and Ji Hun Ahn (KR) are Day Two entrants still in the hunt. The Qualification round is next... where even bigger names enter for the first time.
Best Game: Dinh Nai Hgo (VN) 30 in 12 (2.500 average)
High Run: Jean Paul De Bruijn (NL) 13; Hideaki Kobayashi (JP) 12
Games Over 2.0: Dinh Nai Hgo (VN) 2.500; Jung-Ju Shin (KR) 2.307; Young Hoon Lee (KR) 2.142; Jean Paul De Bruijn (NL) 2.000; Birol Uymaz (TR) 2.000
The 12 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Jean Paul de Bruijn (NL) 4-1.935-13; 2 Young Hoon Lee (KR) 4-1.818-8; 3 Ji Hun Ahn (KR) 4-1.578-9; 4 Seung Jin Lee (KR) 4-1.538-9; 5 Birol Uymaz (TR) 4-1.395-6; 6 Mohsen Fouda (EG) 4-1.000-4; 7 Arnim Kahofer (AT) 4-0.923-6; 8 Dinh Nai Ngo (VN) 3-1.621-8; 9 Jose Maria Mas (ES) 2-1.727-9; 10 Jung Ju Shin (KR) 2-1.441-6; 11 Kostas Kokkoris (GR) 2-1.138-6 and 12 Hesham Zaghloul (EG) 2-0.675-4.
Day Four - The Qualification Round
The Qualification Round is the most challenging and dangerous. If you are a world-class player not in the top 14, you enter here. And your group is likely to consist of another world-class player... or a pre-qual round winner hungry for a chance to move into the main event. In addition, the matches now go to 40 points, which favors ever so slightly the stronger player. So... you travel perhaps thousands of miles, step into the arena, and face the prospect that you may only play two games and head home. The tension is enormous. Some handle it well and others do not. Tayfun Tasdemir is one who can. With a high run of 10 in the best game of the day (3.076 average) he will return in the knock-out round that begins Thursday March 30. The day's leader is also one who was able to handle the pressure. Korean Sung-Won Choi had the high run of the day (15) and the best overall average (2.580). Sadly for Belgian Roland Forthomme he could not close his match with Can Capak and his loss by one point eliminated him from the event. Also too, Nguyen Quoc Nguyen the current Asian Champion fell with two losses and was gone. Young Korean phenom Myung-Woo Cho showed why he is deserving of the high praise he receives winning his group decisively. Only Jean Paul De Bruijn, the Day Three leader, and Turkey's Birol Uymaz were able to advance out of the Pre-Qual stages to win in the Qual round and make it into the main event. Next up - The Main Event! Here are the key stats for Day Four:
Best Game: Tayfun Tasdemir (TR) 40 in 13 (3.076 average)
High Run: Sung-Won Choi (KR) 15
Games Over 2.5: Tayfun Tasdemir (TR) 3.076; Adnan Yuksel (TR) 2.666; Sung-Won Choi (KR) 2.857
The 15 Who Advanced (match points-average-high run): 1 Sung-Won Choi (KR) 4-2.580-15; 2 Tayfun Tasdemir (TR) 4-2.000-10; 3 Semih Sayginer (TR) 4-1.951-11; 4 Myung Woo Cho (KR) 4-1.904-7; 5 Hyung Bum Hwang (KR) 4-1.481-12; 6 Minh Cam Ma (VN) 4-1.379-9; 7 Xuan Cuong Ma (VN) 4-1.355-10; 8 Can Capak (TR) 4-1.355-10; 9 Birol Uymaz (TR) 3-1.568-10; 10 Eddy Leppens (BE) 2-1.666-10; 11 Adnan Yüksel (KR) 2-1.396-8 and 12 Jean Paul de Bruijn (NL) 2-1.357-10. The Runners-up who advanced: 1 Jae Guen Kim (KR) 3-1.333-12; 2-Dong Koong Kang (KR) 2-1.500-12; 3-Choong Bok Lee (KR) 2-1.448-8.
Our coverage of the Luxor World Cup continues in part two - Dani Sanchez Wins World Cup in Luxor, Eqypt
Live-stream was provided by Kozoom. Selected replays are available on Kozoom for premium members. Pictures courtesy of our friends at Kozoom Intl.