Haeng-Jik Kim, Korea's four-time world junior champion, at age 25 has won his first World Cup in Porto, Portugal. In the FC Porto arena, the best of all the "Kim's" was never in trouble throughout the main event. In a stunning turn, nine of the world's top-10 players were eliminated in the knock-out rounds leading up to the final match. And in that final match, Haeng-Jik Kim got the better of Vietnam's Nguyen Quoc Nguyen finishing 40-34 in 23 innings to take the crown.
With a full inscription and a large contingent from the Asian federation, the 2017 UMB World Cup held in Porto, Portugal July 3-9 was destined to be a historic one. No one could predict how the main event would go, but for years the Korean and Vietnamese players had been steadily gaining ground on their European counterparts. In the end, 2017 Porto may be remembered as the breakthrough event.
The four days of qualification rounds saw two players from the second day entries make it all the way to the main event.
|Top 16 on Day One||Top 16 on Day Two||Top 16 on Day Three||Top 15 on Day Four|
1 Chang Hoon Seo (Korea) 4-1.500-7
|1 Barry van Beers (Neth) 4-1.714-8 |
2 Wan Young Choi 4-1.666-9
3 Thomas Andersen 4-1.578-7
4 Dave Christiani 4-1.500-9
5 Faraco Jaime Sanchez 4-1.395-13
6 William Oh 4-1.176-6
7 Hiroshi Sasaki 4-1.176-6
8 Antonio Montes 4-1.090-9
9 Jun Hyuk Cho 4-1.071-6
10 Georg Schmied 4-1.034-10
11 Glenn Hofman 4-0.983-9
12 Alfonso Legazpi 4-0.967-5
13 Vasco Gomez 4-0.895-5
14 Gülsen Degener 4-0.731-8
15 Chang Hoon Seo 3-1.250-7
16 Carlos Crespo 2-1.266-7
|1 Tonny Carlsen 4-2.142-8 |
2 Wan Young Choi 4-2.000-8
3 Antonio Montes 4-1.764-7
4 Birol Uymaz 4-1.764-7
5 Chi Yeon Cho 4-1.666-6
6 Ahmet Alp 4-1.621-8
7 Hyung Bum Hwang 4-1.621-7
8 Jung Ju Shin 4-1.463-11
9 Mehmet Goren 4-1.395-5
10 Martin Horn 4-1.304-7
11 Hideaki Kobayashi 4-1.176-8
12 Ji Hun Ahn 4-1.071-5
13 Manuel Rui Costa 3-1.363-5
14 Carlos Crespo 3-1.176-5
15 Gökhan Salman 2-1.583-9
16 Ronny Lindemann 2-1.076-5
1 Sung-Won Choi 4-2.666-14
1 Martin Horn 2-1.795-10
In our re-cap above the players highlighted in red and green made it through to the main event. Incredibly, it was the tournament winner Haeng-Jik Kim who would meet both of the Day Two challengers - and defeat both Carlos Crespo (Spain) and Wan Young Choi (Korea) - in the knock-out phase.
The best game of the event was played on the fourth day in the qualification round. Eddy Leppens of Belgium played a tremendous game against Xuan Cuong Ma of Vietnam, going 40-11 in 7 innings with runs of 14 and 11. His 5.714 average earned best game honors. Perhaps the big surprise in Porto was the early elimination of the top-5 world ranked players. Dick Jaspers and Marco Zanetti went out as early as the first round, against the sensation Wan-Young Choi and semi-finalist Lütfi Cenet.
Frédéric Caudron lost in the second round, against ultimate runner-up Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, who was unstoppable and made the highest run of the tournament (17) in that match. Eddy Merckx missed three match points against Dani Sánchez, to lose 40-39. The Spaniard, in turn, did not survive the quarterfinal against the other semi-finalist Jung-Han Heo, who edged him 40-38. Torbjörn Blomdahl was outplayed by Lütfi Cenet (40-24).
Kim's race to the top in Porto started with his match against Carlos Crespo (40-19 in 19), then Sameh Sidhom (40-32 in 32), and next tournament revelation Wan Young Choi (40-16 in 22.) On the closing day, a win over Lütfi Cenet (40-36 in 23) and finally the victory over Nguyen Quoc Nguyen.
Congratulations to 25-year old Haeng-Jik Kim of South Korea on winning his first World Cup event - the 2017 UMB World Cup Porto.
Thanks to Kozoom for pictures, stats and video replay (available to members.) Thanks to UMB for main event charts. Enjoy the photo gallery below.
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