BURSA – The two best 3-cushion players in the world had the last word, on the final day. But Bursa, Turkey did not witness a duet between Caudron from Belgium and Jaspers from the Netherlands. The Belgian sang solo, and he brought the billiard fans to their feet, with a record-breaking performance of 40 points in 7 innings, the best-ever World Cup final.
Ironically, it was the man who held the record (8 innings, Luxor 2015) who had to sit and watch. Caudron left nothing to chance. he won the lag and ran 12, if just to show he meant business. With 3,4 and 10 he built up an amazing lead of 29-7, and Jaspers knew it was not his day.
The match ended at 40-14 after seven innings and a closing run of 11 by Caudron, and both players were just shy of other records: Caudron was near the world record over 40 points (6 innings, he is one of the players who holds that record) and Jaspers had a tournament average just under the world record of 2.739, he recorded 2.636 after the final.
It all illustrates that Bursa was an exceptional tournament. The only complaint might have been, that the three matches on Sunday lacked tension. In both the semifinals and the final, one player was dominating.
Caudron: ,,I was the underdog in this final, and Jaspers was the favorite because he had played such a superior tournament. being the underdog is often a bit easier. I had a great start with that run of 12. I had good positions to work with, and could get further ahead, to 29-4. The chances were there for the taking, but I did play with more guts than in the previous days. I would not have had a chance otherwise.’’
The catharsis came for Caudron with a burst of pride and joy, accompanied by the applause from the stands. ,,I was so happy to have won, most of all because of the importance for the ranking. Winning the Belgian title kept me in the top. Here in Bursa, I had to defend 80 points. Winning this one means I am where I was: second behind Jaspers.’’ Dick did win the overall World Cup last year, but I was not really impressed with his play. Here in Bursa he played out of this world, with the highest average of all, which he has almost always.’’
The Belgian quickly finds his rhythm in the early Sunday hours and Dong-Koong Kang is not the feared player he was for days. Frédéric Caudron takes advantage, attacks and has an early lead of 9-2. Kang can counter to make it 14-14, but a run of eight by Caudron makes the difference. At halftime it is 25-14, and when Kang misses two short-angle shots, Caudron makes it 36-22, then 40-26 in 20 (2.000/1.300).
With a lightning start (13 from the break), Jaspers puts pressure on the Frenchman who can't cope. A splendidly playing Dutchman leads 20-5 at halftime and makes it 26-7. The two best players of the Saturday now face off, and it's a one-sided affair. Jaspers is brilliant, Bury can't keep up and gets outclassed. His one peak, with a run of seven in the tenth inning, is not enough. Jaspers makes it 35-17, then finishes with a technically perfect point in the next inning: 40-21 in 14 (3.077/1.615).
Korean Jung Han Heo has the high run of the tournament (16), Frédéric Caudron has the best match: seven innings. Other highlights were the 9-inning match by Bury against Jae Ho Cho, and the 8-inning victory over Cenet by Dick Jaspers. The exodus of Turkish players in the first round was disappointing to the home crowd. Lütfi Cenet was the only one to survive, but he was eliminated a day later. Sung-Won Choi was one of the best players in the qualification rounds, with a ten-inning match against Regay Henry. The Korean topped the list on the last qualifying day, with 2.424, ahead of Vietnamese Quoc Nguyen Nguyen with 2.105.
Two other remarkable matches in the main tournament: Jose Juan Garcia from Colombia finished with a run of ten in his match against Dong-Koong Kang, to win 40-36 in ten innings. It was one of the ten best matches in history, in terms of combined average.
Torbjörn Blomdahl played Dong-Koong Kang on Saturday, and almost produced a miracle. The Korean ended at 40-25, Blomdahl had an impossible task but came up with a mighty run of twelve, to lose by only three points. Frédéric Caudron: ,,The tournament had four historic matches: Garcia against Kang, Bury in 9 innings, Jaspers in 8 en my 7 innings in the final. That is exceptional. The high level also creates a lot of tension, because a twenty point lead means nothing these days. The current field of players makes every tournament top notch."
The final ranking of the Bursa World Cup (average and high run):
1 Frédéric Caudron (Belgium) 2.105-12
2 Dick Jaspers (Netherlands) 2.636-15
3 Jérémy Bury (France) 2.274-13
3 Dong-Koong Kang (Korea) 1.536-11
5 Jae-Ho Cho (Korea) 2.230-11
6 Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden) 1.746-12
7 Seung-Jin Lee (Korea) 1.721-11
8 Nikos Polychronopoulos (Greece) 1.419-9
9 Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 1.846-8
10 Quoc Nguyen Nguyen (Vietnam) 1.766-15
11 Sung-Won Choi (Korea) 1.666-14
12 Roland Forthomme (Belgium) 1.631-8
13 Dani Sánchez (Spain) 1.475-8
14 Ji-Hun Ahn (Korea) 1.444-11
15 Lütfi Cenet (Turkey) 1.384-13
16 Hyung-Kon Kim (Korea) 1.254-14.
Dick Jaspers is still the nr. 1 on the ranking, Caudron 2, Blomdahl 3, Sanchez 4, Polychronopoulos 5, H.J. Kim 6, Merckx 7, Bury 8, Zanetti 9, Sidhom 10, J.H. Heo 11, J.H. Cho 12, Coklu 13, Q.C. Tran 14.