podium 2017 cheongju

The fifth UMB World Cup of 2017 lived up to its high expectations.

A Korean winner was the icing on the cake for the billiard fans of Cheongju.

Cheongju, October 1st, 2017.

Haeng Jik Kim, four time junior world champion and winner of the last World Cup (Porto) beat Murat Naci Coklu in the final, and joined a very select club of back-to-back WC winners.

World number one Dani Sánchez opened his tournament with a bang (a win in 12 innings), then crashed out in round two, against Lütfi Cenet. Frédéric Caudron did not even survive the first round: he came up one point short against Vietnam's Anh Vu Duong. Torbjörn Blomdahl also fell in round two, in a shootout against Sameh Sidhom. It is the new norm in World Cups: favorites crash out left, right and centre.

On the final Sunday, the four players left standing were Dick Jaspers, Haeng Jik Kim, Lütfi Cenet and Murat Naci Coklu. An all-Turkish final was still possible.

                 

The Houdini of 3-cushion, Lütfi Cenet, always seems to find a way out of a problem. He wins 40-39, he wins shoot-outs, he seems to have the nine lives of a cat. But Haeng Jik was simply too strong in their semi: 40 - 30 in 23 innings to the Korean with the easy stroke.

In the other semi, Dutchman Dick Jaspers didn't do a lot wrong. But he was up against Coklu in brilliant form. The Turk treated the crowd to 3-cushion solutions of great beauty and imagination, especially in his closing run of nine. He beat Jaspers 40-30 in 14 innings.

The final looked like an exhibition for a while: Haeng Jik kept scoring small runs (20 after 7 innings) and Murat's confidence was gone. To his credit, he showed character with a late run of nine, and after Kim had finished, he even added seven in the equalizer. But it was all for the books, because Haeng Jik had done enough to win his second World Cup in a row. The young man has won just about everything now, except the world title. He'll have his chance, later this year in Bolivia.  Dani's 40 in 12 (3.333) proved to be the best match of the tournament. Murat Coklu made the high run, with 13.

 

Final standing:

1.     Haeng Jik Kim

2.     Murat Naci Coklu

3/4. Dick Jaspers

3/4. Lütfi Cenet   

5/8. Sameh Sidhom

5/8. Jae Ho Cho

5/8. Sung Won Choi

5/8. Xuan Cuong Ma 

(c) 2017 Union Mondiale de Billard