Marco Zanetti plays the tournament of his life

Egypt, nineteen events under the sun in this millennium

Sharm El Sheikh , December 14th.

Like a good wine, getting better with age. Italian Marco Zanetti was the oldest player in the main draw of the Sharm El Sheikh World Cup, and he was also the best. He captured his fourth World Cup gold medal, beating Dick Jaspers in the final: 40 – 29 in 14 innings. Zanetti was consistent as a metronome in Egypt, playing match after match with an average over 3.000, and ending at a jaw-dropping general average of 2.718 for the tournament. It was his best event ever, and his scoring was only slightly lower than the world record of 2.777, set in Luxor 2017 by Dani Sánchez.  

The unpredictability of modern 3-cushion was once again underlined in Sharm El Sheikh, where the four strongest billiard nations in the world, Belgium, South Korea, Vietnam and Turkey, were all missing on the final day. Four European players made it to the semifinals: Bury, Horn, Jaspers and Zanetti. 

High expectations were not quite fulfilled in the first semi, between Horn and Jaspers. Both players showed a lot of mutual respect and defense was present in most innings. Horn could not score as well as he had done against Semih Sayginer, and the experienced Jaspers won by a margin, even though he used up an unusual 24 innings: 40 - 25.

The second semi, between former Agipi teammates Zanetti and Bury, provided more fireworks. The Frenchmen had been left without a chance in Randers last week where they also met, but he kept up this time. Zanetti made a run of 11 to create the gap, and he never let up from there: 40 – 28 in 13 innings. Both Horn and Bury could look back on a strong performance for the week.

The final match did not get the rapid start we sometimes see these days. Both players needed a few innings to find rhythm, but then the level rose quickly. Again, it was Zanetti who scored a high run (10), this time in the 9th inning. It took him to 31 – 19 and Jaspers could not recover. Uncharacteristically for the Dutchman, it was his defense that cost him. Zanetti was presented with many good starting positions, and he made excellent use of them.

Jaspers went home with a great consolation prize: he won the overall World Cup of 2019, made up over the seven events of the year. It was the sixth time Jaspers won that trophy: he did it earlier in 1997, 1999, 2008, 2010 and 2016. Jaspers also had the high run of the tournament in Egypt: 23. He holds on comfortably to the nr. 1 position on the world ranking, ahead of Zanetti, Blomdahl and Merckx.






Final ranking of Sharm El Sheikh:

1)Zanetti 2.718 – 15

2)Jaspers 2.078 – 23

3)Horn 1.691 – 10

4)Bury 1.791 – 12

5)Choi S.W. 2.444 – 18

6)Cho M.W. 1.750 – 10

7)Tran Q.C. 1.590 – 10

8)Tasdemir 1.945 - 10



Sharm El Sheikh,  December , 5th 2019

Two questions present themselves, just before the World Cup in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt: who will win this seventh event of 2019, and who will win the overall World Cup for the season? Many players are still in win a chance.

So far, we’ve seen Tasdemir win in Antalya, Caudron in Ho Chi Minh City, Palazon in Blankenberge, Jaspers in Porto, Haeng Jik Kim in Veghel and Merckx in Guri. World Cup winners collect 80 points, with second place good for 54, third 36, quarterfinalists 26, last sixteen 18 and last thirty-two 10 points. With just one tournament to go, Merckx and Tasdemir share the lead with 188 points, followed by Kim who has 176, Jaspers on 170, Cenet on 157 and the suspended Caudron on 134. Zanetti, Jae Ho Cho and Sánchez have no more than a theoretical chance, on 132, 126 and 124 points.  

Egypt has been home to more World Cups in recent history than any other country: we’ve had nineteen events under the sun in this millennium. Dani Sánchez was the most successful player in the country of Edmund Soussa, the first world champion, he won four times. Caudron and Merckx both had three wins in Egypt, Jaspers two. The one-time winners were Kasidokostas, Philipoom, Yüksel, Heo, Zanetti, Blomdahl and Forthomme.

The seeded players in Sharm El Sheik are Jaspers, Zanetti, Tasdemir, Sayginer, Merckx, Cho, Tran, Sidhom, Coklu, Bury, Kim, Horn, Heo and Blomdahl. The organization gave their wildcards to Riad Nady and Hesham Saad, the UMB wildcard went to Guido Sacco from Peru.

As usual, the winner receives 16.000 Euro, there is 10.000 for the runner-up and 6.000 for the two bronze medalists. The tables are Gabriels, the cloth is Simonis 300 Prestige Blue, the balls are Aramith Pro Cup Prestige. 

(c) 2020 Union Mondiale de Billard