12/04/2016LAUSANNE – The highlight of his year will still be the Bordeaux world title. But winning the Billiard Masters in Lausanne was a fine cherry on Daniel Sanchez' cake. The 42-year old Spaniard won the event in the Swiss IOC city on Sunday, after three days of uninterrupted wins. On the closing day of the event, the billiard player from Catalonia brought his form of the group play into the semifinal where he beat Dong Koong Kang (40-38 in 18) and the final, with a 40-36 win over Frédéric Caudron, also in 18 innings. The Spaniard's comments made it clear that he was very happy to have maintained his form, and be the best in the strong field of ten, with eight world class players. He can now look back on a place in the final of the La Baule World Cup, the fourth world championship of his career, won in Bordeaux, and the Lausanne win. This could well be the best season in the Spaniard's career. He has said more than once in the past months, that his new status as a businessman with his own brand (DS) and a beautiful billiard room in Seoul is increasingly difficult to combine with the career of a top player. ,,The travelling and negotiating with business partners gets in the way of my practice hours’’, he admits. It did not stop him from becoming the successor to Dick Jaspers and Marco Zanetti, who won the event twice. He remained unbeaten in the group stage, with Marco Zanetti, Jae-Ho Cho, Dick Jaspers and Swiss player Michel Boulaz. In the K.O. stage, he first beat Dong Koong Kang, then Frédéric Caudron, who had become the tournament favorite based on the sky-high averages he had produced. The final looked to go Daniel's way at first, when he started with a seven from the spots, quickly established a 14-4 lead, then 19-13 and 26-14 after ten innings. Frédéric Caudron chased with runs of six, three, four and six, got back as far as 39-36, but just lost out in the final yards, when Sanchez first missed a bank shot but finished with a twice-around an inning later. Caudron: ,,I was not quite as sharp in the final, but I did put up a good fight.’’ Joining Dani Sánchez and Frédéric Caudron on the podium of Lausanne 2016, were Marco Zanetti and Dong-Koong Kang. Diane Wild, the tournament organizer, announced that the event will again be on the calendar in 2017. Lausanne Sunday started off with two high class cross-finals, between the nrs. 1 of each flight against the nr. 2 of the other flight. In the first semifinal, two former Agipi teammates faced each other in a grudge match. It was a replay of the semifinal of the EC in Brandenburg in 2013, where Caudron equalized the world record high run (28), but was beaten by Zanetti anyway. It was not that historic or fascinating this time. There was a flawless start by the Belgian who created a gap between him and his opponent. He ran away in his fluent style with a run of ten, and after only 11 innings had a dominant 31-8 lead. The Italian, twice the winner in Lausanne, knew he was beaten and conceded the match at 40-14 in 16 innings. Caudron consolidated the wonderful average he had built up: 2.512 after five encounters. In the second semifinal, Dani Sánchez played Dong-Koong Kang: 40-38 in 18/17. Much like the first semi, this one started without much battle. Dani descended on his prey and built up a 23-4 lead in ten innings. Then the Korean player sprang to life with a run of twelve. The match opened up, and all of a sudden became a joy to watch. Both players entertained the crowd with creative shots, and after Kang produced two more runs of seven, they were neck and neck at 32-30 after 13 innings. The Spaniard ran five, the Korean ran four. The finish line was close after 15 innings, and chances went back and forth. Kang missed a short-angle at 38-37, and got punished: Sánchez scored twice, almost messed up his last easy point but - with a little body english - nipped it and won 40-38 in 18.