After a week of team play in the “stadium of dragons”, Porto switched to individual 3-cushion on the highest level. Where the first week was mostly a showcase for Frédéric Caudron, the world number two, the second week belonged to the world number one. Dick Jaspers needed a few miraculous escapes to get to the final of the Porto World Cup, and his opponent Haeng Jik Kim even had a 33-35 lead. The Dutchman had the best finish: 40-36 in 21 innings. Jaspers stays in firm control of the world ranking list: he is 140 points ahead of the number two (Caudron) and 240 points ahead of the number three (Zanetti).
In the group stage, Jaspers averaged extremely well but qualified as second, after a 15-inning loss against Dane Jacob Haack, who played a splendid tournament. His win over Eddy Leppens was hard fought: the Belgian missed a few makeable shots and Jaspers capitalized. In the quarterfinal, Jaspers was up against Dani Sánchez who had shown great form. The world champion gave him no chance: 40-24 in 15.
Photo FC Porto
The semifinal was of a completely different nature. Jaspers looked like dominating it after a glorious run of 17, but the tough warrior Lütfi Cenet was not beaten yet. He made a few useful runs of six and finished first: 40-37. Jaspers equalized and won the shootout after Cenet had missed the break shot.
A similar pattern in the final: Jaspers with a 31-15 lead, the multi junior world champion Haeng Jik Kim coming back into the match. In the closing stages however, nobody is cooler than the current world champion. Haeng Jik needed five in the equalizer but misjudged his second.
In the other semifinal, the run of “super-talent” Myung Woo Cho ended. He had delighted the Portuguese crowd with his fresh and creative play, but played his worst match against his countryman H.J. Kim on Sunday. Nobody doubts it: MWC’s day will come.
The Porto tournament saw a plethora of high runs: more than 50 runs over 10 were made. The best of them all was Jaspers’ 18 in his match against Sánchez. The best match was 40 in 13, shared by Sánchez, Jae Ho Cho and Myung Woo Cho. Un “unofficial” highlight was the 5.000 average played by Chang Hoon Seo, to only 30 points. The tournament average was 1.683 for the last 32.
1 Jaspers, 2.029 – 18
2 H.J. Kim 1.935 – 13
3 Cenet 1.818 – 13
Myung Woo Cho 1.773 – 14
New World Ranking:
1 Jaspers 516
2 Caudron 376
3 Zanetti 276