AGIPI Billiard Masters 2009 Qualificiation Day 1
by Alex Lely / Kozoomcorp.com
Picture by JP Parmentier / Kozoomcorp.com
The second edition of the Agipi Billiard Masters has kicked off and it’s great to be a witness of this cuesport spectacle. Even though this, together with the last weekend in January, is ‘only’ a qualifying weekend for the finals that are to be held in the weekend of March 14th and 15th, there is more action than a fan could ask for: eight World Champions, the thirteen top ranked players in the World and an estimated € 130K to be paid out.
Estimated? Not guaranteed? Players are guaranteed to make money, but the total is all dependent on their own performances as bonuses are granted for high runs, high averages, high finishes in the group stages….for what not? Dutch Dick Jaspers finished second after Torbjörn Blomdahl in the first edition, but had produced such a high standard throughout the tournament that his accumulated winnings exceeded Torbjörns. Here are the numbers:
Matches won/draw/lost: 6/1/1 € 17950; High Run Bonuses: 22,20,13,12,10 € 4450; Best Game Bonuses (less than 25 innings): 18,20,22,25 € 5500; General Average Bonus: 2,212 € 1000.
A very impressive achievement by Mister Jaspers totaling his winnings on € 28900. It will be difficult to repeat this achievement as the competition is motivated and the format slightly tougher. Four players are added to the list, making it a total of twenty. In four groups of five players (four players last year) only two will advance. Furthermore, the four added names are strong! De Bruijn from the Netherlands, Umeda from Japan, Rodriguez from Peru and Kim from Korea…..all hungry and ambitious to perform in the beautiful setting that the AGIPI-arena offers. Even more so, since EUROSPORT 2 (covering over 30 million European households) will be broadcasting live from the quarterfinals and on in March 2009.
Day 1 Update: First Round, Group A: ’98 and ’05 World Champion Daniel Sanchez booked a clear 25-inning 50-17 victory over Christophe Duval. On the TV-table a Belgian Clash was taking place. Eddy Merckx was playing against Eddy Leppens and the first half of the match the former played true to his 15th place on the world ranking. He took a firm 22-10 lead with a 10-point run and never looked in trouble….But as we see often in three-cushion billiards, momentum is a feeble thing. A minor lapse in concentration, a silly mistake or two and all of a sudden the positions aren’t straightforward anymore. That’s where Leppens was thrown a lifeline which he grabbed with two hands. By the time Leppens scored the winning point, Merckx looked totally lost in the AGIPI-arena. Second Round, Group B: Roland Forthomme and Jean-Paul de Bruijn were pitted against each other on table two. Jean-Paul is a debutant in the AGIPI Masters and surely dreamt a better start than the one against Forthomme. Forthomme is a big man with a big game and he certainly brought it to the table. The final score was 50-26 in twenty-two innings…meaning an extra € 800-bonus for ‘fortuitous’ Forthomme. On the other table spectators got to watch Kyung-Roul Kim from Korea against Jerome Barbeillon from France; a mere three hundred thirty world ranking spots between them. And in the end only three points in a race to fifty. Kim needed eight innings to score the last two points. The final match on the TV-table was between Merckx and Sanchez. This would practically be a decisive match for Merckx: two losses on day one would be almost insurmountable….What a miraculous metamorphosis did we get to see from Merckx. As flat and negative against Leppens, as lethal and dynamic he was against Sanchez. Eddy looked like machine gun shooting at everything and scoring points from anywhere. He scored an eleven, an eight and look for his shots in the videomagazine, ‘cause they will surely be in. What a machine! Sanchez really never got a moment to catch his breath. Merckx won 50 – 17 in seventeen innings, thereby cashing a sweet total of €2650!! A lot of action still to come in the following days, check out all the news, clips and pictures on www.agipibilliards.com