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Forthomme equals record wins Caudron


Published by frits bakker

© Dirk Acx
Roland Forthomme with a big smile at the table, close to the cup win

HOOGLEDE - The gesture of apology preceded the subdued joy. Roland Forthomme (53) won the Belgian Cup last night for the eighth time in his career in the final against Peter Ceulemans. When he had made his winning point, Forthomme stepped up to his opponent, took the congratulations, but also pretended that luck had been with the winner in the final. The Walloon giant lifted his shoulders slightly, as if to say to Ceulemans: sorry, I can't help it. Although it was a final that was very close (3-2), Forthomme was eventually rewarded for his fighting spirit in the decisive set. With his eighth victory, Roland Forthomme equalled his illustrious compatriot Frédéric Caudron, who held the record for cup successes with eight. The success came two years after his last cup victory in 2022, when Forthomme crowned himself winner for the seventh time. Peter Ceulemans made a bid for the double, but after the Belgian title, he missed the cup win to Forthomme.

Sunday's final, at the Gulden Zonne in Hooglede, resulted in a magnificent battle. Because after 15-1 in the first set for Forthomme, Ceulemans straightened things out with 15-8 and 15-7 in 8 and 7 innings. On his way to third set win, Ceulemans attacked to 9-6 and 14-0 in the fourth set. Forthomme seemed defeated, but still dragged out the set win in an ultimate effort. And also in the fifth, decisive one, Ceulemans was the furious starter and Forthomme the man watching from his chair. It became 4-0 and 7-0 for Ceulemans, but from then on Forthomme fought back magnificently: first 7-3, then 7-5 and with a great run of 8 to a 13-7 lead. Ceulemans had one more chance, scored three times (13-10), but missed a capital point and left the position ready for Forthomme to finish off. That the new champion did with a sublimely played matchball.

Ahead of the final, Roland Forthomme won sovereignly over Ronny Brants in the semi-final. The West Fleming had no chance in this match, in which Forthomme won 3-0 after set scores of 15-1, 15-4 and 15-11 (averages 2.368/0.941). Peter Ceulemans had a much harder battle against Jef Philipoom, who sold his life dearly. Ceulemans won the first set 15-9, after which Philipoom took a lead 15-9 and 15-11. The score was back into balance when Ceulemans won the fourth 15-8 and in the enthralling final set Ceulemans pulled out the win with 15-10 in 11 (averages 1,700/1,425.

Third place on the podium went to Ronny Brants, who beat Jef Philipoom in the battle for bronze 2-1 in sets. Eddy Merckx finished fifth by beating Frédéric Mottet 2-0. Seventh place went to Francis Forton, who was the better player 2-0 against Paul Wallerand.

The final ranking:

  1. Roland Forthomme
  2. Peter Ceulemans
  3. Ronny Brants
  4. Jef Philipoom
  5. Eddy Merckx
  6. Frédéric Mottet
  7. Francis Forton
  8. Paul Wallerand.

Peter Ceulemans in a lovely hug with his opponent Roland Forthomme

Roland Forthomme seems to make an excuse for the final win

Peter Ceulemans right after a promising start\