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Japan, Vietnam, USA and Spain in World finals


Published by frits bakker

© Ton Smilde
The Spanish frontrunner Ruben Legazpi now with Sergei Jimenes as his teammate in title rade

VIERSEN - The battle for the world gold at the World championship three cushion for nation teams is between two Asian countries, one American team and Spain as the only European country. That is the outcome for the final day at the championship in Viersen, Germany. The Vietnamese and Spanish were seen as title contenders and lived up to that expectations. The Japanese team and the Americans are outsiders at the world stage where Spain was the last European powerhouse to survive in the Scotch doubles against South Korea. Tomorrow, the semi-finals are between Vietnam and USA and between Spain and Japan.

Three of the four quarter-finals ended in Scotch doubles on Saturday night after the regular matches ended in a tie. Only Japan won its two matches with Ryuuji Umeda and Takao Miyishita against the Swedish team.

The final podium will not see the top four countries in the history of this World championship this Sunday: no Swedes, Turks, Belgians or Germans. The Japanese are number 4 in the medal rankings since 1981 with 4 times gold, Spain has never won this World championship and is number 9 in the rankings, the USA, also never winner, is 10th, Vietnam has never been on the podium, but now seems the undisputed top favorite.

Quyet Chien Tran, the last World Cup winner in Bogotá, and Phuong Vinh Bao, the world champion, defeated the Belgians 15-3 in the quarter-finals. That took place in the Scotch double on Saturday, after Eddy Merckx had won against Quyet Chien Tran 40-34 in 24 and Jef Philipoom came back from a deficit, but was felled at the end by a closing run by Bao.

The 9-time record champion Sweden also joined the title contenders in the 8 field with Blomdahl and Nilsson. The Japanese team Ryuuji Umeda and Takao, last on the podium in a line-up with Tatsuo Arai in 1997, overclassed themselves and, to their delight, beat Sweden 4-0. Miyashita took a lead with a win over Nilsson (40-25 in 21) and Ryuuji Umeda showed his high class from his glory days with a victory over Torbjörn Blomdahl: 40-34 in 24).

With Ruben Legazpi and Sergei Jimenez, the Spaniards have a tandem that can take a shot at the first title on character and high quality. Ruben Legazpi was on the podium with silver in 2010 after losing in the final against Turkey with Murtat Naci Coklu and Adnan Yüksel, both now playing in the PBA. The same Spanish duo (Sánchez/Legazpi) were ranked No 3 in 2022 following Turkey and Colombia.

Ruben Legazpi and Sergei Jimenez now kept the favorite Koreans out of the semi-finals with a win in the Scotch double (15-9). Jimenez lost in the regular games to Jung Han Heo (40-16 in 22), but Legazpi saved his country with a win over Myung Woo Cho, the young Korean who is struggling with his form (40-33 in 40).

Most surprising on this stage were the Americans. Dutchman Raymon Groot, married in America and living in New York, is playing for his new country with Hugo Patiño, a nice and routined player. The pair had a formidable tournament, beating France 4-0 in the quarter-finals on Friday. Raymon Groot even had the win up for grabs against Jérémy Bury, missed a match ball and saw the Frenchman finish with 1, thanks in part to a run of 8 (39-31 to 39-39). Hugo Patiño evened the score with a win over Mikaël Devogelaere (40-38 in 28). The Scotch double fell to the Americans.

The semi-finals Sunday:

11.00: Vietnam-USA

Quyet Chien Tran-Raymon Groot

Phuong Vinh Bao-Hugo Patiño

 13.00: Japan-Spain

Ryuuji Umeda-Ruben Legazpi

Takao Miyashita-Sergio Jimenez.

 Final at 16.00 (all live on AfreecaTV).

Two happy Vietnamese, Quyet Chien Tran and Phuong Vinh Bao, among the contenders for the world title

The old grandmaster Ryuuji Umeda, still among the best players in the world with a win against Torbjörn Blomdahl and a final spot with Takao Miyashita

Raymon Groot, big surprise with a final spot together with Hugo Patiño