There's no need to tell Daniel Sánchez Galvez how good he is. He knows. But for twenty years now, he's had this label of "the modest one", amongst the top players. Is he the nice guy, who is liked, plays well and ends second? Absolutely not. Dani is a congenial fellow, but also a stone-cold winner.
Three time world champion (1998, 2005 and 2010), player of the year in 2004, 2005 and 2006, winner of the most recent World Cup in Guri (2.739 general average), winner of the overall World Cup for 2015 and currently the nr. 2 on the UMB world ranking list. Sometimes we need to be reminded just how often the Spaniard has won, because he will not grab the headlines as often as Blomdahl, Caudron or Jaspers. He is the best player in the world never to be called the best player in the world.
Sánchez also has eight World Cup tournaments to his name, and eighteen Spanish national titles. His latest win in the home country came with a nice bonus: a new national record high run of 23. That's still a long way from the world record (28), but a 23 is not an everyday thing, and if a player like Sánchez runs one, it's a good idea to pay attention. We were lucky: this run was caught on video. Watch it here:
Daniel plays Carrion in the eighth finals, and the run starts with a relatively easy shot.
1) Three rails, left side of the white was also an option, but look at what the white ball does now. That should tell you why Dani played the 5-rail.
2) Unmissable. Played off 4 or 5 rails of course, for best chance of position.
3) Some would have played round the table off the white, looks like a kiss could be avoided. Dani had faith in this short-angle. If you practice these, try to keep the 2nd ball out of the corner, rather than pushing it in.
4) Dani picked up the point here, not making any effort for position. More often than you'd think, that is the right thing to do, but this time It got him in trouble! He's facing a nightmare of a shot now.
5) Fantastic precision hit to make this double-the-rail. I was surprised by the speed he used, and tried the shot at home a few times. It will come as no surprise to you that Sánchez was right: the shot is easier that way.
6) A four-rail natural.
7) A three-rail natural. Look at the nice placement of the red, that was fully intentional.
8) Draw and lots of english, taking the speed out of the cue ball. This shot should be in your repertoire, if you are serious about your 3C.
9) Slams it into the corner for a twice-around. It is amazing how much length you can generate, if you really hit the double-zero.
10) How many of you would have gone to the left side of the red, LSL instead of SLL? That choice can be difficult, and half an inch here or there can make all the difference. I guessed wrong on this one, as I did on shot 20.
11) Best shot of the run, in my opinion. These are so difficult to judge, the minimal amount of english and the speed both need to be exactly right. Dani nails it.
12) He goes LSLS, rather than LSL. Another one of those choices that you tend to get better at, over the years. Playing the three-rail here would have doubled the red down towards the white, and created danger of a kiss.
13) This one is in the category: "kids, don't try this at home". You need perfect judgment of the angle on the white, then you need a thermonuclear stroke, and then you still need a bit of luck avoiding the kiss. I set this one up at home too, couldn't make it in half a dozen attempts.
14) You deserve an easy LSL, after that last one.
15) Would have been a natural with his bridge hand on the table. From under the cushion: a very good hit. Here's a tip: you'll hit these too thick way more often than too thin!
16) Sánchez didn't like the harmonica LLL off the red, decided to go round the table and avoid the kiss by playing a thin white. That worked out well.
17) Another kiss well avoided, and a bit of good fortune on the resulting position.
18) Picked up the point, but ideally he would have liked to keep the red off the (long) rail. If you watch Blomdahl play these, right after impact you'll see his eyes go to the 2nd ball, not the cue ball.
19) A little extra care and attention comes into it here, because Dani realizes he's on 19 already, and he has an easy twice-around.
20) Was Sánchez aware that he had ONE second left on the clock when he hit this? I was amazed that he went LSL instead of SLL, but when you see the balls roll, it looks perfect. From that distance though, not easy to judge. Another great shot.
21) Played with draw, to come in on the short side and create a bigger ball. Can't say this enough: when in doubt, come in on the short side!
22) Hard to tell on the video, if he could have missed this one through the hole behind the red. If that danger was there: good shot.
23) An easy double-the-rail, even if he had to stretch a bit.
24) A tricky LSL, with a kiss to be avoided and length to be judged really well. I think it is safe to say, we are all sorry he missed it!