HO CHI MINH - The experts called it the best World Cup ever, with the best audience in 3-cushion history Tayfun Tasdemir was crowned as the first ever winner of a World Cup on Vietnamese soil, a first for the likeable Turkish stylist. The 39- year old won the final against Torbjörn Blomdahl (40-34 in 17 innings and was overjoyed as he got rewarded with a standing ovation.
The tournament ended in a confrontation between two European players, the last men standing on an Asian battlefield. 43-time World Cup winner Torbjörn Blomdahl, the world nr. 1 with the most impressive palmares of his generation. And Tayfun Tasdemir, who for so long had chased his major international victory, and was finally able to add the missing title to his resume in Ho Chi Minh city.
Fifteen hundred boisterous spectators in the Nguyen sports arena watched a final that remained balanced for quite some time: Tasdemir was the better player out of the blocks (8-0 in 5, 20-9 in 11), Blomdahl got back into it with a run of eight in the twelfth inning (21-17), but a majestic run of fifteen in the fourteenth inning gave Tasdemir the momentum. Three innings later he was able to finish, and he only had to sweat out Blomdahl's equalizer before he could explode with joy.
The most successful Turkish player of the last ten years played the tournament of his life in Ho Chi Minh, defeating Quang Hai Dinh (40-20 in 16), Dae Kwon Shin (40-37 in 27), Dani Sánchez (40-24 in 10), Jae Ho Cho (40-40 in 17, winning after a shootout) and finally Torbjörn Blomdahl in the final.
Tayfun Tasdemir, the best of all in the World Cup in Ho Chi Minh
Tayfun after his win in the final against Blomdahl
Tayfun Tasdemir is a pearl in the crown of World Cup winners. His place in the final of the Verhoeven Open in New York, two weeks ago, had already filled him with confidence. On the closing days of Ho Chi Minh, he demonstrated his class, his perfect technique, his laser straight stroke and intense concentration.
,,I am so happy with this first victory'', he said after the ceremony. ,,And I am so grateful to the Vietnamese people for the fantastic ambiance and wonderful tournament.’’ Tasdemir climbed the world ranking to fifth place, behind Blomdahl, Jaspers, Merckx and Choi. ,,That is my highest position ever.’’
Tasdemir (born 5 November 1975, from Istanbul) is the third Turkish World Cup winner in history, after Semih Sayginer (Goynuk, 2011, Bogota 2000 and Bogota 2001) and Adnan Yüksel (Hurghada 2011). On two occasions Tasdemir was runner-up: in the World Cups of Antalya 2012 and Hurghada 2013).
The finalists of Ho Chi Minh met twice before this year: Tasdemir beat Blomdahl in the semifinal of the Verhoeven Open in New York (40-32 in 14 innings), Blomdahl beat Tasdemir in the German league 40-13 in 12.
Tayfun Tasdemir making the gab in the final
Torbjörn Blomdahl trying to come back in the final
The Vietnamese organization, as UMB spokesman Farouk Barki said during the closing ceremony, passed with flying colors for the exam that was their first ever World Cup tournament, and they announced they want to do it again next year. Players and officials alike were raving about the quality of the event. Everything happened on schedule, the opening and closing ceremonies showed the folklore of the country, the refereeing was beyond reproach. The Vietnamese showed they are one of the leading 3-cushion countries for the future. The stands were filled on the closing days, almost a thousand spectators watched the games, even though tickets were pricy, for local standards. It was estimated that a total of 8000 people passed the gates during the week.
Kozoom-CEO Xavier Carrer: ,,We have never had an ambiance this great. Players tell me the same thing, as well as other people who are involved. It was a great place to work for Kozoom: a good internet connection, quality images, perfect live coverage. The people are very friendly, we would love to come back here next year.’’
Tayfun Tasdemir, the focus and the mimicry in the final
The take-off for the final match
The highlights of the tournament:
1: A breathtakingly beautiful match in the first K.O. round, between Dick Jaspers and Dae Kwon Shin, ending in a draw (40-40 in thirteen innings). The Dutchman then misses the breakoff in the shootout, and the Korean makes the one point he needs. Jaspers goes home, despite having played a 3.076 average.
2: The best match of the tournament: Tayfun Tasdemir beats Dani Sánchez in the quarterfinals, 40-24 in 10 innings (4.000/2.400). The Turkish stylist is superior in the opening stages of the match: 26-4 in four and 34-13 in five innings.
3: The best moment in Tayfun Tasdemir's career, when he beats Torbjörn Blomdahl in the final and joins the fraternity of World Cup winners.
4: Roland Forthomme has a slow start in his match against Quoc Nguyen Nguyen (24-23), but then rushes to the finish line with a run of seventeen.
5: Torbjörn Blomdahl plays a superb semifinal against Eddy Merckx: 18-8 after seven innings (run of thirteen), 37-10 after eleven innings (run of ten) and 40-21 in twelve innings after Merckx's equalizer (run of eleven).
6: The other semifinal between Tayfun Tasdemir and Jae Ho Cho, neck and neck all the way, finished with a run of seven by Tasdemir (40-36), then Cho equalizing with a four. The shootout: Tasdemir 5, Cho 4.
7: The entire first round of the main tournament, with three players on 3.076 (Sánchez, Shin and Jaspers) and six other over 2.000 average. Twelve winners make a total of 480 points in 228 innings: 2.105 average.
8: Quyet Chien Tran, the last of the home players, brings the crowd to their feet when he beats Frédéric Caudron: 40-25 in 15.
9: Marco Zanetti beats his former Agipi teammate Jeremy Bury, thanks to a run of 17.
10: Dani Sánchez has a slow start against Korean Tae Jun Oh, but he finishes with runs of 10 and 7 in the last two innings.
11: Durk-Hee Hwang, one of the Korean qualifiers, averages 2.400 in the last elimination round, and gets into the main draw.
12: Semih Sayginer, Vietnamese Kien Duc Hua and Korean Durk Hee Hwang produce matches of 30 points in 10 innings (3.000).
13: Two magic points by Dani Sánchez in his match with Tasdemir: a spectacular fluke and a pique alongside the short rail.
Torbjörn won the semi-final against Merckx
Jae Ho Cho in the semi-final, which he lost on penalty's against Tasdemir
Eddy Merckx, strong tournament, but no chance in the semi-final
Final ranking (with four Belgians in top twelve), with average and high run:
1 Tayfun Tasdemir (Turkey) 2.298-15
2 Torbjörn Blomdahl (Sweden) 2.108-13
3 Jae Ho Cho (South Korea) 2.191-13
3 Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 1.807-11
5 Dani Sánchez (Spain) 2.311-10
6 Quyet Chien Tran (Vietnam) 2.239-11
7 Sung-Won Choi (South Korea) 1.682-8
8 Marco Zanetti (Italy) 1.666-17
9 Frédéric Caudron (Belgium) 2.096-13
10 Dae Kwon Shin (South Korea) 1.925-11
11 Eddy Leppens (Belgium) 1.744-13
12 Roland Forthomme (Belgium) 1.659-17
13 Duy Trung Nguyen (Vietnam) 1.604-11
14 Sameh Sidhom (Egypt) 1.510-7
15 Lütfi Cenet (Turkije) 1.470-10
16 Yuan Cuong Ma (Vietnam) 1.290-9
17 Dick Jaspers (Netherlands) 3.076-7
18 Vinh The Ly (Vietnam) 2.200-9
19 Tolgahan Kiraz (Turkey) 1.850-7
20 Tae Jun Oh (South Korea) 1.846-7.
General average for the main tournament: 1.776.
The new world ranking: 1 Torbjörn Blomdahl, 443 points
2 Dick Jaspers 314
3 Eddy Merckx 287
4 Sung-Won Choi 265
5 Tayfun Tasdemir 223
6 Marco Zanetti 216
7 Dani Sánchez 214
8 Jae Ho Cho 177
9 Roland Forthomme 171
10 Frédéric Caudron 165
11 Hyung Bum Hwang 151
12 Sameh Sidhom 146
13 HaengJik Kim 146
14 Jung-Han Heo 141
15 Dong Koon Kang 140
16 Jean Paul de Bruijn 138
17 Quyet Chien Tran 135
18 Jérémy Bury 132
19 Eddy Leppens 125
20 Quoc Nguyen Nguyen.