EL GOUNA - What a surprise to see Tonny Carlsen in the final rounds of a World Cup. again The 52-year-old Dane, a player with a wonderful career, did not show up so many times in the World Cups of recent years; only in Hurghada, because of the ideal mix of top billiards and holidays: ,,I like to meet friends again and play billiards in a relaxed ambiance.'' Tomorrow, on Friday, Tonny is amongst the best sixteen at the World Cup in El Gouna after a victory over the previous winner, Jung-Han Heo, 40-30 in 23 innings. His next opponent: Dani Sánchez.
,,I have planned to play more World Cups next year, to promote my new system (www.tonnycarlsen.com), that makes me very proud. I have received a lot of nice feedback and hope that it can contribute to the development of our sport. We especially need that in Western Europe. I look back on a stressful time to develop and to finish the system, but it has given me new ambition. I really like to play against all those world top players again. My come-back needs some time, of course. I have been away from the circuit for about twelve years, so I have to improve and adjust.''
Tonny Carlsen crowned his best years in the Netherlands with five team championships, most of them in the team with Dick Jaspers. He was second at the World championship in Saint Etienne in 2000, third in Luxembourg (2001) and twice second in the European championship. He was asked by the team of SIS Schoonmaak in The Hague this week to be a substitute player as of January in the team that is a candidate for the Dutch title.
The first skirmishes in this World Cup ended many Asian illusions. The Koreans were with six in the last 32, the Vietnamese with four. At the end of the day, only Haeng-Jik Kim and Dong-Koong Kang remained. Thirteen Europeans, two Koreans and the African Sameh Sidhom battle it out in the next round with 16. The best match in the first round with 32 players in the Egyptian resort was recorded by Eddy Merckx with a 2.857 average. The Belgian led 17-7 in 7 in his match against Tayfun Tasdemir, at that score Merckcx produced a great run of 15. He proceeded to lead 34-15 in 9, laying the basis for his success: 40-23 in 14 innings .
The world champion, Frédéric Caudron, had to really dig deep in his match against Xuan Cuong Ma. The equalizer brought him on a 40-40 score against the Vietnamese and in the shoot-out Caudron was the first to cross the finish line 2-1. Javier Palazón, the star of the previous round, who has asked to play in the Dutch league, was knocked out by his countryman Juan David Zapata in a fascinating last part: 40-37 in 31 innings. Birol Uymaz eliminated Luis Aveiga and faces Caudron tomorrow. Eddy Leppens and Nguyen Quoc Nguyen had a slow start, the Belgian woke up just in time: 40-33 in 32.
Dick Jaspers felt Thomas Andersen's breath in his neck for a long time, but managed to seal victory at 40-36 in 24. Murat Naci Coklu was the better of Jae-Ho Cho from start to finish, but needed a hard fight at the end: 40-31 in 27. Roland Forthomme and Torbjörn Blomdahl were in balance until 20-20 and 26-26 in 18 innings. The Belgian made the final gap with 3, 7 and 4, won 40-32 in 22 and completed the Belgian success (four out of four in the last sixteen).
The match between Haeng-Jik Kim and Adnan Yüksel had a smooth start for the Korean with a 14-run in the 3rd inning, followed by a run of 11 in the seventh inning by Yüksel (22-15). The end of the match was in Kim's, who won 40-18 in 21.
Dani Sánchez launched a quick attack against the Egyptian wild card holder Ali Hares with 2-5-3-10 and a big margin at the break (20-1). The end result was less flamboyant, but the Spaniard finished in 22 innings and left his opponent at 12. Tonny Carlsen took a 27-15 ead against Jung-Han Heo, after which the Korean came back with 11 after the break. The Dane was cool-blooded at the end and won 40 to 30 in 22.
In his match against Nikos Polychronopoulos, Sung-Won Choi had a 21-12 lead in the 18th inning. The Greek attacked with a run of fourteen, which was too much for his opponent to handle. Three times a 4 finished the job for Poly at 40-30 in 24. Dong-Koong Kang had the best final shot against Quyet Chien Tran. The Vietnamese led 32-20 in 16 and 35-32 in the final phase. King Kong, his nickname among the Koreans, struck imperturbably in the final phase with 7 and 1 for 40-36 in 24.
Two Egyptians, Sameh Sidhom and Ihab El Messery, put up a titanic battle, won by Sidhom 40-35 in 40 innings.
The matches for Friday (European time 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 and 16.00):
Roland Forthomme, looking for a high position after victory over Blomdahl
Javier Palazón, outplayed by his countryman Juan David Zapata after a blistering pre-round performance
Dick Jaspers had a tough opponent: the Dane Thomas Andersen
Haeng-Jik Kim, one of two Koreans in the best sixteen
Nikos Polychronopoulos crowned his attack with a win over Sung-Won Choi
Eddy Merckx, the best on the first day of knock-outs
The Egyptian officials before the start of the World Cup