LAUSANNE - For Dick Jaspers, no title is worth as much as the world title. It is his dream to climb the Olympus again, two weeks from now in Bordeaux. But he wastes no time showing form, as he did this Sunday, winning the Lausanne Billard Masters. In the final he beat Martin Horn, a former teammate and a player he considers one of the best in the world, by 40 pts to 24 in 18 innings. The match was up for grabs at halftime, when Jaspers had a small lead: 23-17 after ten innings. The Dutchman then took control with two consecutive runs of six, breaking through the German's defense with majestic points.
Martin Horn had no trouble admitting it after the match:"It is almost impossible to beat Jaspers, when he is in this form.'' Tayfun Tasdemir, one of the aces of the past months, joked during the ceremony: "We must ask Diane Wild (the organizer) for a ten point headstart if we must play Jaspers.'' But then he added, like a sportsman: "I will kill him in the world championship next week.''
Dick Jaspers smiled when he heard it. "This victory does not automatically make me the big favorite for the world title. There are twenty players who could win in Bordeaux. But I am playing like I should, and I will try my best there, because the world championship is the pinnacle of a player's career.''
Right after the final, Jaspers shook hands with another Dutch celebrity. 74-year old Hein Verbruggen, ex-chairman of the international cycling federation and member of the IOC since 1996, showed up to support his countryman and congratulate him on his title. Dick Jaspers not only won first place, he also had the highest average of the ten cueists: 2.120. Tayfun Tasdemir was responsible for the high run of the tournament.
Martin Horn became a back to back finalist, when he defeated Torbjon Blomdahl in the semi. His win was made in the second half of the match, when he neutralized the Swede's run of ten with three's and four's. Both players were almost level at 30-29, then Horn ran a six and a four: 40-30. The Swede was quick to analyze: "I have missed to many makeable shots, and my opponent took full advantage. I was not good enough to win.'' Martin Horn said: "I felt a strong desire to win, and it made the difference. Torbjorn may say that it was not a good match, but I still averaged over 2.000 under a lot of tension in a semifinal."
The most memorable moments of these third Lausanne Masters were made in the Blomdahl - Merckx match, when the Swede made his sensational but also fortunate comeback. He turned 32-21 into 32-40, in the space of three innings: five, ten and four. Tayfun Tasdemir shone with his run of sixteen, but he was denied a place in the final four by Jaspers and Horn, who were both in his group. Marco Zanetti, winner of the first two editions of Lausanne, was eliminated with a much better average (1.717) than he played last year.
Dick Jaspers and Martin Horn were the two most consistent players, and it brought them together on Sunday. To the joy of Diane Wild, who wants to put the tournament back on the calendar in 2016, the final was played with the theater stands filled. She proudly told about the charity for people with Multiple Sclerose (five Swiss francs for every point made in the tournament), and it was a huge success. "A total of 1480 points were made, which means that 7.400 Swiss francs could be handed to the charity.
For seven of the ten players, Lausanne was the perfect preparation for the World championship in Bordeaux, ten days from now. Dick Jaspers, Torbjon Blomdahl, Tayfun Tasdemir, Eddy Merckx, Sung-Won Choi, Marco Zanetti and Jeremy Bury will show reizen up in the French wine city to make their bid for the title. The one player who will be sorely missed is Martin Horn, one of the stars in Lausanne.
The final ranking: 1 Dick Jaspers (Netherlands) 10-2.120-10 2 Martin Horn (Germany) 8-1.848-10 3 Torbjorn Blomdahl (Sweden) 6-1.788-10 3 Sung-Won Choi (South Korea) 6-1.670-9 5 Tayfun Tasdemir (Turkey) 4-1.940-16 6 Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 4-1.416-11 7 Marco Zanetti (Italy) 4-1.717-12 8 Jeremy Bury (France) 4-1.370-9 9 Torsten Danielsson (Switzerland) 0-0.840-9 10 Fernando Couto (Switzerland) 0-0.555-5.