Dang Jin Hu has beaten Marc Bijsterbosch in the inaugural Spanish Open Pool Championship final in what will go down as one of the best-ever finals in history 13-12 at Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo, Spain in partnership with The Asociación Gallega de Billar Pool (AGP), live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in Spain, the USA, Italy, and Brazil, Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Poland and broadcasters worldwide.
Marc Bijsterbosch (NED) 12-13 Dang Jin Hu (CHN)
Bijsterbosch opened up to take the first rack but it turned on its head quickly with Dang responding to gather an early 2-1 advantage. At 2-1 down, Bijsterbosch had the chance to level up at two apiece but the Dutchman’s kick went badly wrong to give Dang ball in hand and he took full advantage to gather steam at 4-1 up off the back of the error.
Dang did let it slip though in the sixth rack as an ambitious kick left the six hanging over the pocket allowing Bijsterbosch in for 4-2. The pair were shaky and with Dang taking the break in the eighth at 5-2, he scratched that again allowed Bijsterbosch his time to take another rack back.
At 5-3, Dang lost control of the cue ball to find himself tight on the two and soon scratching to give Bijsterbosch ball in hand. That moment allowed Bijsterbosch the chance he craved to get back in it and soon we were level at 5-5 with both requiring eight more racks for the title. For the first time since, 1-0, Bijsterbosch led at 6-5 but it was short-lived after Dang fluked a safety after an effort on the one ball, the former kicked out the hook only to leave the one in plumb position and it was level again.
Bijsterbosch was starting to set an electric pace and a brilliant 2-9 combo kick gave him a two rack buffer for the first time. A break and run in the following rack allowed Bijsterbosch some real breathing space at 9-6.
Dang pulled two quick racks back to 9-8 before Bijsterbosch got a helping hand after what had looked like a good safety by his Chinese opposition. Bijsterbosch struck hard at the two to get some action on the nine and the two soon trickled into the bottom pocket with cue ball right onto the two.
Double figures were reached first by Bijsterbosch but a brazen swipe at the balls at 10-8 saw Dang close that lead to one with the Galacian crowd inspiring both players with one of the best atmospheres witnessed in recent time.
In the 20th rack, Dang pushed out encouraging Bijsterbosch to take on a raking bank on the two which failed for the 33 seed going into the tournament. Dang proceeded to punish Bijsterbosch for 10-10. An incredible rack at 10-10 ensued that Bijsterbosch got the better of with arguably the kick of the tournament on the four before a beautiful carom to make the nine when playing the five. It was exhibition stuff, pressure was not showing for either.
The two kept locking horns with Bijsterbosch reaching the hill first at 12-10 but a loose safety from the Bosh led Dang in for a chance to steal a rack at 12-10 to be one away from a hill-hill classic. Dang broke dry at the worst time to bring Bijsterbosch his moment to pounce and seal the title but it didn’t prove to be plain sailing as a brilliant full table bank on the seven led to an awkward cue ball for the eight forcing the bank. The bank was missed and Dang reached the hill too to punish Bijsterbosch.
In the final rack, it was a familiar tale from Dang who broke dry but his safety proved too much for Bijsterbosch. From there, Dang came through in historic fashion with a huge scream of relief as the final nine dropped for victory. Dang had well and truly announced itself on the world stage once again.
NEXT MATCHROOM EVENT
The 2023 World Cup of Pool begins at Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo, Spain from Tuesday, 27 June to Sunday, 2 July with the draw completed earlier today. Defending champions Spain will take on the Philippines in one of the highlight ties of the opening round. Buy your tickets here from €10.