Francisco Sanchez Ruiz is the new champion of the world defeating Mohammad Soufi 13-10 in the World Pool Championship 2023 final in Kielce, Poland live on Sky Sports, Matchroom.Live, Viaplay, DAZN, and TV networks worldwide.
Soufi won the lag and proceeded to canter into a 2-0 lead within minutes with his explosive style of play a delight to behold for the sold-out crowd. Sanchez Ruiz had to come from behind against Mario He to reach the final and only lead for the first time at 9-8 but this time, he turned it quickly to 3-2. Soufi got back in to lead and take the following two racks but scratched on the break in the eighth when back in front. It was an error-strewn rack from there but in the end, Sanchez Ruiz came through to level again.
A break and run in the ninth put Sanchez Ruiz back in front in the Race to 13 at 5-4. The lead was soon stretched to 6-4 but a miss on the four in rack 11 brought Soufi in to cut the deficit back to one. In the 14th at 7-6, Soufi played safe after losing positon from the break, Sanchez Ruiz kicked only to leave the two in prime position for the Syrian to come in and level once again. Just when it seemed Soufi would find momentum, a scratch on the break allowed his Spanish counterpart to enter the fray and sweep in for 8-7.
There was very little to separate the pair as it went 8-8. At this stage, another Soufi mistake let Sanchez Ruiz in who started to take control of proceedings by establishing a two-rack buffer reaching double figures in the process and three away from the title. The earlier errors from Soufi were proving to be at his detriment as Sanchez Ruiz broke and run another rack to edge closer to his hands on the title.
It was proving to be a clinic from Sanchez Ruiz who had sussed the break and he reached the hill after just over two hours of action. With three balls left on the table, Sanchez Ruiz lost position on the seven and Soufi came in to nick a rack and then the next to be two away from reaching the hill also.
In the end, Sanchez Ruiz came good pouncing after Soufi’s break in the 23rd rack left the one and eight locked together. Sanchez Ruiz swept in to seal a memorable victory meaning the Spaniard now holds the US Open Pool Championship, World Cup of Pool, and World Pool Championship titles in the Nineball arena.
Sanchez Ruiz said: “It’s an amazing feeling. I have no voice. I felt the pressure. I had an unbelievable year last year but this is the first of this year and I cannot believe it. I didn’t play my best in the final but I fought for it and I got the end result. I knew I could lose a game with someone like Mohammad. He is very good and strong. I played my game though, I am so tired, I feel unbelievable, this is my biggest title for sure. I lost position at 10-8, it isn’t easy with the shot clock but finally, I got my chance again.”
The World No.1 will now head on to the Premier League Pool and World Pool Masters: “The last year when I won the big titles but when I won the Derby City Classic last year, everything changed in my mindset. I was playing good but I had never won a big title. When you win a big one, your confidence goes through the roof. There’s so much pressure in Matchroom events, you cannot compare it to any other. In the Mosconi Cup, wow, I hadn’t felt something like that. When you play Mosconi, every tournament after, wow it feels like no pressure.”
“To be honest, I have never seen Mohammad play with such character. It’s amazing. You can feel his aggressive play and the crowd love him. This tournament will change Soufi’s career,” added Sanchez Ruiz.
Soufi said: “I am happy to be number two but I am ready for more. I feel very good right now. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me.”