Francisco Sanchez Ruiz has won the 2022 US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City beating Austria’s Max Lechner 13-10 in the final to shoot to World No.1 on the Live Nineball World Rankings taking home the $50,000 first place prize and becoming the first Spaniard to win one of pool’s oldest majors.
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Rack 1 – Sanchez Ruiz 0-1 Lechner – Lechner won the lag before taking the opening rack in a break and run to curb any early nerves in the biggest match of both players’ careers.
Rack 2 – Sanchez Ruiz 0-2 Lechner – The Austrian doubled his advantage soon after with another break and run, laying down a real warning sign in the process of how he would attack the contest.
Rack 3 – Sanchez Ruiz 1-2 Lechner – After a brief safety exchange Lechner looked to be in to establish a 3-0 lead at the first commercial but a missed seven ball later and Sanchez Ruiz was on the board for the first time in the contest.
Rack 4 – Sanchez Ruiz 1-3 Lechner – Sanchez Ruiz broke for the first time in the match but was left stumped for a shot on the two. He chose to push out before Lechner put him back in. Sanchez Ruiz kicked at the two but opened up the table in the process to leave Lechner back at the table. The three was still troublesome for Lechner though who went aerial to make contact only to see it fluke in and make an easy out from there.
Rack 5 – Sanchez Ruiz 2-3 Lechner – The contest was swinging for the first time in Sanchez Ruiz’s favour thanks to a fluked carom to make the nine when jumping for the two.
Rack 6 – Sanchez Ruiz 3-3 Lechner – A golden break from Sanchez Ruiz brought the pair level for the first time since the start of the match at three all. He’d potted seven balls to win three racks.
Rack 7 – Sanchez Ruiz 3-4 Lechner – Not much could separate the two who were contesting only the third-ever all-European US Open final and it was Lechner who took the initiative after seven. Sanchez Ruiz was looking to cut the three in only to be left in despair as it somehow clung onto the pocket.
Rack 8 – Sanchez Ruiz 4-4 Lechner – The two ball was Lechner’s hold up at times in his semi-final with Ko Ping Chung and it was again in the eigth rack that brought Sanchez Ruiz to the table to level again.
Rack 9 – Sanchez Ruiz 5-4 Lechner – Sanchez Ruiz led for the first time in the match at 5-4. The Spaniard already buoyed by knowing he would be the new Nineball World Rankings No. 1 at the conclusion of the day had found a rhythm and making the most of it.
Rack 10 – Sanchez Ruiz 5-5 Lechner – It was a nightmare for Sanchez Ruiz just as things were heading his way. The 2022 World Cup of Pool winner scratched from the break to put Lechner back to the table to level once again.
Rack 11 – Sanchez Ruiz 6-5 Lechner – Lechner fouled when trying to jump over the four and five to make the three ball. With ball in hand, Sanchez Ruiz took the lead and was ahead again.
Rack 12 – Sanchez Ruiz 6-6 Lechner – With the two over the pocket, Sanchez Ruiz kicked and missed trying to make it leaving Lechner his time to level once again.
Rack 13 – Sanchez Ruiz 7-6 Lechner – Lechner broke and snatched at a chance with the rest on the five ball which allowed Sanchez Ruiz to swoop in and take the lead and reach the halfway mark first.
Rack 14 – Sanchez Ruiz 8-6 Lechner – An expert break and run gave Sanchez Ruiz a two rack cushion for the first time in the match and Lechner was starting to rue missed opportunities.
Rack 15 – Sanchez Ruiz 9-6 Lechner – Sanchez Ruiz crunched in the break in the 15th rack and made a clean run out to be four away from the title.
Rack 16 – Sanchez Ruiz 10-6 Lechner – Four balls off the break for Sanchez Ruiz was just the ticket as he looked to hone in on his first-ever individual Matchroom title with another break and run. It was cruise control.
Rack 17 – Sanchez Ruiz 10-7 Lechner – The Sanchez Ruiz momentum was halted swiftly in the 17th after a brief safety exchange, FSR was back at the table but left with a tricky 5-6 combo to stay at the table. He put the table open when making contact with the five which allowed Lechner to swoop and steal a rack back.
Rack 18 – Sanchez Ruiz 10-8 Lechner – A break and run from Lechner brought him within two once again.
Rack 19 – Sanchez Ruiz 10-9 Lechner – Lechner was hooked by the eight when looking to make the seven but showed huge minerals to jump it and make the seven before holding position on the eight and nine to be one away from leveling up.
Rack 20 – Sanchez Ruiz 11-9 Lechner – Just when it looked like Lechner was finding his feet again with arguably the biggest shot of the match in the previous rack, he scratched on the break to leave Sanchez Ruiz with a routine run out to be two away.
Rack 21 – Sanchez Ruiz 11-10 Lechner – Things were just heating up as Lechner and Sanchez Ruiz got locked into a deep safety battle that in the end the former prevailed in after locking up the cue ball tight one end of the table. Sanchez Ruiz fouled to bring Lechner in to punish him and be one back.
Rack 22 – Sanchez Ruiz 12-10 Lechner – There was dispair for Lechner once again as he scratched off the break to allow Sanchez Ruiz in to clean up and get to the hill first.
Rack 23 – Sanchez Ruiz 13-10 Lechner – The cueball did the work for Sanchez Ruiz as it so always has in a golden year as he sealed a memorable win with a break and run.
“It is unbelievable how it feels. I feel so happy. Congratulations to Max. Thank you to everyone for the support, I love you guys. IT’s the biggest win in my career. There’s too many good feelings right now. I received the news of making the Mosconi Cup and it gave me so much. I want to say thank you to my team David Alcaide and Jose Alberto Delgado. It’s an unbelievable feeling, it really is.”
Next up is the 2022 Mosconi Cup from November 30 to December 3 at Bally’s Las Vegas where Jeremy Jones’ USA side will be looking to steal the Mosconi Cup back from Alex Lely’s European side live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Italy, and Spain, Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland and networks worldwide including on Matchroom.Live for those without a broadcaster in their country.
Both Team USA and Europe have three spots each locked up from the Live Nineball World Rankings with Shane Van Boening joined by Skyler Woodward and Oscar Dominguez this week for the Americans whilst Joshua Filler was joined by Francisco Sanchez Ruiz and Albin Ouschan. Ouschan qualified after Lechner finished as runner-up. Fans can expect to hear more soon from both skippers as they confirm their two wild card picks each to complete their sides ahead of the battle commencing in pool’s biggest battle.