Niels Feijen’s 11th EuroTour title at the weekend in Austria sees the Dutchman move up to 11th in the Live Nineball World Rankings after a 9-4 win over Francisco Sanchez Ruiz in the final of the St Johan im Pongau Open.
The St Johan im Pongau Open was the latest EuroTour tournament on the Nineball World Rankings schedule which also saw Sanchez Ruiz tighten his grip as Nineball World No.3 as Oliver Szolnoki and Dimitri Jungo formed runs to the semi-finals to cement their spots inside the top 32.
UK Open champion Joshua Filler reached the quarter-finals before defeat to Sanchez Ruiz. The Killer’s efforts sees him tighten his grip as World No.2 just under $10,000 behind World No.1 Shane Van Boening after the South Dakota Kid’s World Pool Championship win earlier this year.
2021 World Pool Masters champion Alexander Kazakis continued his good season so far in Austria whilst Mario He and Wiktor Zielinski also made inroads inside the Live Nineball World Ranking Top 10.
Attention now turns to Bulgaria for the EuroTour Petrich Open from August 6-8 ahead of the inaugural European Open Pool Championship at the Hotel Esperanto, Fulda in Germany from August 9-14 with 256 players set to battle it out for a slice of the $200,000 and vital ranking points that could well see them move into Mosconi Cup contention. Tickets start from €15 and are available right here.
The events below are all ranking events. The World Pool Masters, World Cup of Pool, and Mosconi Cup are all non-ranking events
How the Live 2023 Nineball Rankings Impact the 2022 Mosconi Cup Selection Process
The top player from each team from the Live Nineball World Rankings will be selected after the conclusion of the 2022 European Open Pool Championship at Hotel Esperanto Fulda, August 9-14 2022.
A further two players for each team will then be taken off the Live Nineball World Rankings after the conclusion of the 2022 US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City from October 10-15 2022.
Both Team Europe and the USA will then have two wild card picks each as selected by the two respective captains Alex Lely and Jeremy Jones.
Read more on Feijen’s win courtesy of the EPBF
It is 21 years since the Terminator’s maiden Euro Tour win and six years since his last, and this victory was a testimony to Feijen’s endurance as one of pool’s premier players.
Said a delighted Feijen; “It’s a great feeling! I was struggling for a long time on the Euro Tour, not getting any results. It’s not that the level is better, there’s just more really good players now. I love the game but it’s more up and down now than when I was in my 20s and 30s. Sometimes I don’t care and sometimes I really, really want to win and put the effort in like now, and that is super-rewarding when it pays off.”
Feijen had enjoyed some hard-fought wins as he progressed through the tournament, none more so than his come-from-behind 9-8 win over Wiktor Zielinski in the last eight but in Sanchez Ruiz he was facing, arguably the form player in the world currently.
After dropping the opener, Sanchez Ruiz reeled off the next three racks to open up an ominous lead before Feijen ran out from the break after leaving a very makeable table. In the next, they both had visits, trying to force the error from their opponent, before Feijen potted the pink 4 with some style and he cleared to level the match.
Feijen came with a marvellous table length bank to down the 6 in the next and set up a rack-winning opportunity. It was his third rack in a row and put him into a 4-3 lead. That became 5-3 after Feijen ran a difficult table following an illegal break from Sanchez Ruiz.
The unstoppable Dutchman took the next before a magical 3/9 kicked combo increased Feijen’s lead to 7-3 and his reaction showed just how much he enjoyed that one. Sanchez Ruiz wasn’t done and a low percentage 1/9 combination table-length jump shot was executed magnificently.
However, it was the Spaniard’s last positive contribution as an unlucky scratch in the next gave Feijen ball in hand and he ran the table to put himself on the hill. With the break, Feijen delivered a solid one and was able to run out for a marvellous win.
Feijen added, “It’s down to a bit more commitment, and more hard work. I haven’t been really, really motivated these past four or five years. Then Corona came, I started some different projects so I’m extremely busy when I’m home. I felt I was playing really good the last couple of Euro Tours. I was breaking better, I won at the Europeans so that was a boost. Me and Marc (Bijsterbosch) played pretty well at the World Cup, I played good at the UK Open so I felt I was gaining some momentum and the more I play, the better I play; that’s a fact.