Dang Jin Hu’s win at the inaugural Spanish Open Pool Championship has seen the Chinese star enter the World Nineball Tour rankings for the first time at world number 23 whilst runner-up Marc Bijsterbosch has risen to a career-high of world number 17.
The final between Dang and Bijsterbosch has gone down in the record books as one of the most dramatic and entertaining in recent time with the pair going the distance to settle the eventual winner and the $30,000 first place prize. For both, it was a hallmark day in their careers with neither much favoured heading into the start of the week but both came out with bounds of credit.
Dang’s win was a welcome return for China to the international stage with the likes of Wu Jia Qing and Wang Can also returning to the fold for the first time since 2019 with the former claiming ranking points for the first time ahead of the 2023 World Cup of Pool getting underway.
Skyler Woodward’s run to a second semi-final in a row in Spain sees the two-time Mosconi Cup MVP bolster his chances of automatic selection for the USA with the first spot set to be taken after the conclusion of the European Open Pool Championship taking place in Fulda, Germany from August 8-13.
Woodward’s earnings for this year in World Nineball Tour ranking events see the Bluegrass Bad Ass extend his lead over compatriot Shane Van Boening to $15,574 but with both players set to play at the 2023 Midwest Billiards and Cue Expo Big Dog 9-Ball in Iowa from July 13-17 there is still plenty to play for ahead of that first automatic selection.
Despite defeat in the Last 64, Sanchez Ruiz still holds court in the European standings in the Race to the Mosconi Cup with the Spaniard keeping a sizeable advantage over Albania’s Eklent Kaçi who is looking to return to the Mosconi Cup for the first time since 2021 with the youngest ever player to compete in the transatlantic tussle looking good for it after snapping off the UK Open just a few weeks ago followed up by a quarter-final berth in Spain.
Only two of the world’s top ten made it to the Last 16 of the Spanish Open meaning it was a tournament full of surprises and it was reflected in the movement on the World Nineball Tour rankings. Fresh off the back of winning in Bucharest, Konrad Juszczyszyn reached the Last 32 in Lugo to establish himself inside the top 20 in the world.
Strong runs for Pijus Labutis, Duong Quoc Hoang, and Emil André Gangflot see the trio rise to world number 39, 37, and 75 respectively. There are now 68 countries represented on the World Nineball Tour rankings with over 50 nations appearing at the Spanish Open Pool Championship with Spain naturally having the biggest contingent competing.
Albin Ouschan’s Last 16 finish sees the two-time champion of the world leapfrog Jayson Shaw to become WNT No.4 whilst Ko Pin Yi rose to inside the world’s top ten after finishing his tournament in the quarter-finals.
NEXT WORLD NINEBALL TOUR EVENT
In the USA, the 2023 Midwest Billiards and Cue Expo Big Dog 9-Ball gets underway from July 13-17 with vital points on offer for Mosconi Cup hopefuls. More info on the tournament can be found here.
NEXT MATCHROOM EVENT
The next signature Matchroom open multi-table event will take place in Fulda, Germany with the European Open Pool Championship from August 8-13 with the world’s elite set to descend on Hotel Esperanto as they do battle for their slice of the $200,000 prize fund.