Last week the 2022 US Open Pool Championship took place in Atlantic City (New Jersey). “Our” Francisco Sánchez Ruiz has been proclaimed the winner of this mythical, demanding and renowned championship, organized by the prestigious sporting events company Matchroom Pool and from Barcelona Pool Billiards Academy we want to explain all the details about it.
2022 US Open Pool
As usual in each annual edition of this event, the best specialists on the planet come together to try to win the coveted title and the $50,000 check that the player who wins over the rest of the applicants pockets.
Illustrious pool players have won this title in the past: Steve Mizerak (R.I.P.), Mike Sigel (3), Nick Varner (2), Buddy Hall (2), Earl Strickland (5), Efren Reyes (1), Ralf Souquet (1), Mika Immonen (2), Darren Appleton (2) and the youngsters Shane Van Boening (5), Joshua Filler, Jayson Shaw and this edition’s semi-finalist Carlo Biado.
Now it is Francisco Sánchez Ruiz who joins this list of great champions, already known both by his nickname “The Ferrari” and by his initials FSR. The latter is not a minor detail, since only the best of the best are known by their initials in this sport.
In this edition, Matchroom Pool has had the great initiative of organizing the Shane Van Boening (SVB) Junior Open in parallel, in order to promote high competition among the youngest in the same venue as its great references on the competition table.
The tournament room at Harrah’s Resort & Casino was at the height of the entity of this event so and so followed by all the passionate American Billiards (pool) from any corner of the planet.
The competition: the best Pool in the world
The bracket was made up of 256 players from the five continents and with no notable absence in this 2022 edition. Not only the Russian specialists, banned in recent times in many sporting events, were absent to regret, such as the former world champion and some of the best on the planet in recent times the very young Fedor Gorst.
The first part of the competition was developed on double-ko, winner breaks and race to nine. Without forgetting the innovations in the opening shot (break) that Matchroom has introduced in recent times and that have once again transformed this modality towards a somewhat more tactical version, especially after the break shot, according to the most knowledgeable.
The first result achieved by Francisco Sánchez Ruiz presaged what would end up happening: he endorsed a resounding 9-0 to Rohit Aggarwal. However, in the second round of winners he was going to reach the decisive game (hill-hill rack) to win a very tight 9-8 against Jere Virtaranta. A much looser result was achieved in the qualifying game for the last 64 against Jani Uski by a convincing score of 9-1 again.
In last64 round and already in the ko-direct phase (direct elimination), a legend of this sport was against, holder of all the major tournaments worldwide, member of the BCA Hall of Fame and still very active at the highest level: the German Ralf “The Kaiser” Souquet, whom he won by a comfortable 9-4.
In last32 round he had to suffer for the second time and this time with the risk of being dropped from the competition. But Francisco Sánchez Ruiz raised an adverse score in the final stretch of the confrontation to end up going to the next round by an always disturbing 9-8 against the Taiwanese Wu Kun Lin.
The fourth day of competition was over and only the last16 survivors remained in contention to win the coveted title.
Now without any easy rival, the fifth day of competition put to the test the real possibilities that Francisco Sánchez Ruiz would enter the history of this competition with a very tough confrontation against the one who for some is one of the 5 best specialists on the planet, the also Taiwanese Chang Jun-Lin. The Spaniard rose to the occasion and gave this Asian superstar no chance, winning 10-5, in a round where it was no longer enough to win 9 games to win evry single match.
This afternoon on the American East Coast and already at dawn in our country, Francisco Sánchez Ruiz faced the number 1 of Greece and recognized European star Alex Kazakis. Here he had to suffer a lot until the end the score 10-8 that was the ticket to play the semifinals on Saturday with all eyes on a single competition table, with a large and large number of fans displaced to this american city .
However, before resting and replenishing his strength, Francisco Sánchez Ruiz was going to have some long-awaited and well-deserved news, such as inclusion, for sporting merits, in the European team that will play the mythical Mosconi Cup against the American team in Las Vegas at the end of year. Thus, continuity is given to the previous three participations of the Spanish David Alcaide Bermúdez, a pioneer as a member of the European team in this prestigious annual competition.
US Pool Open: semifinal and final
The big day had arrived: it was Saturday in Atlantic City and only four players were standing: Francisco Sánchez Ruiz in a race to 11 match against the Filipino megastar Carlo Biado, heir to the legacy and skills of the Parica, Reyes or Bustamante among others, holder of a 9-Ball World Championship and champion of the previous edition of the event that was already being played in its final stretch.
The confrontation did not disappoint anyone: both players displayed their best weapons without notable errors. Francisco Sánchez Ruiz, with a devastating serve, very well adapted to the new guidelines regarding Matchroom, and a solvent resolution of the games. In the case of Carlo Biado, with a privileged cue ball control like his Filipino predecessors had, which allowed him to come back from a very adverse score.
So much, so that forced Francisco Sánchez Ruiz to play his third hill-hill of the championship, this time without drawing in the last game that Carlo Biado was unable to solve in a single inning and that, after a defensive dispute, Francisco Sánchez Ruiz managed to solve his favour.
The final awaited against the winner of the other semifinal between the Taiwanese Ko Ping Chung (from the saga of the 3 Ko brothers) and the Austrian Max Lechner. The Taiwanese did more to lose than to win in the final stretch of the confrontation, which allowed the Austrian to access the final by a result also at the limit of 11-10, without resolving any starting game (break & run) in the semifinals.
The final would be played with 13 wins and the great favorite of the public and connoisseurs was Francisco Sánchez Ruiz, by record, by position in the European and world ranking, by career in the event itself. Meanwhile, the Austrian megastar Albin Ouschan closely followed the evolution of his compatriot, while the unconditional and excellent companions of the Spaniard did the same: David Alcaide and José Alberto Delgado.
But the Austrian stood up to the start and stoically withstood the attacks of the Spaniard, forcing him to give his best in the final stretch of the confrontation to end up winning 13-10 for history.
Following the ritual of recent years at this level of competition, the Champion celebrated from the top of the game table: it was time to release all the accumulated tensions.
Matchroom Pool Executive, Emily Frazer, was present at the awards ceremony to present the coveted trophy, the mythical green jacket that certifies those chosen as champions of the US OPEN and a not inconsiderable check of $50,000 for the champion. Francisco Sánchez Ruiz was the happiest person on the planet at that time, without a doubt, since he also managed to climb to number one in the world ranking and was already number one in the European ranking over the last few months.
About Francisco Sánchez Ruiz
Experts in the field predict Francisco Sánchez Ruiz many successes of this caliber in the future. Maybe that’s why in the next photo he is kissing near the State of South Dakota? Place of birth of the 5-time US OPEN champion Shane Van Boening… Who knows!
Making a bit of history, and for those who still do not know the origins and trajectory as premature as brilliant of Francisco Sánchez Ruíz, we will make a brief summary of his life and awards. Born in Murcia in December 1991, like most of the great champions he began to play American billiards (pool) at a very young age. Probably one of the secrets of his success was growing up in a family of billiard players. In fact, currently, his father, Francisco Sánchez Hernández, runs a Billiards School in his hometown.
His first great achievement would not be long in coming: specifically at the age of 16, he defeated David Alcaide in the final of the 2008 9-Ball Spanish Championship by a hefty score of 9-1 that foreshadowed what would happen in the Junior World Championship where he won the title in 2010.
He also managed to win the Absolute European 9-Ball Championship in 2016, after achieving excellent results in different editions of the demanding USA OPEN in which he has now succeeded. His most important feat in North American territory came last January where he won the mythical Derby City Classic in the 9-Ball modality, defeating the best specialists on the planet, but not before winning two rounds of the demanding EuroTour professional European circuit ( EPBF) also 9-Ball at the end of 2021.
As if that were not enough, in this same 2022, he reached the very final of the recently released great event UK OPEN (the British version of the US OPEN) only giving in to an intractable Joshua Filler who, in the semifinals, had gotten rid of David Alcaide. These last brilliant months where he has conquered his third round of the professional European circuit and the PRP International Open, have raised Francisco Sánchez Ruíz at different times, at number one in the European and world rankings, a milestone only within the reach of very few.
From Barcelona Pool Billiards Academy congratulate Francisco Sánchez Ruíz for this mythical and long-awaited title, the US Open Pool, congratulations! well deserved!
If you were unable to follow the USA OPEN 2022 and the feat achieved by Francisco Sánchez Ruiz or, perhaps, you would have liked to share the live experience with other pool enthusiasts, at the Barcelona Pool Billiards Academy we would like to remind you that we have a 135-inch projector to learn, improve and enjoy these events, both live and recorded, and commented by our certified instructors. This time, as on so many previous occasions, our initiative was a resounding success with a very happy ending for those gathered there.