Vietnamese pool player defeats world number one

By Xuan Binh   March 21, 2024 | 11:57 pm PT
Vietnamese player Nguyen Anh Tuan won five consecutive matches in the 2024 Premier League Pool in the U.S., including a stellar comeback against world number one Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.

On the fourth day of competition, Tuan defeated Bernie Regalario (Philippines), Ruiz (Spain) and Ko Ping Chung (Taiwan). The score in the two latter wins were both 5-4. The results helped Tuan enter the top 10 of the tournament for the first time.

Cơ thủ Nguyễn Anh Tuấn tại pool 9 bi Ngoại hạng ở thành phố West Haven, bang Connecticut, Mỹ tháng 3/2024. Ảnh: FBNV

Nguyen Anh Tuan at the Premier League Pool in West Haven, Connecticut, U.S. in March 2024. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Anh Tuan

Tuan caused a big surprise in the match against Ruiz early on Friday after being led 1-4. The 35-year-old player won four games in a row to complete a 5-4 victory. Before the shot to equalize 4-4, Tuan put his hand on his chest, looking nervous and disbelieving.

Ruiz, 33, is the number one pool player in the world, in all types of pool including 9-ball. He was the world’s 8-ball champion in 2022 and the world’s 9-ball champion in 2023.

The surprise didn't stop there, when Tuan continued to defeat Ko Ping Chung even though he was 3-1 down at one point. He came back to win 5-4 against the 2019 world 10-ball champion.

Ruiz and Ko are both top players having won many international tournaments, something that Vietnamese players have not been able to do.

Nguyen Anh Tuan's final shots against Francisco Sanchez Ruiz at the Premier League Pool in West Haven, Connecticut, U.S., March 22, 2024.

Tuan is currently 53rd in the world ranking, 14 places behind Vietnam's number one player Duong Quoc Hoang.

He lost his first four matches of the tournament, then beat Ko Pin Yi and lost two more matches. Since then, the Hanoi player has won five matches in a row, entered the top 10 and has a chance to pass the first round.

The Premier League Pool takes place annually. This year it is being held in the city of West Haven, Connecticut, U.S. from March 18 to 25. The 16 players invited to the tournament are among the world's best, competing for a prize pool of $100,000.

After the first 15 matches, the bottom six players will be eliminated. The remaining group of 10 players will continue to play in a round-robin match up on March 23 and 24, selecting six people to advance.

These players will compete to select four spots in the semifinals.

On the last day of the first round, Tuan will face Wiktor Zielinski (Poland), Mario He (Austria) and David Alcaide (Spain).

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