EPBF European Championship – 9-Ball Golds For Tinoco And Cunha

Alexandra Cunha and Jorge Tinoco

In the final day’s play on the 2021 EPBF calendar, the destination of the 9-ball medals was decided at the EPBF / Dynamic Billiards European Seniors Championships, taking place at the BHR Treviso Hotel in Italy. In the men’s, it was Portugal’s Jorge Tinoco who won his third gold medal of the championships, while Alexandra Cunha (Great Britain) ruled the ladies division.

For Jorge Tinoco, 44, it was the culmination of a magnificent week in Treviso as he won the opening discipline, the straight pool, as well gaining gold as part of Portugal’s winning squad in the emotion-packed team event.

He said, “I’m feeling awesome and I don’t have words. I didn’t expect to win three medals and to win this one was special as I played against Paquito (Diaz-Pizarro) and he is an amazing player. I think I played very well in the semi-final and the final I enjoyed my game and took great joy playing pool so three gold medals are amazing for me.”

Facing off against Spain’s Francisco Diaz-Pizarro, the Portuguese won the lag, but a dry break immediately got the Spaniard to the table and wasting no time, he ran through the balls but leaving himself a slightly more difficult angle on the 9 ball than he would have liked, he missed it to hand the rack to Tinoco.

With four balls clustered around the 1 spot there were multiple visits as each player searched for an opening. Diaz manged to split them but the white unfortunately rolled into the centre pocket. With ball in hand and the table open, Tinoco cleared for a 2-0 lead.

A terrific bank shot from Diaz saw the 1 ball pocketed in the next and he was able to lay the cue ball behind a cluster leaving his opponent reaching for the jump stick. Tinoco scratched with his escape and from there Diaz ran out for his first rack of the match.

In the next, Diaz committed a shirt foul, whereby his garment rested on a ball whilst bridging, and Tinoco took full advantage to take a 3-1 lead. There was more jump stick action from Tinoco in the next and he got lucky leaving the 1 ball behind the 8. Diaz escaped but left the object ball on. Tinoco, who has been the star player of the championships, made no mistakes as he cleared up for 4-1.

An illegal break from Diaz piled on the misery for him and facing one or two problems in the layout, Tinoco played it perfectly for a 5-1 lead. An illegal break from Tinoco saw Diaz back at the table, facing no margin for error given his predicament, and he played the rack perfectly to keep his dreams alive.

A terrific jump shot under the pressure of the clock saw Tinoco pocket the 1 ball but with no available pocket for the 2 ball he played a safety. A difficult pot was missed by Diaz and that gave Tinoco all the space he needed to run out for a 6-2 lead.

Another illegal break from the Portuguese left a cut on the 2 ball on for Diaz but he over cut it. Tinoco uncharacteristically missed the 3 ball and Diaz won the rack with a 4/9 combination. A successful break from Diaz gave him a chance in the tenth game and he played his best rack of the match to get back to 6-4.

Tinoco, though, broke and ran the next to get himself to the hill at 7-4 and disastrously, Diaz scratched when breaking to save the match. With the balls out in the open, the gold medal was there for Tinoco’s taking and he executed the run out perfectly to cement his place as player of the tournament with an excellent 8-4 victory.

Tinoco added, “My head was very focused and I could control my emotions. In the semi-final, I was losing 4-1 but I still kept my composure and turned the game in my favour. In the final I just tried to play my best and I didn’t feel any pressure. I’m going to have a big celebration with friends and family when I get home.”

Medals – Men’s 9-Ball

Gold –          Jorge Tinoco (POR)
Silver –        Francisco Diaz-Pizarro (ESP)
Bronze –        Henrique Correia (POR)
Ronny Oldervik (NOR)

In the ladies’ final, both Karin Michl (Germany) and Britain’s Alexandra Cunha were looking to add gold to the bronze medals they won in the 8-ball and 10-ball divisions respectively. It was a cagey match with neither player asserting themselves with so much on the line.

Michl had gone into a 2-0 lead in the race-to-six match but Cunha fought back to level the match. They shared the next two to leave the title finely poised at 3-3. The German lady looked set for 4-3 with four balls left on the table but ran the cue ball into the black 8 to lose position.

She subsequently missed the 8 into the top left pocket. Cunha made it but left herself with a very tough 9 ball and to her credit, she potted it to lead 4-3 in the race to six. With two balls left on the table in the next, a long 7 ball failed to drop for Cunha, but Michl’s pot saw the cue ball cannon into the 9 to make the shot more difficult than she would have liked but with rest in hand, she rolled it in to level.

With two balls left on the table in the ninth game, Michl failed to pot the 8 ball and then scratched with ball-in-hand, and Cunha took them both to reach the hill at 5-4. The British representative saved her best till last as, under some pressure, she ran the remaining five balls on the table to record a 6-4 victory and with it her first ever European Championships gold medal.

Cunha was delighted with her win; “I’m really emotional as I can’t believe this just happened. I’m so pleased! I’ve been having some coaching and I’ve been trying to rely on the things I’ve been learning.

“I’ve tried to improve my game and keep my head away from the score. I was 5-1 down in the semi-final and got it back so I was really pleased with my focus given the circumstances I always want to learn more and improve more and try and be the best I can be,” she added.

Medals – Ladies 9-Ball

Gold –          Alexandra Cunha (POR)
Silver –        Karin Michl (GER)
Bronze –        Ina Helvik (NOR)
Susanne Wessel (GER)

Matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com

Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com