Fantastic Feijen Claims 11th Euro Crown

Niels Feijen and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz

Niels Feijen is the 2022 Dynamic Billard St Johan im Pongau Open champion after a string of rock-solid performances, culminating in a superb 9-4 victory over Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz in the title match at the Alpina Sporthotel in the Austrian mountains. 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.

“In the final I was 3-1 down but my focus was really good. I’ve always had good solid routines, I’m not on the phone all the time, I meditate, and I’m really good at building my focus up and that showed these past two days. I feel that’s my weapon compared to the youngsters who are on the phone for eight hours a day.

“I’ve never been an up-and-down player, just very consistent and that’s down to a solid work ethic. When you want to be a consistent
professional for a long time, you have to make good choices,” added Feijen.

Sanchez Ruiz was the first to acknowledge Feijen’s stellar performance; “I’m not really that disappointed – I think I played good but Niels today played amazing, like perfect. I missed only one chance to go 4-2 but hats off to him because he played unbelievable. I’m happy because I played really good so let’s see what happens in the next tournament.”

As well as the prize money, there are Tour ranking points on offer as well as world ranking points, so there is everything to play for. All Euro Tour tournaments are 9-ball and players compete in a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 32 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are races to 9 racks with alternate break.

All the matches can be viewed live at
Results, live scoring and draw are available at

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