Sanchez-Ruiz Just Crossed the Finish Line

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz (ESP) over the table with Chris Melling (GBR) watching him closely

Close encounter with Melling

Treviso, Italy: In a tight encounter with England's Mosconi player Chris Melling, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz (ESP) just made it to the goal with 9:7. Things started good for the young Spaniard. He was leading in the early stage of the match and managed to maintain that lead over a long period. Probably the biggest reason for his lead was his break.

The regulations for this year have been changed by the EPBF. The break box was removed for 9-ball. David Morris, President of IBPF: "We have had some request from players regarding that matter so we did a lot of research during last season. We found that the break box in 9-ball together with our other breaking requirements (3-point-rule) made it too hard for the players to get momentum and convert their break shot into points for their account. Therefore, we thought it would be better to waive the break box in 9-ball. We still keep it for 10-ball though".

While Sanchez was able to control his break, Melling seemed to struggle with it. No wonder that Sanchez took a clear led over Melling with 6:3. Though he always tried to keep one foot in the match, Melling was always thrown back in his chair. He either had no ball on the break or he had dry break shots with not enough balls crossing the kitchen line. He seemed to be desperate. When Sanchez saw his opponent's struggle, it made him even stronger. At 6:4, Melling broke the balls and had a ball down but no real shot on the 1-ball. He played push-out, leaving a tough situation for Sanchez on the table. But Sanchez could not be worried less. He fired the balls in, cleared all problems on the table and snatched another rack off Melling, leading 7:4. He even took an 8:5 lead and everyone thought that the book will soon be closed on Melling. But Melling was still alive. He performed strong and forced some errors upon Sanchez in that phase of the Match. Sanchez obviously got more and more nervous and was now desperately looking for the finish line. At 8:6, Melling needed a good break. He got it but missed the 1-ball straight after. He leaves a tough shot for Sanchez which the Spaniard misses. Melling now proves his class and runs out a tough rack, closing the gap between the two to 8:7.

At this point, errors were lethal. Both players knew it. Sanchez approached the table for his break shot and hammered the cue ball into the pack. Two balls went down and everything was open. Sanchez took his chance and won the rack, taking a 9:7 victory over Melling. "I was really nervous in the end", states Sanchez afterwards, "and I'm happy we did not play to 10 racks or further. Who knows what would have happened then".

Other notable results from this morning include Jasmin Ouschan (AUT) defeating Tim Goergens (GER) with 9:3. An upset in winner's round 1 was definitely the loss of Nick van den Berg (NED) to Jakob Belka (GER) with 8:9.

The event will be hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website , follow us on twitter @EPBF_News or contact our press office.