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Van den Berg is the Longoni Benelux Open 2013 Champion

N. Van den Berg

For the fifth consecutive year the Longoni Benelux Open was staged at De Loft in Leuven (Belgium). With a guaranteed prize fund of € 10,000 and a coveted Longoni cup, the qualification rounds drew 167 entries. Elite players, such as reigning champion Daryl Peach, Niels Feijen, Ralf Souquet, Tony Drago, Nick Van Den Berg, Imran Majid and champion of the inaugural edition Andreas Roschkowsky, turned up to exhibit their spectacular showmanship.

After a long fought battle, from 9.00 am until past midnight, the new champion emerged: ‘El Niño’ Nick van den Berg. He defeated none other than ‘The Kaiser’ Ralf Souquet, who made his first appearance at the Longoni Benelux Open. The conditions were tough, tight pockets and ironically great weather, which made it tropically hot in the venue.
El Niño was still quite fresh, though, as he asked for the time, prior to the semi final. “It’s 11 o’clock”. Upon which he reacted flabbergasted: “Nooo… I thought it was only 8 o’clock”. Nick reached the final undefeated, ousting German upcoming young talent Can Salim, Dutch outsider Fauzi Halaby, Ralf Souquet to reach the quarter final and Imran Majid for the hot seat.
Ralf Souquet traveled a slightly longer road, ousting Belgian local hero Timour Khodaev in the first round, Kasper Kristoffersen from Denmark in the second, but losing to van den Berg in the third. On the one loss side, he showed no mercy against former champion Andreas Roschkowsky to reach the quarter final. He defeated ‘The Tornado’ Tony Drago to reach the semis and ‘The Terminator’ Niels Feijen for the other hot seat.
Again, Longoni’s player representative Niels Feijen came very close with his third place. Sofar, he’s been the most consistent with three spots in the final (2009, 2010 and 2012) and two third places (2011 and this year). Niels commented: “Played my almost worse game, all day. So, that's still a nice result. Was still totally drained from the USA trip, travel back, seven hour jetlag and the ten hour car ride to Holland. Had the mental energy of a three week old peanut butter sandwich, all day”. Well, wouldn’t we all like to play that ‘bad’.
The other semi finalist was up and coming Ivo Aarts from Holland, who has been displaying good form, lately, with a bronze medal at this year’s European Championships.
The great number of participants, the fantastic historic city of Leuven, the incredible weather, Longoni and co-sponsors Loontjens Biljarts, Iwan Simonis, Saluc, Kamui, Serge Das Billiards, De Loft Leuven, the Belgian federation and the Dutch Federation contributed to yet another great success of the Longoni Benelux Open.

Quarter Finals
Ivo Aarts ( NED ) 8-5 Nico Baumanns ( GER )
Nick van den Berg ( NED ) 8-6 Imran Majid ( GBR )
Tony Drago ( MLT ) 4-8 Ralf Souqet ( GER )
Niels Feijen ( NED ) 8-7 David Krewitt ( GER )
Semi Finals
Ivo Aarts ( NED ) 6-8 Nick van den Berg ( NED )
Ralf Souquet ( GER ) 8-6 Niels Feijen ( NED )
Nick van den Berg ( NED ) 8-5 Ralf Souquet ( GER )