Van Den Berg wins Paris Open

Nick Van Den Berg

In the billiard equivalent of the French Open, Nick Van Den Berg of the Netherlands won the Paris Open, emerging from a field of 86 entrants that included countryman Niels Feijen, New Zealand's Matthew Edwards, and his (Van Den Berg's) opponent in the finals, Malta's Tony Drago. Double elimination rounds for the event, which featured an €18,000 (Euro) total prize package, were held at the Leader Club Billiard 94, in Sucy-en-Brie, a suburb of Paris. Final rounds were held at the Cercle Clichy Montmartre in Paris.

Van Den Berg, Feijen, Edwards and Drago were the last four standing for the finals on Sunday night.

Van Den Berg came out of the single elimination field of 64 with a 9-5 victory over Khanh Nguyen, and got locked up in a double hill battle versus the UK's Imran Majid. Van Der Berg survived to meet and defeat Belgium's Noel Bruynooghe 9-3 and move into the event's quarterfinals to face the UK's Raj Hundal.  In victories over Benji Buckley, Ramesh Gokhul and Nick Malai, Hundal had given up only five racks over 32 games to reach those quarterfinals.

Drago, in the meantime, got out of the round of 64 smoothly, with a 9-3 win over Giannis Georgopolous, only to run into a double hill battle against Boris Li. Drago survived to chalk up another 9-3 victory, this time over Alain Da Costa, which put him in the quarterfinals against Switzerland's Dmitri Jungo. Feijen used victories over Alex Montpelier (9-1), Alex Kazakis (9-2), and Jayson Shaw (9-5) to move into the quarterfinals against the UK's Scott Higgins.

Three of the four matches that comprised the event's quarterfinals went to double hill. Feijen coasted into the semifinals with a shutout over Higgins, while Edwards, Drago, and Van Den Berg struggled to sink the final ball against Greece's Nikos Oikonomopoulos, Dimitri Jungo, and Hundal, respectively.

Drago got into the finals with an easy 9-1 victory over Edwards, as Van Den Berg and Feijen waged the battle of the Netherlands. Van Den Berg won that battle 9-3, and turned to face Drago. Van Den Berg  won the final battle 11-8 to claim the Paris Open title.