Friday, May 20th, 2022 – Hello pool fans. The Tallahassee Squirrel here, aka Patrick Sampey, and I've been following this year's UK Open a bit.
What I find to be the story of the event is the kid sensation Riku Romppanen from Finland, making big comebacks, and showing a seasoned player straight from Martha Stewart's kitchen it would appear. The 14-year-old made some big moves, falling just short of the last 16, and highlighting the fact that billiards is a game for any age.
"...Fans were treated to a breathtaking performance by 14-year-old Riku Romppanen who came from 8-4 down to beat Robbie Capito to remain in the competition and meet Skyler Woodward to keep his hopes going. Romppanen’s journey will be one to remember with three wins over his three days but eventually came unstuck to Woodward despite pegging the two-time Mosconi Cup MVP back to 5-5 after Woodward led 5-0. The result leaving Woodward with a tie against 2012 World Pool Masters champion Karol Skowerski to reach the Last 16…" – A short excerpt from Matchroom, at: https://matchroompool.com/news/uk-open-day-3-ko-pin-yi-first-major-casualty/
Then, on the converse side, you had Ralf Souquet nearly making it to the final 16 of the event at age 53, but being taken out 9-3 by SVB (Shane Van Boening). SVB and Skyler Woodward are the only two Americans left in the prestigious event – SVB chasing another world title to add weight to the growing body of evidence that is to say: SVB may be the best cueist the world has or will ever see, the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Times). Although, many still feel that the title goes to Efren Reyes; it is subjective.
So many great players in the event that began with 256 players from around the globe, including my friend from Japan, Naoyuki Oi – yet another top-caliber player on this green Earth.
And I watched the entire match with Filipino star Robbie Capito. What an amazing hill-hill thriller with Riku Romppanen, again at just 14 years of age, coming back from a 4-8 deficit, and showing tenacity and grit well beyond his fourteen years alive. Incredible.
Romppanen fought Capito every step of the way, with jump bank shots, defensive lock-ups, and all-around game-official, with what many pool players call "Jam Up" play.
Then, after that, I watched as the kid pushed two-time Mosconi Cup MVP Skyler Woodward to 9-6, where Woodward eventually took the contest, but another close match for the kid. The amazing talent that I'm sure we'll see for years to come. You can follow Riku Romppanen at: https://www.facebook.com/Riku-Romppanen-102089659089617