After several close calls, JeonDDing finally has a TEKKEN World Tour victory.
JeonDDing scored his first-ever Tour win by claiming the CEO title in Daytona Beach, Florida on Sunday. He claimed the title by coming through the losers' bracket and beating UYU teammate Qudans twice in the grand final, 3-0 and 3-2.
The Korean star had finished fourth at last year's Asia Regional Final, the South East Asia Major, and tied or exceeded that mark three times on this year's Tour. He got as close as runner-up at Combo Breaker, but never reached the top of the mountain until his breakthrough on Sunday.
JeonDDing's win did not come easy. He began Sunday's finals session on the winners' side of the bracket but fell to Qudans 2-1 in a down-to-the-wire opening match. He rebounded quickly and went on a tear in the loser's bracket. He scored do-or-die wins over the red-hot Book, reigning Evo champion JDCR, and fan favorite Lil Majin to reach the grand final and earn another shot at Qudans.
The first set of the grand final looked nothing like their earlier encounter. JeonDDing and his Eddy handled Qudans' Devil Jin 3-0 to reset the bracket.
Their second set was a much closer affair. Qudans won the opener, but JeonDDing took the next two games to take a 2-1 lead. Qudans fought off a championship point to take Game 4 and force a decisive Game 5. That final game came down to the end of the final round, where JeonDDing pulled out a Spring Kick at the perfect time to win the title.
Qudans fell just short in his quest to win back-to-back Master events. Still, his second-place finish - coupled with a 3-0 win over eventual third-place finisher JDCR in the winners' final - showed that the reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion is rounding back into championship-level form.
Despite finishing outside the top three, Lil Majin might have been the weekend's MVP. The King player finished the weekend in fourth place, the best finish by an American player at a Master event this year. Lil Majin was sent to the losers' bracket in the Round of 32, but he responded with an incredible run. He took out Rickstah, Shadow, and P.Ling to reach Sunday's finals. Once there he knocked out JimmyJTran, making him the first American player to beat Tran at a Tour event. He then took out Korea's Dimeback before falling to the eventual champion.
Dimeback tied for fifth place alongside rising Thai star Book, while JimmyJTran and Canada's Binchang tied for seventh place.
Defending CEO champion Saint ended the weekend tied for ninth place thanks in part to Joey Fury. Joey, who also ended the tournament in ninth place, sent Saint to the losers’ bracket during Saturday’s Round of 32. The result was Joey’s second big result in as many Master events, having scored a victory over Saint’s Echo Fox teammate, JDCR, at Combo Breaker.
JeonDDing’s victory propelled him up to third place on the TEKKEN World Tour leaderboard. Runner-up Qudans moved into fourth place. Dimeback moved above the 19th-place cutoff for qualification into the TEKKEN World Tour Finals, while Lil Majin now sits just 10 points below the cut line.
The Tour continues next week with a stop at Abuget Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia.