After his second-place finish at Thaiger Uppercut back in March, Knee took nearly two months away from the TEKKEN World Tour. This past weekend marked the end of his ‘vacation’… and perhaps the beginning of his charge to the top of the standings.
Knee took top honors at Battle Arena Melbourne 10 in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday. The win was his second victory on the 2018 Tour, making him the first player to win more than one Tour event this year.
Knee’s run through the 200-plus-player Melbourne field was a dominant one. He went through both pool play and the semifinal round on Saturday without dropping a game. His opponents during Sunday’s finals didn’t fare much better, as he beat Dimeback 2-1 in the winners’ semifinal, then scored a pair of strong wins over Saint to secure the title.
Saint entered the winners’ final on a strong run of his own. He easily qualified for Sunday’s finals after dropping just one game during play on Saturday. That momentum continued through the start of Sunday’s finals where he scored a 2-0 win over his Echo Fox teammate JDCR.
But his clashes against Knee were another story.
Saint and his JACK-7 had no answer for Knee’s Paul, losing 3-0 in the winners’ final. He earned a rematch in the grand final by beating JeonDDing 3-2 in the losers’ final, but it didn’t go much better the second time around. He opened that set with an unsuccessful Eddy pick to put himself in a 1-0 hole. Saint went back to JACK-7 and won the next game, but Knee proved to be too much in the end. Knee won the next two games to take the set 3-1 and pick up his second Master event victory of the year.
Knee, Saint, and JeonDDing’s performances meant that Korea swept the top three places this weekend. The Korean contingent had to travel more than 5,000 miles to compete in this weekend’s tournament, but they felt right at home in Melbourne. Korean players made up seven of the top eight finishers this weekend, including seven of the top eight. Dimeback and JDCR tied for fifth place, while Kkokkoma and Gura tied for seventh.
Only fourth-place finisher Nobi of Japan was able to prevent a Korean clean sweep of Sunday’s finals.
No Australian players made it to Sunday’s finals, but a pair of Aussies made deep runs on Saturday and gave their fellow countrymen plenty to cheer for in the process.
Chand NY provided one of the tournament’s biggest moments when he somehow ducked under Knee’s Rage Art during their clash in the round of 32 on Saturday. Chand would go on to lose that match, but he bounced back to finish in a tie for ninth place, tops among Australians. Lee Min Ho also ended the weekend in the top 16, eliminating reigning TEKKEN World Tour champion Qudans on his way to a 13th-place finish.
Knee now stands in second place on the global leaderboard. JDCR’s fifth-place finish was just enough to maintain the top spot in the standings, but the gap between the two players sits at just five points. Saint climbed up to third place after his runner-up performance in Melbourne.
The TEKKEN World Tour continues next weekend with another Master event: Combo Breaker in the Chicago area.