Double triumph! It took 39 weeks and as many ESL Open Cups for one player to secure victories on two different servers on the same day, but Solar finally achieved this honor by winning the Korean and American cups on Monday. The only server not in the Korean Zerg's grasp was Europe, where Clem returned to finish on top for the first time since May.
Not having participated in the three previous cups, and with his rivals starting to overtake him in the medal rankings, Solar must have been very eager to get back into his online groove this week. Things started a bit shaky, as his Chinese team league rival Firefly once again took a map from him, but in the end Solar stabilized and advanced, gaining form and confidence as he went on to beat Hurricane and SpeCial to reach the finals. There, a very dangerous opponent awaited him in Trap, who had just cleanly swept the previous week's winner DongRaeGu out of the competition. Solar, though, showed his ZvP prowess and extended his narrow, head-to-head lead vs the Jin Air Protoss with a finals victory. This is Solar's sixth gold medal in the Korean edition of the weekly tournament and his first win since back in June.
Speaking of victories from a while ago, Clem's last ESL Open Cup Europe win before Monday had happened all the way back in May. He was able to reach the finals five times between then and his latest win this week, but failed to achieve victory. He was finally able to overcome this hurdle in Week #39 advancing through a tough bracket with wins over the ever dangerous MaxPax, his Team Liquid colleague Harstem, German Zerg Lambo and finally his grand ESL Cup nemesis HeRoMaRinE. As we're almost used to by now when these two Terrans meet, the duel went the full distance and no party gave any quarter. Clem's TvT has made a lot of progress over the last couple of weeks, however, and so the Frenchman was able to hold off Big Gabe from following through on his 2-1 lead, coming back into the series with two consecutive wins and continuing the momentum from his successful King of Battles group stage performance.
This is slightly like a game of Crusader Kings now, with Solar holding two titles half a world apart with different succession laws. His fifth American ESL Open Cup gold was less contested than the victory in his home region, the toughest competition coming from fellow Korean Zerg Armani in the quarterfinals. Every other player was swept aside by Solar without much effort, with only the Afreeca Zerg ruining a perfect run for the KaiZi player. Solar even kept his cool against the surprising finalist MaxPax, who gave the American edition a try after his forced exit by Clem early on in the European cup. Solar didn't drop a single map against the Danish upstart, who still had an impressive run where he eliminated SpeCial, Vanya and Nina en route to the finals. Week #39 certainly was a successful one for Team eXon, having managed to fill three fourths of the American edition's top four with their own members—only that most important of placements remained out of their reach. Meanwhile, Solar writes ESL Cup history with this victory, being the first and so far obviously only player to achieve the double crown. What a comeback to the weekly competition for him. Defending this achievement will be extremely hard, but if he manages to do that, another entry into the histories will be guaranteed.
ESL Open Cup winners earn $200 in prize money and 10 ESL Pro Tour points. Players who finish second earn 5 ESL Pro Tour points and $100. A top 4 finish guarantees at least $50. Week #40 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on October 12th.
European Server Cup #39 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #39 (Click for full bracket)