Austria Open – Jones first man for the final match

Richard Jones

Saturday, July 09, 2011:    The semi-final saw Richard Jones (GBR) defeating Mark Gray (GBR) with 9:7. The two players know each other fairly well. "It is a tough game. We are roommates for quite some time now. We travel together to the tournaments since we live close to each other in England", said Gray. Jones added: "Yeah, and it is hard to stay with someone who always finishes higher than you do so I really enjoy it is my time today".

After Moderator Marko Takis had called both actors into the arena, Gray had the better start. He was probably the favoured player in this match but Jones has proven that he can compete on the highest level. The first two racks fell in the hands of Mark Gray, giving him a small 2:0 lead over Jones. Then Jones benefitted from a poorly executed safety shot from Gray. He ran the balls and opened his account. In the next rack, Gray scratched when he tried to play a safety shot and Jones ran out again, tying the match at 2:2.

As the match went along, Gray played some negligent shots, missed balls and seemed to not be able to find his game. But Jones did and took a sudden 6:3 lead over Gray. "Before I knew it I was 6:3 down and that was probably because we know each other too well and I was not really focussed enough on the match", stated Gray.

The following racks were determined by Mark Gray trying to catch up with Richard Jones. And he succeeded. He was able to tie the score at 7:7. Then Gray took a timeout. When he came back, he broke the balls but none went in a pocket. Jones approached the table and ran out, leading 8:7.

After that, Jones took a timeout. The same thing happened as in the previous rack. No balls down with an open table left for Gray. But Gray got no position on the 5-ball. However, he pocketed it over one rail, leaving a tough shot for him on the 6-ball. Some safeties were exchanged and Mark Gray got the first chance to pocket a ball. He missed the 6-ball and left it all to Jones. Jones ran out and advanced to the finals, winning the semi-final with 9:7.

"He's done better than me which is sort of horrible somehow if you're rooming with someone who always is doing better than you in the latter rounds, so it is nice to once be on the other side of that", Jones said after the final. "The break is really hard. It is not guaranteed now to make a ball and the pockets are also much tighter. I really like the conditions. They are perfect." "I would prefer to play Serge Das in the finals since Sniegocki has been in the top finishes too often already. Serge is more like me".

Semi-final: Mark Gray    GBR    v    Richard Jones    GBR    7    :    9

The losers of this round will each receive a prize of 1800,- € and 420 points for the Euro- Tour rankings.

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