Friday Begins With Surprises in Eurotour

Chris Melling

Souquet, Chamat and Chinakhov sent to the loser's bracket while Appleton, See, Feijen and Melling just make it

Friday, July 08, 2011: Ralf Souquet (GER) lost his second winner's round match against Pedro Fonseca (POR) with 5:9. The match started out relatively even. When the score reached a tie at 5:5, Fonseca gained momentum and started to win rack by rack. Souquet could not win another rack in that match and was sent to the loser's side with a 9:5 victory for Fonseca.

In an exciting match, Chris Melling (GBR) just crossed the finish line before Joakim Haugen (NOR) with 9:8. The match was determined by many mistakes from both players. “These tables with the championship pockets are really tough to play”, Melling stated. The pockets are 110 mm for the corner pockets and 125mm for the side pockets. Haugen had the better start and should have been 3:0 up when he left the 9-ball hanging in the pocket. Easy prey for Melling to come to a score of 1:2. Both players' performances were determined by unusual pocketing and positioning mistakes. At 2:1 for him, Haugen missed the 8-ball and presented Melling another gift who tied the match at 2:2. Then Haugen broke the 9 to get a 3:2 lead.

As the match went on, both players seemed to be nervous and a bit unfocussed. “I did not sleep very well in the last two days”, Melling said after the match. “I was way too nervous, knowing that these tight pockets forgive nothing”, Haugen explained. As a consequence of both players not playing to their abilities, the match remained exciting and the score was tied at 7:7 when the drama unfolded. Haugen breaks, one ball goes down but he has no position on the 1-ball. He plays a bad safety shot. Then Melling misses to get position on the 3-ball and another exchange of safety shots followed. Haugen won that and got a shot at the 6-ball. He aggressively fired it in and hooked himself behind the 9-ball, having no chance to play the 7-ball. He tries to go over the side rail but fouls. Melling gets ball in hand and cannot finish the rack. Haugen wins it and gets on the hill, leading 8:7.

Now everything looked in favour of Haugen. Melling broke, no ball went down and Haugen won the following safety battle, forcing Melling to commit a foul. With ball in hand, Haugen cleared all balls off the table but got too straight on the 7-ball. He missed it and gave a second life to Melling. The match was tied on the hill, 8:8!

Haugen broke the rack but again could not make a ball. Melling comes to the table with all balls open. He almost snookered himself on the 2-ball but just got away with it. He ran out that final rack of this amazing match and won by a margin of 9:8 over Haugen who was not playing worse than him but a bit more unlucky. Both players would have deserved to win. Even if both of them made more mistakes as usual, it was an exciting match to watch.

“I was too nervous in the beginning of the match”, Haugen said in the interview after the match. When asked about the fact that several Norwegian players had some good finishes in the recent tournaments, Haugen comments: “I agree. We are playing the Euro-Tour since two years now and it is starting to pay off. We are getting stronger and stronger and there will be more to come from Norway”.

When confronted that the match was one of his weaker performances, Melling stated: ”I really struggled today. I could not get into my game at all. I just could not get going” “I think the biggest mistake I done today was that I went for too many balls. I should have played more safeties”. ”My confidence is really high at the moment. I expect to win all the time which is not possible in 9-ball”.

Other notable results include Darren Appleton (GBR) only just winning 9:8 over Russian Ruslan Chinakhov. The same result stood in the end in favour of Niels Feijen (NED) who won over Jani Siekkinen from Finland. Also a 9:8 winner was Huidji See (NED) in his match against Daniel Merbitz (GER). Artem Koshovyi (UKR) defeated “Napoleon” Marcus Chamat (SWE) with 9:4.

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