Holland Ease into World Cup Last 16

Niels Feijen and Huidje See

TOP POOL action returned to Robinsons Place in Manila as the PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool reconvened for Day 3 and it was Holland – Niels Feijen and Huidji See – who negotiated a potentially tricky match up with Austria to run out 8-3 winners.

Austria, represented by Jasmin Ouschan and 17 year-old Mario He, took the opening rack and the first six games were shared as the match gave every indication that it was going all the way to a decider.

Following a safety battle, Holland nudged the seventh rack and then a great break from See sets up the next as Holland went to 5-3 to the good.  In the next, He missed a relatively easy 9 ball. It is effectively the turning point of the match as the score moves to 6-3 Holland instead of 5-4.

Austria was then fighting a rear-guard action and it was Ouschan's turn next to blunder as she missed an 8 ball and left Holland on the hill at 7-3.

See, who had been kept out of this Dutch team by Nick Van Den Berg over the past few years, looked a great replacement and he and Feijen wrapped up a comfortable win.

 “I was a little nervous but Huidji played well and we both broke well,” said Feijen.

“At the start we were a bit doggish but the break kept us in and we won two in a row to make it 5-3. Then Austria made some mistakes and missed a 9-ball, an 8-ball and another 9-ball so in the end it was easier than I thought it would be. It's unfortunate for them but I've been there myself.

“We have to step up our game but we're playing good and have got a lot of potential. This was Huidji's first ever match on television and he handled it very well. I've played in Mosconi Cups, World Cup of Pools and World Pool Masters so maybe been in 50 plus TV matches but this was his first.

“Last year we achieved up to our standard when we got to the quarter-final and got knocked out 11-9 by Germany. It was a bit of a relief to do well last year as we had lost 8-7 twice in the last 16 and one year got knocked out by Belgium and that was a poor performance.

“I felt more nervous here than in any other match in the World Cup. I think we have a chance every year to win it and Huidji is not folding under the pressure and his risen to the occasion. We just have to play solid, we're breaking good and I like that and if you we get more relaxed we could go on a run.”

See added: “It was my first match in the World Cup and I really enjoyed it and the fact that we won. I live in Rotterdam and the event has been there twice so I have seen it but never played in it so it's great to be able to play in it.

“I love the fact it's in Manila – it's crazy but the atmosphere is beautiful. It's so tough to get in the Holland side as Nick (Van Den Berg) and Niels are always playing well. To get selected you have to be in the top two and they've been the two for the last five years.

“As long as we stay playing well it doesn't matter who we play next.”

In the second match of the session, Finnish pair of Mika Immonen and Markus Juva, making their fifth consecutive appearance in the event, looked all business as they ran through Team Singapore by an 8-2 scoreline.

The Finns came so close to lifting this competition in 2007 when they were beaten by China in a deciding rack, and if they can continue this form then they have every chance of reaching the closing stages of the competition.

Singapore, represented by Toh Lian Han and Chan Keng Kwan, looked a fair side on their rare forays to the table but suffered from the curse of winner breaks pool; being kept in your chair by a side playing well.

At 2-2 there was all to play for but a very weak push out from Chan, that even he laughed at, was critical as the Finns ran out from there to take the lead. There were more break and runs from the Finns and before long they were at 6-2.

At last though, Singapore had a chance after a rare Juva miss but Toh, despite rolling the 3 ball superbly down the rail, scratched in the centre pocket. The Finns cleared to reach the hill at 7-2. They then took what was the last to take the match and now face Holland in Round Two.

“It's awesome here and the fans are so great. I've been coming here for eight years and had some success here,” said Immonen.

“We just have to stay humble. We had a great performance last year in the first round then maybe I thought we would be ok.

“The Dutch are mentally tough, are excellent players and they have the whole team dynamic with all the coaches and everything.

“But we play with heart, work hard and have been around enough to know what to do. We're the underdogs but deep down I think we will beat them. Maybe they have a false sense of security but we're going to come and surprise them."

Juva added, “We lost in the final of the World Cup of Pool in 2007, a hill-hill match, and that's the biggest disappointment of my career so the only way to get over it is to go all the way here and win it.

“I don't get seriously hurt but I had a shot at hill-hill (to win the cup) and I've played it multiple times afterwards and this year.

“For Mika he has been in similar situations but won other big events but for me winning that would've been a big breakthrough so it is a big deal and makes me more determined.”

With 32 teams representing 31 countries – home nation Philippines has two sides in the competition – the World Cup of Pool sees the gathering of some of the most decorated stars of the pool firmament. The event is taking place at Robinsons Place, in Ermita, Manila.

With a total purse of $250,000, the winning pair split $60,000 between them while first round losers are guaranteed $1,500 each. All the action will be carried live on Solar Sports in The Philippines and other broadcasters across the region.


First Round Scores

Russia 8–4 Canada
Indonesia 8-7 India
China 8–2 Belgium
Italy 8-6 Korea
Germany 8–4 Hong Kong
Philippines A 8-3 Thailand
England 8–7 Qatar
France 8-5 Australia
Japan 8–7 Slovenia
Poland 8-6 Malta
Taiwan 8–2 Malaysia
Philippines B 8-4 Croatia
Holland 8–3 Austria
Finland 8-2 Singapore