Hundal is first into World Pool Masters Semi Finals

Raj Hundal

An incredible fightback from reigning champion Raj Hundal saw him move into the semi-finals of the World Pool Masters in Egmond aan Zee, Holland.

The Londoner trailed 6-2 to Dutchman Niels Feijen but a remarkable recovery, which concluded with a golden break, saw Hundal clinch an amazing 8-7 victory.

He now moves into the semi-finals where he will meet either Vilmos Foldes or Alex Pagulayan and still has the chance of becoming the first player to defend their title in the event's 13-year history.

A delighted Hundal said: "I played well when I needed to but I think I 'moved' better than him overall. Niels played better than me though in the early stages and he looked like a super star.

"He had some run though and as soon as he fluked the 9-ball in the first rack I thought to myself "I'm stuffed" because it was alternate breaks. At 6-2 down I thought I had no chance at all unless a couple of funky things happened.

"If I can win though without playing my best I must be doing something right but when that final 9 ball went in it was an awesome feeling. I feel sorry for Niels as I've been there too but that's part of the game."

Earlier in the evening 2003 Masters champion Tony Drago looked in devastating form as he surged past Germany's Thomas Engert to make his way into tomorrow's quarter final line up.

8-3 was the final score but a burst down the home straight saw the Maltese potter take the final three racks in a matter of minutes.

"I felt a bit shaky even when it went to 4-2 but when I won that next rack I felt comfortable, said Drago after the match.

"He made a couple of mistakes but I didn't really give him a chance. It won't be easy but I believe I can win this tournament again - I'm a better player than in 2003.

The last first round match saw Ronnie O'Sullivan's debut in a major pool tournament fizzle out as he exited the 2006 World Pool Masters in Holland, 8-5 at the hands of 17 year-old double World Champion, Wu Chia-ching of Taiwan.

The Essex-based Rocket, who vowed to take pool world by storm earlier this year, looked good in patches against his young opponent but in the end it was 9 ball experience which told.

He vowed to come back bigger and better following his defeat; "I definitely think I can get into it but I just need to dedicate myself to it more and then I will have a decent chance of winning some tournaments," he said after the match.

Both players strode into the arena at the $100,000 tournament to an ovation from the packed 700 strong crowd. O'Sullivan's every success was greeted by cheers but it was Wu, whose monster break off shot dominates his game, who earned the early initiative.

"I enjoyed it - it's all a new experience but I know I need to work on my break which let me down but Wu is a world class player.

"When you play at a venue like this you can get excited by it because it's a packed out crowd and I love playing in front of a crowd that appreciates it."

1st Round Matches:
Tony Drago (Malta) 8 - 3 Thomas Engert (Germany)
Wu Chia-ching (Taiwan) 8 - 4 Ronnie O'Sullivan (England)

Quarter Final
Raj Hundal (England) 8 - 7 Niels Feijen (Holland)