Immonen books Semi-Final spot in World Pool Masters

Mika Immonen

IN THE final match of the last eight, Mika Immonen was always too good against Dennis Orcollo, running out an 8-4 winner at the Riviera and now earns himself a match up with Darren Appleton for a spot in Sunday night's final.

"I think I had the best of it on the break and felt I only made one unforced error when I jumped up on the three-ball and scratched - horrible shot,” said Immonen.

"But I played a solid match and he didn't have many chances. I wasn't nervous at all and felt comfortable.

"I've had a year of getting rid of ghosts and it would be nice to get this one as well (Immonen lost in the Masters final last year). But I'm just looking forward to the next match and don't want to get ahead of myself.

"I beat Darren pretty badly at the Turning Stone Classic in February and beat him either 9-1 or 9-2. But he's a very dangerous player so I have all the respect for his ability. He seems to be confident and comfortable so I will just have to keep him in the chair."

WORLD 10 Ball Champion Darren Appleton won through to the quarter-finals following an outstanding hill-hill victory over Masters legend Ralf Souquet at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.

"That was very nerve-wracking and that was the first time I'd played Ralf on TV. He has won the Masters five times so he is the man to beat in the field. This is a massive scalp for me and I was anxious to get over the line,” said a delighted Appleton.

"I'm not frightened to play on TV but I'm pretty new to this. This is my first time in the Masters and I'm desperate to do well. I should've won easier as Ralf didn't get luck off the break but I made a couple of bad mistakes and was just lucky to get the opportunity. I'm pleased with the character I showed.

"I missed a couple of balls down the rail that I shouldn't have done and hit them thin, which is suicide on these tables.

"I'm emotional so when I sit in my chair I'm beating myself up but I've definitely improved mentally over the last three years. There's luck in the game and you just have to accept it - if you don't it will give you brain damage.

"This is one of my biggest wins of my career. After beating Wu Chia-ching in the 10-ball final this is my second biggest scalp at world level.

"I've got a pretty decent record against Mika and am up 4-1 and always seem to play well. I've played Dennis twice and lost twice but it would be nice to get a victory against him,” added the Englishman"

The match was close throughout with the main difference between the two being Souquet's lack of good fortune on the break.

"I started well and won the first three and had broke pretty well. Then in the next one I blew a good chance to go up 4-0 and missed an easy 1-ball.

"I was thinking of playing the 1 off the 8 to open the problem 3/8 but then chose not to do it. That was a beginner's mistake. He won three games in a row so took advantage of one stupid mistake.

"From then I made a ball all the time on the break but scratched twice and once had a tough lay out. Whenever I had a chance with the break I couldn't do anything.

"It's always disappointing to lose in the Masters, especially when you're playing well and feel like you've not done much wrong.

"I wanted to break the run of only winning in even years and I've never won the Masters in an odd year. I felt I had a good chance but it didn't work out. Hopefully I will be back next year."

IN THE second quarter final match at the World Pool Masters, it was America's Shane Van Boening who thrilled the home crowd as he got the better of Malta's Tony Drago in a high quality encounter.

"I played great and only made one mistake. But I've been practising hard in the practice room so I'm getting in stroke,” said Van Boening.

It was Drago though who got off to the flyer as he took the first two racks in double quick time.

An illegal break from Drago though brought Van Boening to the table for the first time and he later potted the 9-ball to gain his first rack of the match. He broke and ran out in the fourth rack to tie the scores at 2-2.

The American blasts his next break and with everything out in the open and looking inviting. Not surprisingly, Van Boening runs out the rack to take the lead for the first time.

A dry break gave Drago a shot at the 1-ball, but he then had to play safe and misjudged it. That slip gave Van Boening another chance and he extended his advantage to two racks.

Van Boening had to push out after the break and that lead to a top quality safety battle with every shot applauded by a large crowd at The Riviera. It ends when Van Boening attempts a jump shot on the 2-ball but he missed and left it on. Drago raced through the balls to trail by one. He ran out the next to level it at 4-4.

 The man from Malta looked like winning his third rack in a row but nearly scratched with the cue ball close to falling into the side pocket. He played safe but his disappointing effort gave Van Boening the chance to restore his lead and it moved to 5-4.

Van Boening restored his two-rack lead before Drago won the 11th frame to the score to 5-6. He scratched though to give the table back to Van Boening and the American cleared to reach the hill.

Van Boening's break in the next rack left him with a good chance of winning the match. And he did just that to book his spot in the semi-finals where he will face Nick Van Den Berg.

"I haven't played Nick van den Berg but he won that tournament in Europe (European Championship) so is playing well. Tony was getting a lot of rolls off the break but he made a couple of mistakes and that was my turnaround," said Shane.

A disappointed Drago said, "I felt better than yesterday and we both played ok. I had a bit of bad luck in the ninth game when I made the four with a good shot but hooked myself behind the lip.

"I then made a mistake to go 7-5 down and after that he broke and ran out. If I had gone 5-4 ahead I think I would've won the match. I've nothing against Shane but hopefully a European can win it.

"Shane is a good player and he will take some stopping. But I think he will find it tough against Nick as he has been breaking very well."