Immonen wins Masters 10-Ball

Mika Immonen

At the conclusion of the 2011 Masters 10-Ball Championship, tournament promoter Barry Behrman suggested that Mika Immonen might want to relocate to Chesapeake considering his success in tournaments there. While the move is highly doubtful, Immonen didn't immediately reject the idea. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The match for the hot seat at the 2011 Masters 10-Ball Championship was contested between Immonen and Mike Davis. Immonen jumped out with a huge statement to lead 5-1 early while Mike Davis searched for any opportunity and could find none. At 6-1 Immonen scratched on the break but the two ball was tied up with the nine and when Davis broke them out the nine snookered him from a shot. All Davis could do was play safe at a time when he needed rack scores. Immonen answered with a safe of his own and Davis came with a kick-safe that did not work at all, leaving the rack to Immonen to take and increase his lead to 7-1 In the race to 8, Immonen was running out his case rack when he hung the seven in the corner. Davis managed the last three balls to bring us to 7-2, but Immonen broke and ran the last rack to snatch the hot seat 8-2. He played some of the finest pool this reporter has ever seen in this match. No one could have kept up with the skills he displayed here today. His shotmaking was near-flawless and his position and speed were perfect.

On the one-loss side Ralf Souquet inched ahead of Mike Dechaine early 4-2. He stretched this to 5-2, then 6-2 and 7-2 as he played his usual smart pool. Souquet doesn't take a lot of risks - no showboating, just one shot after another until the rack disappears. He refused to allow Dechaine the chance to display his power as he dominated control of the table. He finished Dechaine off with a 2-10 combo to win the match 8-2.

This set up the semi-final match between Ralf Souquet and Mike Davis. Souquet won the lag but broke dry and Mike Davis ran out to take a 1-0 lead. Davis three-fouled Souquet for the second rack to lead 2-0. Souquet came back with a billiard on the ten ball off of the three to take rack number three. Davis looked to be in trouble in rack four when he overshot position on the 8-ball and had to play safe. Souquet failed to capitalize though and Davis pulled ahead 3-1.  

Rack five found another dry break from Souquet that resulted in a 4-1 score line but Souquet took the next one to bring it closer to 4-2. Davis is a bulldog of a player. He just keeps clamping down and took the next rack to go 5-2 up. Souquet bit back in the next rack to pull us to 5-3. A rack later he pulled up to 5-4. A dry break by Davis, and a safety by Souquet, led to a 1-10 combo and a tied scoreline at 5-5.

Souquet broke dry in rack eleven, but Davis was unable to handle a tricky shot that left him scratching on the 4-ball. Souquet methodically cleared the table for his first lead at 6-5. Just when Davis needed to stop the bleeding, he played safe on Souquet and was rewarded with ball in hand and rack twelve to tie the score at 6-6.

Souquet found himself playing safe in the next rack, but hit the ball too softly and failed to contact a rail. Davis was the one unable to convert though, as a safety on the 3-ball was misplayed and Souquet found himself gifted with a 3-10 carom and a 7-6 lead. A Mike Davis miss on a very tough 7-ball in the next rack left Souquet in a tough shot. Souquet opted for a thin 7-10 combo which missed the pocket, but left a much easier 7-10 carom which Davis converted for 7-7 and the "win by two" rule took effect.

Souquet broke and ran rack fifteen to take control at 8-7. When Davis needed a successful break the most, the only ball that found a pocket was the cue ball. Ralf ran a 3-10 combo and successfully converted the shot for the 9-7 win.

The final match between Souquet and Immonen would be a race to 10 with the winner having to win by two. Immonen got things started the best way possible with a break and run in rack one. By contrast, rack two revolved around a long early safety battle but it was Immonen who won that battle as well as the second rack. Rack three was more of the same as Immonen came out on top of a safety battle and won the rack. Rack four was just what the doctor ordered for Souquet with a break and run. Immonen scratched on the break in rack five, but Souquet could only run to the five before a poor safety left Immonen a runnable rack and a 4-1 lead.

Souquet stopped the bleeding with a break and run in rack six, but Immonen won rack seven to regain his three rack lead at 5-2. Souquet again broke and ran in rack eight, and Immonen matched him with a break and run of his own in rack nine. A Souquet dry break in rack ten led to an Immonen table run and a 7-3 lead. It got worse for Souquet in rack eleven when the pool gods game to Immonen's aid a couple of times. But the mark of a true champion is what they do with good rolls, and Immonen ran out when the run was available. Souquet did all he could to stay in the match with another break and run in rack twelve, but Immonen broke and ran right back to get to the hill at 9-4.

Any chance of an amazing Souquet comeback were brought to a close as he scratched on the break in rack fourteen and Immonen made quick work of the balls to clinch the title 10-4.