Kaiser In Control Against Stepanov

FORMER champion Ralf Souquet stormed into the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Pool Championship but then insisted he was not thinking about winning it.

Souquet, who won the competition in 1996, trailed 4-2 against Russian Konstantin Stepanov but then showed his ruthless streak by winning the next nine racks to cruise to an 11-4 victory.

The Kaiser now faces Liu Cheng-chuan of Chinese Taipei in the last eight but is not yet letting himself think about lifting the trophy again.

"I do not think about it as I'm only looking forward to the next match tomorrow," said Souquet.

"I try to only think from match to match. If you start thinking what could happen in the future you may lose focus on the first step, which is the most important as you have to go step by step. Of course it would be nice after a ten-year break but I'm not thinking about it."

A shock looked on the cards when Stepanov took a 4-2 lead and it should have become 5-2 when Souquet seemed to be affected by a cheer from the main table and promptly missed a shot at the one.

But the German was handed a lifeline when Stepanov scratched while potting the red three and that was the start of Souquet's fightback. A dry break from Stepanov enabled Souquet to take the eighth rack before then then ran through the ninth to take the lead for the first time since the opening rack.

The Russian again scratched while potting a ball, the pink 4 on this occasion, and it became 6-4 with the German, who has enjoyed a fine year including a victory at the World Pool Masters in June, looking in top form.

Two more racks went to Souquet before a missed kick-shot on the blue two from Stepanov saw the German move to the hill and another missed shot was punished in fine fashion.

"The result of 11-4 sounds easy but obviously it wasn't and basically I took advantage of his mistakes," added Souquet.

"At the beginning I played a bad safety and was down 4-2. I happened to come back and he made some breaks where he couldn't run out, although I played smart and did the right shots.

"He made two or three errors and that made a big difference as with the alternate break format two or three mistakes can be the difference of six or seven games. The quality of play has gone up so you have to play alternate break otherwise it could happen that someone just sits on their chair and doesn't get to the table at all."