Souquet and Appleton Fill Final Two Spots at Masters

Darren Appleton

Round 1 Results
Ralf Souquet (GER) 8 – 7 Mika Immonen (FIN)
Darren Appleton (ENG) 8 – 5 Efren Reyes (PHI)
Jason Klatt (CAN) 8 – 3 Francisco Bustamante (PHI)
Lee Van Corteza (PHI) 8 – 7 Huidji See (HOL)
Fu Jianbo (CHN) 8 – 4 Chris Melling (ENG)
Raj Hundal (IND) 8 – 3 Yukio Akagariyama (JAP)
Dennis Orcollo (PHI) 8 – 2 Tony Drago (MAL)
Chang Jung-lin (TPE) 8 – 3 Shane Van Boening (USA)
IN A CLASH of the Mosconi Cup legends, Ralf Souquet (Germany) put paid to the World Pool Masters hopes of Finland’s Mika Immonen in a hard fought match at the Block Atrium at the SM Mall North in Manila.
The 8-7 win puts the German into the quarter-finals where he will meet local hope Lee Van Corteza later this evening.
“I'm happy with the win and it was a very tough match but we both didn't perform at our best. We used to be team-mates in the Mosconi Cup and we know each other quite well so I expected it to be a close fight,” said Souquet.
Souquet made the worst possible start as he missed a tough cut on the 9 ball to hand Immonen the opener and the Finn looked in good shape as he moved into a 4-1 lead.
A couple of poor shots from Immonen gave his opponent the chances he was looking for and he squared the match at 4-4.
The match moved to six racks apiece before an outrageous piece of good fortune for Immonen saw him reach the hill. His bank attempt on the 1-ball stayed out, but the cue ball banged into the 9-ball, sending it diagonally into the pocket.
Souquet though, took the next, cashing in on a failed safety from his opponent and closed out the match for a nerve-jangling victory.
"I’m looking forward to the next match against Lee Vann Corteza and it doesn't get any easier. I like being here in the Philippines and I look forward to the match.
"I've played him many times and he beats me more often but last time I beat him at the US Open so I'm really looking forward to it," added the German.
This is the 19th running of the Masters and its first outing in the Philippines. The event is televised locally by Solar Sports and syndicated internationally by promoters Matchroom Sport. The event sports a $66,000 prize-fund with $20,000 going to the champion.
In the final first round match, 2011 Player of the Year, Darren Appleton silenced the packed arena as he jettisoned local legend Efren Reyes from the competition by an 8-5 margin.
The Englishman had been thrilled at the prospect of meeting the great man in front of his home fans, and he looked composed as he lead from the off. Appleton lead 2-0, 4-1 and 5-2 as Reyes struggled to settle, but a ball-in-hand in the ninth game followed by a break and run in the next, moved the game to 5-4 and gave the expectant home crowd a glimmer of hope.
An illegal break by Reyes in the next derailed his momentum and Appleton increased his lead to 6-4. The Englishman broke and ran the next to reach the hill but a scratch on the break saw Reyes make a simple 3/9 combo to claw one back.
That was to be his last gasp though, as a scratch from the great man allowed Appleton to land an easy 1/9 combination to take the tie.
"That's the most nervous I've ever been in my life and at the start of the game I didn't feel comfortable. Playing Efren in the Philippines and it was packed out - I couldn't settle down and I was really shaking badly, “said Appleton.
"But I managed to pot a couple of good balls and luckily for me I could see Efren was struggling with the pressure as well.
"At 57 years old for Efren to still play at that level is amazing but 20 years ago I would never have won that match.
"It's an honour to play him and a dream to beat him but I would've loved to have played him in his prime."
Play continues today with the four quarter final matches; Orcollo v Chang, Fu v Klatt       
Corteza v Souquet, Appleton v Hundal