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Gray spoils Souquet bid to successfully defend his title at the 2011 10-Ball Sarajevo Coloseum Open

Mark Gray (Photo courtesy of Markus Hofstaetter)

One week after Germany’s Ralf Souquet was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame, and shortly thereafter, eliminated from the 36th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships with a record of 3-2, he traveled to Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina to defend his title in the 4th Annual 2011 Sarajevo Coloseum 10-Ball Open. On the weekend of October 28-30, Souquet went undefeated through four Round Robin matches, and four rounds of single elimination play among the event’s 256 entrants, before, in the event finals, running into the UK’s Mark Gray, who went undefeated, and spoiled Souquet’s bid for a second straight title in the event.

The two were joined among the event’s final four by fellow US Open participant Raj Hundal, who’d faced Souquet in the 2010 finals of the event, as well as Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos. 

Gray gave up only a single rack in the four matches of Round Robin play that began on Friday, October 28, and moved him among the event’s final 32 players. He shut out three straight opponents – Italy’s Federico Antonello, Slovenia’s Daniel Urbanija, and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Ismet Radjo – before giving up that single rack to Croatia’s Ivica Putnic. Souquet, in the meantime, defeated Croatia’s Zuonco Tetec 7-2, and then shut out Serbia’s Nesat Tairoski. He followed up with a 7-2 victory over Serbia’s Marko Cuetojevic 7-2, and then defeated fellow countryman Klaus Zobrekis 7-4.  

Hundal moved through his initial three rounds of play with relative ease (an aggregate score of 21-11), but just did get by Albania’s Nick Malai, in a double hill win that moved him among the final 32. Eknomopolous advanced among the final 32 by handing Rodney Morris his first loss of the tournament; a 7-5 win that sent Morris to a single loser’s round, which he won to join the final 32. Also among the final 32 were two-time US Open champion Darren Appleton, and fellow UK players, Daryl Peach, Majid Imran, Chris Melling and Karl Boyes.

In the single elimination rounds that followed, Gray got by Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Sasa Trivic 8-2 and fellow countryman Chris Melling 8-4 to enter the event’s quarterfinals. Souquet defeated Croatia’s Robert Sudic 8-3, and Serbia’s Zoran Svilar 8-1 to join him. Hundal defeated Germany’s Klaus Zobrekis (defeated in earlier rounds by Souquet) 8-3 and Hungary’s Rico Diks 8-2. Ekonomopolous joined them after defeating Hungary’s Gabor Antal 8-3 and Austria’s Mario He 8-4. Appleton and Peach advanced as well.

The quarterfinal matchups saw Gray square off against Italy’s Bruno Muratore, Souquet against Peach, Ekonomopolous against Appleton, and Hundal versus Scotland’s Jayson Shaw. Gray downed Muratore 8-2, while Hundal was busy eliminating Shaw 8-1. Souquet defeated Peach 8-5, as Ekonomopolous squeaked by Appleton in a double hill match. 

The semifinal matchups pitted Gray against Hundal, while Souquet met Ekonomopolous. Souquet advanced to his second straight final matchup at this event with a double hill win over Ekonomopolous, while Gray kept Hundal out of his second straight finals appearance with a 10-8 win. 

Gray concluded his undefeated weekend with a 10-5 victory over Souquet

1st Mark Gray $5,600.40 (€4,000)
2nd Ralf Souquet $2,800.20 (€2,000)
3rd Nick Ekonomopolous $1,400.10 (€1,000)
Raj Hundal
5th Daryl Peach $700.05 (€500)
Darren Appleton
Bruno Muratore
Jayson Shaw