Three Ex-Champs Through to Semis

Raj Hundal

Quarter Finals Results
Ralf Souquet (GER) 8 – 6 Lee Van Corteza (PHI)
Darren Appleton (ENG) 8 – 4 Raj Hundal (IND)
FIVE TIMES Masters Champion Ralf Souquet is on course to capture a record-busting sixth crown as he came through a tight match to dispose of local hope Lee Van Corteza at the SM City Mall North in Manila.
Corteza’s exit from the World Pool Masters means that there is only one Filipino in the last four – Dennis Orcollo – who is highly fancied to lift the title on Monday evening. He may well be facing Souquet though as the German looked his imperious best at times.
Corteza stuck with him though as the crowd swelled with each passing rack, and at 4-4 it was anybody’s match. They both made errors in the next four racks as they traded games to leave the score poised at 6-6.
The Filipino made a jump shot onto the pink 4 in the next but left the bank shot which Souquet converted and ran the rack to reach the hill. The German composed himself to run out the next and seal a fine victory.
"It would be a dream come true to win the Masters for the sixth time and the last time was back in 2006. I've won it five times but that doesn't make me the favourite, it just means I have the experience of winning it but I still have to win another two matches," said Souquet.
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.
Souquet will meet England’s Darren Appleton in the semi-final after the reigning US Open champion had too much for Raj Hundal in the final match of an action-packed day in Manila.
The World Ten Ball champ capitalised on some errors from Hundal and converted a gifted 1/9 combination to move into an early 2-0 lead. ‘The Hitman’ pulled one back after Appleton scratched on the break but bad errors from Hundal allowed his opponent to move into a 5-1 lead.
There looked to be no way back for Hundal as Appleton was converting his chances, but he won a scrappy seventh game to take it to 5-2 and converted a ball in hand opportunity in the next to make it 5-3.
That was the closest he got to Appleton as went to 6-4 and then converted the necessary two racks for victory.
"From my perspective I played perfectly to go 5-1 ahead and felt really good. Everything I was doing was what I wanted but the only problem was the breaking and I scratched twice and came up dry once,” said Appleton.
"We're guaranteed to have a European in the final and I'm looking forward to playing Ralf but I will have to be at my best to beat him. In 2009 when I won the Masters I beat Raj and Ralf so hopefully that's a good sign for this year."
Semi-Final Matches (3.00pm local time)
Dennis Orcollo (PHI) v Fu Jianbo (CHN)
Ralf Souquet (GER) v Darren Appleton (ENG)