World Pool Masters Match Ups Announced

Darren Appleton

WITH THE 2010 World Pool Masters set to get underway at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas next Wednesday 12th May, Matchroom Sport can announce the first round matches and groups.

The 64 player field is drawn into eight groups of eight players who compete in race to nine, double elimination play to separate the field down to 32.

Defending champion Darren Appleton has a potential banana skin to negotiate as he faces off against powerful young Korean girl Yu Ram Cha in his first match. At the same venue last year, Yu Ram sent Shane Van Boening packing from the Predator Ten Ball and she will be looking to dent Appleton's hopes.

In other men v women matches, WPBA legend Allison Fisher faces Taiwan's two-time World Junior champion Pin-Yi Ko in what looks to be an intriguing encounter. '05 Masters winner, India's UK-based Raj Hundal, faces another Korean girl in Ga Young Kim, while Jasmin Ouschan (Austria) has a tough opener against Indonesian Ricky Yang, the WPA No.8 ranked player.

Another marquee match-up is Earl Strickland, a Masters winner in 1997, against 2007 WPC runner-up Roberto Gomez (Philippines) and the incomparable Efren Reyes has a tough proposition in Spain's David Alcaide.

Three top American stars face qualifiers in their opening games. Shane Van Boening goes in against unknown Ukrainian Evegeni Novosad while Johnny Archer faces the dangerous Vietnamese player Luong Chi Dung. Elsewhere Rodney Morris faces young Scot, Jayson Shaw.

Groups 1 to 4 play their games on eight tables on Wednesday 12th may, while the remaining four groups complete their matches on Thursday 13th. After that the Masters moves to single elimination with the round of 32 taking place on Friday 14th and then the event goes to the TV stages on Friday evening and the weekend.

After 17 years as a 16-player invitational competition, the Masters, one of the longest established televised tournaments in pool, will now feature 64 players and take place over five days instead of three.

Working in conjunction with Cuesports International, the Masters takes place during the annual BCA National 8-Ball Championships, which sees thousands of players and fans flock to the Riviera for a lengthy festival of pool.

Seven previous winners - Ralf Souquet, Daryl Peach, Francisco Bustamante, Tony Drago, Raj Hundal, Alex Pagulayan and defending champion Darren Appleton - are among the players invited.

No American player has won the Masters since Earl Strickland triumphed in 1997 but a large contingent from the USA - Johnny Archer, Corey Deuel, Oscar Dominguez, Dennis Hatch, Rodney Morris, John Schmidt, Shane Van Boening, Charlie Williams, Earl Strickland, Ernesto Dominguez and David Grau - will be hoping to change that statistic.

There has been a multitude of qualifying events around the world, with the final one in the ‘The Race to Vegas', taking place at Pool Sharks in Vegas on Tuesday 11th May. Four spots in the main event will be up for grabs.

Television is produced by Matchroom Sport and will be seen as 15 x one hour programmes in 14 countries around the world with more to be added to the list.

The prize fund is set at a guaranteed $100,000 with $20,000 going to the eventual champion.