Semi Final Line Up Cemented
Spain, Scotland, Holland and Germany All Represented
Perennial underdog, Pat Holtz of Scotland, shocked the home crowd at the Hotel Zuiderduin in Egmond aan Zee as he toppled home favourite Niels Feijen 8 – 5 to advance to Sunday evening’s semi-finals of the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters.
Holtz, the 38 year-old from Larkhall, had a tremendous run at last year’s World Pool Championship in Manila, and is still something of an unknown quantity in world circles.
‘It’s always an advantage being the underdog. It was the same when I played at the World Pool Championship in Manila. People don’t really know me and that suits me fine’, he said. The Scotsman was always in control as Feijen felt the pressure of being home town favourite
“I know he didn’t look that comfortable yesterday and there’s a lot of pressure playing in front of your home crowd. Everyone is supporting you and that means more expectations,’ added Holtz. Holtz now faces Spain’s David Alcaide in the evening’s first semi-final. “I haven’t watched Alcaide play this weekend. I just take it rack by rack. I’m a very confident person and if I play to my ability I fear no-one’, Holtz concluded.
Germany’s Thomas Engert, a winner of this tournament in 2004, got the better of Wu Chia-ching in a high quality hill-hill match-up with both players at the top of their game. The German had been suffering with fever before the match, but prepared himself well for what was to be a tough encounter.
The 2005 double World Champion from Taipei moved into an early 2-1 lead, although Engert brought the crowd to their feet with a spectacular four rail escape from a safety. Both players kept it tight throughout as they exchanged racks.
The match turned finally with Wu leading 7-6 in the race to 8 game. After breaking he had no pot on the 1 ball and tried to put Engert in a snooker. He came up woefully short though and left the German with a full ball pocket.
Engert took it and then ran the table to tie the match at 7-all. In the ultimate rack, Engert broke and ran to secure is spot in the last four.
My throat has been sore, I’ve had a fever and my nose has been running, said Engert.
But in pool you have a chance to win. When you play another sport like running you are done but in pool you have an opportunity.
The only thing you can do is concentrate and just try to win. This was a very good victory. In the beginning he played well and I didn’t get many chances to run out the game.
Then in the middle it changed and I got a good break and had a chance for a 3-9 combination. That gave me the lead and I thought to myself ‘I’ve got a chance to win’.
I took my chances and he made a big mistake when he led 7-6 and he had the option of a push out or safety. He played a safety, which I thought he did the wrong way, and he left the 1-ball.
In the final game of the session, Amsterdam’s Nick Van Den Berg kept alive the Dutch dream as he came from behind to take down Italy’s Fabio Petroni in a dramatic confrontation.
The Roman was always in control but faltered in the final stages to allow van den Berg to steal the match in the final rack.
“In the beginning I didn’t play well and I felt the supporters were disappointed but I made it 4-4 and had a big chance to go 5-4, but I felt the table was rolling off a bit so I hit it hard. He then went 5-4 and then 6-4,’ he said.
‘I’ve been seeing sports psychologists and they told me that if you don’t feel you’re playing that well, then go for it and give it 100%.
‘When I scratched I heard someone in the audience shout ‘9 ball break!’ and concentration over the break shot is one of the weak parts of my game, so I hit the break much harder and scratched.
‘I’m full of adrenalin right now. I need to go eat, away from the fans and then try and relax in my room before tonight’s semi final,’ he added.
David Alcaide (Esp) 8 – 6 Ralf Souquet (Ger)
Oliver Ortmann (Ger) 8 – 3 Naoyuki Oi (Jap)
Pat Holtz (Sco) 8 – 6 Li He-wen (Chn)
Niels Feijen (Ned) 8 – 6 Imran Majid (Eng)
Wu Chia-ching (Tpe) 8 – 1 Tyler Edey (Can)
Thomas Engert (Ger) 8 – 4 Tony Drago (Mlt)
Nick Van Den Berg (Ned) 8 – 1 Jasmin Ouschan (Aut)
Fabio Petroni (Ita) 8 – 6 Ronnie Alcano (Phi)