2009 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters
HOLLAND’S Nick Van Den Berg became the first player through to the semi-finals of the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters as he held off the challenge of Johnny Archer to claim an 8-5 victory at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.
It was nip and tuck for the first ten racks before van den Berg pulled away in the closing stages. The Dutchman opened up an early 2-0 lead but returned the table to Archer when he scratched in the third game.
They shared the next two racks as van den Berg lead 3-2, before Archer, who had not been in front yet in the match, scratched in the sixth and van den Berg moved two racks ahead for the third time in the match.
Archer though is nothing if not a fighter and he claimed the seventh for 3-4 after the Dutchman left the 3 ball on. Archer had not won two successive racks but that run ended in the eighth as van den Berg once again scratched to give the Scorpion ball-in-hand and that made the score 4-4.
Van den Berg, though, restored his lead in the ninth rack thanks to a 3-9 combination but Archer refused to buckle as he levelled the match at 5-5.
An illegal break from Archer handed the initiative back to van den Berg and he took full advantage to take the lead for the fifth time.
Archer got to the table in the next but misjudged a safety attempt and left the 5-ball out in the open. He was furious with himself and his mood didn’t lighten as Van den Berg moved to the hill at 7-5.
A good break and van den Berg was eyeing up a potential match-winning 2-9 combination. He got it fractionally wrong but the 9-ball clipped the 3-ball and fell into the side pocket. He punched the air as he secured an impressive 8-5 victory and became the first man into the semi-finals.
“I last played in the World Pool Masters two years ago and finished third when I got beaten by Thomas Engert. I was happy to get third but this time I want to win it,” said van den Berg.
“Lately I’m playing like I have nothing to lose and before I was very happy with every win but didn’t care about winning a tournament.
“I’m delighted I won this match but it wasn’t that good a match. I was up 3-1 and had a couple of chances to do more but I didn’t. He kept scratching on the break so I got my chances. The crucial point was when he scratched at 4-4.
“At 7-5 I got lucky with that 9-ball but sometimes you need some luck to win. I now play Tony Drago, who I know very well, or Shane Van Boening and I’ve never played him before.”
THE LAST first round game of the 2009 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters proved to be the best of the lot as Finland’s Mika Immonen beat Fu Jianbo of China in a thrilling contest that went all the way.
Both players performed superbly it was rare mistakes that changed the flow of the match.
Immonen started the stronger as he raced into a 3-0 lead. He made a 2-9 combination in the first, a break and run in the second, and a 3-9 combo to seal the third.
Fu won the next two before Immonen restored his two rack lead. The Chinese won the next two including a golden break – the third of the competition – to leave them tied at 4-4 at the halfway stage.
These two had met in the final of the 2007 World Cup of Pool and it was Fu who had prevailed for Team China in a hill-hill thriller.
They traded racks right up until they reached the hill at 7-7. Fu had a real chance to win the match but failed to get the cue ball far enough across the table and was forced to attempt a difficult 5-6 combo to stay at the table.
He missed and Immonen coolly mopped up the table to make his way to the quarter finals.
“It was very tough and very nerve wracking. I thought I had a pretty good start as I was 3-0 up but then I deserted my own game plan and he sneaked back into the game,” said Immonen as he enjoyed a post match glass of wine.
“I had to dig deep and he got a golden nine so the rolls were going his way. I had to fight my way back into the game but I stuck in there and made some pretty intense run outs – my heart was really pounding.
“It was fantastic to beat him and I owed him a beating since he beat me in the World Cup of Pool final. I thought about that before and I had a score to settle with him.
“He is technically a very sound player but my pool experience helped me through some really tricky racks. I’m really surprised he missed that 5-6 combination and we both made a mistake in the final rack.
“I thought I was going out, especially when he bumped into the five off the three to make the combination easier but he played a bad shape on the combination and the fortune went my way.”
IN THE penultimate first round match, Dennis Orcollo recorded another one sided victory as he overcame Canada’s Tyler Edey, a last-minute replacement for compatriot Alain Martel, who was denied a visa.
The soft-spoken Orcollo is one of the most feared money players in the Philippines and is tournament record is outstanding and he took the first rack against the break after both players missed goes on a 2-9 combination.
They shared the next two racks before Orcollo showed his class by comfortably moving through the next two to gain a 4-1 lead.
The match starts to become one-way traffic as Edey began to spend a lot of time in his chair. Even an illegal break from Orcollo didn’t change the state of the match as Orcollo moved 5-1 ahead.
In the seventh game Orcollo fouled and Edey left a tight safety. But the Filipino made a superb escape shot and left a tight safety of his own. That drew a mistake from Edey as he missed his intended blue 2 target. With ball-in-hand Orcollo did the rest to go 6-1.
Edey took the next as Orcollo had no luck on his break shot, but Edey quickly lost control of the table in the ninth and Orcollo moved to the hill.
Edey missed the blue 2 in the tenth but got fortunate as the cue ball ended up safe. Orcollo failed to connect with the same ball and with ball-in-hand Edey made it 7-3. An illegal break from Edey proved costly and Dennis Orcollo, as many people had expected, comfortably reached the next round.