by Luke Riches
5th October, 2012 ClubWPT.com World Pool Masters
Players and draw announced for WP Masters XX
Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) 8-6 Ralf Souquet (GER)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 8-6 Raj Hundal (IND)
Mika Immonen (FIN) 8-7 Radoslaw Babica (POL)
DEFENDING CHAMPION Ralf Souquet was the first casualty in the 20th annual ClubWPT.com World Pool Masters shoot-out as he went out to local hero Mateusz Sniegocki by 8-6 at the Hala Legionow in Kielce, Southern Poland.
It was a drawn out war of attrition that went on for nearly one hour and 50 minutes for its 14 racks as both players struggled with the break. Nothing went smoothly for either player as they grappled with a succession of awkward layouts but it was Sniegocki, the 27 year-old from Poznan who dug deep and prevailed.
The Pole lead in the early stages, 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 before Souquet finally took the lead at 5-4. With the momentum in his favour ‘the Kaiser’ looked favourite, but Sniegocki dug in and won the next two to put himself within two racks of a marvellous win.
Souquet took the next but it was Sniegocki who prevailed, a brave bank shot on the 5 ball setting up the victory.
This is the 20th edition of the ClubWPT.com World Pool Masters and Matchroom Sport is working in partnership with the regional billiard organisation, Swietokrzyskie Stowarzyszenie Bilardowe as well as the Mayor’s office in Kielce.
The event takes place at the Hala Legionow, Kielce’s state of the art sports venue and the winner will receive $20,000 from a total prize fund of $66,000.
The second match of the evening was a high quality clash between two previous Masters champions as Canadian Filipino Alex Pagulayan (2008) took on India’s Raj Hundal, a winner in 2005.
Pagulayan took off like a runaway train, playing superbly to build up a tidy 4-0 lead within 20 minutes or so. With little table time, Hundal showed little rust as he made three successive tasty run outs to get within one of his opponent.
However, a decent break in the next was derailed by a nudge on the cue ball into the centre pocket and with ball in hand, Pagulayan put some distance between them. It soon went 6-3 but Hundal showed some heart to claw his way back as he got the score to 6-5.
It then went 7-6 as Pagulayan broke for the match but nothing dropped and Hundal ran the table to keep his hopes alive. It was his last chance though as the Canadian took what was the final rack for the win and a match against Mateusz Sniegocki in the quarter-finals.
The final match of the day was a hill-hill affair as Mika Immonen showed tremendous heart to come back from 3-7 down to take the match. He had a couple of slices of huge fortune at critical times in the match including the final rack but he battled hard when victory seemed a distant dream.
Babica, on the other hand, played well throughout and looked composed in the heat of battle but ultimately he fell victim to the pool gods.
Immonen can look forward to either Kelly Fisher or Dennis Orcollo in the quarter-finals.
The 2012 ClubWPT.com World Pool Masters is sponsored by ClubWPT.com. Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis, Super Aramith balls by Saluc, tables by Diamond Billiards and the Official Cue and Chalk is Predator.
Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport: email@example.com
Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are responsible for over 1,000 hours of original programming across a range of sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, the World Pool Masters is one of a stable of pool events that include the World Cup of Pool and the Mosconi Cup.
Photos by: JP Parmentier – www.jpparmentier.com