THERE WERE wins for Shane Van Boening, David Alcaide and Albin Ouschan as the 24thannual Dafabet World Pool Masters got underway in Gibraltar on Friday evening. Taking place at the Victoria Stadium, the Masters sees 16 top international players competing in the shadow of the Rock of Gibraltar to determine the destination of the $20,000 top prize. The whole event is broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK & Ireland and on networks around the world.
Defending champion Shane Van Boening got off to a great starts as he looks to win his third consecutive World Pool Masters title. He beat up-and-coming young Spaniard Francisco Sanchez Ruiz 8-3 and looked in good stroke throughout the match. In 2015, Van Boening became the first player to win back-to-back Masters in the 23 year history of the event and with the event skipping a year in 2016, he is three matches away from a 3-peat.
“The first match is always tough,” said Shane.
“At any tournament I go to I think about the first match – you’re not used to the atmosphere, you don’t know the table very well. Tonight I was comfortable and I have been working on my game all day and it worked well.
“I am playing tournaments all year long so I don’t feel any pressure, I just want to play my game. I won five US Opens with the winner breaks format and it is to my advantage to winner tournaments.”
With some good support in the stands, Spain’s David Alcaide was in impressive form as he beat Ralf Souquet 8-3. ‘El Matador’ has had a great 12 months and will look to build on today’s performance going into the weekend.
“It was a very special game for me. I have not played Ralf too many times and every game is different. I am happy but not 100 percent happy because it wasn’t my best this evening. It is good to have my friends here but I have to try not to lose my focus,” said Alcaide.
In the final match of the evening Albin Ouschan was too clinical in the closing stages as he closed out late substitute Mika Immonen 8-6. Immonen had arrived in Gibraltar the day after travelling overnight from New York, but just came up short in the end.
Commented Ouschan, “I felt pretty good and I made some pretty tough shots, but I also made some simple mistakes. I was always one game up until he missed the 6 at 5-4, which put me 6-4 up and I had an easy run out for 7-4. But I was a little bit nervous and thankfully I had another chance at 7-6 with an open rack.
“When I missed the kiss at 7-4 and he ran out the rack I knew he would run out for 7-6 because it is always like that when you make an easy mistake. He was a bit unlucky in the end but I am happy to be in the second round. It is a huge pleasure for me to be here and I am feeling good and think the second round will be much better.”
16名世界頂尖球員參與角逐的第24屆美式撞球大師賽於直布羅陀的維多利亞體育館拉開大幕，在今天率先進行的首輪爭奪中，衛冕冠軍、美國名將Shane Van Boening 8-2 輕鬆擊敗西班牙的Francisco Sanchez Ruiz，強勢晉級；而風頭正勁的新科世錦賽冠軍奧地利好手Albin Ouschan則8-6力克“冰人”，如願闖關。
本屆賽事仍然為期三天，僅設一張球台，每個時段的三場比賽先後進行。今年是大師賽舉辦以來的第24個年頭，在賽事歷史上，只有Van Boening一人曾2014年奪冠後在2015年成功完成衛冕。在今天開始的揭幕戰中，Van Boening 8-2 兵不血刃的拿到勝利，取得完美開局的同時繼續向第三冠發起強有力的沖擊。
第二場比賽中，受到現場巨大支持的西班牙新星David Alcaide出人意料的8-3擊敗德國名將Ralf Souquet，他表示：“比賽對我來說很特別，我和Ralf交手不多，所以每次對戰都不一樣。我很開心但又不是百分百的開心，因為我並不在最佳狀態。朋友能到場助威很棒，但是我不得不努力做到集中精力”。
今日最後一場比賽中，Albin Ouschan與芬蘭“冰人” Mika Immonen大戰14局，最終由Ouschan 8-6笑到了最後。Ouschan賽後說到：“我很開心我打出了一些強硬的擊球，但是我同樣有一些簡單失誤，我一直領先一局，直到5-4時他打丟6號球，讓我得以將比分擴大，並輕松的7-4拿到賽點。後來我有些緊張，幸運的是在7-6時我獲得了相當開放的局面。我相信第二輪會表現得更好”。
Shane Van Boening (USA) 8 – 2 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP)
David Alcaide (ESP) 8 – 3 Ralf Souquet (GER)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 8 – 6 Mika Immonen (FIN)
Play continues tomorrow at 1.00pm local time.
There are a total of five sessions of play and all tickets are available fromhttps://www.buytickets.gi/events/world-pool-masters-2017-87 or on the door.
The Masters carries an $80,000 prize fund, and the event is broadcast live for 20 hours in total.
The World Pool Masters is sponsored by the following suppliers: RASSON (tables), IWAN SIMONIS (cloth), SALUC (balls), PREDATOR (cues) and ULTIMATE TEAM GEAR (clothing).
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: JP Parmentier