DAVID ALCAIDE is the 2019 Dafabet World Pool Masters Champion as he won an absolute belter of a final as he came from behind to beat Alexander Kazakis 9-8 in front of a packed crowd at the Tercentenary Hall at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.
Both players put their hearts and souls into the final and left nothing out there but it was Alcaide, a winner here in 2017, who won the dramatic deciding rack to send his battery of fans into a frenzy.
Having clawed his way back from a losing position, at 0-5 and then 5-8, Alcaide broke in the decider. He ran out of position though with the five ball on the rail and attempted to swerve the cue ball and flick it down the cushion. It failed and left a great opportunity for Kazakis.
The Greek, under huge pressure, cleared the table down to the 8 and 9 balls but completely fluffed the positional shot after pocketing the 8 and left himself with either a bank into the centre pocket for the win or a safety.
He chose safety and left the cue ball and object balls at opposite ends of the table. However, seizing the opportunity, Alcaide banked the 9 ball down table and it rolled straight into the heart of the pocket for a magnificent victory.
“This is unbelievable,” said jubilant Alcaide immediately after the match. “I played that final for all the fans and my daughter, Daniella. Every ball I was thinking it was for her and I played to win
“I only thought please Alex give me one more chance. I tried to make every rack but this is 9-ball, it is a tough way for Alex to lose, he played a really good tournament. Now I want to celebrate this tournament!”
In front of a sold-out crowd, Kazakis opened the proceedings with an 8/9 combo and then ran out the second for a two-nil lead in the race to nine final. There was no stopping the Greek star as he took the next as his opponent waited for some table time.
Alcaide had that chance in the sixth game as Kazakis left the 3-ball over the side pocket. He swerved to pot it and then cleared the table for his first rack. The Spaniard came with some clutch pots in the next after he lost position and managed to bring the score back to 5-2.
He took the next to close the gap but there was drama in the ninth game as Alcaide missed a cut on the 9 ball but left it semi-safe. Kazakis took on the bank shot back up the table but missed by some distance only to see the nine creep back down the table and drop into the pocket for a 6-3 lead.
Kazakis reasserted himself in the next to increase his lead before Alcaide took the 12th rack much to the delight of his fans in the audience as the score moved to 7-4. There was more in the next as Alcaide ran out from the break to close in on Kazakis.
There was disaster for Alcaide in the 13th game as the cue ball received a last-minute kick following the beak off to see it fall into the middle pocket. With ball-in-hand, the Greek made no mistakes as he ran the table to get to the hill at 8-5.
Alcaide had a chance in the next as Kazakis hooked himself travelling from the one to the two-ball. The safety wasn’t tight enough and Alcaide made a nervy run out to get to 6-8. After a couple of safeties, the 2017 champion had an opportunity and ran through the balls to leave him one behind Kazakis and two from victory.
From 8-5 down, Alcaide took the next to level it at 8-8 and go favourite with the break in the deciding rack.
A dejected Kazakis said, “I didn’t win. I was lucky in the whole match; I didn’t play that well. I won some racks with a good roll and David fought really, really hard. From 5-0 down he was running out everything and he really deserved it. But I had my chance and I dogged it.
“I don’t want to see that final again. I played really well in the other three matches but right now I am really disappointed.”
David Alcaide 9 – 8 Alexander Kazakis
David Alcaide 8 – 3 Eklent Kaci
Alexander Kazakis 8 – 1 Skyler Woodward