Final Four Set for World Pool Masters

World Pool Masters / Las Vegas, NV
by InsidePOOL Staff
The semifinal matches are set for the 2008 World Pool Masters. Only two matches remain before the winner is crowned and awarded the grand prize of $20,000. The first semifinal will feature an all-Filipino billiards cast of Francisco Bustamante and Alex Pagulayan, while the second will match up Ko Pin-yi and Mika Immonen.
In the first match of the afternoon round, Francisco Bustamante broke and ran out the first two racks against England’s Imran Majid, setting the tone for the rest of the match. Bustamante scratched on the 1 ball in the next rack, but Majid handed the game back to him by badly missing the 8 ball. Another break and run-out by Bustamante gave him a daunting 4-0 lead.
Majid played some excellent defense to put two games under his belt, but Bustamante employed the same tactic to move up 5-2. Two costly errors allowed Majid to pull within a game of his opponent, but that was where it ended for the Brit. Majid dropped the 9 ball on his next break but scratched as well, and Bustamante cleared up and then broke and ran out the next rack to reach the hill. On his last break, the 8 ball fell, and from there it was easy for “Django” to run out for an 8-4 win.
Tony “The Tornado” Drago started off strong against 18-year-old WPA Junior National champion Ko Pin-yi, breaking and running out the first two racks and winning the third with a nice bank on the 3, but Ko then got on the board in the next rack with a 2-9 combo. Ko’s confidence was shaky at first, and he and Drago traded the next two racks to make it 4-2 Drago, but Ko seemed to hit his stride when Drago missed a 1-4 combo, allowing Ko to draw within a game.
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The Taiwan native broke and ran out the next two racks to take the lead for the first time in the match. He came up dry on his next break, but Drago missed the 1 ball and left Ko an easy out. A foul by Drago in response to a nicely played safety gave Ko ball in hand in the next, allowing Ko to reach the hill 7-4. It looked as though Ko would break and run out the final rack, but he got out of line for the 8 and opted to play safe. Drago and Ko exchanged innings, but Ko then left Drago a challenging, long cut on the 8. Without missing a beat, Drago pocketed the 8 but then rushed the 9 and missed it. Ko won six racks in a row to take the match 8-4.
The last quarterfinal match was a rocky one between Mika Immonen and Corey Deuel, filled with strange choices and errors. Deuel reached a 4-2 lead by virtue of two key misses by Immonen—one on the 9 ball and one on the 8—but the Finn fought back in the next two racks to make it 4-all, exhibiting superb jumping skills. Deuel scratched in the next on the 1 ball, and with ball in hand, Immonen set up for and made the 1-9 combo to take the lead for the first time.
An illegal break by Immonen gave the table to Deuel, who cleared to draw even again, but when Deuel set up and then missed the 3-9 combo in the next, the momentum swung again toward the Finn when he made the 3-9 billiard. Immonen then broke and ran out the next to reach the hill. In the final rack, he dropped the 5 ball and had a rather tough shot on the 1, which he made to clear the table and win 8-5.
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