Europe within three after another great day
USA 2-8 Europe
Archer & Morris 4-6 Boyes & Feijen
Dennis Hatch 5-6 Ralf Souquet
Strickland & Van Boening 6-5 Appleton & Immonen
Morris & Van Boening 6-5 Immonen & Boyes
ONLY A MIRACLE now will prevent Europe winning their fourth consecutive PartyPoker.net Mosconi Cup as they once again got the better of their American opponents, winning three out of the five matches on Tuesday and now need just three points for victory.
For the Americans at least they can take heart from the fact that they opened their account and are still alive in the event, but otherwise it was another disappointing day for the legion of American fans at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The USA will need to win at least three out of tomorrow’s five matches to take the 20th Mosconi Cup into a final day.
“We won another session and that is the most important thing,” said European captain Johan Ruijsink.
“The Americans came out a little bit better than yesterday and I think that we didn’t really step up. Niels played a perfect game, Ralf had a nice comeback and in the end we won the session and that is the most important thing for us.
“If we win another session, we are home. I will be looking to get it done after three matches tomorrow – we are not here to stay longer than we need to. But they are a formidable side; they can play very well so we still need to be aware that it is not going to be easy,” he added.
After presumably spending a sleepless night sitting on 0-5 deficit, the USA got off to the worst possible start as Karl Boyes, partnered by Niels Feijen, grabbed a golden break in the opening rack of the day to leave the Archer and Morris axis reeling. That rather set the tone as the Europeans took that match after it looked close at 3-3.
With still nothing on the board, things were looking grim for Team USA. Dennis Hatch, an MVP here in 2009, seemed to have the beating of an out-of-sorts Ralf Souquet leading 4-1 before the German recovered to take four consecutive racks to take the lead at 5-4.
A pumped up Hatch though fired in the 9 ball off the break to take to the match to hill-hill but the tactical decider was finally won by Souquet to pile on the misery for Team USA.
The Americans finally got their first point on the board in the third game as Strickland and Van Boening squeaked past Immonen and Appleton in the most thrilling match of the series so far.
Leading 5-3, Strickland missed an easy 1 ball into the corner pocket to give the Europeans a lifeline and when the American escaped a snooker but left the 1 ball on, the Europeans ran out to take the match to 5-5.
Breaking in the final rack Appleton dropped three balls, and left a shot on the one, but Immonen overcut it and left it hanging. Van Boening swerved superbly to make it but Strickland missed a tough shot on the 4 ball.
It looked to be Europe’s match but Immonen missed the 7, to leave Van Boening a bank shot which he made. Strickland seemed to have made a mess of the final 9 but somehow it fell in for the USA’s first point.
Strickland said, “We started out getting a few bad rolls here and there and they got a lead on us. They broke dry a couple of times and made some good outs but we played real strong to get back in the match at 3-3. When we took the lead 5-3 I thought we were going to win.
On the winning 9 ball: “I usually shoot that with another bridge but I decided to use a different bridge because I wanted to just slow roll it so it would take the pocket. I nearly overcut it and I don’t know how it went in really, we got a break finally! They are getting every break in this event. I know a lot about pool and they are getting a lot of good breaks.
“We are still in jeopardy no matter what, 7-1 doesn’t sound much better than 7-0 to me. We are not going to get skunked and I came through and scored a point and that is important for me. I might be one of the strongest players on the team and I came here ready to play, my team wasn’t quite ready I think.”
Any brief momentum the Americans may have had evaporated under the TV lights as Niels Feijen looked superb as he made easy work of American captain Johnny Archer, running out a 6-0 winner to return the European lead to seven points.
Feijen said, “I felt really relaxed all of a sudden. In the doubles matches I was really nervous and wasn’t executing as well as I can and in this match it came together. My safeties were spot on, my cueing was good, I was jumping well and the break was good. It was nice play.
“You could say at least 30 or 40 percent of the pressure is diminished. If it was 6-6 or 8-8 it is a different thing but when you are 7-1 up it makes a big difference,” he added.
With Boyes breaking in the ninth game, he nearly made the 9 ball but left it hanging and that allowed the Americans get back into it. In the end it was Rodney Morris who downed the winning 9 ball to keep USA hope alive.
“I didn’t make a ball on the break in two days but we were fortunate that the 9 didn’t go in when Boyes broke,” said Morris.
“Everybody is great so it is a long road to get stuck like this. We are not looking at the 8-2 score, we’re looking at 0-0 in every match we get into, that is how we are seeing it. We have to win a race to six and if we keep winning the race to six the next thing you know we will creep up.”
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