Appleton Takes Masters Crown

2009 World Pool Masters
Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas
10th May 2009

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Appleton Takes Masters Crown at First Attempt
The Final

Darren Appleton, the reigning World 10 Ball Champion became the third ever Englishman to win the World Pool Masters title following a fighting 8-4 win over Holland’s Nick van den Berg at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.
The 33 year-old, who converted to big table pool in recent years, following an outstanding career at English 8 Ball, beat Raj Hundal, Ralf Souquet and Mika Immonen en route to the final.
As well as the title and magnificent trophy, Appleton takes a cheque for $20,000 while Van Den Berg earned half that amount.
“It’s unbelievable to win the World Pool Masters,” said Appleton. “It has been my goal to win a Matchroom event and to win this is like winning another world title.
“After the 10-ball victory I put a lot of expectation on myself and hopefully this will help me get in the World Cup of Pool and the Mosconi Cup. We all want to play in Matchroom tournaments and this hasn’t done me any harm.”
“This gives me a lot more belief that I can go on and keep winning titles. My target has been to get in the Mosconi Cup and winning this puts me in the mix. It is every pool players dream to play in the Mosconi Cup.”
Appleton won the lag but delivered an illegal break as the requisite number of balls failed to travel past the headstring. Both players had visits but it was the Dutchman who took the rack.
Van den Berg, whose break had served him so well throughout the tournament came up with a dry break but his opponent missed a routine 6-ball but then made up for it with a fine 6-8 combination to level the score at 1-1.
Appleton produced a legal break and a fine long pot on the red 3 set himself up to run out the rack which he did to lead 2-1. That became 3-1 as he produced one of the best breaks of the tournament as four balls disappeared.
Van den Berg had a chance after Appleton missed the red 3 into the centre pocket, but he over- screwed and scratched potting the 4 ball and with ball-in-hand, Appleton moved 4-1 in front.
A scratch from Darren Appleton gave ball in hand to van den Berg and the score quickly moved to 4-2. In the next a fluke from Appleton gave him a three-rack advantage after a fortunate 4-6 combination helped him.
Appleton had a dry break in the eighth and the rack wasn’t a long one as van den Berg closed the gap to two thanks to a 1-9 carom. After serving him well, Van den Berg was beginning to struggle with his break. An illegal one helped Appleton inch closer to the title as he moved into a 6-3 lead in the race to 8.
Fortune went with van den Berg in the tenth rack as Appleton made an illegal break and then failed with a 2-7-9 combination. The Dutchman avoided scratching by millimetres after he potted the 6-ball and saw the cue ball hanging on the edge. He went on to win the rack to reduce the deficit to 4-6.
Appleton moved to the hill after another breaking error from van den Berg – this time a dry break,and he clinched the title thanks to a 4-9 combination in the 12th rack to win by an 8-4 margin.
“I probably didn’t play as well in the final as I did in the semi-final,” added Appleton. “I didn’t break as well as I had done and neither did Nick – he had three dry breaks in the final.

“Nick recently won the European Championship so I had him as the favourite and had broken the best to get to the final.
“He’s a great guy and we’re very good friends so we both tried to enjoy the final and was just a shame someone had to lose.
“He was on a great run so to beat him in the final is a dream come true especially with the three other players that I defeated.”

Nick Van Den Berg (NED) 8-2 Shane Van Boening (USA)
Darren Appleton (ENG) 8-6 Mika Immonen (FIN)
Darren Appleton made it through to his first World Pool Masters final at his first attempt as he delivered another game performance to oust Mika Immonen after trailing in the early stages.
It was another fine show from the World 10 Ball champion as, like his previous two matches, he got off to the worst possible start as he trailed 3-0 to the sharper shooting Finn.
The fight back started in the fourth game as Immonen had no luck with the break with no clear shot at the 1-ball. That forced him to attempt a bank shot but it missed to give Appleton the chance for his first rack of the match.
The deficit is reduced to one rack as Appleton won his second after Immonen missed a jump shot on the 5-ball. He then ran out the sixth to level. The Englishman got a ball in hand opportunity in the next after Immonen missed a two-rail escape opportunity and he converted to move into the lead.
Mika Immonen can only sit and watch helplessly as Appleton produced a near perfect effort in the next to open up a two rack lead and it was a similar story in the next rack as the score moved to 6-3 in Appleton’s favour.
After a lengthy spell in his chair, Immonen finally got a chance as Appleton made an unexpected error when he missed a long 3-ball. The US Open champ took his chance to win his first rack in seven.
Appleton had a bad contact on the 4-ball in the next and there is some good fortune for Immonen when he narrowly avoided the scratch when potting the 6-ball on his way to taking the rack.
After losing the last two racks, Appleton then moved to the hill by taking the 12th rack but missed a straight-forward 2-ball and Immonen capitalised to win the rack and go 6-7 behind Appleton, competing in his first World Pool Masters, reaches the final. The key moment comes when Immonen fails to sink the 5-ball into the side pocket. Appleton played a brave bank on the same ball and that lead to him taking the match 8-6.

NICK VAN den Berg, the Amsterdam-based European Champion made it through to his first ever World Pool Masters final at his sixth attempt as he cruised past Shane Van Boening at the Riviera Hotel.
He is just one match away from landing the $20,000 top prize and one of most prestigious titles in pool.
Van Boening never had the rolls but nothing can detract from the Dutchman’s consummate performance.
The American had the worst possible start to the match as he scratched on the break and with ball in hand, van den Berg got his first rack of the semi final. The European Champion looked set in the second as he ran out from the break to increase his lead to 2-0 and put the pro-Shane crowd on the back foot.
It was a good break in the next but no balls went down as the 9 ball tracked ominously to the corner pocket. Van Boening had the push option but kicked at the 1 ball, leaving his opponent a chance. Nick downed the 1 and with the table wide open and begging to be potted, he made no mistakes to streak into a 3-0 lead.
In the next an illegal break meant that Shane Van Boening got back to the table but disaster struck as he needed to play a delicate kick shot using the rest but failed to make any contact with the 2 ball, giving van den Berg ball in hand. Not comfortable cueing off the rail, he missed the 4 ball but his opponent could only play safe.
His opponent then left him in a very tight snooker and van Boening played the deliberate foul. Van den Berg then hooked him again with the balls clustered around the bottom left pocket. He fouled and the Dutchman played the same shot.
Another foul saw van den Berg take the rack on the three foul rule and he moved into a very handy 4-0 lead. A break and run from Nick van den Berg made it 5-0. The 1 ball dropped off the break but only one other ball chased past the headstring so Van Boening got back to the table and pushed out. Van den Berg put him back in but his kicked safety left the 2 ball on.
The balls were out in the open but van den Berg played a poor positional shot and had to kick. With the 4 ball just about on, Van Boening cut it into the centre bag and completed the clearance to gain his first rack of the match. He then took the next to take the score to 2-5.
A dry break from the South Dakota Kid enabled Van den Berg to pot the 1 and he then played a highly creative 2/9 combo to take the rack. A great break from the two-time Mosconi Cup star saw the 1 ball go down and the 2 was a straight in. From there he ran out to get to the hill at 7-2.
Van den Berg delivered a perfect break that saw three balls drop and he completed another great run out for some Dutch delight in the desert!

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