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Souquet's On Top of the World, Again
Jun 19, 2006, 9:50 AM

With his parents and his girlfriend cheering him on in the stands, Ralf Souquet lifted his fifth PartyCasino.com World Pool Masters trophy over his head at the Hotel Zuiderduin in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, which culminated June 18. Souquet has the best record of any player in this event with previous wins in 2002, 2000, 1996 and 1994.

With as many trophies as Souquet has had hovering over that head, one might expect it to swell to mass proportion, but even after his 8-4 victory against Alex Pagulayan in the final, Souquet remained humble. “It was a hard match as expected, and even though the scoreline suggests it was easy, it wasn’t," he said.

With a single-elimination format, Pagulayan had ejected Steve Davis, Vilmos Foldes and Raj Hundal from the 16-man field to reach his first Masters final. Souquet removed Efren Reyes, the "Majarajah" of England, Imran Majid and 17-year-old wonderboy Wu Chia-ching of the Chinese Tapei.

In the final, Pagulayan won the lag and took the first rack, but Souquet wasn't worried. He leveled the scale in the second, and after Pagulayan scratched off the break in the third, "The Kaiser" took command and moved in front, 2-1. Souquet potted two balls off the break but recognized trouble with the 2 ball, so he played safe. After a tight exchange, Pagulayan was gifted an opportunity as Souquet scratched and, with ball in hand, the Canadian/Filipino pulled it back to 2-2.

The third rack showed that the typically invulnerable Souquet is human, when Pagulayan missed a long shot at the red 3 and Souquet produced one of his worst shots of the competition and presented Pagulayan with a connect-the-dots layout, that allowed him to regain the lead, 3-2.

Pagulayan proved himself imperfect as well, with a foul that gave Souquet ball in hand, and soon after, the sixth rack, 3-3. From there, Souquet ran the next four racks, maintaining meticulous precision on every shot position. 6-3 as he closed in on yet another Masters title.

The crowd-pleasing Pagulayan kept the match alive by winning the 11th rack, but Souquet ran from the break in the 12th to become Masters champion again.

“This performance was probably my best match in the whole event," Souquet said. "The semifinal was okay, although I didn’t feel 100 percent comfortable, but I had a good feeling now and wanted to take every chance I had.”

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