Tuesday, September 23

I won the Estonian Open!

I had a great long weekend in Tallinn as I cracked a bit of a dry spell that I've had recently.

The top players included Niels Feijen, Marcus Chamat, Konstantin Stepanov, Artjom Koshevoi, Juri Talu, Dennis Grabe, Kevin Zarakani, Markus Juva etc. A total of a 140 players showed up from 12 different countries.

I had a tough battle with Dennis Grabe the Second round of the main event. this was still double elimination. Dennis was leading the most of the game and had a shot to make it 8-5 in a race to 9 but he left himself tough for the 8 and left me a good shot to make it 6-7. From there I didn't look back and cruised to a 9-7 victory.

I made it to the last 32 as expected. No major upsets happened in other parts of the field either.

The final 32 was single knock-out.

I won the first two quite easily, 9-2, 9-1. In the quarterfinals I faced the young super talent from Russia, Artjom Koshevoi.
I had been eyeing his games early on and I could tell this 16 year old 6-footer is going to be dangerous.
Anyways, I won the lag and broke and ran out the first rack. He did the same. I think this went back and forth for a while until a push out from him left me a tiny sliver of a 1-ball that I had to cut into the corner. I made it and ran out again making it a 3-point deficit. Then a dry break from him was all I needed to really clinch the match. I win 9-4. It was a flawless game for me, a match to remember. He was very gentleman and clapped as I made the final ball. He smiled as he shook his head amused of the relentless fire he had been under.

In the other Quarters Niels Feijen was up against Marcus Chamat. It was Marcus who was able to capitalize on the dry breaks.
His safety play seemed to have been more "on" that day.

a third quarter final had Stepanov and Markus Juva head to head. Marcus was trailing early but overcame with a little help of some Finnish cheering squad. Stepanov was getting frustrated and it showed in his decision making. Marcus squeezed by and closed the door on Stepanov.

Dennis Grabe won the last quarter and was on mission to avenge the earlier loss to me.

In the Semis it was me and Chamat on one side and Grabe vs. Juva for the other half.

Marcus took an early lead and had a chance to make a 2-game lead in the beginning. His position play lead him to do some unforced errors and I got back to even with me breaking. Now I was really smashing the rack with rejuvenated energy and I was getting good shots after the break. Marcus on the other hand let his cue ball loose on the break and was getting frustrated.
I was able to cruise to a 9-3 victory.

The other semi was far more exciting. Juva took and early lead and was up as much as 6-2. However, this luxury was not lasting as he was loosing his cueball on the break. Grabe was able to get back in the game and tied it 7-7. Then he broke and ran making it 8-7. in the next rack looked like Juva was already done but a bad safety gave him a lifeline. 8-8. Now Grabe broke again. Looked like he was going to be hooked as a bunch of balls headed downtown blocking the one ball near the corner. Cue ball headed to the same quarter around the 1st diamond by the side pocket. Then like the red sea the balls just separated leaving him a easy shot on the 1. It was a pretty routine lay-out but the nervousness made it a bit more difficult. Grabe's arm was getting tight and he was losing position. He managed to make the remaining balls anyway so he had his way in the end.

So it was me and the "Local Hero" in the finals.

Dennis got of a better start, but I was right there within one point. He had a chance to go 2 points ahead but some bad position and safety play kept me close. after 4-3 his favor I suddenly caught a "second wind". I also meant getting shots after the break. My cueball was more solid and it was paying dividends. I won the last 6 racks and claimed the title!

It was a great weekend for me. I had a 45-14 record in the last 5 games. Quite nice considering the opposition. I have to say big part of it was my improved break resulting in a steady stream of run-outs.

Talk to you all soon. ;-)


Jarko said...

Congrats Mika, nice work! Would have been very interesting to see the games but maybe the next time...Success!
Jarkko, Belgium.

Jarko said...

And of course the same for Markus Juva, very nice!

Bogee said...

Congratulations Mika! Can't wait to see you in Manila :)

Andrej said...

Thanks Mika for posting!

Lithuanian fans.

Anonymous said...

Great road story Mika! It was sensational to watch your games.

There are few phone cam videos from the tournament in Youtube, just search for "baribal estonia", or click: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=baribal+estonia

One of the Finnish mob