Tuesday, October 28


...and what it means to me?

It's definitely a milestone in my career. Do you think it's safe to say that this would cement my position as one of the best players in the world today? I have to say that I am proud to have come from a country like Finland as a first generation of pool players and get this far. I laugh about it. And I mean it because I didn't have all the information handy like some guys who learned from Mosconi, Lassiter, Mizerak etc. I feel blessed to have the skill of observation. And of course determination. Even before the finals I kept repeating a mantra: "I want this more than you..."

I will dedicate this particular victory to the two great people that have inspired me on my path.
They both past away recently but their contribution is never forgotten:

My Grandma Riitta Immonen and the Great Paul Newman.

I learned dignity and grace from my Grandma. I am still learning of course. She used to collect all the clippings of me from newspapers, magazines etc. In reality she was was a much bigger star than me. So humble of her. She was the epitome of style
and sense of situation. She past away as peacefully as she lived.

Paul Newman because without his roles in "The Hustler" and "The Color of Money" I would have not been so fascinated about the game. He deserved an Oscar for his role in The Hustler already. I had a plan to write him a letter how he inspired me and how I became a world
Champion. Well, it's too late for that but I hope he was one of the Pool Gods smiling upon me as I was taking my last strokes at the
winning 9-ball. Rest in peace my friend.

Ok, so I guess I should post something about the match itself also?

Yeah i got off to a good start in the finals. It had been a trend in my games all week. It's kind of like the great samurai Miyamoto Mushashi said: "Hit first, hit hard." So when you get a 5-0,6-1,8-2 lead, it's really tough for the other guy to come back in the match. The pressure is really on. In a big lead like that there is a very thin line between playing conservative or trying to keep that rally going.

I have to hand it to Ronnie Alcano though. After I had a dry break at 6-0 he came with a really tough shot and ran out. Even after being down 10-2 he made a nice effort to come back in the match. I have to say that in the end my safeties were better than his and thus I was able to protect my lead.

My greatest moment in the match was the push-out at 1-0. Ronnie let me shoot again and I banked the two from the back rail in the the 9 and it went into the side as I had envisioned. I know it was a low percentage shot but more importantly I had a built-in safety. Both the nine and the safety worked and I was pumped! :

All in all I think my ability to close racks was good over the whole match. Also my arm felt a lot more relaxed than in the winner bracket finals. It might have been a blessing in disguise because I felt I needed to hit some more balls that day. Not say I wanted a nail-biter that my match with Warren Kiamco in the Semi's. It also gave me time to work on my break for the finals.

I want to thank all the people for support and response. I really felt a lot of encouragement during the whole event and it really kept me going.

All I can say now is:



FastMikie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FastMikie said...

Your mantra was well chosen!

Again, a huge win, and you deserve to be flying high for a long time.

At risk of correcting the winner of the US Open, I would like to offer your readers the opportunity to learn about the great Samurai warrior you mentioned. His name is Miyamoto Musashi and you can read about him at Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miyamoto_Musashi

You are the only pool player who I have ever heard mention his name (except me, of course), so I guess that makes us some sort of brothers and therefore you get free table time for life at FastMikie's Fun House here in Del Mar, California.

I'm really looking forward to studying the videos as they become available.

Again, congratulations on a monster win!!

augustuspenn said...

From the front row of the gallery at the Open, I was riveted not only by the superb execution of shots and safeties but also by the exceptional quality of imagination, flair, and style that went into shot choice and strategy.

Bogee said...

2008 US Open Champion... what can I say? This is huge -- and well deserved! I have seen how determined you always are to win. I've seen you run out like it was nothing. And I've watched you push yourself even when the balls & breaks weren't in your favor. I wish I were there to watch you win this one. You will always have my support no matter where you are in your game. I'm so happy you're back! Congratulations Champ!!

Vicki Capone said...

Hey Mika, We are all so happy for you! Sunny was the only one home during the finals to follow the match online. Mike & I were calling her every 10 minutes for updates :o) Not only did you want it more... you deserve it more.

Vicki, Mike & Sunny

Yellow Haired Girl said...

I watched the match when you brought Nick Varner in to rack. I have to admit I was there to watch Varner and Archer and got a great fat surprise. It was my first live professional tournament, and I was super delighted to see you take home the gold. After I saw your match against Nick I followed the boards online and was in high sprits every time you advanced.

When you follow a trail of Blood, Sweat, and Tears and unyielding focus… you will forever unearth a champion.

Emily said...

My dear Mika,

I have just stumbled upon your blog today, I had no idea you had one and considering all the time I spend on Will's site I feel a bit silly. It's been a pleasure reading some of them. This entry in particular is very special.

Your dedications and beautiful writing style truly express your emotion. Reading this entry makes me realize how much I want it, how fortunate I am to have the potential to achieve it, and will inspire me to fight harded to earn it.

I've been indifferent about the thought of starting a blog, although mine is being created as we speak. I'm thrilled to have found yours, I now understand how I can help inspire others too.

Thank you! You are truly a master of pool and one of the most genuine people I know. I consider you a friend and I know I am lucky to feel that way.

It was nice to see you yesterday, maybe I'll see you next weekend to celebrate your victory.


Emily Duddy