Sudden Death Finals Go to Feijen

Sudden Death Finals Go to Feijen
by InsidePOOL Staff
The International Challenge of Champions crowned a new victor Thursday evening in Niels “The Terminator” Feijen, who triumphed over Lee Van Corteza in a thrilling sudden-death tiebreaker. Produced by Billiards International, Ltd., this two-day event awarded a stunning winner-takes-all first prize of $50,000.
In the first semifinal match of the event, Feijen raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set, in part because of the alternating-break format and a couple of errors on opponent Thorsten Hohmann’s behalf. He broke and ran the next rack to win 5-1. Things did not improve much for the German champion in the second set—he tried to play safe but left Feijen a 2-9 combination, which he made. Another miss by Hohmann drove the nail into the proverbial coffin, and Feijen won the second set 5-2, advancing to the finals.
Van Corteza struck down defending champion Johnny Archer in the second semifinal match. After a rocky start in the first set for both, Van Corteza tried to play defense on the 1 ball when it was 4-3 Archer and left a shot. From there, it was smooth sailing for “The Scorpion” to claim the win. But in a stunning turn of events in the second set, Archer came up dry on his first two breaks, instantly putting Van Corteza up 4-0. A missed 3 ball lent Archer hope, and he took the next two racks, but then a missed 7 ball by the American forced the first one-game tiebreaker of the event. Van Corteza won the lag—always key—and broke and ran out.
Van Corteza looked as though he might steamroll over Feijen, and he did do everything right in the first set, quickly winning 5-1. The great pressure must’ve caught up to both players, for they both missed the 8 ball in the first rack of the second set, though Feijen ended up drawing first blood. The Derby City Classic’s 9-ball champ took the next two games, one by virtue of a missed 5 on Van Corteza’s part. “Van Van” got the next rack after Feijen fouled on a jump attempt, but the Dutchman rebounded to reach the hill. A 2-9 combo on his next break earned him that match 5-2. The all-important lag was won by Feijen, who was forced to play safe on a tricky 3 ball. In trying to reach the 3, Van Corteza scratched, giving Feijen ball in hand and, essentially, the match.
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