Max Lechner will face Francisco Sanchez Ruiz in the final of the 2022 US Open Pool Championship after downing Chinese Taipei’s Ko Ping Chung in a hill-hill thriller to keep on his pursuit to be an automatic pick for Alex Lely’s Team Europe Mosconi Cup side.
Result – Max Lechner 11-10 Ko Ping Chung
Rack by Rack Report
Rack 1 –Lechner 0-1 Ko – Lechner won the lag but lost the cue ball when looking for position off the break on the two. It was a cagey opening rack that saw Ko eventually prevail as both players got used to the TV table conditions.
Rack 2 – Lechner 0-2 Ko – Ko crunched in the second break of the match and the runout soon followed without a reply from Lechner.
Rack 3 – Lechner 0-3 Ko – The first golden break of the semi-finals went to Ko who was looking in the ascendancy of both brothers Pin Yi and Ping Han.
Rack 4 – Lechner 0-4 Ko – A routine break and run from Ko stretched the former World 10-ball champion lead
Rack 5 – Lechner 0-5 Ko – It was full steam ahead for Ko in the fifth rack. He pushed out from the break leaving a tempting effort for Lechner who rattled the pocket only to see the one ball pop back towards him and give Ko his opportunity to stretch the advantage.
Rack 6 – Lechner 1-5 Ko – Lechner lept out of his chair for his first real chance of the match after Ko scratched on the break. From there, the Austrian got his first rack.
Rack 7 – Lechner 2-5 Ko – Ko got caught behind the seven with the five hanging over the pocket. The Chinese Taipei star kicked out only to see his cue ball somehow find a passage past the five and into the pocket. With ball in hand, Lechner got another rack on the board.
Rack 8 – Lechner 2-6 Ko – Lechner’s nerves came through when looking to run out. He took the one too thick to leave a poor position on the two which he missed to put Ko back in the driving seat.
Rack 9 – Lechner 2-7 Ko – Seven heavens for Ko who capitalised on a foul from Lechner to go further ahead.
Rack 10 – Lechner 2-8 Ko – There were not too many mistakes in the contest but both made costly ones in the tenth rack. Lechner got back to the table after Ko left the three in the pocket – by making the three he attempted to stun the cue ball only to leave it in no position to make the four naturally. The Austrian kicked at it but the velocity of the cue ball saw him scratch and hang Ko an easy clear up job.
Rack 11 – Lechner 3-8 Ko – Lechner let out of a sigh of relief in the 11th rack after Ko’s safety from the break left the table open and in prime position for Lechner to swoop in on his US Open semi-final debut.
Rack 12 – Lechner 4-8 Ko – The nerves seemed to settle in the next rack from Lechner. A wonderful jump shot on the three ball was a huge confidence boost.
Rack 13 – Lechner 5-8 Ko – Rack 13 was nip and tuck as both players looked for a clear moment to make their run but it wasn’t to be for Ko as Lechner gripped a little bit closer
Rack 14 – Lechner 5-9 Ko – Lechner scratched on the break to leave an easy 2-9 combo for Ko to be two away from victory.
Rack 15 – Lechner 6-9 Ko – The contest was the tale of the two balls positioning at times and it rang true in the 15th rack. Ko’s break left Lechner back at the table to take up another rack and trail by three.
Rack 16 – Lechner 7-9 Ko – Ko scratched in unfortunate circumstances. Kicking on the one he rolled the cue ball into the opposite corner top right to hand Lechner another moment to cut the deficit to two.
Rack 17 – Lechner 8-9 Ko – Lechner’s hold to keep things together paid off as he kept the pressure on Ko in the 17th rack. Ko scratched for the second rack in a row after Lechner had left him hooked on the six ball. It was the case of De Ja Vu for Ko who had made good contact with the kick.
Rack 18 –Lechner 8-10 Ko – The drama continued in the next rack as Lechner tried to take the five ball up table into the top left pocket only to see it go way wide of the mark. Lechner seemed to be thrown by his miscalculation on the three ball which left him kicking to make the four and get position for that five. Ko reached the hill.
Rack 19 – Lechner 9-10 Ko – Lechner wasn’t down and out just yet, Mad Max got his chance back at the table after Ko’s third scratch in four racks but this time from the break, from there, only one separated them again.
Rack 20 – Lechner 10-10 Ko – Safety was key again in the next rack as the four was kept safe by Lechner putting Ko in a heap of trouble with a crowded table laid out ahead. Ko made solid contact with the four but too much so as Lechner pounced to clear the table and force another hill-hill decider.
Rack 21 –Lechner 11-10 Ko – Lechner pushed out from the break with no viable route on the two. A safety battle ensued before Ko was hooked when looking to play the three. He jumped and made it only for the cue ball to kiss the nine and go in off to put Lechner with ball in hand at the table and four balls away from the final. Soon the job was done to meet Sanchez Ruiz tonight.
Final – Race to 13 – 4pm, ET
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) vs Max Lechner (AUT)
The final will be live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Italy as well as Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, and Poland, and other broadcasters worldwide which can be found here including on Matchroom.Live in countries without a broadcaster.