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U.S. Takes Early Mosconi Cup Lead

A surprisingly large and boisterous turn-out greeted Team USA and Team Europe on Thursday when the Mosconi Cup team tournament made its U.S. debut at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, and the players didn’t disappoint. In a five-match mix of singles and doubles play, the U.S. squad closed out the opening day with a 3-2 advantage in the race-to-11 tournament.

Uncertain of how the Mosconi Cup, wildly successful for nine years in London, would fare in America, promoter Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sport was overwhelmed by the 300-plus fans that filled the arena for the 11 a.m. opening lag. “This is absolutely fantastic,” said Hearn, who hopes to switch the Cup to a home-and-home series from this point on. Bouyed by nearly 100 Euros who made the pre-Christmas trek to Las Vegas, the first day featured raucous cheering for the two sides.

The opening match featured Johnny Archer, pool’s hotest player, against reigning World Pool Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany. Archer jumped to an early lead, and held on for a nerve-wracking 5-4 win in a match that lasted some 90 minutes.

Europe tied the match when the Scandanavian duo of Marcus Chamat and Mika Immonen rolled to a 5-1 win over Tony Robles and Charlie Williams.

The U.S. took a 3-1 lead after Rodney Morris made an impressive Mosconi Cup debut with a 5-3 pasting of Ralf Souquet, and the team of Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones squandered a 4-0 lead, but outlasted Steve Davis and Nick Van den Berg, 5-4.

Europe stayed within striking distance of the Americans when Immonen topped Archer, 5-3, in the day’s final match.

For more information and photos from the 2004 Mosconi Cup, and match-by-match updates, go to www.mosconicup.com.

Mosconi Cup First Day: Europe Sweeps America!

The Mosconi Cup matches held in London today had a surprising outcome: Europe, which suffered a crushing 12-1 defeat last year, has leapt to a 3-0 lead on the first day of this year’s competition.

In the first matchup, Team Europe team captain Oliver Ortmann and fellow German Ralf Souquet took on American team captain Johnny Archer and veteran pro Nick Varner. Team Europe took first blood with a 5-2 victory.

In the second match of the opening session, Scandinavians Mika Immonen and Marcus Chamat faced American young guns Cory Deuel and Charlie Williams. Immonen won the lag and ran out to take a 1-0 lead, and that set the tone for the match. Europe picked up another point with a 5-1 victory.

In the final matchup of the evening, American spirits were flagging, and the European support was growing stronger by the minute as home-team favorite Steve Davis and fresh-faced rookie Nick van den Berg faced Americans Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones. This match was closer, 5-4, but with the same outcome: Europe took another point.

The Mosconi Cup will head into its second day with Europe holding an unprecedented shutout advantage. Check our live-coverage link at the top of the page for on-site coverage, or visit www.mosconicup.com.