DARREN APPLETON captured the World 9-Ball Championship in dramatic fashion, nipping Lee He Wen, 13-12, Saturday in Doha, Qatar.
The Englishman won the title and the US$40,000 despite losing what seemed to be insurmountable leads during the match.
Appleton was up 11-3 and moved within even one rack of the crown, 12-6. But Lee scored six raight times to tie the game, before the Englishman stopped the bleeding by taking the final rack for the win.
It was Lee who broke the pool-loving Filipinos' hearts on Friday when he beat Antonio Gabica, the last Pinoy left in the tournament , 11-9 during the quarterfinals.
Appleton summed up the magnitude of what could have been one of the biggest meltdowns in the history of the world pool tilt in an interview with wpa-pool.com.
“If I’d have lost that match, I would have jumped off a bridge,” Appleton said. “But I played the best rack of my life in that last rack. It’s incredible. I can’t believe what just happened.”
After a series of safeties in the final rack, Appleton jumped the cue ball over a blocking ball to convert the two-ball. He proceeded to clean up the rack and captured one of billiard's most coveted titles.
“At 11-3, I lost my focus,” Appleton said. “That’s because I had played so good up to that point. I was anxious to get it over with. And I’m thinking, I can’t lose, he needs a miracle.
“At 12-6, I was sure it was over because I had the easiest clearance you could ever have. But I snookered myself because I had too much adrenalin. Then after that, nothing happened for me. Around 12-10, I started feeling the heat,” Appleton said.