Mosconi Cup: USA and Europe all-square after day two in Las Vegas
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Last Updated: 28/11/19 12:14pm
Team USA and Team Europe are all-square in the Mosconi Cup after the USA won the second day of play by 3-2 in Las Vegas.
The day's triumph means that both teams are now locked at 5-5 ahead of day three, which is live on Sky Sports from 7pm, with the first to reach 11 points taking home the trophy.
Despite how close the overall score is, many of the matches have not followed suit - only one went hill-hill on the opening day and all five ended 5-1 on day two.
Shane van Boening was scheduled to play two singles and a doubles on Tuesday, but lost his first match to Germany's Joshua Filler.
The South Dakota Kid then paired with Justin Bergman to beat Filler and Jayson Shaw in doubles before Tyler Styer fell to Albania's Eklent Kaci.
USA took the final two points of the day as Billy Thorpe and Skyler Woodward teamed up to defeat Niels Feijen and Alexander Kazakis before Van Boening, who had opened the day, returned to face Kazakis in the afternoon's closing match.
Team USA 5-5 Team Europe
|Shane van Boening 1–5 Joshua Filler|
|Van Boening/Bergman 5-1 Shaw/Filler|
|Tyler Styer 1-5 Eklent Kaci|
|Thorpe/Woodward 5-1 Feijen/Kazakis|
|Shane Van Boening 5-1 Alexander Kazakis|
The home crowd were full of hope that their star man would level the tournament at 5-5 and were not disappointed.
"We wanted to make sure we got it as close as we could and I am glad we got it to 5-5," said Van Boening as the American half of the crowd chanted 'S-V-B'.
"I have been playing the Mosconi Cup for 13 years and it is really tough to play in this atmosphere, but these guys are doing a great job for us. They depend on us but we are depending on them too."
The day opened with the Fans' Choice match, with over 10,000 votes cast online and the result produced a blockbuster with Van Boening pitted against Filler.
Van Boening won the lag but scratched on the break and did not return to the table until his next break. By that point he was 2-0 down to the World Champion, who still had not missed a ball in the tournament.
The South Dakota Kid did not have a shot on the 1 from his next break so pushed out. Filler invited Van Boening to play and his subsequent shot left the 1 visible for the German, who executed a fine safety shot. From that, Van Boening left Filler a straight-forward cut and then it was a road-map to 3-0.
Van Boening looked set to get on the board when Filler broke dry on the fourth. It was not an easy clearance for the American but he shrugged off the pressure and was left with a simple 9 from almost on it's spot to the corner.
But, it rattled the jaw and a gasping home crowd had to watch on as Filler made it 4-0. The fifth rack did belong to Van Boening but it was not enough as Filler soon completed his assertive 5-1 win.
USA fired back in style in the day's second match. Van Boening held his nerve early as he made a tricky 9 to banish the ghosts of the previous match to give him and Bergman a 2-1 lead over Filler and Shaw.
They ran the next rack and moved to the hill at 4-1 before closing out the point in the sixth as Van Boening urged on the loud US crowd.
"That is a great match to win," said Van Boening. "They had Filler back-to-back and we had to stop him."
Bergman added: "That's a huge point. We could have been down 5-2 so we had to win that. We have Shane out three times today and nobody wants to play against him, nobody."
Europe's two-point advantage was soon restored though as Kaci put in one of the performances of the tournament so far to beat Styer 5-1, continuing his side's perfect singles record.
It was a poignant victory for the Albanian after a deadly earthquake hit his home nation in the early hours of Tuesday.
"Every match is important but this was a good win because it could have been 4-4 but instead we lead 5-3," said Kaci.
"I have all of my family in Albania and in the last 24 hours there has been a big earthquake and a lot of aftershocks, some of them big ones.
"Many buildings have been destroyed, many people have died, many people are injured and many have not yet been found. I am grateful to be here but I am praying for all of Albania and especially my family, I am glad they are ok."
Kazakis won the lag in the day's final match and took out the first rack. It should have been two after a Van Boening scratch on the break, but the Greek missed a straight down-table 6 and the match was level.
From there, Van Boening didn't look back and dominated the match for a 5-1 victory to tie the Mosconi Cup at 5-5, setting up the final two days for what could become one of the best Cups in its 26-year history.
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