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Invincible: Mika Wins World 10B
Nov 30, 2009, 11:29 AM

Immonen (above) pulled away from Vann Corteza in the back half of the race-to-11 final.
Following his victory at October's U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, Mika Immonen took a moment to reflect upon his place in history. With back-to-back wins in Chesapeake, Va., Immonen thought he had done enough to finally join the likes of European greats Ralf Souquet and Oliver Ortmann. But he hesitated, half joking that he would need another world championship to join them.

That didn't take long.

At the World 10-Ball Championship held Nov. 23-30 at the World Trade Center in Manila, Philippines Immonen overcame an early loss in the group stage to advance to the single-elimination round of 64. From there, the Finn superstar worked his way past a line-up of world-class players before he edged Vann Corteza, 11-6, in the final.

After that early upset, a 9-6 loss to Japan's Hayato Hijikata, Immonen found himself close to elimination a number of times. He then edged Ibrahim Bin Amir to advance to the final 64. From there, Immonen never had an easy victory. He beat Niels Feijen, 9-6; Marlon Manalo, 9-6; Nick van den Berg, 9-7; Ruslan Chinahov, 9-6; and Antonio Lining, 9-7. That put Immonen in the final against hometown hero Vann Corteza.

The two last met in the fourth-place match at this year's U.S. Open, where Immonen won six straight racks for a come-from-behind 11-8 victory. In Manila, though, Immonen saved the heroics. After falling behind, 2-0, he grabbed a small 7-5 lead at the halfway point. At that point, Immonen pulled away from Vann Corteza, clearing the final two racks from the break for an 11-6 championship-clinching victory.

The World 10-Ball crown is Immonen's fourth win at a big-money, big-field event this year. (He's also won the Galveston World Classic 10-Ball and Qatar Open titles in addition to his win at the U.S. Open.)