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Tournament Coverage

Team Europe Regains Mosconi Cup Lead
by Mike Panozzo Dec 21, 2002, 6:42 PM EST

Weathering another American storm, Team Europe forged a one-game lead over the U.S. heading into the final day of the 2002 Ladbrokes.com Mosconi Cup by winning two of three singles matches Saturday night at York Hall in London.

After seeing the American team recover from a 5-1 deficit to tie the match at 6-6 Saturday afternoon, the Euros received an incredible boost from Ralph Souquet in the night’s opening session. Trailing 4-1 against Jeremy Jones, the German veteran scratched and clawed his way back for an emotional 5-4 triumph. It was Europe’s first singles match win since the final day of the 2000 edition of the Cup. Johnny Archer rebounded for the U.S. squad with a dominating performance over his counterpart, Euro captain Oliver Ortmann of Germany. Archer’s 5-0 win pulled the Americans back to even at 7-7, setting the stage for the night’s final match pitting Nick Varner against snooker hero Steve Davis. Varner outdueled Davis in several safety battles to gain a 3-1 advantage, but Davis turned the tables on the Kentuckian, winning the next four games to give Europe an 8-7 match advantage and send the pro-Euro crowd and his European teammates into a frenzy.

"We’ve never had the lead going into the final day," said Davis. "Everyone’s been brainwashed into believing that the Americans can’t be beaten in singles play. Of course they can, but you have to go out and prove it."

Davis, who was despondent after missing the case 9 ball in the afternoon’s final doubles match, played brilliantly during his comeback win over Varner.

"I really wanted to make up for this afternoon," Davis said. "And it would have been a psychological blow to go into Sunday behind after we’ve had the lead straight along."

The Ryder Cup-styled event, promoted by Matchroom Sport, is a race-to-12. Sunday’s matches will feature singles play through the event’s conclusion.

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