Group Play Completes At the World Pool Championship

Po Cheng Kuo

Following four days of intensive 9-ball action at the Kaohsiung Business Exhibition Center, the draining group stages are now finally over.

The top four players from each group now move forward to the last 64 race-to-ten straight knock-out stages which commence tomorrow (Wednesday), whilst the remainder pack their bags and bid the tournament farewell.

There have been a few major names, notably former champions Efren Reyes and Ralf Souquet, who have suffered an early exit but in general the cream has risen to the top.

Number one seed for the second round is Taiwanese hot shot Po-cheng Kuo, a bronze medallist last year, who heads the rankings and he is followed by compatriot Che-wei Fu, American No.1 Johnny Archer and under-rated Filipino Dennis Orcullo.

Kuo faces six-times World Snooker Champion Steve Davis, who performed a miraculous recovery to progress from Group 2 with just three wins. He had a record of two wins from six starts but got the better of Filipino Rodolfo Luat today to seal his spot courtesy of a table length banked 2/9 combination to win 5-3.

Other marquee match-ups include Archer against last year's semi finalist Marcus Chamat (Sweden), Mosconi Cup captain Oliver Ortmann against reigning US Open Champ Gabe Owen and 2003 champion Thorsten Hohmann versus emerging Filipino star Ronnie Alcano.

Defending champion Alex Pagulayan has a tough match against Korean veteran Shin-young Park and will need to be fully focused to secure a last 32 spot.

Amazingly, there are 16 Taiwanese players in the last 64 and as if to emphasise that they are the dominating country in world pool, one of the matches is Chia-ching Wu vs Ping-I Ko, who are both aged 16!

For complete bracket coverage of this event, go to For complete coverage of this event, check out the September issue of Billiards Digest magazine.

Photo courtesy of Matchroom Sport