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Rise Of The Upstarts – World 9-Ball Final Sixty Four

Photo Courtesy of Richard Walker

Pool’s next generation of superstars took a giant leap towards claiming their place in the sun today, producing a slew of shocking and unexpected results as the field at the 2014 World 9-ball Championship was cut in half from 64 players down to 32.
It was an extraordinary day given over to unknown upstarts, newcomers, fearless young guns, and a few wily but unheralded veterans, all of  whom seemed to collectively state to pool’s elite that it was time for some new and different names to grab the headlines for a change.
So how bad was it for pool’s biggest names?  Well, here’s a statistic that could come straight from the crime blotter; five former world 9-ball champions, and the defending champion Thorsten Hohmann all went down to defeat. Heavy favorites like the Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza also were sent home.
The remaining field still comprises two former world champions, and plenty of pool’s top ranked players. And when they set off tomorrow with all these fresh faces in the mix, the results are likely to remembered for some time to come. That’s because Thursday’s breakneck schedule will see the remaining 32 players whittled down to just four by the end of the day. The semi-finals and finals will them be contested on Friday.
The tone of the day was set early in the first session by Qatar’s very own Waleed Majid. On paper the 26 year old Qatari had no chance against world number four Lee Vann Corteza, who was tapped by some to win this world title. Majid had never before even gone beyond the group stages.
Majid, though, played like he was the one pegged for greatness. Smooth, confident, fearless, the Qatari played near flawless 9-ball, putting the Filipino on the ropes early and keeping him there until the very end and taking an impressive 11-6 victory. It’s the first time a Qatari pool player has ever reached the round of 32 in the World Championship.
While drinking in the hugs, kisses and accolades of his fellow countrymen, Majid revealed that playing the world’s best players doesn’t scare him, but rather it motivates him to play beyond his own capabilities
Marc Teutscher of the Netherlands“During the match I always just look at the table,” Majid said. “I don’t look at my opponent. But before the match if I see I’m playing a world class player, then that really helps me concentrate and play better.
“I felt good in practice before the World 9-ball Championship. I want to do good because I want to help pool in Qatar. I will give everything to help Qatar because Qatar supports me.”
Majid said that before the tournament, he actually had the fervent desire to meet 2012 World 9-ball champion Darren Appleton, a wish which will now come true in the round of 32 on Thursday in front of what promises to be a very one-side home town crowd.
“Before the tournament I was actually hoping to play Darren Appleton. I want to test my skills. I’m ready to play him. I will  try my best and hopefully I can win and bring a big honor to Qatar and Qatar Billiard Federation.”
Appleton would present a very formidable obstacle to even the most seasoned veteran as he is clearly playing at the top of his extraordinary game. The Brit found himself up against fellow Englishman and good friend Daryl Peach in a match of two former champions. Appleton got off to a quick start and never looked back and cruised to an easier than expected 11-3 win. 
Appleton said not only was he feeling confident about his game, but he was feeling very relaxed and comfortable in the Al Saad Sports Club. It was in this very building two years ago where Appleton had his greatest triumph, winning the World 9 ball Championship in a thriller against China’s Li He Wen.
“I feel at home here in the Al Saad because this is where I won the World 9-ball Championship in 2012. Last year they had the tournament in another venue so in a way I feel like I’m defending my title. I have a lot of fond memories here. And I’d like to create a few more in the next few days.”
The Philippines Dennis Orcollo was expected to create a major memory this year, but the Filipino star ran into a streaking Naoyuki Oi of Japan. Oi, who reached the semis here two years ago, has a marvelous game when he gets his engine cranked and today he played in full gear from the beginning. Orcollo fell  behind big early and never recovered, as Oi held him off for an 11-8 win.
Two more Filipinos fell by the wayside early to two of the tournaments impressive young guns. China’s Wang Can certainly seems headed for big things and today he continued his imposing play as he won a stingy victory over the Philippines Warren Kiamco, 11-8. Austria’s young Mario He appears to be coming into his own and looked solid in outlasting former world champ Alex Pagulayan 11-9.
While Filipino fans were in shock at the early exit of many of their big names, several others, including a few newer players, stepped into the void to grab the limelight. Last year’s semi-finalist Carlo Biado played strong today, as did Johann Chua who continued to look brilliant with a dominating performance over Italy’s Daniele Corrieri, 11-4. Raymond Faraon and Elmer D. Haya, two relative unknowns who toil as overseas workers teaching pool in the Middle East also advanced with solid wins.
Canada’s Jason Klatt has been on the scene for a few years but he has never looked better than in the last few days.. The 28 year from Selkirk, Canada, and who now lives in Bloomington, Illinois, manhandled the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, 11-6. Klatt’s spent much of the last two years on the road in the US, playing tournaments, money games and practicing his craft. Much of this travel has been with his good friend, Darren Appleton. Klatt says the lessons learned from hanging around with a talent like Appleton are starting to sink in.
“Just being around a guy  of his caliber rubs off,” Klatt said. “He was always telling me, ‘You’ve just got to believe in yourself.’ And I think I’m starting to see the results now.”
Later in the day Shane Van Boening kept the USA’s hopes alive with a hard fought win over Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin. Former world champion Wu Jiaqing, now playing for China, finally showed his world class form with a drubbing of Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen, 11-4.  Taiwan’s young Hsu Kai Lun and China Open champion Chiang Yu Lung also moved on.
Some the day’s best fireworks were saved for the last session of the day. The Czech Republic’s Roman Hybler has been on the scene for over ten years but hadn’t made much noise in about that much time. Today the 37 year old Hybler roared back into the pool spotlight with an impressive outing against former world champ Mika Immonen, winning 11-7.
“When I woke up today and went to the practice hall I felt good, I felt I had a chance today,” Hybler said.  “If I can Mika, I can beat anyone.”
China’s Li He Wen, last year’s runner up Antonio Gabica, and Austria’s Albin Ouschan all put in solid efforts today to advance. The Philippines veteran Ramil Gallego, who lives in Japan, took hall of famer Ralf Souquet to the brink and squeaked by at the wire, 11-10, sending the German great home earlier than anyone expected.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire day happened at about the same time on the other side of the arena. Dutch newcomer Marc Teutscher was hanging around defending champion Thorsten Hohmann for much of their tense match. But absolutely nobody could imagine the 22 year old, playing in his very first world championship, could overtake the great German. But Teutscher kept battling away and after trailing for most of the match, finally took a late lead and held off  Hohmann with some amazing pressure shots to pull off a shock win, 11-9.
Teutscher’s win was the perfect ending to an amazing day in pool.  With  many of the sport’s biggest names sent packing, and the appearance of many new names, young sharp shooters, and grizzled veterans rising to the fore, the next two days are sure to see some unusual and exciting turn of events as pool crowns a new world champion.
The round of 32 begins Thursday at 11am Doha time, GMT +3.
**The 2014 World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27. The winner of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
The players will be competing on Wiraka New Model Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Super Pro TV Balls.
The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation, which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament on its website,   
To  view the brackets  please visit this link:
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
For more information you can also visit the WPA website at Fans can also visit the website of the Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation at; 
*The 2014 World 9-ball Championship will be held in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27,2014 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the most prestigious prize in Men’s Pool. The 2014  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.
Results Final 64
1st Session
Wang Can(CHN) 11 – 9 Warren Kiamco(PHL)
Raymond Faraon(PHL) 11 – 5 Liu Cheng Chieh(TPE) 
Elmer D. Haya(PHL) 11 – 4 Francisco Felicilda(PHL)
Hijikata Hayato(JPN) 11 – 8 Tanaka Masaaki(JPN)
Waleed Majed(QAT) 11 – 6 Lee Van Corteza(PHL)   
Darren Appleton(GBR) 11 – 3 Daryl Peach(GBR)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 11 – 8 Andreas Gerwin(SWE)  
Johann Chua(PHL) 11 – 4 Daniele Corrieri(ITA)
2nd Session
Mario He(AUT) 11 – 9  Alex Pagulayan(CAN)
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 11 – 9 Jayson Shaw(GBR)  
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 11 – 3 Manuel Gama(POR)
Neils Feijen(NED) 11 – 4 Salaheldeen Al Rimawi(UAE)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 11 – 6 Meiszko Fortunski(POL)
Jason Klatt(CAN) 11 -6 Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)  
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 11 – 8 Dennis Orcollo(PHL)  
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11 – 3 Sundeep Galati(IND)
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 11 – 6 Fu Che Wei(TPE)   
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 11 – 4 Lo Li Wen(TPE)
Stephan Cohen(FRA) 11 – 5  Huidji  See(NED)
Chang Yu Lung(TPE)    11 – 9 Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE)   
Shane Van Boening(USA) 11 – 9 Chang Jung Lin(TPE)
Dang Jing Hu(CHN) 11 – 6 Karl Boyes(GBR)   
Tohru Kuribayashi (JPN) 11 -9  Alexander Kazakis(GRE)
Nick Ekonomopoulos(GRE) 11 – 5 Fabio Petroni(ITA)
4th Session
Antonio G.bica(PHL) 11 – 7  Medhi Rasekhi(IRI)
Ryu Seung Woo(KOR) 11 – 9 Bruno Muratore(ITA)  
Roman Hybler(CZE) 11 – 7 Mika Immonen(FIN)   
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 11 – 5 Oliver Ortmann(GER)   
Li He Wen(CHN) 11 – 7 Dimitri Jungo(SUI)
Marc Teutscher(NED) 11 – 9 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 11 – 8 Aloysius Yapp(SIN)
Ramiel Gallego(PHL) 11 – 10 Ralf Souquet(GER) 


Gold Rush in Doha

Photos Courtesy Richard Walker

(Doha, Qatar)–There’s been a tangible buzz in the lobby of the Holiday Villa Hotel here in blazing hot Doha over the last two days. As the best pool players on the planet began to arrive for the 23rd running of the WPA World 9-ball Championship, and the hubbub and loud banter of players, their friends and officials have filled the place with life, you could sense that something special was starting to brew.   


Part of that expectation surely comes from the fact that pool’s best of the best only get a few chances a year to gather together and duke it out for big time glory. And that lack of marquee events means that when a major tournament does come around, it feels that much extra special. And when you talk about majors, well, it doesn’t get much bigger than this one. Ask any pool player which is the one event they want to win and all would say this one; the World 9-ball Championship, pool’s crowning triumph.


Clearly, though, this year’s edition promises even more fireworks than ever before.  The 128 players from over 40 countries that will begin play on Saturday at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha make up as good a field as fans have seen in years, with 27 out of the world’s top 30 players, and nine World 9-ball champions ready to battle here.  But let’s take a step back for a minute and take a quick glance back at the qualifiers which just ended lateThursday night, to understand the depth of quality here. 128 players from all over the globe had entered the qualifiers for a chance at 12 spots in the main draw. While around half the field probably had little chance of progressing to the main stage, the rest were a collection of amazing pool talent. The qualifying tournament could have been considered a big time professional event all by itself.


This will be the fifth straight year that that the tiny Gulf country of Qatar has hosted the World 9-ball Championship. Once again the players will be broken up into 16 groups of 8 playing a race-to-9, alternate break, double elimination format.  Four players from each group will make up the final 64, which marks the start of the always tense and dramatic single elimination phase of the tournament.  Matches will then become race to 11, alternate break. The final, which takes place on June 27, will be a race to 13.


Defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany received his WPA Player of the Year crystal cup at the players meeting on Friday night, and he’ll be hoping to raise another bauble come June 27th.  But even Hohmann would acknowledge the steep hill he and anyone else hoping to win will have to climb to enter the winner’s circle here.


As usual a slew of great Filipinos lead the field in terms of numbers, as 11 Pinoys will be vying for the crown, including among them Dennis Orcollo, Lee Van Corteza, last year’s surprise runner up Antonio Gabica, semi-finalist Carlo Biado, Jeff de Luna, Warren Kiamco, and of course the legend, Efren “Bata” Reyes. The Filipino players always enjoy a bit of home court advantage in Doha as the massive Overseas Filipino Worker contingent here turns out in droves to cheer on their countrymen, especially Reyes, who is a real live folk hero wherever he goes.


Taiwan brings the second largest contingent to Doha with 10 stellar players in the field. It’s been 9 years since a Taiwanese captured this title—then 16 year old Wu Chia Ching in 2005—and with their  talent on hand here this week, the island nation just might finally get another one. Ko Pin Yi certainly has the tools to get the job done, as do recent China Open winner Chang Yu Leong, Chang Jun Lin, Fu Chei Wei and several others.


The Europeans, as usual, are set to shine. 2013 World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton of Great Britain is a heavy favorite this week. Fellow Englishman Karl Boyes always plays well in this event and reached the semis last year. The Netherlands star Niels Feijen has won all over the world but he has yet  bag the big one. But “the Terminator” has really upped his game over the last year and is expected to progess far this week. Greece’s Nick Ekonomopolous always brings his ‘A’ game to the big stage. Also on fans’ radar are former champions such as Finland’s Mika Immonen, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, and England’s Daryl Peach.


China has never won a World 9-ball Championship but their government backed talent pool will surely pull off the big one soon. Rising star Wang Can, former champion Wu Jiaqing(formerly Wu Chia Ching who now plays for China), and the bespectacled Li Hewen, who came within one rack of winning here two year ago, all could bring the the gold back to the world’s most populous nation in what would surely bring this game to new heights.


It’s been 12 years since an American-Earl Stickland-won the World 9-ball Championship. Shane Van Boening has surely earned the accolades as one of pool’s greatest players over the last few years. Van Boening, though, has yet to perform up to fans’ and his own expectations overseas. Can “the South Dakota Kid” finally catch a gear while playing far from home?


While pool’s marquee players are surely going to dominate the storylines, it’s often the unknowns who provide a lot of the excitement and drama each year at the World 9-ball Championship. Ever since the tournament came to Doha five years ago, the advances made by players from the Middle East has been nothing short of astounding.  It may no longer be considered an upset if a Middle Easter players dumps a  big name and gets as far as the semi-finals this week.


Whatever the outcome on June 27th, the next 7 days are guaranteed to provide pool fans around the world with everything they could ever want; amazing pool talent and brilliant shot making, edge of your seat tension and drama, and upsets and surprises right up until the very last 9-ball drops.


*The 2014 World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27. The winner of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.


The players will be competing on Wiraka New Model Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Super Pro TV Balls.


The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation, which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament on its website,   

The view the complete brackets for the Group Stages, please CLICK HERE


The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 


Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;


The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa

For more information you can also visit the WPA website at Fans can also visit the website of the Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation at;


**The 2014 World 9-ball Championship will be held in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27,2014 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the most prestigious prize in Men’s Pool. The 2014  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.

Experience Carries The Opening Day

Dennis Orcollo (Photo courtesy of Richard Walker)

Long time followers of the WPA World 9-ball Championship know that the event is always full of surprises. The upstarts, the unknowns, the unexpected seem to make a splash in each and every edition of pool’s crowning glory.
As this slowly building drama begins to rise towards a guaranteed thunderous climax six days from now, fans already know the upsets and shocks are going to start mounting. But while the newbies and nobody’s of pool will definitely make their noise, even more true is that good old fashioned sporting standards like experience, possessing a history of winning and performing under crushing pressure are generally going to carry the day.
As day one of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship commenced in this fabulously wealthy desert kingdom this most valuable of athletic tenants carried the storyline in one of the day’s better matches. The Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo would be among any betting man or woman’s top contenders out of the field of 128 players entered here in Doha. But in his first match in the group stage he drew a very difficult opponent in Canada’s Jason Klatt.
Down 6-4, then 8-6 in the race to 9 match, and clearly struggling to find his normally sensational groove, Orcollo was staring at the prospect of a long and arduous road back to reach the final 64. But then, in that manner that champions always put forth, the Filipino star managed to claw back and claim a very hard fought and nervy victory, 9-8. Afterward, Orcollo admitted he was slow to get a feel for the brand new Wiraka table. But he also admitted he’s been around long enough to know what to do when things don’t go your way.
“I felt uncomfortable with the table,” Orcollo said.  “I struggled but I didn’t give up. You know  I have a lot of experience. And I know that with pressure comes negative thoughts.  It’s going to happen in pool. There’s nothing you can do about it. I just try to calm down and stay focused, stay positive and that’s what I did today.”
With the gritty win Orcollo moves to  the winner side of his group bracket and now only needs to win one more match to advance to the money rounds. What could have been a disaster has, because of experience, turned into a battle hardening test that will clearly serve the Filipino well moving forward. It also should serve as a lesson for fans looking for an upstart to wreak havoc on the field. Yes, that’s a real  possibility in this often wild and crazy sport that is loaded with new and burgeoning talent. But pool, like everything else, generally doesn’t operate outside the laws of the universe. Put a simpler way, the crème generally rises to the top.
There was plenty of tasty crème rising to the top in the 48 matches at the Al Saad Sports Club on Day 1 as most of the favorites claimed victory in the first day of group play.  Defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany kicked things off with a 9-2 drubbing of India’s overmatched Sumit Talwar.  His opponent in last year’s final, the Philippines Antonio Gabica, didn’t have near as easy a draw, as he found himself locked in battle with two time runner up Kuo Po Cheng of Taiwan.
The USA's Shane Van BoeningMuch like he did last year during his historic run to the finals, Gabica hung around for three fourths of the match, only to pull away at the end for a 9-5 win. Gabica, who’s lived in Qatar for five years and helps coach the Qatar national pool team,  admitted afterward that he wasn’t thinking about last year’s finals debacle when nerves and pressure got the better of him and he blew a 6-4 lead to Hohmann. Gabica said this year he was feeling a different kind of pressure; the one that comes from just trying to put food on the family table.
“That’s too much pressure out there,” the friendly Gabica said after the match. “You know at this stage of the tournament if you lose, you don’t get prize money. That’s why I don’t think about last year. I just think about getting to the final 64. I want to get the prize money.”
One player who fans would love to see make a dash to glory is the USA’s Shane Van Boening. The three time and reigning US Open champion has the pedigree to win here in Doha. But Van Boening never seems to perform that well outside the borders of America.
Today Van Boening defeated Eritrea’s very talented Hamzaa M. Saeed Ali, 9-5. After his match, the American opened up about the reasons he feels why he hasn’t yet cracked the winners circle outside of the US borders.
 “If it’s winner breaks, then I have a chance,” Van Boening said. “I won three US Opens and they were winner breaks. I’m a rhythm player. I like to run out and then keep playing. I don’t like to give my opponent a chance. I like to put a guy in his chair for a while. With the alternate break format I have a hard time getting in rhythm. “
 The Philippines Hall of Famer Efren Reyes clearly couldn’t get in any rhythm today. Several hundred Filipino overseas workers showed up to cheer on their hero but came away disappointed as “Bata” never got in the match as he lost handily to Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa, 9-5.
Other favorites winning  solidly today included former champions Mika Immonen of Finland, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, and Wu Jiaqing of China. Also notching solid performances were Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos, Niels Feijen of the Netherlands, the Philippines Carlo Biado, and  England’s Karl Boyes.
A few dark horses made some noise during today’s four sessions and fans should definitely keep an eye on these upstarts who could wreak havoc in the coming days. China’s Wang Can is perhaps the best of this lot and he looked brilliant today in a 9-2 drubbing of the USA’s Brandon Shuff. Austria’s Mario He seems to have it together at just the right time, as he beat recent China Open winner Chang Yu Lung, 9-7. Ko Ping Chung, the younger brother of Taiwan star Ko Pin Yi, eked out a 9-8 win over Poland’s Karol Skowerski.
Waleed Majed of QatarThe Philippines Warren Kiamco is one of those players who could sneak up on the field in the later rounds. Today the veteran Kiamco carved out a solid 9-7 win over France’s Stephen Cohen. Singapore’s young Aloysius Yapp can’t realistically win this event, but he could stir the pot. Today the boyish Yapp defeated Mohamed Elassal of Egypt 9-5.
Great Britain’s Jasyon Shaw has certainly logged in a few miles in the past few years and is due to make some noise in a big event. He clearly brings the right attitude into the arena, and it’s something others might want to try and copy. That is, if they have the nerve to under all this pressure.
“You’ve gotta take your chances out here,” Shaw said after defeating Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin, 9-6.  “If you don’t take chances, you might as well pack up your cue and go home.”
The group stages continue on Day 2 at the Al Saad on Sunday.  All the losers will square off on Day 2 with 32 players being shown the exits by the end of the day’s play. The first session begins at 12 noon local time.(GMT +3)
**The 2014 World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27. The winner of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
The players will be competing on Wiraka New Model Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Super Pro TV Balls.
The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation, which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament on its website,   
The view the complete brackets for the Group Stages, please CLICK HERE
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
For more information you can also visit the WPA website at Fans can also visit the website of the Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation at; 
*The 2014 World 9-ball Championship will be held in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27,2014 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the most prestigious prize in Men’s Pool. The 2014  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.
Winners need one more win to advance to the Final 64. Losers move to the losers side of their group bracket. All groups are double elimination.
Group 1
Thorsten Hohmann (GER) 9 – 3 Sumit Talwar (IND)
Tanaka Masaaki(JPN)  9 – 4 Mohamed Al Hosani(UAE)
Marco Teutscher(NED) 9 – 6 Mohd Al Bin Ali(QAT)  
Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 9 – 5 Erik Hjorleifson(CAN)
Group 2
Jalas Yousef(VEN) 9- 5 John Morra(CAN)
Tohru Kuribayashi(JPN) 9- 7 Scott Cooney(GBR)
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 9 – 5  Hasan Hwaida Idan(IRQ)
Dang Jing Hu(CHN) 9- 2 Dimitri Jungo(SUI)
Group 3
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 5 Hamzaa M. Saeed Ali(ERI)
Daniele Corrieri(ITA) 9 – 5 Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 9 – 4 Ahmad Taufiq(BRU)
Abdul Rahman Al Ammar(KSA) 9 – 5 Melkonyan Babken(ROU)
Group 4
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 7  Ramil Gallego(PHL)
Mehdi Rasekhi(IRI)9 – 4 Mishel Turkey(QAT)
Antonio G.bica(PHL-QAT) 9 – 5 Kuo Po Cheng(TPE) 
Michel Bartol(CRO) 9 – 3 Fahim Sinha(BAN)
Group 5 
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 –  5 Liu Hai Tao(CHN)
Ryu Seung Woo(KOR) 9 – 6 Yukio Akagariyama (JPN) 
Fabio Petroni(ITA) 9 – 5 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Waleed Majed(QAT) 9 – 2 Detlef Grzella(RSA)
Group 6
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 1 Frailin Guanipa(VEN)
Abdulla Al Yusef(KUW) 9-3 Mohammed Hamouda(EGY)
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 4 Eric Lee(HKG)
Warren Kiamco(PHL) 9 – 7 Stephan Cohen(FRA)
Group 7
Dennis Orcollo(PHL) 9 – 8 Jason Klatt(CAN)
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 8 Karol Skowerski(POL)
Jayson Shaw(GBR) 9 – 6 Chang Jung Lin(TPE)
Ivo Aarts(NED) 9 – 5 Abdulla Mohammad(UAE)
Group 8
Roman Hybler(CZE) 9 – 5 Daryl Peach(GBR) 
Hijikata Hayato(JPN) 9 – 6 Vilmos Foldes(HUN) 
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 3 Nour Wasfi Al Jarrah(JOR)
Tom Storm(SWE) 9 – 8 Glen Coutts(NZL)
Group 9
Karl Boyes(GBR) 9 – 4 Sayeem Hossain(BAN)
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 8 Maj Al Azmi(KUW)
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 9 – 5 Efren Reyes(PHL) 
Raymund Faraon(PHL) 9 – 8 Denis Grabe(EST)
Group 10
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 7 Stefan Sprangers(NED)
Elvis Calasang(PHL) 9 – 3 Marzen Berjaoui(LEB)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 5 Albin Ouschan(AUT) 
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) Alejandro Carvajal(CHI)
Group 11
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 2 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 5 Mohamed Elassal(EGY)
Huidji See(NED) 9  – 3 Jurgen Jenisy(AUT)
Andreas Gerwen(SWE) 9 – 4 Mohammadali Pordel(IRI)
Group 12
Mario He(AUT) 9 – 7 Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 
Ali Obaidly(QAT) 9 – 4 Mohammad Ali Berjaoui(LEB)
Nick Economopoulos(GRE) 9 – 3 Christian Aguirre(ECU)
Nguyen Anh Tuan(VIE) 9 – 6 Francisco Felicilda(PHL) 


Chen wins seven on the loss side, downs Smith in the finals of Tri-State stop

Dennis Kennedy, Rhys Chen and Christian Smith

Rhys Chen's trip through a field of 58 players, on hand for the Tri-State Tour's $1,000-added, A-D 9-Ball event on the weekend of June 14-15 went through host venue (Castle Billiards, East Rutherford, NJ) owner, John Trobiano twice. They met in the third round, when Trobiano sent Chen to the loss side to embark on a seven-match winning streak that would pass through Trobiano and eventually lead to a winning effort in the finals against ChristIan Smith
Smith, who advanced to the hot seat, defeated Don Montavalo, Carl Yusuf Khan, Shin Sekine, and Jose Liz Domeneche before running into Keith Adamik in a winners' side semifinal. Dennis Kennedy, in the meantime, squared off against Tony Ignomirello. Smith downed Adamik 7-1, as Kennedy was busy sending Ignomirello west 6-5. Smith gained the hot seat 9-8 over Kennedy, and waited on Chen.
Chen opened his loss-side campaign with victories over Antonio G.evara, Vinny Ferri, Domeneche and successfully wreaked his vengeance on Trobiano 7-5, to pick up Adamik. Ignomirello drew Dave Jusis, who'd gotten by Pat Mareno 6-2 and Jan Mierzwa 7-2.
Chen moved on to the quarterfinals (five down, three to go) with a 7-5 win over Adamik. He was joined by Jusis, who ended Ignomirello's day 6-3. Chen then eliminated Jusis 7-4 and defeated Kennedy in the semifinals 8-7. In the extended-race finals, Chen took an early and what proved to be insurmountable 3-1 lead. Smith would chalk up only one more, as Chen went on to reach seven games, extending the race to nine games, and then run out the final rack for a 9-4 win.
Tour representatives thanked John Trobiano and his staff at Castle Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for June 21, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

They’ll Have to Play Their Best to Beat Me

As he gets set to defend the World 9-ball Championship in Qatar this week, Germany's Thorsten Hohmann opens up about the satisfaction of winning the event twice, why 9-ball is the best game in the word, and how he's plenty hungry for more.

Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann kicked off his campaign in the 2013 World 9-ball Championship in Doha with a resounding 9-4 defeat at the hands of Taiwan’s talented Lo Li Wen. But as he packed up his cue and walked out of the arena, he didn’t seem the least bit bothered by being on the ropes so early in the event. In fact, he exuded confidence.


He told me he wasn’t upset by the loss because he felt like he was in stroke and that it was just a matter of time before the balls started rolling his way.  When I asked him how he could be so pumped after a big defeat, he mentioned his win the week before in New York City where he captured  the World Straight Pool tournament in New York City. Hohmann insisted he was in stroke and that all he had to do was get some rest, shake off the last vestiges of jet lag and a small cold, and all would be fine.


As it turned out, Hohmann knew exactly what he was talking about. He romped in his next group stage match against Iranian Mehdi Rasekhi, then downed Hall of Famer Francisco Bustamante in a cracker of a battle to advance to the final 64. By then the jet lag and the cold had clearly worn off and the German proceed to log an awe inspiring three days that catapulted him all the way to his second World 9-ball Championship. Along the way, he took down a “Murderer’s Row” of great pool talent, including, Japan’s Toru Kurabayashi, defending Champion Darren Appleton, the Philippines superstar Dennis Orcollo, Filipinos Jeff De Luna, Carlo Biado, and then Antonio G.bica in the finals.


With the win Hohmann became only the third person to ever win two World 9-ball Championships. It also surely cemented his place in pool’s pantheon, the BCA Hall of Fame, which the German will be eligible for when he turns 40.


Now in his 22nd year playing professionally, the 34 year old from Fulda, Germany has carved out a phenomenal career that allows him to travel the globe, and make him a threat to win any event he enters. He first burst onto the pool scene with his surprise win at the 2003 World Pool Championship in Cardiff.  He was so unknown then that most pool fans expected his win to represent a one hit wonder. But Hohmann used that first world title as a springboard to greatness that hasn’t subsided in the decade since.  He has won some of pool’s biggest events, including the IPT North American Open(2006), the China Open(2009), All Japan Open(2010), the Philippine Open(2011), the World Cup of Pool(with fellow German Ralf Souquet, 2011), and three World 14:1 tournaments.


I recently caught up with the friendly German in late May in Manila. He was in town visiting some friends and preparing for the China Open in Shanghai.(he made it to the quarterfinals.) Pool being what it is, with hardly any big events in the first half of the year, Hohmann’s season was just about to get into gear. 


Over the course of our interview, it was clear that Hohmann doesn’t let the lack of major events slow him down. When pool is not in season, he stays focused by working out nearly every day. He also travels the world taking care of sponsor commitments, playing in smaller events and enjoying the fruits of his labors to the hilt. And Hohmann has no intention of slowing down, which means pool fans can expect to see the German playing at the top levels of the sport for many years to come.


With the World 9-ball Championship coming in June this year, Hohmann will only get to enjoy 9 months on the throne. That is unless, of course,  he repeats. The German great knows that winning a world championship can often come down to circumstance and a bit of luck so he wasn’t willing to predict another win this week in Doha.  But everyone and their brother knows that “the Hitman” is a real threat in any event he enters. 


And while he wouldn’t guarantee victory, he did have this ominous thing to say when asked how he’ll perform against 127 of the best players on the planet for pool’s most prestigious prize; “I can promise they’ll have to play their best to beat me.”


Hohmann after winning the 2003 World Pool Championship in Cardiff, WalesTL: The World 9-ball is coming up. After you won the tournament last September, get us up to date with what  you have been doing in the last 9 months.


TH: After the World 9-ball Championship I had quite a few tournaments I had to play and I was successful, the week after I won the Maryland straight pool tournament. And then I won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. It was my first appearance in Russia ever so I was very happy about that. And then, like in the  past few years, it’s been quiet, I always get a slow start, not too many tournaments to play in from January to  about May. With the China Open next week, it will be the beginning of my season and then I have the highlight with the World 9-ball Championship in Qatar so I’ll get really busy again.


TL: Let’s go back to the World 9-ball Championship last year. You’re always a threat to win a tournament but I don’t think people were really looking at you so much to win. But I remember during the tournament you were super confident even after you lost your first match in the group stage. And then you started to pick up the confidence. Did you feel all along that you could win the tournament?'


TH: If I look at my track record in the past after winning a big straight pool tournament I usually follow it up with another huge tournament win. You know I just came from the straight pool win in New York and I was full of confidence and I was in stroke. You can never predict how a tournament is going to go, it depends on the draw, you can play 100% and your opponent plays just a little bit better. But I was certainly confident, I had my opportunities and then I escaped Kurabayashi with an 11-10 win (in the round of 64), and from there on I just got into a groove and went through all the Filipinos.


TL:Yes you beat 4 out of 5 Filipinos along the way. That is just an incredible statistic when you look back on it isn’t it?


TH: Oh it was tough mentally because I wasn’t only playing my opponents, there was roughly about 1000 Filipinos rooting against me. I guess that just brought out the best in me and it put a little bit extra pressure on my opponents. I think that could’ve cost (Antonio) Gabica the title at the end because he had a good lead against me and I guess the pressure got to him at the end. And I knew if I could stay with him and keep the pressure up he’s going make a mistake and that’s what happened. I’ve always played my best at the end, the last few matches of the World Championship including the final.


TL: He was up 6-4, he missed an easy 5-ball, there was a big gasp, he seemed to lose all his confidence. Did you sense at that point that he was ripe for the taking?


TH: You never know. He could miss and get right back in it and it’s all about opportunities and I used my opportunities, he made a couple of mistakes, I got lucky once I tried to bank and it went in off two rails. So it all comes together and all you have to do is try your best. Of course if your opponent makes a mistake at the end it gives you an extra boost of energy and maybe boosts your confidence to the next level. I’ve been playing for 22 years I know how it works.


TL: A lot of people might say; ‘What does 14-1 straight pool have to do with 9-ball. They are totally different disciplines.’ For you what is the relationship between the two?


TH: Personally I grew up playing straight pool. And when I’m in stroke, I’m in stroke it doesn’t matter what game I play. It’s just that straight pool gives me this confidence that’s required. At one point we all have good technique and we all know how to make the shots, and we play the right game, but to have this confidence and the will to win and succeed at the end, that comes from somewhere else and I draw that energy from my straight pool game. If I know I can run 100 balls and I can win a tournament that gives me so much confidence, it doesn’t matter what game I’m playing next. It works for me.


TL: So will you practice 14-1 straight pool before these big 9-ball events?


TH: Well this year’s a little different because the World 9-ball Championship is already in June and last year it was in September. And I haven’t had the preparation like I had last year. I’m trying to stay in shape like I did last year. I work out 5-6 times a week at the gym which I’ve been doing for the past few months. That helped last year so why not do the same thing this year. I have the China Open about two weeks before the World 9-ball Championship, so hopefully that will give me some time to get into the tournament groove. I’ve been practicing a lot, I’ve been playing well. I finished 2nd in a tournament in Canada and went through a minefield of players there. So I know my game is there. I just have to be 100% focused when the time is there. I will try my best.


TL: The World 9-ball Championship is obviously very difficult to win, anything can happen. The rules seems to be set up to make it a wide open game in which anybody can win, even lesser players. Does it make it more difficult to win because it’s so wide open and players are making so many balls on the break?


Hohmann carries fellow German Ralf Souquet after the duo won the 2011 World Cup of Pool in ManilaTH: Honestly I don’t think about what game would be the best to benefit the better player because in the end I can’t change it. I just try to do my best when I get there.  I had an American player ask me, ‘What do you think would be the best game for us Americans to play so we can win tournaments again?’ I said, ‘No, no, no. you are approaching this from a different angle. You have to figure out what can you do to do your best to win a tournament.’ And that’s my approach.


I love 9-ball. I think it’s a great game. People think 10-ball is better because the break is tougher and there’s an extra ball. But for me there’s something about 9-ball. It’s faster, it’s action. You know there’s luck involved, there’s  the draw, the break. I don’t even know which racking system we are going to be using so maybe that evens it out for the players. So all I can do is try my best, that’s how I approach it. I don’t try to think about the rules.


TL: And one thing I’ve noticed, and I hear lots of complaints from players saying the rules should be changed to this or the rules should be changed to that, or we should go back to old time 9-ball, but at the end of the day in any tournament when the pressure is on, the crème usually rises to the top doesn’t it?


TH: Yes, even though maybe 9-ball is an easier game than 10-ball, you don’t see too many players run out sets. There’s plenty of mistakes that players make, including myself. So again it doesn’t matter what game you play, what rules, you just have to be mentally right there, you have to be in shape and train and do your best.


TL: You won the World 9-ball Championship ten years ago for the first time. How did the one last year that you won compare to the first one?


TH: Well ten years ago that was my major breakthrough and the stage was amazing. To win in Cardiff, if you remember the Matchroom setup, the arena, the spectators, the live television, the interviews, it was just top class entertainment. So that was very special to me and that set the stage for me to have an incredible career the last ten years winning tournaments all over the world. It gave me the opportunity to be a professional player.


After ten years, yes it was satisfying. I think I’m on top of my game and I had to play the top players in the world. I had to beat Darren Appleton who was the reigning world champion last year. I beat Dennis Orcollo who is considered one of the best in the world. So that was very satisfying. Unfortunately there was not the coverage like ten years ago. I wish there would be more publicity and the media coverage because you know you want to preserve it for future generations so they can look back and see that this was a major event. But nevertheless, it still felt great. I’ve proven to many players and people that I can still do it. But it only lasts for so long and we have a new world championship coming up. It will be unbelievable to do it again.


TL: After that, a lot of people were saying hey, Thorsten’s having a great year, won the 14-1, won the World 9-ball Championship, you’re having a great year, and that you should have been on the European Mosconi Cup team. You weren’t picked for the Mosconi Cup team. How disappointing was it not to be picked to play on the Mosconi Cup team?



TH: You can ask any player from the United States and Europe what is the one tournament they want to play in and they’ll all say the Mosconi Cup. It’s just very special to play for your continent in front of hundreds of people in Vegas or in London, and the publicity you get and the pressure. It’s just a totally different level. That’s how we want to compete. It was disappointing for me having won so many tournaments and not getting picked but I know the Mosconi Cup is a business, it’s entertainment and one year you get picked where maybe you shouldn’t have been picked, and the next year you think you should be and you don’t. Ultimately it’s Matchroom that makes the decision for their business and well, hopefully in the future I’ll get picked again.

At this point again my season is starting to get serious. I have some crazy travel coming up. I’m going to Vegas for an invitational event, then right back to China for the World Team and then straight back to New York for the Straight Pool. So I have a lot of good tournaments coming up and that’s what I focus on, one by one, and I don’t think of the Mosconi Cup at all. If they want me, they’ll invite me. I just want to play my best.

I’m very picky of the tournaments that I play in because I want to enjoy myself. There’s some local tournaments that I skip because I’m at a stage where I really want to enjoy myself. So I pick the highlights, the good tournaments, and that’s what I focus on. It’s taken me 20 years to find balance between practice and my social life. And last year I think I found a really good balance so that I’m hungry again, perform, spend the time that is required to play my best, at the same time don’t get burned out. I do a lot of activities. If you go on my social media, my Facebook page, my Instagram page you’ll see I do crazy stuff, to find that balance.

TL: You’ve been at it for 22 years. How do you stay interested, excited, and geared up for pool, because pool is no picnic as a professional sport?

Hohmann after winning the 2014 World 9 ball ChampionshipTH: I’m supported by the best companies in the business. Lucasi Cues they’ve been with me for ten years. Kamui products, Simonis Cloth, and Cue Pod. They support me which makes it easier for me. I don’t have to play every single tournament. I can pick the ones that I want to play. If I had to play every tournament it would make it tougher. So when I go to a tournament I’m hungry and I want to win. I want to make sure I spend a few quiet hours to be ready, to be in stroke, to be mentally prepared. The first few months of the year were quiet so I can focus on my fitness and other things and now I want to play tournaments. I’m ready.

TL: So you really don’t get burned out on pool and the key is to have other things outside of pool in your life.

TH: Exactly. I still love playing pool. It’s my hobby, it’s my life, I enjoy competing. I think I still have lots to learn. Various games I still have to improve on like one-pocket, bank pool which will ultimately benefit my game in general. And there’s still some tournaments out there that I haven’t won. And I like to travel the world. That’s one of the privileges that I really cherish is to travel the world and make friends all over and compete and hopefully inspire some other generation to do the same thing and to play pool on a very competitive level. Honestly I can’t wait to play in China, to play in Qatar and to play in whatever is coming up next.

TL: What is your greatest memory in pool after two decades in the game?

TH: I had so many ups and downs. Winning my first major event, being part of the IPT, winning the World Cup of Pool with Ralf a hero I looked up to when I was 12 years old. There are so many highlights I have had I couldn’t really pick one, it’s tough.

You are competing in a sport that always seems to trip over itself and can’t seem to unite and can’t get the big international exposure. What does pool have to do to take it to the next level?

TH: Well I hope that pool will spread out more and become more popular in different parts of the world. I try to do my best to be a good ambassador and hopefully the players and everybody in the industry can unite and bring pool to a level it deserves so it will give more opportunities for players to compete in big events that are televised and give them a chance to make a living.

TL: In Thorsten Hohmann’s eyes, the world champion, what is it about the sport of pool that is so special, that people don’t understand?

TH: First of all, if you look at the game itself and the challenges involved both physically and mentally. It’s solving puzzles, it’s like learning a language. I can play a guy in Taiwan or Australia or Brazil and we all speak the same language, which is playing pool. To master the table physically and at one point it becomes all mental, to pick the right shots and stay cool under pressure and to learn how to lose and deal with it and be a sportsman, there are so factors in pool. It can be played anywhere, by anybody. There are no age limitations. You can be a man or a woman, you can be short or tall, you can be young or old, it doesn’t matter, anyone can play. I’m still 34 years old, and if you look at Ralf  or Efren (Reyes), they have ten 20 more years playing pool on their back and they are still competing, so I still have many more years to come. Pool is played worldwide. Everybody plays pool. If we can unite pool and bring the players together, bring the federations together and the industry and create  a product…the problem is pool is very sophisticated sport, it’s very difficult to understand, so we need to find a way that makes it exciting to watch as well as to play. If the world understands it, it can be the best sport in the world.

TL: Give us your final thoughts about the upcoming World 9-ball Championship and what we can expect to see from the defending world champion this year.

TH: I’m always very objective. I’m playing very good pool. I’m ready. I’ve put in the hours. I’ve still got a couple of weeks to prepare. I’m in shape, I’m fit, I’m mentally there, I’m hungry. It depends on the draw and how I feel that day. I will give my best just as last year. I’m trying to win. I know there will be plenty of competition, there will be hungry players who want to do the same thing. But I can promise they’ll have to play their best to beat me.

*To watch the actual interview please CLICK HERE.

**The 2014 World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27. The winner of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.

The players will be competing on Wiraka New Model Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Super Pro TV Balls.

The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation, which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament on its website,   

The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 

Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;

The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa

For more information you can also visit the WPA website at Fans can also visit the website of the Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation at;

*The 2014 World 9-ball Championship will be held in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27,2014 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the most prestigious prize in Men’s Pool. The 2014  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.

Appleton Wins New Jersey State 10-Ball

Darren Appleton

The Mezz Pro-Am New Jersey State 10 Ball was hosted by Sandcastle Billiards March 8th & 9th. A Strong field came out to play. Players like Darren Appleton, Adam Kielar, Matt Krah, Josh Brothers, Daniel Dagotdot, Dennis Spears, Caroline O’Neil, James Conn, and Travis McKinney.
Leading the top half of the bracket was Adam Kielar with wins over Antonio G.9-7, James Conn 9-3, Lee Holt 9-8 and TJ Moore 9-5. Leading the bottom half of the bracket was Darren Appleton with wins over Mike Couvetter 9-5, Ed Culhane 9-4, Dennis Spears 9-5, and Matt Krah 9-9.
Playing for the hot Seat was Adam Kielar vs Darren Appleton this was a great match that went hill hill but it was Appleton coming away with the win 9-8 and sending Kielar to the one lost side, Waiting for Kielar on the one lost side was Krah this was a good match that had Adam Keilar pulling away half way through the match to a 9-5 win and a rematch with Darren Appleton.
In the finals it was Adam Kielar VS Darren Appleton this event is a true double elimination so Kielar would have to win 2 set in order to win the event. It only took Appleton one sett as he won easily 9-5 to capture 2014 NJ State 10 Ball Championships.
I would like to thank all the players that came out to play I also would like to thank the following sponsors Mezz Cues, Gamblin Clothing Kumi Chalk, Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo, John Barton JB Cases, Jab Cues & Thing, Billiard Life USA, Inside Pool Magazine, and Mike Ricciardella

Trobiano wins Tri-State in his own room

Brian Hunter, John Trobiano and Pat Mareno

As he's done numerous times in the past, John Trobiano entered a Tri-State tournament on March 1, that, as owner of Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ, he was hosting. As he has also done a number of times, he won the $1,000-added AB-CD event that had drawn 35 entrants to his location. Occupying the hot seat at the end of the night, Trobiano and Brian Hunter, who'd won five on the loss side, opted out of a final match, splitting the top prizes, while conceding the event victory to the undefeated Trobiano.
Trobiano would open his five-match run on the AB side, with a victory over Borana Andoni. He followed with victories over Antonio G.errero, and Asia Cycak, before meeting up with house pro Scott Simonetti in one of the winners' side semifinals. Pat Mareno, working on the CD side initially, got by Steve Persaud, Allison Honeymar and Eddie Perez, before coming up against Ryzard Szpila in the other semifinal. Trobiana survived a double hill fight against Simonetti, and in the hot seat match, met Mareno, who'd defeated Szpila, also double hill. Trobiano won what would prove to be his last match of the night, defeating Mareno 9-7.
On the loss side, Simonetti ran right into the streaking Hunter, who'd defeated Mike Zimny 7-4 and Asia Cycak 7-3, to reach him. Szpila met up with Jennifer "Sweet P" Pedutem, who, having been sent to the loss side by Szpila in the third round of play, was on a streak of her own. She got by Jan Mierzwa 8-5 and Frank Siezcka 7-2 to meet Szpila a second time. Hunter and Pedutem advanced to the quarterfinals; Hunter downing Simonetti 7-2 and Pedutem wreaking her vengeance on Szpila, ending his day 8-4.
It was Hunter who won the quarterfinal battle, ending Pedutem's run 10-5. He then defeated Mareno in the semifinals 8-6 for a chance against Trobiano, which never happened. The two finalists opted out of the final match, leaving Trobiano as the undefeated winner.
Tour representatives congratulated Trobiano and thanked him and his staff for their hospitality. Thanks were tendered to tour sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics, as well. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for March 22, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY.

Nau downs Andoni twice to take Amateur Predator stop; Shaw does likewise to win Open

Jayson Shaw

Both Victor Nau and Jayson Shaw survived double hill battles for the hot seat in the Amateur and Open portions of the November 2-3 stop on the Predator Tour, and went on to win the finals, against the same opponents. Nau took two against Borana Andoni in the Amateur event, while Shaw defeated Tony Robles twice in the Open event. The $500-added Amateur event drew 20 entrants, while the $500-added Open portion of the proceedings drew a short field of 10 entrants to Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.
From among the winners' side final four in the Amateur event, Nau downed Antonio G.errero 7-3, as Andoni sent Bogie Uzdejczyk west 7-2. Nau took command of the hot seat match, sending Andoni to the semifinals 8-3.
On the loss side, Geurrero met up with Giovanni Hosang, who'd gotten by Kyle Bubet 7-3 and survived a double hill battle against ChristIan Smith, to reach him. Uzdejczyk faced Stewart Warnock, who'd defeated Keith Adamik, double hill, and Koka Davladze 7-5. Guerrero and Uzdejczyk advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 wins over Osang and Warnock.
Uzdejczyk won the quarterfinal match 7-2 over Guerrero and got a second crack at Andoni.  He put up a double hill fight against her, but she prevailed for a second shot at Nau. Nau finished things with an 8-4 win in the finals.
In the Open event, Shaw, still nursing wounds inflicted by back-to-back victories by Shane Van Boening and Lee Van Corteza in the US Open 9-Ball Championships,  advanced among the winners side final four and met up with Scott Simonetti. Tony Robles squared off against room owner, John Trobiano, in the other winners' side semifinal.
Shaw defeated Simonetti 7-4, as Robles advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Trobiano. Shaw won the double hill, hot seat struggle against Robles in their first of two.
On the loss side, Travis McKinley was working his way to the semifinals against Robles. He got by Keith Adamik 7-5 and Vikram Dasari 7-4 to pick up Simonetti. Trobiano faced Shpendi Kaba, who'd defeated Paul Spaanstra 7-1 and Daniel Dagotdot 7-4.
Kaba and McKinley handed Trobiano and Simonetti their second straight losses, both 7-4. McKinley then defeated Kaba in the quarterfinals 7-5. Robles ended McKinley's loss-side streak in the semifinals 7-3, and was then, himself, eliminated by Shaw in their second meeting 7-4.

Hoffman, another teen on the scene, wins his first Tri-State Tour stop

Sam Hoffman, 13, went undefeated through a field of 41 at the $1,000-added, October 19 stop on the Tri-State Tour, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. He joined Thomas Rice among the youngest players to ever win a stop on the Tri-State Tour. Sitting in the hot seat, Hoffman was to have been challenged in the finals by Paulo Valverde, who'd just finished a seven-match run on the loss side, but due to the lateness of the hour, the two opted out of playing a final match.
Hoffman almost had to come from the loss side, himself. He was challenged, double hill, in the opening round of play by Pat Mareno. He survived and went on to defeat Andrew Cleary 7-3, and Mike Figueroa 6-2, which put him into a winners' side semifinal against Michael Fedak. Victor Nau and Dave Ascolese squared off in the other.
Hoffman downed Fedak 6-3 and in the hot seat battle, met up with Ascolese, who'd squeaked by Nau in a double hill match. In what would prove to be his final win of the day, Hoffman got into the hot seat 9-7 over Ascolese.
Valverde, in the meantime, was working his way back. Loss-side victories (his second and third) over Teddy Lapadula 7-3, and Eddie DaCosta 7-5, set him up to face Fedak. Nau had to contend with Borana Andoni, who'd gotten by Shinichi Sekine 7-4 and just did defeat Antonio G.ererro 7-6. Nau ended Andoni's day 7-2, as Valverde picked up a forfeit victory over Fedak.
Valverde and Nau locked up in a quarterfinal battle that was won by Valverde 11-9. No doubt contributing to the 'lateness of the hour' that led to the decision not to play a final match, Valverde and Ascolese battled to double hill before Valverde prevailed to complete his seven-match, loss-side winning streak. In the absence of that final match, Hoffman, undefeated in the hot seat, claimed the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, a B-C-D- handicapped event, is scheduled for Saturday, October 26 at Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.

Hohmann Raises The Bar

Thorsten Hohmann



(Doha, Qatar)–Playing with a laser-like focus and an intensity that spoke of a clear desire for pool immortality, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann capped an incredible week with yet another a searing performance,  and won the 2013 World 9-ball Championship, beating the Philippines Antonio Gabica, 13-7, in front of nearly 1000 highly partisan Filipino fans at Doha’s Al Arabi Sports Club.

With the victory Hohmann now becomes only the second man to win the WPA World 9-ball Championship two times, matching American Earl Strickland, who won pool’s most prestigious crown in 1991 and 2002. Hohmann will now also take over as the World Number 1 ranked player.
Hohmann’s second World 9-ball Championship comes exactly ten years after he burst on to the international scene with a powerful run through a stacked  field in Cardiff, Wales in 2003.  In the intervening years Hohmann has firmly established himself as one of the greats of this era, consistently winning events big and small all over the globe.  He excels at various other pool disciplines as well, especially straight pool, for which he is arguably the best in the world.
But while the last ten years have placed the 34 year old Hohmann in pool’s elite, his performance this week in Doha has surely brought his stature into rarefied air. Along the way to the title he defeated a who’s who of pool strong men, among them the defending world champion Darren Appleton, and five, yes five, top Filipino players, including four in a row down the homestretch.   And don’t forget to throw in the fact that Hohmann did all this in front of what was essentially a highly partisan home crowd of mostly Filipinos who cheered wildly for their boys.  Looked at in total, that’s a masterpiece by anyone’s standards.   
For Gabica, the loss to Hohmann ended what had become one of the great Cinderella stories pool had seen in years. The 41 year old Filipino had always been known to pool fans as a superbly gifted player, but one who, except for a few occasions, would collapse under the pressure of big time matches.
With the pool scene practically dead in the Philippines, Gabica sought greener pastures, and four years ago emigrated to Qatar, where he took up a job as an assistant coach with the Qatar national pool team. During that time he has stayed off the international pool circuit, only playing in the World 9-ball Championship since it came to Qatar in 2010, and practicing long hours at the local federation. Gabica’s run through to the finals this year literally electrified the game, with huge, partisan crowds turning the Al Arabi Sports Club into what seemed like a football match instead of a pool tournament.
The excitement was literally palpable as the day began on Friday with the two semi-finals, which were played simultaneously.  On the main table, Hohmann faced the Philippines, Carlo Biado. While on a nearby table Gabica went up against England’s Karl Boyes.
Biado, who’d been playing brilliantly up to this point, learned quickly that you don’t make more than one or two mistakes against a player like Hohmann and expect to get away with it. Especially when the German is picking up a head of steam. Two errors by the 28 year old Filipino in the first half of the contest  pretty much sealed his fate as Hohmann took a tight match early and quickly made it a rout. In what amounted to a pool clinic, Hohmann won 11-4.
Boyes played perfect pool in the first half of his semi-final against Gabica, who stayed on the Brits’ coat tails. Up 6-4, though, Boyes missed a makeable four ball. From there the entire match turned, and the crowd grew ever louder as their hometown boy played perhaps the best pool of his life. Gabica won  seven straight racks to clinch a spot in the finals as the throng chanted “Ga-Bi-Ca! Ga-Bi-Ca!”
By the time the race to 13 final began an hour and a half later, the Filipino fans, all of whom live and work in Qatar, were in a fever pitch at the prospects of having one of their own win an unlikely world title. They had every reason to believe they would get their wish as Gabica, who won the lag, came out relaxed and broke and ran the first rack. Hohmann returned the favour, but then so did Gabica to go up 2-1. When Gabica cleared off a Hohmman mistake in the next frame for a 3-1 lead, the anticipation grew even more.
Hohmann, though, wasn’t going anywhere. He took advantage of two illegal breaks and a bad jump shot by the Filipino to take his first lead of the match at 4-3. But Gabica countered with three racks of his own, first a clear off a botched safety by the German, a break and run, and another clear from a safe that included a wild bank that sent the crowd into fits.
At this point Gabica was exactly where he wanted to be. In front 6-4, he was playing silky smooth and it looked like he couldn’t miss. Then in rack 11, he had a wide open table and was down on an easy straight in five-ball. Inexplicably, though, the five-ball bobbled in the jaws of the pocket. Gabica, and the crowd, couldn’t believe it, and the Filipino walked back to his chair visibly upset as Hohmann stood up and cleared. Instead of a commanding 7-4 lead, Gabica only led 6-5.
As fast as anyone could say “World 9-ball Championship,” the momentum completely abandoned Gabica and swung over to Hohmann, who was more than ready to pounce. In the next frame Gabica scratched off a brilliant Hohmann safety and the German tied the match. Hohmann then took the lead at 7-6,  running the table after another illegal break from Gabica. Hohmann got Gabica to scratch again in the next rack, and, in the blink of an eye, led 8-6.
The two players were now clearly going in opposite directions. Gabica was still visibly upset by the missed five-ball three racks prior, while Hohmann zeroed in on the finish line with laser-like focus. Gabica bobbled the two ball in the jaws in the proceeding frame, and Hohmann made a strong clear to move up 9-6. As Hohmann broke and ran the next frame, his demeanor, his potting, his eyes, all indicated he was squarely in the zone and there would be no stopping him.
Now up 10-6, Hohmann tied up Gabica again and forced him to foul. Another strong break and run, and Hohmann was on the hill, 12-6. Gabica got one back in the next frame, but the ‘Thorsten Hohmann Express’ could not be stopped. The two played safe in the next rack but Hohmann fluked the one-ball  and ran the colors straight to his second world championship. As the final 9-ball dropped, Hohmann raised his cue high over his head with both hands, giving it a big fat kiss. He then let out a fist pump and a roar, and flexed his muscle for the crowd. 
Moments afterward, the new World 9-ball Champion was clearly in awe of what he had just accomplished. Like all pool players, he’s had to deal with his share of doubt. But this week, he said, he knew there was something special about to happen.
“I’m really proud of myself,” Hohmann said. “It means a lot to me. If I had to choose between my first World 9-ball and here, I couldn’t make that decision because winning the first world championship back in Cardiff was incredible and to do it again ten years later, I’m just speechless.
“I’ve been around for 20 years now. I’m not a youngster anymore. I’ve made many mistakes. And I’ve learned from my mistakes. It doesn’t mean that you don’t make mistakes again. Everything just worked for me. I was in stroke. I came from a big victory that meant a lot to me a couple of weeks ago. In my personal life I’m really happy right now. And I thought I really could win this from the beginning to the end. I never had a doubt.
“The whole universe has to come together and work for you to win a tournament like this. But I never had doubts. I always believed in myself. I always felt that I can win this.”
For Gabica, the fairy tale roller coaster ride that he had just been on wasn’t enough to mask his obvious disappointment. Especially about the errant 5-ball that turned the match.
“I didn’t feel the pressure on that shot,” Gabica said. “I was just careless. I’ve played 30 years and I have many experiences.  I got upset because I was ready to go 7-4 up. That’s a big big mistake. I think at that moment I had too much confidence.   Maybe this is a learning experience for me. I’ll be thinking about that 5-ball for one week.”
The Filipino also knew that he had let a golden chance at history slip through his grasp.
“I’m very lucky to make it to the final. Because you don’t know what can happen in the future. It’s not easy to get to the final, because there are too many good players.  I’m very lucky.  Maybe next year I don’t know where I’m going to finish. This was my one chance.
“Thorsten played very well and he’s very fit.  As he got more of a lead on me, he got more confident. That’s the way it is in pool. But me, I started to feel the pressure.”
For winning the 2013 World 9-ball Championship, Hohmann collected $36,000. Gabica took home $18,000. The total prize fund was $250,000.