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American Players Absent from BCA Points List Top 15

For over ten years, the Billiard Congress of America has used the BCA ranking system to rank players and to use a fair and transparent system for determining which American players get invited to WPA sanctioned international events such as: the World Pool Championship, the World 10-Ball Championship and the 2022 The World Games.

For players to get points in the BCA ranking system they must play in BCA ranking events. These events include: The Turning Stone Classic, Derby City Classic, US Open, US International Open, the Predator Pro Series events, and the American 14.1. Each event is then weighed and adjusted based on field size, purse total and how many top 20 players competed in the event.

The BCA ranking system does allow for a player to miss or drop one tournament within the calendar year without that player being penalized as this system is a rolling points list based on the last eight professional ranking events.

With the recent lack of participation by some of the bigger American names in professional pool, they have understandably started dropping in the BCA rankings.

After the most recent BCA ranking event, the Predator US Pro Billiard Series in Wisconsin, the BCA updated their rankings accordingly and while there is the usual shift in players moving up and down the list, the biggest story is not in who went up the list, but more about who fell down it.

Shane Van Boening, still the top ranked American player, but formerly ranked 10th on the list, has now fallen completely out of the top 15. Before the Wisconsin tournament, Van Boening was the sole American in the top 15 but now with the updated and current rankings, this is the first time in over a decade that not only has Van Boening not been in the top 15, but no American player was ranked in the top 15.

Joining Van Boening in falling out of the top 15 were Naoyuki Oi and Jayson Shaw. With these three players falling out of the top fifteen, the list now welcomes Alex Kazakis, Bader Al Awadi and Roberto Gomez to the top 15.

Remaining in the top spot is Fedor Gorst. Mika Immonen is in a distant 2nd with a 124 point difference between him and Gorst. Immonen had been ranked 3rd on the list, but climbed one spot into 2nd after the Wisconsin tournament and Denis Grabe is also climbing up from 5th to 3rd.

As far as American players on the list, Van Boening currently sits in 18th place, less than 30 points ahead of Tyler Styer and Hunter Lombardo, who are now the 2nd and 3rd top ranked Americans, according to the BCA Rankings.

The next tournament to be BCA Ranking Event in 2022 will be the Predator Pro Series’ Alfa Las Vegas Open that takes place on March 22nd – 26th. Hopefully, we will start to see more participation from our top Americans players at this event and hopefully they can regain their status on the BCA Points List.

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Kazakis Rallies to Win Apex Wisconsin Open

Alex Kazakis

It only made sense that Alex Kazakis’s day end in the same way that it started.

As he progressed through the brackets of the single-elimination phase of the Apex Wisconsin Open, the young Greek’s performance resembled that of a yo-yo. Just when it seemed he was gaining momentum or about to close out a set, a mistake would cost him. Conversely, when it seemed Kazakis’s championship hopes were starting to wane, an opponent would miss or commit a crucial tactical error.

Through it all, Kazakis was able to persevere, surviving four consecutive matches which advanced to an extra-frame shootout to win the 64-player event Saturday night at the Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino in the Wisconsin Dells. The reigning World Pool Masters champion defeated former World 9-Ball Champion Fedor Gorst, reigning World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci, Filipino Lee Vann Corteza and Kuwait’s Bader Alawadhi to earn his first championship on American soil. Kazakis’s title match against the Kuwaiti upstart was a microcosm of his day – overcoming a handful of self-inflicted wounds only to rally and survive the match in the shootout.

Alawadhi drew first blood in the championship match, taking advantage of a missed 9 ball by his opponent and adding a break-and-run to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead. Kazakis had a chance to retaliate in the third rack when his opponent missed a 5 ball and took full advantage, winning three straight games thanks to a break-and-run and an unforced error on the 5 ball in the fifth game by Alawadhi. With a chance to close out the set, Kazakis failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth game and Alawadhi cleared the table then promptly scratched on the break in the deciding rack, handing his opponent ball-in-hand and possibly the set.

As the Greek worked his way through the potential clinching rack, he positioned the cue ball for a sharp cut shot on the 5 ball which he missed. Alawadhi cleared the table to snatch the set, 4-3.

Kazakis began to rally in the following frame, taking advantage of a missed 2 ball by his opponent on the first rack and tacking on a break-and-run to build an early 2-0 advantage. The Alawadhi would tick off two wins of his own to tie the set thanks to a victorious safety exchange in the third rack and a missed Kazakis jump shot in the following game. The Kuwaiti appeared positioned to take the lead in the fifth game but scratched while trying to secure position on the 6 ball. Kazakis cleared the table to regain the lead then capitalized on a missed 5 ball by Alawadhi in the sixth game to claim the set, 4-2.

The shootout frame was over quickly, with Kazakis pocketing his first two spot shots while Alawadhi missed three straight balls to hand the match to his opponent.

The Greek’s final day of play began by cooling off the previously hot Gorst, with the young Russian struggling to make shots in his round of 16 match. Kazakis jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first set by winning a safety battle in the first rack then taking advantage of a foul by his opponent in the next game. He then used Gorst’s missed jump shot in the third rack and a missed bank shot of the 8 ball by the Russian in the next game to shut out his opponent, 4-0.

The second set was practically a photo negative of the first, with Kazakis now struggling to make balls while Gorst capitalized. In fact, the Greek missed a shot in each of the four racks played, as Gorst cruised to a 4-0 victory of his own.
After each competitor pocketed two balls in the first four frames of the extra-inning shootout, the cue ball was moved back a diamond on the table and the format switched to sudden death. Kazakis made his first shot while the Russian missed, ending any title hopes for the 21-yer-old from Moscow.

There would be a similar tale in the quarterfinals, as Kazakis squeaked by Eklent Kaci 4-3 in the first set, lost to Kaci 4-1 in the second then defeated the Albanian 3-1 in the shootout.

Amy Kane, Alex Kazakis and Karim Belhaj

Kazakis then advanced to the semifinals where he met Lee Van Corteza, who used a combination shot on the 10 ball, a safety victory and a scratch on the break by his opponent to cruise to 4-1 win in the opening frame. After the two competitors split the first four games of the second set, Kazakis clawed out the fifth game after both players failed to pocket the 2 ball. The Greek would close out the set, 4-2, when Corteza misplayed a safety on the 4 ball in the following rack.

Neither player blinked in the first four innings of the shootout, with both competitors pocketing four straight shots. The spot shot success continued in the fifth inning when the cue ball was moved back a diamond as the format switched to sudden death, but Corteza championship hopes ended when he missed in his sixth attempt while Kazakis landed his shot.

The U.S. Pro Billiard Series returns to action next month with the Alfa Las Vegas Open March 23-26 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. This event will coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

The Wisconsin Open was the second event of the year for the U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.

Find the Final Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page

The Apex Wisconsin Open was streamed for free all week on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Turning Stone Classic XXXIV – Mika Immonen vs Bader Al Awadi

Japan, Denmark And Germany Reach Quarter-Finals Of World Cup Of Pool

Masato Yoshioka

ROUND TWO
Russia 2-7 Japan
Italy 5–7 Denmark
Germany 7-4 Kuwait

Japan, Denmark and Germany all won through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Pool during Wednesday afternoon’s play at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

Japan (Naoyuki Oi and Masato Yoshioka) were emphatic in victory over Russia, whose pair was World Champion Fedor Gorst and playing partner Sergey Lutsker. Denmark then took the initiative from 5-5 to defeat Italy, and the session concluded with Germany taking a 7-4 win over Kuwait.

The first two racks of the opening match were shared and it was Japan who took the third to lead Russia 2-1. They broke dry in the fourth but Gorst wasn’t able to successfully jump the 1 and Japan were able to take a two-rack lead that soon became 4-1.

Russia pulled one back in the sixth but a cruel kick from the 7 saw Gorst scratch on the break and Japan were able to run the table again. Oi and Yoshioka were making balls on the break and got to the hill at 6-2 thanks to another run out, and they took full advantage of the winner breaks format to take the next rack for a place in the quarter-finals where they will meet Slovakia.

Denmark and Italy (Fabio Petroni and Daniele Corrieri) were next up and a nip and tuck match saw the scores level after 10 racks. Denmark’s Bahram Lotfy and Mickey Krause were first to the hill, Lotfy making the 9 at the end of the 11th having completely messed it at 5-4 up, which had allowed Petroni ball in hand.

The Danish pair didn’t have a shot after their final break but the crucial moment came with three balls left when Lotfy played a great safety on the 7. Corrieri made a firm connection but the ball was left open for Krause and the impressive youngster set Denmark on the way to the quarter finals.

They’ll meet Germany after Joshua Filler and Christof Reintjes scored a 7-4 victory over Kuwait’s pairing of Omar Al-Shaheen and Bader Abdullah Alawadhi.

Kuwait, who were impressive in beating Poland 7-3 in the first round, took a 2-0 lead before Germany won the next five. A dry break gave Kuwait an opportunity and they closed to within one, before Alawadhi missed the 9 to level the match, which gifted Filler the chance to put Germany on the hill, and they ran out with their last break to win 7-4.

“In the first match Kuwait played really strong and that’s what we expected,” said Filler. “We both played okay, I think Omar missed an easy ball which was good for us, but we didn’t make balls on some of the breaks. But of course we are super happy to be in the quarter-finals.”

Round two concludes with three matches in the evening session, including USA vs. Philippines and Estonia vs. Great Britain A.

The World Cup of Pool is broadcast live globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Full broadcast details can be found at matchroompool.com.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Italy And Kuwait Provide Shocks At World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1
Spain 4-7 Italy
Germany 7
-4 Lithuania
Poland 3-7 Kuwait

Italy dumped World Cup of Pool third seeds Spain out in the first round of the event at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, while there were wins on Monday evening for Germany, who survived a Lithuanian fightback, and Kuwait, who shocked Poland with a 7-3 victory.

Italy (Fabio Petroni and Daniele Corrieri) led for much of the evening’s first match against Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and World Pool Masters champion David Alcaide and it was a Corrieri golden break that got them to 4-1. They moved to the hill with a healthy 6-2 lead, and it turned out that they would need it.

A mini fightback got Spain to 6-4, but Sanchez-Ruiz then missed a long 2 to the top pocket. Corrieri made the jump to remove the 2 but hooked himself on the 7. However, former Mosconi Cup player ‘Fabulous’ Fabio Petroni fluked the 3 and that opened the table for the underdogs, who cleared for the match to set up a second-round clash with Denmark on Wednesday.

The second match of the evening featured Germany’s US Open Champion Joshua Filler alongside new partner Christoph Reintjes. They were taking on World Cup rookies Lithuania, who were represented by two-time European under-23 champion Pijus Labutis and Kestutis Zadeikis.

After opening up a 5-1 lead, Germany were hit by a Lithuanian comeback, but the debutants stalled at 5-4 and from there the favourites were able to take advantage of a third dry break to close out the match 7-4.

“To play in the arena is always edgy in the first match but I really enjoyed it,” said Filler. “I missed a couple of shots but it happens but the main thing is to keep positive, and my partner played really well so I am delighted that we won.

“You should practice as a team to find your chemistry and rhythm and I think that is the key for every team. I was impressed with Lithuania. I saw them in the practice room and they played good and after 5-1 down they kept fighting.”

The evening concluded with another seeded team being eliminated. This time it was Poland who were on the wrong end of the result, with Kuwait’s Omar Al-Shaheen and Badar Abdullah Alawadhi impressing in a 7-3 victory.

The first round concludes on Tuesday with matches including appearances for all three Great Britain Teams. Kelly and Allison Fisher take on Philippines pairing Jeff De Luna and Roberto Gomez in the opening match at 12 noon (UK time). The evening session sees Jayson Shaw and Chris Melling against Belarus’ Margarita Fefilova and Yana Halliday after the return of 2014 winners Karl Boyes and Darren Appleton, they take on South Africa as late replacements for Canada. The evening session will begin at 5:30pm with USA against Australia.

The World Cup of Pool is broadcast live globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Full broadcast details can be found at matchroompool.com.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Kaci’s Albania Among Latest Confirmed For World Cup Of Pool

Eklent Kaci’s Albanian team are among a number of nations now confirmed for the World Cup of Pool, which will take place this May 9-14 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, live on Sky Sports.

Mosconi Cup winner Kaci will again be joined by Besar Spahiu after the pair defeated Russia at the 2019 World Cup before falling agonisingly short against Philippines, suffering a 7-5 defeat.

A host of European teams are now confirmed, as well as Kuwait (Omar Al-Shaheen and Bader Abdullah Alawadhi), and Australia, who will again be represented by Justin Sajich, this time partnered by Ivan Li.

Serge Das will return for Belgium alongside Kevin Lannoye, while Bosnia & Herzegovina will make their World Cup of Pool debut with Sanjin Pehlivanovic and Ajdin Piknjac. Philipp Stojanovic and Roberto Bartol will represent Croatia, while the Czech Republic pairing will be Roman Hybler and Michal Gavenciak.

Young Danish star Mickey Krause will make his debut in the Matchroom arena with Bahram Lotfy as the 20-year-old’s partner.

Estonia’s Denis Grabe and Mark Magi, who famously fell out after losing a hill-hill second round match at the last World Cup of Pool, will be hoping nothing comes between them this time around. Oliver Szolnoki and Vilmos Foldes are teaming up for Hungary and there’s a World Cup debut for Lithuania, represented by Pijus Labutis and Kęstutis Žadeikis.

The World Cup of Pool features 32 two-player teams and is played to a straight-knockout format, with a total prize fund of $250,000.

Team Austria (Albin Ouschan and Mario He) will defend their title in Milton Keynes, but competition will be tough with some of the biggest names in pool already confirmed. They include, three-times winners Philippines (Jeff De Luna and Roberto Gomez), USA (Skyler Woodward and Billy Thorpe), and Great Britain A (Jayson Shaw and Chris Melling).

The final teams will be announced shortly and the draw for the World Cup of Pool will be made soon after all teams have been confirmed. The World Cup of Pool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live, with further international broadcasters to be confirmed.

The Big Dance Starts To Take Shape

Enrique Rojas

Enrique Rojas BECOMES THE FIRST EVER PLAYER FROM CHILE TO ADVANCE TO A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP KNOCKOUT STAGE, JOINS 31 OTHERS IN DOHA'S FINAL 64

 

(Doha, Qatar)–Relief and pure joy were two emotions on wide display on Day 3 of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship,  as 32 players booked their spots into Wednesday’s Final 64, the single elimination knockout phase that signals the real start of pool’s most prestigious event.

 
Relief came from those top players who just wanted to notch their second win and put the madness that can be the group stages behind them. Pure joy came from the other players, those that know that winning this tournament is a massive long shot, and just getting through to the big dance is a career defining moment in itself.
 
The 128 player field that began here on Saturday was already considered by many to be the strongest ever gathered for this event. As the wannabes wither and the main stage starts to take shape, the remaining field promises to offer a brilliant collection of cue artists from all corners of the globe. It’s the kind of shot in the arm the sport of pool needs.
 
Today’s play inside the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha was given over to only winners’ side matches. Winners advanced to the Final 64, while losers were sent over to the losers side of their group brackets, where they will play for one more chance tomorrow on Judgement Day.
 
Middle Eastern pool once again shined brightly in the form of Omar Al Shaheen. Any lingering doubts about the authenticity of Al Shaheen’s pool genius, which he’s proudly displayed over the last year, were surely put to rest today as the 21 year old Kuwaiti laid waste to the Philippines Marlon Manalo, 9-1.
 
Manalo’s making a bit of a comeback after a three year hiatus, but anyone who knows this sport still considers the Filipino a true monster out on the floor. That didn’t seem to bother Al Shaheen  as he looked like he was having a stroll along the blue waters of the Gulf.
 
“I broke the balls good and always had a shot after the break,” said Al Shaheen. “He break the balls bad and can never see a ball.”
 
Kuwait's Omar Al Shaheen Can Al Shaheen go all the way? The university student who studies sports psychology is a long shot for sure, but his odds are definitely improving quickly. He reached the last 16 here last year and fought bravely in going out to eventual runner-up Li Hewen of China. In May of this year, Al Shaheen reached the semi-finals of the China Open in Shanghai, one of pool’s major events. He seems to be the man of the moment, and he’ll have the chance to prove it beginning Wednesday.
 
Defending champion Darren Appleton wore a smile of relief today after beating Korea’s Jeong Young H, 9-5. Like other favorites here, Appleton revealed that the two stage format had been playing tricks on his mind. You know you should win, but you could very easily find yourself sliding down a vortex of negativity if you’re not paying attention.
 
 “I was worried because if I lose I have to play Efren(Reyes),” Appleton said. “With all the Filipinos here that’s like playing in front of his hometown crowd. But if you come here to win this tournament you can’t think about who you’re going to play.  I made a few silly mind mistakes, like taking it easy when I was up 6-2. But I had 70% break and run outs. I played pretty well and I’m happy. I just wanted to get through to the final 64.”
 
China's Wu Jia QingTwo of Taiwain’s heavyweights, Chang Jun Lin and Ko Pin Yi, came through with nothing to worry about. Chang crushed Spain’s Marc Claramunt 9- 1, while Ko had an easy time with Qatar’s top player, Waleed Majed, 9-4. Another Taiwan player who always seems to play under the radar but who can do some serious damage is Cheng Yu Lung, who held off Great Britain’s Chris Melling, 9-5. 
 
The Philippines came out with a mixed bag today with four players advancing and five being swept over to the losers side. World number 2 Dennis Orcullo breezed past Poland’s Tomasz Kaplan, 9-4, to qualify. Antonio Gabica quietly remains one of the stronger Filipinos in the massive contingent of greats the country produces.  Gabica has lived in Qatar for four years now working as an assistant coach for the Qatar national team. Gabica even wears the colors of Qatar while playing. But his game and heart are true Filipino, something Germany’s young Dominic  Jentsch discovered today. Gabica won 9-7 to advance.
 
2010 World 9-ball Champion Francisco Bustamante wasn’t so fortunate as he stumbled to Portugal’s surprising Manueal Gama, 9-6. Jeffrey De Luna fell to a strong Mika Immonen by the same score.
 
Completely unheralded Filipino Marlon Caneda was the surprise of the day with a 9-0 trouncing of tough Greek player Nick Ekonmopoulos. The 30 year old Caneda has a hard luck story that makes it difficult not to root for him. He has spent the last four years working as a house pro at the Run Out pool club in the remote Saudi Arabian town of Sakaka Aljouf. Caneda earns a mere $700 a month which he uses to support his child, mother and sickly grandmother back in the Philippines.
 
The lonely hard scrabble existence has its upsides for Caneda, though. He practices up to 12 hours each and every day.
 
World number three Lee Vann Corteza found himself in a back and forth dog fight with Albania’s Nick Malaj. The 26 year old Malaj, who currently lives in Athens, is no longer the upstart he was last year when he burst onto the scene here in Doha. Fighting toe to toe with Corteza, Malaj came back from 8-7 down to shock the Filipino and advance, 9-8.
 
“That’s the third time I played him and the first time I beat him,” a drained but excited Malaj said afterward. “If I lose to the same guy three times, that’s no good. And Filipinos are good players so I feel like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
 
Other players who advanced today were the USA’s Shane Van Boening, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, the Netherlands Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen, Hungary’s come backing Vilmos Foldes, Austria’s Mario He, Russia’s Konstanin Stepanov and Ruslan Chinakhov, and Italy’s Fabio Petroni.
 
China’s Wang Can will be seeing action on Wednesday as well. Wang made waves in the US earlier with a semi-final finish at the Ultimate 10-ball event. He continued his fine run today easily beating the Philippines Ramil Gallego today, 9-1.
 
One player everyone has their eyes squarely glued on is former World 9-ball and World 8-ball champion Wu Jia Qing(formerly known as Wu Chia Ching.) Wu, who only last November returned from spending two years in the Taiwan military scrubbing toilets and floors and never touching his cue stick, continued what looks to be a very serious comeback to the top echelons of the sport, after he reached the semi-finals of the China Open in May. Today, Wu, who now lives in and plays for China, looked impenetrable as he defeated a very strong Karl Boyes of Great Britain, 9-4, to qualify.
 
One of the best feel-good stories of the tournament so far continued again today as Chile’s Enrique Rojas did something none of his countrymen have ever done: he qualified for the knockout stage of the world championship. The 35 year old Rojas played in this event in 2005, 2006 and 2007 but never advanced past the group stage. Two days ago he upended heavily favoured Li Hewen of China 9-6. Today Rojas beat Aloysius Yapp of Singapore by the same score to finally enter the round of 64 on Wednesday.
 
32 more matches are on tap Tuesday with the appropriately titled Judgement Day.  Nerves and drama are sure to be cascading throughout the Al Arabi Sports Club as every match is win-or-go home and careers could be hanging in the balance. 
 
Play begins at 12pm local time(GMT +3) with all matches race to 9, alternate break.  The single elimination round of 64  begins Wednesday with all matches race to 11, alternate break. The finals, which will take place on September 13th, will be a race to 13, alternate break.
 
The winner of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship receives $36,000. The runner up will pocket $18,000. The total prize fund is $250,000.
 
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA)  will be on hand in Doha throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Al Arabi Sports Club with daily articles containing insight, interviews and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.  
 
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 World 9-ball Championship here http://www.facebook.com/wpaworld9ballchampionship 
 
Follow the WPA on Twitter:  @poolwpa 
 
Visit the official website of the WPA at www.wpapool.com
 
*The 2013World 9-ball will be held in Doha, Qatar from September 2-13,2013 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 biggest prize in Men’s Pool. The 2013  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.

The Drama of 9-Ball


32 PLAYERS ADVANCE TO THE KNOCKOUT STAGE AS CLIFFHANGERS ABOUND AT THE WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP IN QATAR

(Doha, Qatar)–There was something special in the air throughout the day today at the Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, and it wasn’t the crisp cool air conditioning offering comfort to fans and players alike.

It was an intangible, what we used to call on the east coast of the USA, “that certain something,” an unknowable, hard to describe feeling, when you know  something is good, but you can’t quite figure out why. You just know it’s good, and it’s only going to get better. You just know it.

Perhaps it was the sheer volume of high quality and tight matches that took place, the incredible talent on display that is as good as has ever been seen in pool, all combined with the fact that on Day 3 of the 2012 World 9-balll Championship, the gravity of the moment, of the stakes involved, started to dawn on players and fans alike.

This part of the tournament is all about getting through to the next round. 32 players did just that today as they cashed in their chips to the next stage, the single elimination knockout round of 64 which will begin on Wednesday June 27.  Some had it easy, others not so much. But all who made it breathed a massive sigh of relief. Just get through, wipe the slate clean, and start fresh on Wednesday.

“It’s like a battle field out there,” said a England’s Darren Appleton, clearly relieved after beating Saudi Arabia’s  Abdul Rahman Al Amar and advancing. “You just want to get through. There’s a lot of great, great, great players in this event. In years past you kind of knew who would get through. But not anymore. There’s a lot of surprises, but no shocks. I’m just happy. These tournaments are getting tougher and tougher.”

With 17 Filipinos in the field of 128 players, including the legendary Efren Reyes, and Francisco Bustamante, the venue is never short of large and vocal crowds of Filipino overseas workers and this certainly spices up the already pressure filled atmosphere. They came out in force today as the winners of each group faced off for a quick chance out of the danger zone of the group stage and into the final 64, including Reyes who played in the first session.

Reyes did his part as he easily defeated Kuwait’s Badr Al Awadi 9-2 to advance to the next round.  Afterward Reyes offered his patented line for why he won.

“I get lucky,” he said with his toothless grin. “He’s a good player but the break is against him, he never get a shot. Me I always get a shot after the break.”

Several players clearly stepped up their game early on. Malta’s popular Tony Drago sprinted past the Philippines Ramil Gallego, 9-6. Afterward, pool’s version of Speed Racer said he’s primed and ready to wreak havoc in the coming days and welcomes the pressure that is sure to come.

“I’m playing fantastic,” Drago said. “I’m enjoying myself. I like coming to the Middle East. The people are fantastic. I know pressure, and I know how to handle pressure. So I’m ready.”

2003 World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann put in a solid performance, as did France’s Vincent Faquet, who fought back from 4-2 down to beat the Philippines very tough Jundel Mazon, 9 – 5. Scotland’s Jason Shaw, a former English 8-ball World Champion, smothered China’s Fu Jian Bo, 9-5.

A great story has developed out of New Zealand as 24 year old Matthew Edwards continued his fine run in this year’s tournament, advancing to the knockout stage with an impressive 9-5 win over Malaj Nikolaos of Albania. Edwards, who’s playing in his first world championship,  first took down the USA’s Shane Van Boening.  He now becomes the first ever Kiwi to make it this far in a world championship.

“Nobody’s an easy player,” Edwards said. “This whole tournament is everything I thought it would be. There’s a lot of excitement here.”

As the day wore on the matches just got better, tighter and more pressure packed. World 8-ball Champion Chang Jung Lin came back from 8-6 down to Naouki Ohi of Japan, and won 9-8. 2007 World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach of England was 5-0 down to Croatian Bozo Primic but clawed back to win a thriller, 9-8. Taiwan’s Chang Yu Lung and Austria’s Albin Ouschan, the brother of women’s star Jasmine Ouschan, went all the way with Chang prevailing 9-8. The USA’s Hunter Lombardo had the Philippines Ronnie Alcano on the ropes, but lost a cliff hanger 9-8.

One of the more entertaining matches happened between Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos and China’s Liu Haitao, two very solid rising talents.  Ekonomopoulos was down 7-2 but ended up winning 9-8. The confident Greek, who’s playing in his first world championship, looks to be an interesting dark horse in this event. He recently won the Austrian Open on the Euro Tour. He was so confident in his abilities that he flew to Qatar without an entry into the tournament and entered the brutally tough qualifiers, where he won one event and made it into the main draw.  With the pressure way too intense late his match with Liu, he looked positively deadly.

Also advancing today were Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet  of Germany, the Netherland’s Nick Van den Berg, England’s Karl Boyes, Filipinos Francisco Bustamante, Lee Van Corteza, Carlo Biado and Antonio G.bica, Taiwan’s Fu Che Wei, and Russian Konstantin Stepanov, who beat defending champion Yukio Akagariyama.

The surprise of the evening was Dennis Orcullo going down to Hong Kong’s Andrew Kong, 9-5. Kong advances while Orcullo has to come back Tuesday for one last try.

That’ll happen on Tuesday, Judgement Day, when all matches will be do-or-die.  As the action heats up inside the Al Sadd Sports Club, the nerves will surely start to fray, easy pots will become testers, and dreams will be made and shattered on the smallest turn of the balls.

The WPA will be providing full up to the minute coverage of the 2012 World 9-ball Championship via its website at www.wpapool.com.   There you can follow the action through our live scoring platform, articles with insights and analysis, and updated brackets.  Fans can also get updates via the WPA Twitter page, @poolwpa.com.

Fans can also access live scoring through the official website of the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation at: http://www.qbsf.net/en/live_score.php.

*The World Pool And Billiard Association(WPA) is the international governing of the sport of pocket billiards.   

Day 3 Results
All Matches Winners Side of the Brackets
Winner advances to the round of 64, loser goes to the losers side of the bracket for one last chance

Group 1
Efren Reyes(PHI) 9 – 2 Bader Al Awadi(KUW)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 8 Joyme Vicente(PHI)

Group 2
Tony Drago(MLT) 9 – 6 Ramil Gallego(PHI)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 4 Ali Pordel(IRI)

Group 3
Vincent Faquet(FRA) 9 -5 Jundel Mazon(PHI)
Matthew Edwards(NZL) 9 – 4 Malaj Nikolaos(ALB)

Group  4
Carlo Biado(PHI) 9 – 3 Roman Hybler(CZE)
Thomas Engert(GER) 9 – 5 Chao Fong Pang

Group  5
Jason Shaw(GBR) 9 – 5 Fu Jianbo(CHN)
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 9 – 3 Karlo Dalmatin(CRO)

Group 6
Aki Heiskanen(FIN) 9 – 3 Al Mutairi, Khaled GH(KUW)
Chang Jun Lin(TPE) 9 – 8 Naouki Ohi(JPN)

Group 7
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 8 Albin Ouschan(AUT)
Karl Boyes(GBR) 9 –3 Yang Ching Shun(TPE)

Group 8
Manuel Gama(POR) 9 – 6 Hayato Hijikata(JPN)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE)9 – 3 Omar Al Shahen(KUW)

Group 9
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9 – 8 Bozo Primic(CRO)
Francisco Bustamante(PHI) 9 – 4 Abdullah Al Yousef

Group 10
 Roberto Gomez(PHI) 9 – 1 Mohammad Saeed(QAT)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 7 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)

Group 11
Darren Appleton(GBR) 9 – 2 Abdul Rahman Al Amar(KSA)
Han Hao Xiang(CHN) 9 -1 Bashar Hussain(QAT)

Group 12
Jason Klatt(CAN) 9 – 1 Ali Obaidli(QAT)
Nick Ekonomopoulos(GRE) 9 – 8 Liu Haitao(CHN)

Group 13
Ronnie Alcano(PHI) 9 – 8 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Antonio Gabica(PHI) 9 – 7 Denis Grabe(EST)

Group 14
Lee Van Corteza(PHI) 9 – 5 Marlon Caneda(PHI)
Majed Alazmi(KUW) 9 – 6 Torhu Koribayashi(JPN)

Group 15
Jonny Martinez(VEN) 9 -8 Oliver Ortmann(GER)   
Andrew Kong(HKG) 9 – 5 Dennis Orcullo(PHI)

Group 16
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 1Nayf Abdel Afou(JOR)
Nick Van den Berg(NED) 9 – 6 David Anderson(RSA)