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Filler Falls in Dramatic Upset, while Van Boening Also Crashes Out

Finland’s Casper Matikainen takes down the defending champion in wild day in Doha as 32 players set for a sprint to the World 9-ball crown.

 

Casper Matikainen

Finland’s Casper Matikainen came into his round of 64 match at the World 9-ball Championship today versus the defending champion and world number 1 Joshua Filler feeling relaxed and ready for battle. He figured the German great would bring his usual fire, but he also knew that Filler might also take his eye off the proverbial ball. After all, the 23 year old Finn wasn’t exactly the most feared name in a field of absolute monsters.

So even when the self-described “King” of pool jumped out to a 4-1 lead, Matikainen never lost hope, as Filler had gotten a few lucky rolls and wasn’t playing all that great, while the Finn had a few rolls go against him.

The mental strategy soon started to bear fruit for the cool-headed blonde. Slowly, and increasingly surely, Matikainen crawled even, and then took the lead while at the same time Filler started to get sloppy, lose focus and even showed some signs of panic. From 4-1 down Matikainen calmly won 9 out of the next ten frames.  After a brief hiccup on the hill that allowed Filler to claim two quick racks, the steady Finn held his nerve and closed out the biggest shock of the tournament so far, an 11-7 upset of the defending champion.

“He’s the world champion and he’s playing and I’m not there in the big tournaments and maybe he’s thinking it’s an easy win,” the 22 year old Matikainen said afterward.  “I felt that Joshua had the pressure because he’s the world champion and I was really relaxed at the table and that helped me and I just got it done.”

Matikainen’s massive win was but one huge result on a dramatic day in Doha that saw some of pool’s biggest names dumped out, while others were taken to the absolute limits. With the field now down to the final 32, the next two days promises to be one of the most exciting and fascinating Battle Royale’s of 9-ball we’ve seen in years.

America’s Shane Van Boening had come to Doha a heavy favorite this year and for good reason. His last three starts here ended with two runner ups and a spot in the semis last year. But several early mistakes against Taiwan’s Liu Ri Teng was all it took for the Taiwanese to grab a commanding lead at 10-4. The American mounted a valiant fight back, but the alternate break format meant the hole was too deep. Liu sent Van Boening packing in the round of 64 with a humbling 11-8 defeat.

After his runner up finish at the US Open in Las Vegas last April, former champion Wu Jiaqing figured to go far here in Doha. But Wu came up against fellow compatriot Xu Xiaocong, who is one of a slew of quality young talents coming out of China. Xu has impressed all week here and  against Wu he turned his game up several notches, crushing the former Boy Wonder 11-5.

The Taiwanese are almost sure to have one, possibly two players in the semis after tomorrow as Team Taipei looked absolutely marvelous today. It isn’t easy picking a favorite out of these world beaters but World 10-ball Champion Ko Ping Chung would probably be at the top of most punters betting sheets.  The slightly built and painfully shy 22 year old is clearly at the top of his game but he even he barely escaped in a harrowing match against Hungary’s talented Oliver Szolnoki.

Szolnoki, another bright European prospect, played the match of his young career and had “Little” Ko on the ropes, shooting out to a 7-3, then 8-5 lead. The fresh-faced Hungarian reached the hill first, but Ko then displayed the courage and guts that only champions can pull off.  In a nervy and tense sudden death rack, the Taiwanese made a series of surreal pressure shots to eek out the victory.

Little Ko’s older brother and two-time former world champion Pin Yi also won today, easily defeating Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama, 11-5. Fellow Taiwanese Chang Jung Lin, Chang Yu Lung, Lin Wu Kun and Kevin Chang all won their round of 64 matches today. In all seven Taiwanese made it through to the round of 32.

2016 World 9-ball champion Albin Ouschan of Austria looks to be in very fine form this year, as he easily defeated Taiwan’s Lin Ta Li 11-5.  Fellow Austrian Max Lechner continued his rise this year with an 11-4 win over Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis.

The Russian contingent also put in solid performances today. Veteran Ruslan Chinakhov took down American Corey Duel 11-3, while youngster Fedor Gorst stayed alive with an 11-8 win over Slovakia’s Jakub Koniar.

2012 World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton has been quietly playing himself back into game shape over the last few months and his solid victory today over Albanian star and European Mosconi team member Eklent Kaci could be a portent for the rest of the field. The Englishman battled back from a 4-0 deficit, and then turned the screws on the Albanian for a quality 11-6 win. In his remarkable heyday from 2008 to 2015, Appleton famously grinded out championships by the truckload and that bulldog mentality definitely was on display this afternoon.

The Philippines had only three players in the final 64 but all three made it through today. 2017 World 9-ball champion Carlo Biado got taken to the limit by Qatari veteran Bashar Hussein, before breaking and running the last rack for an 11-10 win. Also winning today for the Team Pinoy were Johann Chua and Jeffrey Ignacio.

The Polish contingent has been getting stronger by the year and they showed their quality today with three of their stars pushing through to the final 32. Mieszko Fortunski, Wojciech Szewczyk, and Mateusz Sniegocki all won handily.

Also advancing today were the USA’s Billy Thorpe, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp, China’s Liu Haitao, Greece’s Alexander Kazakis, Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Estonia’s Dennis Grabe, England’s Chris Melling, Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, Qatar’s Waleed Majid, Vietnam’s Do The Kien, and Hong Kong’s young upstart Yip Kin Ling.

The penultimate day of the World 9-ball championship will be extremely busy as the field will be whittled down to the final four at the end of the days’ action.

Play on day 3, Monday, Dec. 16th will begin at 10am Doha time(GMT +3). All matches will be single elimination knockout race to 11, alternate break.

The winner of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The total prize fund is $150,00.

*The 2019 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Qatar from December 10-17, 2019. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.

Fans around the world will be able to view live scoring, results, brackets and live streaming of many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform at esnooker.pl.  Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public.

Results Final 64

Casper Matikainen(FIN) 11 – 7 Joshua Filler(GER)
Yip Kin Ling(HKG) 11 – 5 John Morra(CAN)

Albin Ouschan(AUT) 11 – 5 Lin Ta Li(TPE)
Denis Grabe(EST) 11 – 8 Marc Bijsterbosch(NED)

Jung Lin Chang(TPE) 11 – 9 Dang Jinhu(CHN)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 11 – 8 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)

Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 11 – 6 Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL)
Xu Xiaocong(CHN) 11 – 5 Wu Jiaqing(CHN)

Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 11 – 8 Radoslaw Babica(POL)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 11 – 9  Jalal Al Sarisi (VEN)

Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 11 – 7 Petri Makkonen(FIN)
Johann Chua(PHL) 11 – 5 Enrique Rojas(CHL)

Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 11 – 3 Karol Skowerski(POL)
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 11 – 9 Masato Yoshioka(JPN)

Billy Thorpe(USA) 11 – 6 Kong Dejing(CHN)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 11 – 10 Bashar Hussain(QAT)

Chung Ko Ping(TPE) 11 – 10  Oliver Szolnoki(HUN)
Lin Wu Kun(TPE) 11 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)

Maximilian Lechner(AUT) 11 – 4 Pijus Labutis(LTH)
Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS)  11 – 3 Corey Duel(USA)

Chris Melling(ENG)  11 – 7 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Do The Kien(VET) 11 – 5 David Alcaide(ESP)

Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 11 – 6 Jang Moonseok(KOR)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 11 – 10 Ralf Souquet(GER)

Pin Yi Ko(TPE) 11 – 5 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 11 – 6 Stephen Holem(CAN)

Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 11 – 9  Xue Zhenqi(CHN)
Darren Appleton(ENG) 11 – 6 Eklent Kaci(ALB)

Fedor Gorst(RUS) 11 – 8 Jakub Koniar(SVK)
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 11 – 10 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)

Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 11 – 7 Ivar Saris(NED)
Liu Ri Teng(TPE) 11 – 8 Shane Van Boening(USA)

One loss side group matches
Winner moves on to final 64 KO stage. Loser is out

Group 1
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 4 Hasan Hwaidi(IRQ)
Bashar Hussain(QAT) 9 – 6 Jerico Bonus(PHL)

Group 2
Fedor Gorst(RUS) 9 – 2 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS) 9 – 3 Kong Bu Hong(HKG)

Group 3
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 1 Gerson Martinez(PER)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 3 Saki Kanatlar(TRK)

Group 4
Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN) 9 – 8 Matt Edwards(NZL)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 1 Marc Vidal(ESP)

Group 5
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 9 – 8 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 5 Woo Seung Ryu(KOR)

Group 6
Do The Kiem(VET)  9 – 6 Ali Alobaidli(QAT)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9 – 4 Ricky Yang(IND)

Group 7
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 6 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Liu Ri Teng(TPE) 9 – 1 Nadim Okbani(ALG)

Group 8
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 4 Hassan Shahada(JOR)
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 6 Abdullah Alyusef(KUW)

Group 9
Stephen Holem(CAN) 9 – 4 Khaled Alghamdi(KSR)
Casper Matikainen(FIN) 9 – 5 Phone Myint Kyaw(MYR)

Group 10
Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB) 9 – 5 Max Eberle(USA)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 4 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)

Group 11
Karol Slowerski(POL) 9 – 4 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Eklent Kaci(ALB)  9 – 3 Ahmad Aldelaimi(KUW)

Group 12
Marc Bijsterbosch(NED) 9 – 5  Niels Feijen(NED)
Daminanos Giallourakis(GRE)  9 – 3 Abdullah Alshammari(KSR)

Group 13
Masato Yoshioka(JPN) 9 – 4 Clark Sullivan(NZE)
Xue Zhenqi(CHN) 9 – 7 Luis Lemus(GTM)

Group 14
Darren Appleton(ENG) 9 – 6 Richard Halliday(RSA)
Jakub Koniar(SLV) 9 – 3 Fayaz Hussain(MAL)

Group 15
Jang Moonseok(KOR) 9 – 2 Robbie Capito(HKG)
Corey Duel(USA) 9 – 8 Wang Can(CHN)

Group 16
Xu Xiaocong(CHN) 9 – 0 Mohamed El Raousti(ALG)
Lin Wu Kun(TPE) 9 – 3 Riccardo Sini(ITA)

32 Players Book Their Spots In The KO Rounds In A Roller Coaster First Day In Doha

Ko Ping-Chung

If the first day’s play of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship is any indication–and by all measures it certainly is just that–then fans around the world better be prepared for a wild roller coaster ride over the next three days.  Drama, upsets, nerves, revelations, suprises, excitement and downright brilliant 9-ball at the highest levels were all on display as play commenced in the 28th running of pool’s premier crown. And with a loaded field just getting warmed up, it’s only going to get better leading to the final on Tuesday.
 
With 64 matches played on 16 tables at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Day 1 saw 32 players book their spots in the final 64 knockout stage which begins Sunday.  None of the 96 players have yet to see the exits, but there were plenty of upsets, near upsets, and upstarts making their mark on pool’s biggest stage.
 
The top 32 seeds were given a bye in the first round of their groups, so these players only had to win one match to reach the single elimination knockout rounds.  Defending champion Joshua Filler of Germany did just that, but not before a shaky start which saw him tied at 4-4 in the race to 9 alternate break match against Qatari veteran Bashar Hussain. The World number one was never in trouble, though, and cruised to a 9-5 win.
 
2017 champion and runner up last year Carlo Biado of the Philippines didn’t fair as well as he got dumped over to the one loss side of his group with a shocking 9-3 loss to Chile’s Enrique Rojas. It was Rojas’ second straight victory of the day, the first coming over Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyusef. Rojas now books his well deserved spot in the Final 64 tomorrow.
 
The USA’s Shane Van Boening is one of the favorites here this week, but he looked a bit cold early on in his match with young talented Chinese player Xu Xiaocong. Xu is part of a large crop coming from China’s youth movement and he had the American down three quarters of the way through their match.  But SVB pulled it together at the last minute and squeaked by the Chinese, 9-8. Xu will get one more chance on Sunday.
 
Fellow American and Mosconi teammate Billy Thorpe also booked his spot in the final 64 with a 9-5 win over Canada’s Stephen Holem.
 
It was a solid day for team Taiwan. World 10-ball Champion Ko Ping Chung went up against Myamar’s rising star Phone Myint Kyaw, who also goes by the moniker, Muang Muang. Kyaw is a player that pool fans will want to pay attention to. He’s a former snooker player who has been winning regularly on the brutally tough Chinese 8-ball circuit, and he just grabbed two gold medals in the Southeast Asian games in Manila.  His stroke is one of the most solid in the game and anyone who watches him play instantly can see the potential in this young man.
 
But of course, Ko is a young prodigy who has already proven his metal in American pool with his recent win at the World 10-ball in July in Vegas.  Little Ko didn’t have much trouble with Muang Muang, winning handily, 9-4.
 
Little Ko will join his older brother Pin Yi in the final 64, who defeated the always stingy Jalal Al Sarisi of Venezuela, 9-4.  Other Taiwanese cruising into the final 64 include Chang Jung Lin, Chang Yu Lung, and Kevin Cheng.
 
The Philippines is surprisingly unrepresented in Doha this year with only four players in the field. With Biado losing early it was up to Johann Chua and Jeffrey Ingacio to save the day for the Pinoys. Both looked the goods and nabbed spots in the final 64.
 
It was a mixed bag for the European Mosconio Cup team. Greece’s Alexander Kazakis is one of Europe’s top bets here this week and he qualified for the knockout round with an easy 9-5 win over Qatar’s Waleed Majid.  But Albania’s Eklent Kaci and former World 9-ball Champion Niels Feijen of the Netherlands weren’t so fortunate. Kaci lost big to the Netherlands’ Ivar Saris, who had earlier looked solid in a 9-6 win over Poland’s Karol Skowerski. Feijen went down to upstart Hong Konger Yip Kin Ling, 9-7, who took his spot in the Final 64 with his second  win of the day.
 
The surprises kept coming throughout the day. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis first squeaked by Peru’s Gerson Martinez, 9-8. Then he took on former World 9-ball Champion Wu Jiaqing, and shocked the Chinese great with a 9-7 upset, and a spot in the knockout rounds.
 
Also booking a spot in the final 64 was Canada’s John Morra, who continued his return to fine form with a 9-8 win over Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki. Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp showed that he’s clearly a dark horse to watch here in Doha with a 9-4 drubbing of China’s talented Dang Jinhu.  England’s Chris Melling came back from 6-2 down to defeat Vietnam’s Do The Kien, 9-7. Also advancing today were Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, Austria’s Max Lechner, China’s Lui Haitao, Estonia’s Dennis Grabe, Finland’s Petri Makkonen, Germany’s Ralf Souquet,  and Spaniards David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.
 
Play on day 2 on Sunday, Dec. 14th will begin at 10am Doha time(GMT +3). The field will be whittled down to 64 players playing single elimination knockout race to 11.  The round of 64 will be completed in the first two session, and by the end of the day, the field will be down to the final 32. 
 
The winner of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The total prize fund is $150,00.
 
*The 2019 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Qatar from December 10-17, 2019. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
 
Fans around the world will be able to view live scoring, results, brackets and live streaming of many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform at esnooker.pl.  Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public.
 
 
Results
 
Group 1
Bashar Hussain(QAT) 9 – 6 Hasan Hwaidi(IRQ)  
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 7 Jerico Bonus(PHL)
 
Group 2
Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS)  9 – 5 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 6  Kong Bu Hong(CHN)
 
Group 3
Pijus Labutis(LTH) 9 – 8 Gerson Martinez (PER)
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 7 Saki Kanatlar(TKY)
 
Group 4
Kong Dejing(CHN) 9 – 6 Matt Edwards(NZL)  
Jalal Al Sarsi(VEN)  9 – 7 Marc Vidal(SPN)
 
Group 5
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 5 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Oliver Szolnoki(HUN) 9 – 3 Woo Seung Ryu(KOR)
 
Group 6
Tomasz Kaplan(POL)  9 – 5 Ali Alobadili(QAT)
Do The Kien(VET) 9 – 3 Ricky Yang(IND) 
 
Group 7
Liu Ri Teng(TPE)  9 – 5 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 1 Nadim Okbani(ALG)
 
Group 8
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 1 Hassan Shhada(JOR)
Enrique Rojas(CHL) 9 – 7 Abdullah Alyusef(KUW)
 
Group 9
Phone Myint Kyaw(MYR) 9 – 3  Khaled Alghamdi(KSR)
Stephen Holem(CAN) 9 – 6 Casper Matikainen(FIN) 
 
Group 10
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 7 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Max Eberle(USA) 9 – 7 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
 
Group 11
Ivar Saris(NET) 9 – 6 Karol Skowerski(POL) 
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 1 Ahmad Aldelaimi(KUW)
 
Group 12
Damianos Giallourakis(GRE) 9 – 7 Marck Bijsterbosch(NED)  
Yip Kin Ling(HKG) 9 – 8 Abdulla Alshemari(KSR)
 
Group 13
Xue Zhenqi(CHN) 9 – 5 Clark Sullivan(NZE)
Masato Yoshioka(JPN) Luis Lemus(GUY)
 
Group 14
Jakub Koniar(SLV) 9 – 8 Darren Appleton(ENG) 
Richard Halliday(RSA) 9 – 4 Fayaz Ussain(MAL)
 
Group 15
Konrad Juszcayszyn(POL) 9 – 7 Robbie Capito(HKG) 
Jang Moonseok(KOR) 9 – 6 Wang Can(CHN)
 
Group 16
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 0 Mohamed El Raousti(ALG)
Xu Xiaocong(CHN) 9- 2  Riccardo Sini(ITL)
 
 
Winners Side Matches Day 1.
Winner is through to the Final 64, Loser goes to one loss side of their group for one more chance
 
 
 
Group 1
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 5 Bashar Hussain(QAT)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 8 Mateusz Sniegocki(POL)
 
Group 2
Denis Grabe(EST) 9 – 7 Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 4 Fedor Gorst(RUS)
 
Group 3
Pijus Labutis(LTH) 9 – 7 Wu Jiaqing(CHN)  
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 4 Dang Jinhu(CHN)
 
Group 4
Kong Dejing(CHN) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Pin Yi Ko(TPE) 9 – 5 Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN)
 
Group 5
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 5 Waleed Majid(QAT)
Oliver Szolnoki(HUN) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
 
Group 6
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 6 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)
Chris Melling(ENG) 9 – 7 Do The Kien(VET)
 
Group 7
Johann Chua(PHL) 9 – 3 Liu Ri Teng(TPE)
Max Lechner(AUT) 9 – 6 Radoslaw Babica(POL)
 
Group 8
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 3 Lin Ta Li(TPE)
Enrique Rojas(CHL) 9 – 3 Carlo Biado(PHL)
 
Group 9
Chung Ko Ping(TPE) 9 – 4 Phone Myint Kyaw(MYR)
Billy Thorpe(USA) 9 – 5 Stephen Holem(CAN)
 
Group 10
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 9 – 8 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 3 Max Eberle(USA)
 
Group 11
Ivar Saris(NED) 9 – 4 Eklent Kaci(ALB)
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 1 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
 
Group 12
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)
Yip Kin Ling(HKG) 9 – 7 Niels Feijen(NED)
 
Group 13
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 8 Xue Zhenqi(CHN)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 8 Masato Yoshioka(JPN)
 
Group 14
David Alcaide(ESP) 9 – 7 Jakub Koniar(SLV)
Jung Lin Chang(TPE) 9 – 4 Richard Halliday(RSA)
 
Group 15
Konrad Juszcayszyn(POL) 9 – 8 Corey Deuel(USA)
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 4 Jan Moonseok(KOR)
 
Group 16
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 5 Lin Wu Kun(TPE)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 8 Xu Xiaocong(CHN)

32 Advance, 32 Out As Day 1 Of The WPA Players Championship Is Complete

Darren Appleton (Photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

The first ever WPA Players Championship got underway at Griffs Billiards in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and the quality of the match ups on offer out of the box certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s because the 64 player field is one of the highest quality gatherings of pool’s current and rising stars. 
 
The format of the event is designed to offer plenty of excitement as well.   Matches through the quarterfinals are all race to 7, alternate break. In addition, the tournament is single elimination. Thus, every shot matters and one mistake early one can spell curtains even for pool’s biggest names.
 
This is exactly what befell world number two Alexander Kazakis in his opening round match against Japan’s Toru Kuribayashi. The Japanese veteran took advantage of several early errors by the Greek star and led throughout, eventually winning 7-2.
 
Two time world champion and two time US Open 9-ball champion Darren Appleton opened up proceedings with a tasty showdown against three time world champion Thorsten Hohmann.  Appleton, who’s had to take significant time away from the game in the last two years because of several family issues, looked like a renewed man today, and took down the German great, 7-5.
 
Defending US Open champion Jayson Shaw came to Vegas looking fit and ready to defend his title next week across town at the Mandalay Bay. Shaw cruised to an opening round win over Gerson Martinez, 7-3.
 
It was a good day from the Ko family from Taiwan. Two time world champion Ko Pin Yi and his younger brother Ko Ping Chung both won their matches. Compatriot Chang Jung Lin had high hopes coming into this event, but fell to Russia’s Maksim Dudanets of Russia, 7-3. Veterans Yang Ching Shun and Chang Yu Leung both notched victories today.
 
USA great Shane Van Boening led the American contingent and advanced with a 7-5 win over Kai Lun Hsu of Taiwan. Skylar Woodward advanced with a handy 7-2 win over Qatar’s Bashar Hussain.  Shawn Wilkie had to bear down against fellow American Billy Thorpe, and hung on to win 7-5. Corey Duel faced off with Mosconi foe Niels Feijen of the Netherlands and emerged victorious, 7-2.
 
It was a solid start for the always stingy team Philippines. World number 3 Carlo Biado  led the charge with an easy win over Ruben Bautista Escaler, 7-3. 2017 WPA World 9-ball champion joins James Aranas, Johann Chua, Raymond Faroun and Jeffrey De Luna in the final 32. Jeffrey Ignacio proved the lone loser for the Philippines today, losing to two time world champion, Mika Immonen, 7-5.
 
Other winners today include Albania’s Klenti Kaci, the Netherlands Marc Bijsterbosch, England’s Chris Melling, Germany’s Ralf Souquet and  Poland’s Wojciech Szewczyk.
 
In perhaps the most exciting match of the day, Japan’s Nayouki Oi went to the limit with young Russian Fedor Gorst. The match went into extra innings as neither player could get the two rack advantage needed to win. Oi took the sudden death rack to advance with a 10-9 win.
 
Play in the WPA Players Championship continues on Wednesday at 12 noon local time.
 
The format will be single elimination race to 7 (win by 2), with the semi-final and final being a race to 9 (win by 2). 
 
WPA Players Championship Payouts
 
1 – $10,000
2 – $7,000
3/4 – $5,000 ea.
5/8 – $3,000 ea.
9/16 – $1,500 ea.
17/32 – $400 ea.
 
Consolation Tournament Payouts
 
1 – $1,500
2 – $1,000
3/4 – $500 ea.
5/8 – $250 ea.
9/16 – $150 ea.
 
ONLINE BRACKETS
 
The online tournament brackets can be found at www.CTSonDemand.com.
 
WATCH LIVE
The entire event is being streamed live by CSI media, a division of CueSports International (CSI). The production, complete with full-time commentary led by former World 8-Ball Champion, Karl Boyes, begins each day at noon pacific time. To watch live, visit www.playcsipool.com/watch-live.
 
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards and is comprised of six member federations representing North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
 
The WPA is the world-recognized body for sanctioning World Championship events. It is also one of the three member organizations of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), representing the billiard disciplines of pool, snooker and carom. For more information about the WPA, visit www.wpapool.com.
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader and is currently comprised of three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool Leagueand USA Pool League, CSI events produces numerous amateur and professional events around the globe and CSI media creates live streaming and digital content. Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is “shaping the future of pool.” For more information about CSI or any of its divisions, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The WPA Players Championship is made possible by the following sponsors:
 
Andy Billiard Cloth • Cyclop Balls • Diamond • Griff’s Billiards • HOW Tips • Predator • Master Billiard Chalk

2017 World Cup of Pool – Peach and Majid keep English flag flying

Imran Majid and Daryl Peach

Japan 7-2 Thailand
Philippines 7-4 Qatar
England B 7-0 Indonesia
 
It was an early night at the York Hall, East London as Japan, the Philippines and England B, all enjoyed comfortable wins at the 2017 12BET World Cup of Pool. Of the nine first round matches completed, the favourites have won on eight occasions with just India, who overturned England A on Tuesday the sole underdog victors.
 
The pairing of Daryl Peach, a finalist last year with Mark Gray, and Imran Majid, looked in top form as they hammered the Indonesian pairing of Irsal Nasution and Muhammad Simanjuntak 7-0. Arguably the best showing of the first round, the English pair put their opponents under the type of pressure that limited their visits and forced errors.
 
Majid said, “We came up with a good couple of breaks at the beginning to get the momentum and we smashed it – that’s what we are here for.
 
“We came here and we are going about our own business – it is irrelevant what any other team does, we have to concentrate on our own game.
 
Peach added, “We both gelled brilliantly. We have been playing a lot over the last couple of days and we knew we were on it. We are looking forward to the Scotland match, it is another tough match for us. It will be the same attitude, head on and do what we do.”
 
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the globe, the 12BET World Cup of Pool is into its 11th year as reigning champions Chinese Taipei attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title at the York Hall.
 
Earlier, Japan, led by internet sensation Naoyuki Oi, overcame a sticky start, trailing 2-0 to defeat Thailand 7-2. Japan were semi-finalists at this event in 2015 and look to have the pedigree to go deep in this tournament.
 
The Philippines represented by Johann Chua and Carlo Biado looked in trouble as they found themselves 2-4 down against Qatar. The pairing of Waleed Majid and Bashar Hussain have upset some top teams in previous World Cups but their opponents had other ideas as they came together in the closing stages to start playing.
 
They won five racks on the bounce to close out the match and set up a second-round match against Holland or Hungary.
 
Play continues Thursday afternoon with three more matches:
 
China (3) v Portugal
Holland (6) v Hungary
Austria (2) v Sweden
 
Broadcast for six days live on Sky Sports in the UK; the tournament is available live in over 100 countries around the world. A comprehensive list of countries and networks broadcasting the World Cup of Pool can be found here: http://www.matchroompool.com/world-cup-of-pool/#watchlive
 
The 12BET World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports as well as other stations around the world.
 
12BET World Cup of Pool Tickets are on sale now at www.matchroompool.com   priced at just £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Sunday) and £8.00 per weekend afternoon session. Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free. A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £60.00.
 
2017 12BET World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event.

Pressure Becomes The Great Equalizer On Judgement Day

Omar Al Shaheen. photo by Bader

(Doha, Qatar)-Omar Al Shaheen knows that success in championship pool is as much about perseverance as it is about being an amazing shot maker.  Sometimes, when things aren’t going your way, you just have to be patient.  When your time finally does come, you have to be ready to grab the cherry.

 

Today at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, that cherry came in the form of a brilliantly played match against former World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton. Today was Judgement Day at the 2016 World 9-ball Championship, the last chance to make it into the Final 64, the knockout rounds and the real road to 9-ball glory. 

 

Of course Appleton, one of pool’s giants, was the heavy favorite. But the 23 year old Kuwaiti played flawlessly and completely carefee, while the Brit couldn’t find the measure of the break shot and looked tight. Al Shaheen won in a master class, 9-5, putting Appleton out, and himself in the money rounds of pool’s biggest event.

 

To understand just how Al Shaheen got to this point of being able to oust one of pool’s best players, it helps to look back over the last few days.  The talented and good looking youngster didn’t even have a spot in the tournament a few days ago. He entered the brutally tough qualifiers last week, reached the finals two times, only to lose to two top players. But as he was lamenting what could have been this year, he got the call that another player had dropped out and, as the leading point holder of the qualifiers, he got the very last spot in the world championship.

 

Al Shaheen then lost his very first match and was forced over to the losers’ side of his group bracket. But then the Kuwaiti found his groove, handily beating Sweden’s Marcus Chamat, to set up a showdown with Appleton. He suddenly realized all the tough competition and, yes, the losing, had prepared him for this moment.

“I think it’s good that I lost many times,” an ecstatic Al Shaheen said after disposing of Appleton. “In the qualifiers I lost three times, two of them in finals to very good players. In the group stages I lost my first match. So that’s four times. So now I can accept losing. And it was good practice. Today I just play my game and I am relaxed. Darren is a very good player and I feel very good right now.”

 

31 one other players left the Al Arabi with similar wide grins today as they booked their spots in the Final 64 which begins Tuesdaymorning here.  They  join the 32 players who qualified on Sunday in what is a brutally stellar  field of pool greats ready to do battle  over the next three days  for  pool’s most prestigious prize.

 

Leading the way, as usual, are the Taiwanese and the Filipinos. Taiwan brings 10 heavyweights into the knockout stages, including defending champion Ko Pin Yi, Chang Yu Lung and Chang Jun Lin. Filipino fans will have nine players to get behind  including Dennis Orcollo, Warren Kiamco, Lee Vann Corteza, Carlo Biado, Jeffrey De Luna and Johann Chua. Filipino Alex Pagulayan, who won the World 9-ball crown in 2004, plays out of Canada and also made it through to the knockout rounds.

 

It wouldn’t be surprising if China finally takes its first World 9-ball title. Former champion Wu Jiaqing(formerly Wu Chia Ching) is playing rock solid pool, while Lui Haitao has consistently been raising his game over the last few years. Six Chinese players will be featured in the Final 64.

 

Poland has proved this year that it could arguably be Europe’s leading pool country with four players qualifying. A slew of other Europeans make up the field as well. 

Perhaps the most notable statistic this year is the rise of the Middle Eastern players.  Six players from the Middle East have qualified for the knockout rounds, a first in the history of this prestigious event. Clearly having the World 9-ball Championship in Qatar for the last seven years has significantly helped the sport grow.

 

Judgement Day always brings with it plenty of jangling nerves and high drama as players wilt under the gravity of the circumstances. One small roll of the ball can spell the difference between a player going 2 games and out, and perhaps a run at a world title.  If there was ever a sport where whole careers rest on a razor’s  edge, pool is it.

 

The Philippines young Jeffrey Ingacio has given Pinoy fans high hopes for the young generation to make their mark, but he had to get very lucky in holding off tough Canadian Francis Crevier to advance, 9-7. 
 

Great Britain’s Jayson Shaw has played himself into being one of the top players in the world over the last six months, but today he had to come from way behind against a stingy Justin Campbell of Australia to qualify, 9-7. 
 

2007  World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach had to go toe to toe with the Philippines Antonio Gabica, but the Brit prevailed 9-7 in a high quality match.

 

Bangladesh isn’t the first country to come to mind when one thinks of great pool players. Today, however, will stand as a monumental day in Bangladeshi cue sports history. 29 year old MD Alim became the first player from Bangladesh to make it to the knockout rounds of the World 9-ball Championship. Alim, who owns a business installing satellite TV services in Dhaka, was playing in his very first world championship this week. Today, he went to the wire with Italy’s Bruno Muratore and showed major league poise and skills in crossing the finish line to qualify.

 

Another player to look out for is Iran’s Ali Maghsoud. A few days ago Maghsoud took down the great Mika Immonen. Today the Iranian sucked up the massive pressure and beat Japan’s Hiroshi Takenaka, 9-7 to make his first Final 64.

 

Other Middle Eastern players continued to impress. Abdul Rahman Al Amar of Saudi Arabi continues to show maturity beyond expectations. Today he came from behind to win at the wire against Poland’s Konard Juszczyszym, 9-8, and move on to the money rounds.

 

Last year’s runner up Shane Van Boening again had the break mastered as he trounced the Philippines Francisco Felicilda, 9-3. Oscar Dominguez made it two Americans in the final 64 with a win today.

 

Other notable players bouncing back from defeats and advancing today include the Netherlands’ Niels Feijen, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, the Philippines Dennis Orcollo, Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama and Taiwan’s Chang Yu Lung. 
 

One particular match at the end of today’s play seemed to encapsulate the drama and pressure of Judgement Day to a “T.”  The Philippines Carlo Biado was not playing well and found himself down to Japan’s Hayato Hijikata, 7-4 in a race to 9. Hijikata pushed the score to 8-6, but with the finish line and a qualification in sight, the Japanese began to wilt and the match went to 8- 8 and a pressure packed one rack decider, with Hijikata breaking.

 

The Japanese sank a ball on the break and then proceeded to make a superb full table bank on the two, with an open table to the win. But just as Biado started to slink down in defeat in his chair, Hijikata missed a wide open shot on the 4-ball. The Filipino bounced out of his chair but even then his legs looked weak from the pressure. Biado held it together and cleared the table for an unlikely spot in the knockout stages.

 

“When he made that 2-ball, I just knew the match was over,” a seriously relieved Biado said after the match. “But then he missed the 4-ball and I knew this was my chance. My heart was beating and it was pressure.  Now that I won the match, I have a lot of confidence. I’m in the Final 64. Anything can happen, and anyone can win. May the best man win.”

 

Play in the first day of the group stages begins Tuesday at 10am(GMT +3). All matches now become race to 11, alternate break. The round of 64 and round of 32 will be played on Tuesday. The round of 16 and quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday. The Semi-finals and Finals will be played on Thursday. The final will be a race to 13, alternate break.

 

**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.

 

The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.

 

The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.

 

Up to date brackets and live scoring can found at this link: 
http://www.online-brackets.com/view/user/wpc9ball/1010

 

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;https://www.facebook.com/worldpoolbilliardassociation/

 

The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa 

 

RESULTS DAY 3
Winners advance to the Final 64
Losers are out.

Group 1
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 9 – 1 Mazen Berjuai(LEB) 
Mario He(AUT) 9 – 4 Waleed Majid(QAT)

Group 2
Karol Skowerski(POL) 9 – 8 Petri Makkonen(FIN)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 7 Francis Crevier(CAN) 

Group 3
MD Alim(BAN) 9 – 8 Bruno Muratore(ITA) 
Omar Al Shaheen(KUW) 9 – 5 Darren Appleton(GBR)

Group 4
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9 – 7 Antonio Gabica(PHL)
Roberto Gomez(PHL) 9 – 3 Francisco Sanchez(ESP)

Group 5
Artem Koshovoj(UKR)9 – 8 Luong Chi Dong(VIE)
Yang Ching Shun(TPE)  9 – 6 John Morra(CAN)  

Group 6
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 1 Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 
Ali M Saeed Hamzaa(ERI) 9 -7 Wang Can(CHN)

Group 7
Irsal Nasution(INA) 9 – 5 Imran Majid(GBR) 
Dennis Orcollo(PHL)9 – 7 Christian Goetmann(GER) 

Group 8
Abdul Rahman Al Amar(KSA) 9 – 8 Konard Juszczyszym(POL)  
Jayson Shaw(GBR) 9 – 7 Justin Campbell(AUS) 

Group 9
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 3 Shaun Wilke(USA)   
Satoshi Kawabata(JPE) 9- 7 Jalal Yousef(VEN)

Group 10
Ali Maghsoud(IRN) 9 – 7 Hiroshi Takenaka(JPN)  
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 5 Ruben Bautista(MEX)

Group 11
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 9 – 5 Skyler Woodward(USA) 
Ralf Souquet(GER)  9 – 7 Oliver Ortmann(GER)

Group 12
Muhammad Bewi(INA) 9 – 4 Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 8  Hayato Hijikata(JPN)

Group 13
Oscar Dominguez(USA) 9 – 6 Ali Al Obaidli(QAT)  
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 5 Ryu Ceung Woo(KOR)

Group 14
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 1 Marco Teutscher(NED)  
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 3 Francisco Felicilda(QAT-PHL)

Group 15
Salah Eldeen Al Remawi(UAE)   9 – 5 Rogelio Selleca Sotero(PHL) 
Chang Yu Lung(TPE)  9 – 3 Abdulla Al Shemmari(KSA)

Group 16
Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 9 – 3 Joshua Filler(GER)  
Ahmed Mohammad Salah(JOR)  9 – 5 Bashar Hussain(QAT)

2015 Dafabet World Cup of Pool – Japan and Taiwan through!

Team Japan

Quarter Final Matches

 
Chinese Taipei (4) 9-5 Austria
Japan (14) 9-4 Qatar
 
 
THERE WERE quarter-final wins for Chinese Taipei and Japan as the Dafabet World Cup of Pool continued in London on Saturday afternoon. The Taiwanese overcame a very unlucky Austrian side to book their fifth World Cup semi-final of which they’ve yet to win one. In the other match, Japan raced into a huge lead against Qatar before labouring to end it. They eventually fell over the line 9-4.
 
Taking place at the York Hall in London, the Dafabet World Cup of Pool features 32 two-man teams from around the globe competing for a $250,000 prize fund. Televised live in over 40 countries around the world, the event is now entering its tenth year.
 
In a high-quality match up, Chinese Taipei roared past the Austrian pair of Mario He and Albin Ouschan to become the first team to reach the semi-finals of the Dafabet World Cup of Pool. 9-5 was the score line as the Taiwanese started out strongly and maintained their dominance throughout.
 
The Austrians though enjoyed some atrocious luck as they scratched six times in total, with Mario He losing the white to the pocket three times from his break shot. However, the duo of Ko Pin Yi and Chang Yu Lung showed vision and creativity as they took on some amazing shots and were always on the offensive, looking for chances. 
 
The Austrians had seven fouls, some of their own doing and some down to bad luck and that was a punishing statistic against the talented Taiwanese pair. One of the standouts of the match was a 2/9 combination by Ko to go 6-3 ahead as he kicked all the way up table to connect with the 2/9.
 
Ko was delighted with the win as he zeroed in on his third major title of the year following wins at the World 10 Ball and World 9 Ball Championships; “We are very happy to be in semi-finals again. I was a bit lucky in the World 9-ball final last week, I didn’t play great against Shane, but I played well in that tournament and have brought a lot of confidence to London.”
 
“As a team we are playing well together and we have some luck; we tried some shots which worked out for us. We expect to play England A in the semi-finals. They are good players who play very well together. They are defending champions and are in their home country so it will be a very difficult match,” he added.
 
In the second match, Japan looked like they were going to obliterate the Qatari pair of Waleed Majid and Bashar Hussain as they shot into a 7-0 lead in quick time. Qatar made plenty of errors as the free-wheeling Japanese who played without a care.
 
Qatar took a rack back but when Japan got to the hill at 8-1 the end seemed nigh. The match though degenerated as both teams level of play plummeted. Qatar won three long racks on the spin before Japan put the crowd out of their misery to reach the semi-finals for the second time.
 
It was a shame for Qatar who had set the tournament on fire with wins over the USA and Czech Republic. “We are very disappointed with our performance,” said Bashar.
 
“We didn’t start well and didn’t get any momentum. They had some luck where they would miss a ball and get a snooker and then they took up a big lead. That makes you become a bit nervous because the score is so big.
 
“We are very pleased to get to the quarter-finals and next time we want to build on that and do better. We are proud to reach this stage but we were very disappointed with that performance.”
 
Toru Kuribayashi
“We are very happy with the win. We are a good team. We gave ourselves a good lead in the match and that puts pressure on Qatar. We struggled at the end to get the final rack and that gave them a chance but we are very pleased to be through.”
 
The Japanese were delighted with the win; “We are very happy. We didn’t play well at the end because we felt the pressure to finish the match. We had a little bit of luck but we had a strong lead. Japan can win the World Cup, “said Oi.
 
Kurabayashi added, “Tonight we will watch Finland and England B tonight because we play the winner. They are both good teams and this is the semi-finals, so we will expect a very tough match. But Japan will win.”
 
Quarter Final Line Up
 
Saturday 18.30       England A v Romania then Finland v England B
 
 

Results

 
England A (1) 7-5 Australia
Korea (16) 7-6 Malaysia
Indonesia 7-3 Germany
Romania 7-4 China
Austria (5) 7-5 Peru
France 7-6 Canada (12)
Poland (13) 7-3 New Zealand
Chinese Taipei (4) 7-5 Estonia
Holland (3) 7-3 India
Japan (14) 7-3 Italy
Czech Republic 7-3 Spain (11)
Qatar 7-5 USA (6) 
Singapore 7-5 Greece (7)
Finland (10) 7-4 Belgium
England B (15) 7-4 Sweden
Philippines (2) 7-4 Russia
 

Round 2 Scores

 
England A (1) 7-0 Korea (16)
Romania 7-5 Indonesia
Austria (5) 7-2 France
Chinese Taipei (4) 7-3 Poland (13) 
Japan (14) 7-6 Holland (3)
Qatar 7-3 Czech Republic
Finland (10) 7-4 Singapore v
England B (15) 7-4 Philippines (2)
 
The following broadcasters are screening live coverage of the Dafabet World Cup of Pool:
 
Sky Sports – GB and Ireland; Sky – New Zealand; CCTV – China; Nova TV – Czech Republic & Slovakia; OSN – Middle East & North Africa; ESPN 3 – USA; ESPN Latin America –Central & South America; Viasat – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Bulgaria & the Baltic states.
 
For fans outside those territories, Perform Group will be streaming the event via their www.livesport.tv service. In addition the Dafabet World Cup of Pool is syndicated around the world as 31 x 1 hour programmes by Matchroom Television.
 
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the world, the Dafabet World Cup of pool is celebrating its tenth year as defending champion England attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title. The event runs from 22nd to 27th September.
 
Tickets are now on sale at www.SEETickets.com and are priced at £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Friday), £12.50 per evening session on the Saturday and Sunday. Weekend afternoon sessions are £7.50 while Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free!
A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £65.00.
 
The World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports and then syndicated internationally as 31 x 1 hour programmes.
 
Diamond Billiards are the Official Table of the 2015 World Cup of Pool; the Official Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. The Official Cue, Chalk and Rest are supplied by Predator.

2015 Dafabet World Cup of Pool – Qatar march on as Philippines exit early

Team Qatar notches another win

Round 2 Scores

 
Qatar 7-3 Czech Republic
Finland (10) 7-4 Singapore 
England B (15) 7-4 Philippines (2)
 
Friday evening was a tale of contrasting fortunes as Qatar put on a masterful performance to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history and the Philippines crashed out, failing to make the last eight for the first time in the tournament’s history. In the other match of the session, Finland once again won to look on track for their third semi-final in three years.
 
Taking place at the York Hall in London, the Dafabet World Cup of Pool features 32 two-man teams from around the globe competing for a $250,000 prize fund. Televised live in over 40 countries around the world, the event is now entering its tenth year.
 
Team Qatar who had looked so good in their win over the USA in the opening round, continued in the same rich vein of form as they beat the Czech Republic 7-3 to move into the World Cup of Pool quarter-finals for the first time.
 
Both Waleed Majid and Bashar Hussain played superbly, as they dominated the Czechs and made the most of their chances to secure a great win.
 
From the outset, Qatar looked a solid unit combining power with a bit of artistry as they eased into a 3-0 lead as they broke and ran from the off. Bashar missed their first ball of the match as he twitched on the 2 ball but after Czech’s Roman Hybler had missed it also, Waleed played a sensational carom off the two onto the rail and then onto the 9 for 4-0.
 
The Czechs got their name on the scoreboard in the next and won a drawn out sixth rack to make it 2-4 but when Hybler scratched on the 2 ball, it was a chance that Qatar grasped to move to 5-2. Waleed missed a long 2 ball in the next and the momentum went back to the Czechs who cleared for 3-5.
 
Hybler though missed the 2 ball in the ninth after the Czechs had pushed out and Qatar had put them back in. Majid slid it home along the rail and he and Bashar coped well with a tricky layout to reach the hill at 6-3.
 
The Czechs got to the table in the next but a clumsy safety from Michal Gavenciak left the 7 ball on and Bashar Hussain played a great cross bank to pot it and set up the win.
 
Commented Bashar, “We are delighted to reach the quarter-finals for the first time, and we know everybody watching in Qatar will be very happy. We played very well against USA and we were very happy with the performance tonight; we didn’t make too many mistakes.
 
“Beating USA gave us a big confidence boost. They are a big team with big players and that gave us a lot of confidence, which we have built on with the win today. Japan is a very good team but if we can keep the same rhythm and the same focus we know we can win,” he added.
 
Finland and Singapore shared the opening four racks as both sides looked a little nervy but it was Finland who took the lead for the first time as Petri Makkonen played an outstanding positional shot to leave the 7 ball for his partner Mika Immonen.
 
Chang Keng Kwan badly missed into the centre pocket for the second time in the match and that left three easy balls for Finland and instead of 3-3, the score became 4-2.
 
A poor shot from Chang saw him pocket the 1 ball but nudge the 2 and leave it in unpottable position. Aloysius Yapp’s safety caught the knuckle of the centre pocket and left it on and Finland ran out to increase their lead.
 
A dry break from Makkonen though, got the Singaporeans back to the table but they couldn’t capitalise and Finland reached the hill at 6-3 and from there they finished the last rack off for an excellent win.
 
“We weren’t super pleased with that performance; we had a couple of unforced errors and a couple of bad positional shots but we got away with it because Singapore weren’t in great form. But we will take it and there were some positives; our run-outs were pretty good and we played a more consistent game. We just need to get the breaks going and clear the table,” said Immonen.
 
England B – Daryl Peach and Mark Gray – started out as the big outsiders against Team Philippines but got off to a great start with some solid play and no mistakes as they took a 4-1 lead against the highly fancied Filipinos.
 
Warren Kiamco and Carlo Biado looked nervous and made some uncharacteristic errors to help the English on their way. However, a dry break from Peach gave the Philippines a chance and they ran the table out to get 1-4.
 
They took the next and when Gray scratched on the 2 ball following a push out, the Filipinos ran out to get within one of the English. A scratch from Peach left a tricky table but when Biado sunk the 9 ball to tie it up at 4-4, it began to look ominous.
 
That was as long as the comeback lasted. There was a safety battle on the 2 ball in the next but Biado left a look at it and Gray potted it down the side rail to set up the rack and restore the lead. In the next came an even bigger blow for the Filipinos. Placed in snooker by Biado, Peach outrageously fluked the 3 ball and obtained shape on the 4 and England B cleared for 6-4. They ran the next for an outstanding victory against the odds.
 
Gray said, “We had a great start with some good outs and we were playing well. But from 4-1 up Daryl got kicked in off on a break and we didn’t have much luck.; I played a good shot on the 2 to try and carom the 6 in and there was no gap but somehow the white scratched in off and the game turned to 4-4 and you are playing a best of five to get into the quarter-finals.
 
“We have a great chance of reaching the final. We haven’t had easy matches but we have beaten two good teams. We have played the Finnish lads many a time on the Euro Tour and we both have good head-to-head records against them so I am confident we can win that match.”
 
Peach added, “There were a few twists and turns but we were trying to win each mini interval 2-1 and we did win most of them 2-1. That gives you a short-term target. We played well and deserved the win.
 
“Finland is a tough match but so was that. It is a longer race so there is more time to settle down. They are a very good team as proven in the past when they have won it but my and Mark are a good team too and reached the final the only time we played the World Cup together, so we could be in for a good match.”
 
Quarter Final Line Up
 
Saturday 13.30 Austria v Chinese Taipei then Japan v Qatar
 
Saturday 18.30 England A v Romania then Finland v England B
 
 

Results

 
England A (1) 7-5 Australia
Korea (16) 7-6 Malaysia
Indonesia 7-3 Germany
Romania 7-4 China
Austria (5) 7-5 Peru
France 7-6 Canada (12)
Poland (13) 7-3 New Zealand
Chinese Taipei (4) 7-5 Estonia
Holland (3) 7-3 India
Japan (14) 7-3 Italy
Czech Republic 7-3 Spain (11)
Qatar 7-5 USA (6)
Singapore 7-5 Greece (7)
Finland (10) 7-4 Belgium
England B (15) 7-4 Sweden
Philippines (2) 7-4 Russia
 

Round 2 Scores

 
Japan (14) 7-6 Holland (3)
England A (1) 7-0 Korea (16)
Austria (5) 7-2 France
Romania 7-5 Indonesia
Chinese Taipei (4) 7-3 Poland (13)
Qatar 7-3 Czech Republic
Finland (10) 7-4 Singapore v
England B (15) 7-4 Philippines (2)
 
The following broadcasters are screening live coverage of the Dafabet World Cup of Pool:
 
Sky Sports – GB and Ireland; Sky – New Zealand; CCTV – China; Nova TV – Czech Republic & Slovakia; OSN – Middle East & North Africa; ESPN 3 – USA; ESPN Latin America –Central & South America; Viasat – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Bulgaria & the Baltic states.
 
For fans outside those territories, Perform Group will be streaming the event via their www.livesport.tv service. In addition the Dafabet World Cup of Pool is syndicated around the world as 31 x 1 hour programmes by Matchroom Television.
 
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the world, the Dafabet World Cup of pool is celebrating its tenth year as defending champion England attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title. The event runs from 22nd to 27th September.
 
Tickets are now on sale at www.SEETickets.com and are priced at 10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Friday), 12.50 per evening session on the Saturday and Sunday. Weekend afternoon sessions are 7.50 while Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free!
A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at 65.00.
 
The World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports and then syndicated internationally as 31 x 1 hour programmes.
 
Diamond Billiards are the Official Table of the 2015 World Cup of Pool; the Official Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. The Official Cue, Chalk and Rest are supplied by Predator.
 

2015 Dafabet World Cup of Pool – USA tumbles out as Holland and Philippines march on

Team Qatar

Round 1 Scores

 
Qatar 7-5 USA (6)
Holland (3) 7-3 India
Philippines (2) 7-4 Russia
 
THERE was another big upset as day two of the Dafabet World Cup of Pool played out at the York Hall, London on Wednesday evening. This time it was the USA who crumbled, going down to Qatar who looked the part and definitely played it. In the other matches Holland had a comfortable win against India after getting off to a great start and the Philippines steamrollered Russia after losing the early exchanges.
 
Taking place at the York Hall in London, the Dafabet World Cup of Pool features 32 two-man teams from around the globe competing for a $250,000 prize fund. Televised live in over 40 countries around the world, the event is now entering its tenth year.
 
In the opening game Team USA (Mike Dechaine and Shane Van Boening) were left shell-shocked as they fell at the first hurdle to a lively Qatari team in front of a large noisy crowd. The score was 7-5 but there was no doubting the superior team on the day.
 
The Qatar team of Waleed Majid and Bashar Hussain played two superb racks to take the early lead at 2-0 and settle any nerves. The USA came back into it but trailing 2-3 Dechaine scratched while potting the 7 ball. That made it 4-2 to Qatar before the USA took the next to stay on their heels.
 
Qatar moved that to 5-3 with a 7/9 combo, before America won the 9th and then broke and ran to level it at 5-5. They couldn’t press home the advantage though and an outstanding 3/8/9 combo from Bashar Hussain put Qatar on the hill.
 
The axe fell in rack 12 when Van Boening caught an attempted safety on the 1 ball too thick and scratched. Qatar nearly made a mess of it with ball in hand but Waleed saved it with a nerveless bank on the 8 ball to set up the win.
 
Commented jubilant Waleed; “I am very excited to have beaten America. We didn’t just play for Qatar, we played for all Arab countries. Our federation has supported Qatari players well and we hope we can repeat this performance in the next match.
 
“Of course, in 9-ball anything can happen. It doesn’t matter who is the best player, if you play well you can win the match. The key moment was probably when Mike scratched on the 7-ball and we went 4-2 up, when they could have been 3-3 with the break,” he added.
 
Two-time runners up Holland are on track to improve upon that situation as they beat a well-supported Indian team 7-3. Raj Hundal and Amar Kang were lead in by a thundering set of drummers as they looked to get off to a good start.
 
However, the Dutch duo of Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen had different ideas as they raced into a 4-0 lead to silence the crowd as they contained India to just one shot. Feijen though scratched in the next and India got on the scoreboard. They took the next and then broke and ran the seventh to get right back in the game at 4-3.
 
India played safe on the two ball in the next but it was a poor leave as Holland took full advantage to take a two rack lead at 5-3. Looking comfortable now, the Dutch finished off the match to set up a second round match against Japan.
 
In the final match of the evening the Filipino pair of Carlo Biado and Warren Kiamco looked all business as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to best the Russian duo of Ruslan Chinakhov and Konstantin Stepanov by a 7-4 margin.
 
Both Philippines players were making their debut in the competition but there were enough Pinoys in the crowd to make them feel at home. After the early stutter they won six racks in a row to set up a commanding lead and although Russia rallied to win the ninth and tenth racks, the Filipinos got back in to take the match.
 
Commented Kiamco, “We were under pressure because this is anybody’s game so we needed to fight the pressure. Philippines has a very good history at the World Cup of Pool and for us this is our first time as a pair to be picked to play here and we are doing our best to win it again for Philippines.
 
“The crowd adds some more pressure but we like that and it is great to see their support. There are a lot of Filipinos here in London so it is great to see the support. The Philippines have done so well in the World Cup before so we are pleased to be through and are aiming to go all the way.”
 

Results

 
England A (1) 7-5 Australia
Korea (16) 7-6 Malaysia
Indonesia 7-3 Germany
Romania 7-4 China
Austria (5) 7-5 Peru
France 7-6 Canada (12)
Poland (13) 7-3 New Zealand
Chinese Taipei (4) 7-5 Estonia
Japan (14) 7-3 Italy
 
 
The following broadcasters are screening live coverage of the Dafabet World Cup of Pool:
 
Sky Sports – GB and Ireland; Sky – New Zealand; CCTV – China; Nova TV – Czech Republic & Slovakia; OSN – Middle East & North Africa; ESPN 3 – USA; ESPN Latin America –Central & South America; Viasat – Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Bulgaria & the Baltic states.
 
For fans outside those territories, Perform Group will be streaming the event via their www.livesport.tv service. In addition the Dafabet World Cup of Pool is syndicated around the world as 31 x 1 hour programmes by Matchroom Television.
 
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the world, the Dafabet World Cup of pool is celebrating its tenth year as defending champion England attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title. The event runs from 22nd to 27th September.
 
Tickets are now on sale at www.SEETickets.com and are priced at 10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Friday), 12.50 per evening session on the Saturday and Sunday. Weekend afternoon sessions are 7.50 while Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free!
A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at 65.00.
 
The World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports and then syndicated internationally as 31 x 1 hour programmes.

It’s Knockouts For the New Guys

Al Amar, Photo courtesy Richard Walker, WPA

Saudi Arabia’s Abdulrahman Al Amar leads a crop of surprising players who have booked their spots in the Final 64 of the World 9-ball Championship.

 

(Doha, Qatar)–If the results of Day 3 at the 2015 World 9-ball Championship are any indication, change in the sport of pool is most definitely in the air.

 

Today’s three sessions were given over to all winners’ side matches in the 16 groups with 32 spots available in the coveted single elimination round of 64, which begins on Wednesday.  Losers in Monday’s matches knew they’d be given another chance to advance on Tuesday so the brutal pressure of judgement day, where every match is do-or-die, wasn’t quite as bad. Still, five former World 9-ball champions and the current defending champion all had chances to advance today. All lost and will have to come back again for one final go on Tuesday.

 

It was an excellent day for the Philippines, which sent five players through, as well as China and Taiwan, which each saw four of their players advance to the knockout rounds.

 

With the absence this year of legends Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante, Filipino overseas workers in Qatar haven’t turned out in quite the numbers that they have in the past to watch their fellow countrymen do battle. Still, Filipino fans are starting to warm up to the superb talents that are clearly ready to take their own place on the big stage.

 

Dennis Orcollo has won tournaments around the globe, and is a threat to win any event he enters. Orcollo faced a stingy opponent in Hosain Sayeem from Bangladesh, but overcame several errors to cruise, 9-6. Carlo Biado, another highly touted Filipino, has been knocking on the door of big time success for two years now. Biado looked impressive in his 9 – 5 win over Italy’s Daniele Corrieri

 

Two young guns from the Philippines who aren’t that well known to local Pinoys, but very well could be in the coming days, are Jeffrey Ingacio and Raymond Faraon. Both youngsters possess scary-good games and they showed it today as they advanced with solid wins.

 

Easily the most popular Filipino at the moment in Qatar is veteran Antonio Gabica. The superbly talented Gabica moved to Qatar several years ago and works as a coach for the Qatar national pool team.  Two years ago Gabica electrified both local Filipinos and Qataris when he made an incredible march to the finals, only to fall short to eventual championThorsten Hohmann. Gabica won his second straight match today to advance to the Final 64.

 

It’s been ten years since China’s Wu Jia Qing, then  known as Wu Chia Ching and playing for Taiwan, stunned the pool world by winning the World 9-ball Championship at just 16 years old. Wu grabbed a spot in the final 64 today, easily defeating one of the Philippines best unknown players, Oliver Medenilla, 9-2.

 

Joining Wu in the Final 64 is one of China’s most promising young talents, Wang Can, who defeated the Netherlands’ Marc Bijsterbosch, 9 -4. Dang Jin Hu and Lee Hei Wen, two other members of the China’s government funded national pool team, advanced to the knockout stage with victories.

 

Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi, the current World 10-ball champion, is one of the top five favorites to win the World 9-ball Championship this year. Ko advanced today with his second straight win, beating Norway’s  Matey Ullah, 9-6.

 

As good as the 26 year old Ko is, his younger brother, 19 year old Ko Ping Chung, has talent that is simply off the charts. The rail thin and baby faced Ping Chung seems to go hardly noticed in the arena and his unfortunate opponents tend to pay the price for thinking he can barely hold a cue. The younger Ko booked his spot in the Final 64 today with an easy win over Peru’s Christopher Teves, 9 -2.

 

Also making it to the Final 64 for Taiwan was last year’s semi-finalist and former world number one, Chang Yu Lung, and Wu Kun Lin.

 

Part of the fun of this year’s World 9-ball Championship has been witnessing the rise of some great new talents from unlikely places who are ready to make a name for themselves. Greece’s Alexander Kazakis jumped out to a 4-0 lead over defending champion Niels Feijen only to see the Dutch great claw back into the match and take it to down to a one rack decider.  But the 24 year old Greek held his nerve to stave off Feijen’s fight back, and book his spot in the knockout rounds.

 

“I’m feeling great,” a clearly pumped Kazakis said after his win. “In the game of pool anything can happen. Even the underdog can win, especially in alternate break, just a race to 9.  So it’s nice. I’m lucky for now. This win really helps my confidence. We’ll see what happens from here.”

 

Venezuela’s Jalal Yousef has been around the pro ranks for nearly a decade but his match today against two time World 9-ball champion Thorsten Hohmann was probably the biggest of his career. Yousef prepared himself for war and after jumping out to a sizeable lead on the German, that’s exactly what he got as the match went straight to the cliff and a one rack decider. Yousef held on for the career best victory.

 

“He wasn’t too lucky,” Yousef said afterwards. “ I caught the chance and I played my game and thanks to God I won. We are talking about Thorsten Hohmann. When you beat this guy in a tough match like that and you are playing your A game, that is the kind of match that gives you a lot confidence moving forward.”

 

Mexico will see its first player in over a decade in the Final 64 as Rueben Bautista held off Poland’s Radislaw Babica in a 9-8 thriller to advance. This is the 26 year old Mexico City native’s first World 9-ball Championship but the youngster is not short of experience. He’s been traveling the world for the last two years, including spending two months in the Philippines, honing his game.   

 

One of the biggest surprises of the day came from a country not normally associated with producing world class pool talents. Abdulrahman Al Amar, a 27 year old from Saudi Arabia, played a brilliant match against the Philippines and world number 12 Johan Chua. Al Amar, who is ranked number one in Saudi, and third in the Middle East, battled toe to toe with the Filipino and outfoxed Chua at the end to win 9-7. It’s only the second time ever that a player from Saudi Arabia has advanced to the Final 64.  

 

“I played very good today,” Al Amar said. But I was really nervous. For one month I was practicing very hard. My goal was to get a good finish in the tournament so I’m very happy to qualify for the final 64.  From here I will do my best. Just one game at a time.”

 

For the first time in many years, the USA will have two players in the knockout rounds. Mike Dechaine, playing in his first World 9-ball Championship, took down former world champion Daryl Peach, 9-5. Shane Van Boening also won going away, beating Great Britain’s Richard Jones by the same score.

 

“My break is working really well,” Van Boening said afterward. ”I need to work on a few shots to be more comfortable. I need to go practice more.

 

“This is the only tournament on my belt that I haven’t won yet. I’ve pretty much won every tournament there is to win, except this.   It would mean a lot to me. If I win the World 9-ball then I can just say to myself, ‘mission accomplished.’”

 

Several former champions made it through as Mika Immonen continued to impress with a 9-5 win over Germany’s Oliver Ortmann. Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama looked good in his 9-6 win over Taiwan’s  Yang Ching Shun.

 

Team Poland looks to make a bit of a splash this year as three Polish players advanced. Wojciech Szewczyks, Mateusz Sniegocki, and Karol Skowerski, will all continue on into the money rounds.

 

Also advancing today were England’s Mark Gray, Canada’s John Morra, Spain’s David Alcaide and Japanese Kawabata Satoshi and Naoyuki Oi.

 

Play continues on Tuesday with the final round of the group stages. All matches will be do or die as players vie for the last 32 spots in the single elimination round of 64, which begins on Wednesday. The semi-finals and finals will be held on Friday September 18th.

 

**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from September 7-18, 2015. The winner of the 2015 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(QBSF), which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament, in cooperation with Kozoom. Fans can watch the action live on the QBSF website at, http://live.qbsf.qa/. With all 14 tables streamed live, fans can select which table they want to watch and switch between tables at their convenience.

 

Complete up to date brackets can be found here: http://competition.kozoom.com/en/home/qatar/

 

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;https://www.facebook.com/wpaworld9ballchampionship

 

The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa 

 

RESULTS

All winners advance to the Final 64
Losers get one more chance on Tuesday

Group 1
Kawabata Satoshi(JPN)  9 – 8 Albin  Ouschan(AUT)  
Wu Kun Lin(TPE)  9 – 4 Bashar Hussain(QAT)  

Group 2
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 4 Marc Bijsterbosch(NED)  
Bautista Ruben(MEX)   9 – 8  Radoslaw Babica(POL)  

Group 3
Li Hewen(CHN)   9 – 2 Justin Campbell(AUS)  
Yukio Akagariyama (JPN)   9 – 6 Yang Ching Shun(TPE)  

Group 4
Raymund Faraon(PHL ) 9 – 4 Pordel Mohammadali(IRI) 
Nik Ekonomopoulos(GRE)  9 – 6 Zhou Long(CHN)  

Group 5
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)  9 – 5 Warren Kiamco(PHL)  
Wu Jia Qing(CHN)  9-  2 Oliver Medenilla(PHL)  

Group 6
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 1 Ralf Souquet(GER)     
Abdulrahman Al Amar(KSA)  9 – 7 Johann Gonzales Chua(PHL)  

Group 7
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 2  Tom Teriault(CAN)  
Liu Ching Chieh(TPE)  9 – 4 Ruslan Chinakov(RUS)    

Group 8
Mike DeChaine(USA)  9 – 5 Daryl Peach(GBR) 
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 5  Daniele Corrieri(ITA)  

Group 9
Ko Pin Yi(TPE)  9 – 6 Matey Ullah(NOR)  
Mika Immonen(FIN)  9 – 5 Oliver Ortmann(GER)  

Group 10
Ko Pin Chung(TPE)  9 – 3 Christopher Teves(PER)   
Shane Van Boening(SVB) 9 – 5  Richard Jones(GBR)  

Group 11
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 4 Toh Lian Han(SIN)  
David Alcaide(ESP)  9 – 6 Hesam S.A. Abdulaziz(EGY)  

Group 12
Dan Jin Hu(CHN)  9 – 4 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)  
Alexander Kazakis(GRE)  9 – 8 Niels Feijen(NED)  

Group 13
Dennis Orcollo(PHL) 9 – 6  Hosain Sayeem(BAN)     
Jalal Al Saris(VEN) 9 – 8 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)       

Group 14
Imran Majid(GBR) 9 – 6 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)  
Karol Skowerski(POL) 9 – 8 Chao Fong Pang(TPE)    

Group 15
Chang Yu Lung(TPE)  9 – 3 Matt Edwards(NZL)  
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHI)  9 – 6 Jason Klatt(CAN)  

Group 16
Antonio Gabica(PHL) 9 – 7 Sinha Fahim(BAN)  
Mark Gray(GBR) 9 – 7  Aloisius Yapp(SIN)  

Top Guns Show Their Class

John Morra (Photo courtesy of Richard Walker)

Amidst some of the toughest competition ever assembled, pool's best shine on day 1 of the World 9-ball Championship in Doha.

 

(Doha, Qatar)–Like all the top players, Canada’s John Morra just wanted to get out of the starting gates on Day 1 of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship with a win. A loss on the first day of  group play can be a total downer as you’re now suddenly faced with a pressure packed, do-or-die match in the double elimination format. If you don’t get your head in the game and your game in gear, you can quickly be headed for the exits in a New York second, you’re dreams of pool glory gone for another 12 months.

 
That’s the prospect the 26 year old from Toronto surely faced as he found himself down 6-1 and then 7-3 and playing miserably in his opening race to 9 match against Austria’s tough Mario He. Morra, however, has built up a steady stream of high finishes in the last 18 months and understood that winning in championship pool often requires patience, a positive attitude, and the ability to pounce when you’re opponent shows even the slightest bit of weakness.
 
 And so when  the big Austrian made a few mistakes, and showed his disgust with himself, Morra took it as his cue that he had life remaining. Slowly Morra fought back, gained confidence, while He became more frustrated with the mounting mistakes. Tied at 8-8 Morra had the Austrian by the throat, played a  lockdown safety, and won the match 9-8.
 
“I was down 7-3, I just couldn’t find my stroke,” a clearly pumped Morra said after match. “I was getting some bad rolls and that’s expected when you’re not playing well. I just clawed my way back game by game. I was saying to myself ‘you’re going to get your opportunities so just stay calm.’   I started breaking well and I trusted my instincts under the pressure and just committed to each shot. Every little mistake he made gave me energy because he was getting upset with himself. I just fed off of that.”
 
Having turned near failure into opportunity and success, the talented Canadian suddenly feels the experience bodes well for his chances this year.   
 
“I feel like I have a new life now. I was facing defeat and then maybe elimination if I lose my next one so that would’ve been a lot of pressure. But I managed to come back and win. So now I can just come out and play without pressure because I had my back against the ropes and I didn’t expect to win that one but I did.”
 
Morra’s gritty victory was easily the comeback of the day as the 2015 World 9-ball Championship got under way with 36 matches played out over four sessions at the sparkling Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha.  Fans used to stunning upsets in the early going in this event got nothing of the sort. What they did get was a quick reminder of the sheer amount of incredible talent from all corners of the globe and that over the next week, we are surely going to be treated to some of the highest level of pool ever seen.  
 
Defending champion Niels Feijen found himself down 3-0 early to Qatar-based Filipino Francisco Felicilda, who has recently been playing some of the best pool in the Middle East. But the Dutchman stormed back and played brilliantly, routing the talented Pinoy 9 – 4. Only one player in history, Earl Strickland, has ever won back to back World 9-ball titles. Feijen’s opening salvo today showed he has every intention of trying to become the second player to accomplish the feat.
 
Plenty of other top names and favorites looked exceptional today as well. Mika Immonen has been showing his old Hall of Fame form in the last few weeks. The Finn put in a terrific performance today against another solid Qatar based Filipino, Amir Rota, winning handily 9-4. Last year’s runner-up Albin Ouschan of Austria won handily. Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi, the current World 10-ball champion, won easily over Estonia’s Denis Grabe, 9-2. Ko’s 19 year old brother Ko Pin Chung looked solid in defeating Sweden’s Marcus Chamat. Former 9-ball champion and legend Ralf Souquet squeaked by Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin, 9-8. American Shane Van Boeing struggled against the UAE’s Omran Salem but eventually prevailed 9-6. The Philippines’ Carlo Biado, who has been knocking on the door of big time success in the last two years, also saw victory today.
 
While Biado represents the best of the younger generation of great Pinoys, 45 year old Warren Kiamco is ably carrying the flag for the older generation of Filipino greats, especially with the absence of legends Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante.  As expected Kiamco easily beat Norway’s Vegar Kristiansen today.
 
Filipino fans looking for one of their own to go far can surely look to the low key Kiamco to deliver the goods this week. The 20 year veteran has been playing the best pool of his long career this year, as evidenced by his win at the Derby City 9-ball event back in January and quarter final finish at the World 10-ball in February. Kiamco, who spends nearly five months out of the year honing his game in the US, says his recent resurgence in pool is a result of a renewed commitment to the sport.
 
“I’m dedicated to this game,” Kiamco said. “I’m still practicing hard for the tournaments and also I’m quite disciplined and focused on my game. I need it. I have to make a living. This is the job that I know. I am also a member of the Philippine national team so I need to practice hard.
 
“In 2006 I stopped playing pool for a while but I got a new interest in pool. And now I practice all the time because I really want to do well. But in the World 9-ball you need to not just play good, you also need luck. If I can win this tournament that would really mean a lot to me. This is one of my dreams to be a world champion some day.  But it’s really tough. Too many good players, too many young players. And you have to be able to compete with all of them.”
 
Mike DechaineOne of those young players Kiamco could be referring to is the USA’s Mike Dechaine. Except for Shane Van Boening, top Americans have been scarce at the World 9-ball Championship for six years running, a sorry fact that nobody in pool wants to see continue. The 28 year old from the US state of Maine has been one of the USA’s best players for the last several years, and his recent string of near misses seems to indicate he is on to something big. This is the young American’s first ever time to play in the World 9-ball Championship. After defeating Chile’s Alejandro Carvajal today 9-4, Dechaine said he was thrilled with the experience and that it will be the first of many testing the waters overseas.
 
“I played Ok but not as good as I wanted to, probably 60 to 70 percent, but I’m just getting over my first World 9-ball Championship jitters,” Dechaine said. “I’m very pleased with the atmosphere, it’s incredible. You’ve got a big arena, every table is in perfect condition and they do it right here. The atmosphere is right. The jet leg is what hurts me but hopefully I’ll get past that and do well.
 
“I’m trying to expand my horizons. I want to start traveling a lot more overseas and getting more experience playing in different atmospheres and playing against different people who have different techniques. I think more of these trips are going to be in the future. I think I’m going to team up with Shane, maybe go to Moscow, go to Japan.
 
“I definitely think I can win this tournament. I play rotation pool with the best in the world. I think it comes down to the break. It’s very important that you get a shot after the break. That’s a little bit of luck. I just have to think positive and continue to make balls.”
 
The group stages continue on day 2 on Sunday at the Al Arabi Sports Club. Players in the remaining 4 groups will play their first round matches followed by losers bracket matches which will see two dozen players head for the exits.
 
 **The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from September 7-18, 2015. The winner of the 2015 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(QBSF), which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament, in cooperation with Kozoom. Fans can watch the action live on the QBSF website at, http://live.qbsf.qa/. With all 14 tables streamed live, fans can select which table they want to watch and switch between tables at their convenience.
 
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;https://www.facebook.com/wpaworld9ballchampionship
 
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
 
 
 
RESULTS DAY 1, GROUP STAGES
 
Group 1
Albin  Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 5 Khaled A.M. Farag(EGY)
Kawabata Satoshi(JPN) 9 – 6 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Bashar Hussain(QAT)  9 – 5 Irsan Afrinneza Nasution(INA)   
Wu Kun Lin(TPE) 9 – 7 Konstantin Stepanov(RUS)   
 
Group 2
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 6 Kuribayashi Tohru(JPN)
Marc Bijsterbosch(NED) 9 – 4 Mohd Al Bin Ali(QAT)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9- 3 Abdullah Al Yousef(KUW)
Bautista Ruben(MEX) 9 – 7 Bader Al Awadhi(KUW)
 
Group 3
Li Hewen(CHN)  9 – 8 Roman Hybler(GER)
Justin Campbell(AUS) 9 – 2 Rasekhi Medhi(IRI)
Yang Ching Shun(TPE) 9 – 6 Waleed Majid(QAT)
Yukio Akagariyama (JPE) 9 – 8 Sanchez-Ruiz Franscisco(ESP)
 
Group 4
Raymund Faraon(PHL ) 9 – 3 Francois Ellis(RSA)
Pordel Mohammadali(IRI) 9 – 6 Mohammad Saeed(QAT)
Nik Ekonomopoulos(GRE) 9 – 1 Mohamed Shareef(MDV)
Zhou Long(CHN) 9- 7 Marco Teutscher(NED)
 
Group 5
Warren Kiamco(PHL) 9 – 2 Vegar Kristiansen(NOR)
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 9 – 2 Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)
Wu Jia Qing(CHN) 9 – 5 Shannon Ducharme(CAN)
Oliver Medenilla(PHL) 9 – 2 Mohanna Obaidly(QAT)
 
Group 6
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 8 Chang Jun Ling(TPE)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL)  9 – 8 Mohammad Sharif(PAL)
Johann Gonzales Chua(PHL) 9 – 7 Ali Obaidly(QAT)
Abdulrahman Al Amar(KSA) 9- 3 Hichem Benaissa(ALG)
 
Group 7
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 5 Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 
Tom Teriault(CAN) 9 – 7 Abdultif Fawal(QAT)
Ruslan Chinakov(RUS) 9 – 6 Lee Van Corteza(PHL) 
Liu Ching Chieh(TPE) 9 – 8 Mohamed Al Hosani(UAE)
 
Group 8
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9- 2  Muhammad Bewi Simanjuntak(INA)
Mike DeChaine(USA) 9 – 4 Alejandro Carvajal(CHI)
Calro Biado(PHL) 9 – 6 Fahad Khalaf(BRN)
Daniele Corrieri(ITA) 9 – 6 Mishel Turkey(QAT)
 
Group 9
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 2 Denis Grabe(EST)
Matey Ullah(NOR) 9 – 6  Rajandran Nair(RSA)
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 – 4 Amir Rota(QAT-PH)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 9 – 2 Zhu Xi He(CHN)
 
 
Group 10
Ko Pin Chung(TPE) 9 – 5 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
Christopher Teves(PER) 9 – 5Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 
Shane Van Boening(SVB) 9 – 6 Omran Salem(UAE)
Richard Jones(GBR) 9 – 1 Hassan Shafraz(MDV)
 
Group 11
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 8 Mario He(AUT) 
Toh Lian Han(SIN) 9 – 6 Mazen Berjaoui(LEB)
David Alcaide(ESP) 9 – 3 Chu Bing Jie(CHN)
Hesam S.A. Abdulaziz(EGY) 9 – 8 Khalid Yousuf Esbttam(UAE)
 
Group 12
Dan Jin Hu(CHN) 9 – 5 Ryu Seang Woo(KOR)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9 – 5 Hamzaa M. Saeed Ali(ERI)
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 4 Francisco Felicilda(QAT-PH)
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 1 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)