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Diamond Open 9-Ball Pro Players Championship down to its quarterfinals eight

Brandon Shuff

Total prize fund is growing as the SBE contributes to prize fund from live streaming passes

As a matter of perspective, the 30th Annual Diamond Open 9-Ball Professional Players Championships at the Super Billiards Expo was at a ‘120 down, 8 to go’ juncture when the sun rose over the Greater Philadelphia Convention Center in Oaks, PA this morning (Sun., April 14). With a little bit of luck, it should be over before the sun goes down. 

This may be the first tournament anywhere at which players are content to not know the payouts until the final day. That’s because the prize fund is growing, day by day. That is happening because Allen Hopkins’ Super Billliards Expo is contributing directly to the prize fund with a portion of every Streaming Pass purchased as the event goes on. The money-added to the prize fund has also grown with Sponsorship Opportunities and is currently at $24.5k. The total payouts as of 10:30 a.m. this morning was at $83,514. If you have an interest in any of the matches that remain, you’ll know that when you sign on to watch through the SBE Web site (link listed below), you’ll personally be contributing to what the top finishers are paid.

We noted in a report that appeared here on Friday that the 128 initial entrants “made for a diversified, skill-level field that blended upper-tier, regional tour players with some of the best in the world.” That dynamic has survived four winners’ side and five loss-side rounds of double elimination, along with one ‘in the money’ single-elimination round. 

The final eight were an hour away from beginning their day as this report was being written and the eight will likely be down to the four semifinalists before somewhere between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (EST) this afternoon. The tour directors are playing the scheduling ‘close to their vest’ to allow for any long matches that could (and often do) delay progress. Their calculations incorporate opportunities for competitors to take a breath between the three remaining rounds; not a big one that might interrupt momentum or too short to be of any value. Just enough, combined with the uncertainty of match lengths to keep the balls rolling at a steady pace to the final.

Of the eight competitors who lost their opportunity to advance to single elimination in the last winners’ side qualification round, six of them chalked up a successful, single round on the loss side to join the final 16 from that side of the bracket. Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, who’d lost his first match to Darren Appleton 11-9 in that last qualifying round, downed Eddie Abraham 11-5 on the loss side to join the final 16. He drew Michael Feliciano, who’d lost his winners’ side qualifying round to Jonas Souto Comino, the event’s defending champion.

Thorsten Hohmann, who’d lost to fellow countryman Moritz Neuhausen 11-8, returned from the loss side after defeating another fellow countryman; The Kaiser, Ralf Souquet 11-7. In the opening round of single-elimination, Hohmann drew Shaun Wilkie, who’d won three on the loss side, including an 11-7 victory over Jeremy Sossei to the join the final 16. David Alcaide, who’d been defeated by Shane Wolford 11-6 on the winners’ side, eliminated Jeffrey DeLuna on the loss side and joined the final 16, drawing Lukas Fracasso-Verner. Fracasso-Verner, who’d lost a double-hill match to Hohmann on the winners’ side, survived an opening, double-hill loss-side round to Raphael DaBreo before eliminating Rodney Morris 11-5 and Mika Immonen 11-9 to join the final 16.

Tyler Styer, who’d lost to Canada’s John Morra 11-5 on the winners’ side, defeated Cong Thanh Nguyen 11-6 on the loss side to join the final 16 party. Styer had the daunting task of facing Jayson Shaw in the opening, single-elimination round. Shaw had been defeated in the last winners’ side qualification round by BJ Ussery, Jr. 11-7 and on the loss side, ended the run of Earl “The Pearl” Strickland 11-7.

The opening round of single elimination got underway just after 9 p.m. on Saturday, with a number of intriguing matchups that reflected the ‘skill-level diversity of the field.’ Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, who topped the AZBilliards Money Leaderboard in 2022, dropped just a bit in 2023 (to #4) and is currently in the #7 spot, faced Filipino Michael Feliciano, who’s never been higher than #66 on that same list (his current position). To our knowledge, he has not recorded a major win, anywhere, so definitely the ‘underdog’ to Sanchez-Ruiz’ status as a ‘favorite.’ Last night, the ‘underdog’ sent the favorite ‘home,’ so to speak, 11-8.

In this morning’s opening round (ongoing), Feliciano drew Shaun Wilkie, a mid-Atlantic journeyman who was runner-up to Shane Van Boening at this event in 2008. Wilkie had joined the final 16 from the loss side and in the first, single-elimination round had eliminated Thorsten Hohmann, double hill. As of just after noon, Wilkie was leading Feliciano 5-3 in the quarterfinals.

Lukas Fracasso-Verner, who’d defeated David Alcaide 11-5 in the first single-elimination round was facing Jayson Shaw, who’d eliminated Tyler Styer 11-7 to reach him. Shaw was ahead 5-4.

Brandon Shuff eliminated Shane Wolford last night 11-9 and in the morning matchup, faced BJ Ussery, who’d previously defeated John Morra 11-9. Shuff was leading this morning action 4-3. Darren “Dynamite” Appleton, who’d spoiled defending champion Jonas Souto Comino’s shot at a second straight title with an 11-4 win last night, was facing Pijus Labutis, who’d previously defeated Moritz Neuhausen 11-8. Last heard, Labutis was ahead of Appleton 8-5.

If you have interest in streaming what’s left of the SBE’s Diamond Open 9-Ball Players Championship, the semifinals are up next, as noted, at around 2 p.m., with the finals loosely ‘expected’ to get underway somewhere in the vicinity of 5 p.m; possibly sooner, possibly later. To catch the action, go to https://superbilliardsexpo.com/watch/ and to follow along with the online brackets, head to https://digitalpool.com/tournaments/2024-diamond-open-at-super-billiards-expo/viewer/stage-1.  

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Friday-night at the SBE sends up some drama at the Diamond Pro Players Championships

Jayson Shaw

Sanchez-Ruiz defeats The Pearl, as Kennedy/Shaw create drama that sends Kennedy over

It’s difficult at best, approaching impossible, to watch two pool matches at the same time. While you can certainly pay attention to more than one at a time, your divided attention has a way of missing some of the action. The modern technology of multiple screens offered by a streaming service exacerbates this problem because it makes shifting your attention from one screen to another that much easier. You end up doing it more and while you’ll certainly be able to track the score progress of multiple matches, you tend not to really ‘see’ any of them; the give and take between two competitors, the ebb and flow that defines individual games and match progress as it plays out over time. The basics of what makes a good pool match so much fun to watch in the first place. 

So it was, that on Friday night (March 12), at the evening session of the 30th Annual Diamond Open 9-Ball Professional Players Championships at the Super Billiards Expo, in-person spectators and distant streamers had some tough choices to make. What to do when, for example, Earl Strickland and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz are playing a match, while at the same time, Tommy Kennedy and Jayson Shaw are doing so a matter of a few feet away? And those were just two of the 16 matchups that got started at (or near) 9:15 p.m. last night.

The two most-likely-to-be-popular matches (a subjective opinion) are generally placed in front of the two risers that accommodate the Championship Arena’s seating capabilities. There are about 32 seats in each two-level riser. There are 11 folding tables that surround the arena, seating about four per table.  

The ’feature’ match on the digitalpool streaming system with its visible scoring and commentary, was between Strickland and Sanchez-Ruiz, but you could choose to watch any of the other 15 matches, as long as you were willing to keep score yourself. Or, if you had an appropriate device, you could monitor the ‘live’ brackets on digitalpool.com, switching back and forth between streaming the match and the score. Tuning in to watch a match that doesn’t provide a score is almost pointless because a lot of a match’s inherent entertainment value derives from a spectator’s awareness of where the match is ‘at,’ so to speak, at any given moment; whether the competitors are tied or one is ‘on the hill’ or in the midst of three games in a row, or . .  whatever.

Sanchez-Ruiz got out to an early 2-0 lead over Strickland that he never relinquished. By game 6, it was a four-point lead (5-1), by game 13, it was five points (9-4) and two games later, Sanchez-Ruiz closed it out at 11-4. Sanchez-Ruiz was scheduled to play at 4 p.m. today (Saturday) against Darren Appleton, who’d defeated Alex Osipov 11-9. The (Saturday) afternoon, winners’ side matches will put eight players into the 16-entrant, guaranteed money, single-elimination phase of the event. Strickland was scheduled to take on Bucky Souvanthong on the loss-side at 1:45 p.m.  

The Kennedy/Shaw match was only a matter of feet away, next to the Strickland/Sanchez-Ruiz table, but closer to the opposite seating area. It offered some instantaneous drama as Kennedy, almost assuredly the ‘underdog’ in the matchup, got out to a 4-0 lead that by game #9 had become a five-point lead at 7-2. Shaw was literally and figuratively ‘cold’ at the outset.

“It was so cold,” he would comment after the match, “that I didn’t even want to be here. It was like 61 degrees, blowing on the back of your neck.”

The two offered distinct differences in ‘style.’ Shaw’s performance in a match is characterized by a very business-like attitude. When he’s at the table, there is no wasted energy. He finds his shot, aims and strokes in almost one movement that would reset a shot clock (not used at this event) before it counted down more than 10 seconds. Shaw doesn’t waste any energy when he steps away from the table either.  He sits down and looks like one of those newer cars that shuts off the engine when it stops moving. Until he gets back up, he looks as though he could be waiting for a bus, idly wondering what he might want to order for dinner. 

Kennedy’s ‘work’ is much more of a production. He spends as much time looking for (or at) a shot and deciding to get down on it than Shaw generally spends between getting up and getting back down. The amount of time Kennedy spends between getting down to take his shot and then actually taking it, will vary widely. Though rarely long enough to challenge a shot clock, his ‘routine’ at the tables tends to be more deliberate and thoughtful as he takes the time available to double-check things before finally letting the stroke go. He tends to ‘look’ more engaged when he’s waiting for his turn at the table. 

Shaw got warmed up at the conclusion of Kennedy’s 7th game win. One game at a time, he kept chipping away at Kennedy’s lead. He banked the 9-ball into a hole to tie things up at 7-7, then took his first lead and added another at 9-7. Kennedy took advantage of a ready-made combo on the 9-ball to come back to within one, but Shaw came right back to reach the hill. Kennedy got within one a second time, but Shaw finished it 11-9. 

At 4 p.m. today (Saturday), Shaw is scheduled to face BJ Ussery, Jr., who defeated Sam Henderson 11-7 last night. Kennedy moved to the loss side and at 4 p.m., will take on Wiktor Zielinski. 

Also advancing to the 16-player winners’ side matches for a 4 p.m. meetup today were Jonas Souto Comino and Michael Feliciano, Moritz Heuhausen and Thorsten Hohmann, Pijus Labutis and Jeremy Sossei, David Alcaide and Shane Wolford, Brandon Shuff and Mika Immonen and John Morra and Tyler Styer.

As of 2 p.m. this afternoon, other players still in contention for the eight, loss-side slots for single elimination included (though not restricted to) Matt Krah, Oscar Dominguez, Raphael DaBreo, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Rodney Morris, Donny Mills, Dylan Spohr, Ralf Souquet and Shaun Wilkie.

If you have interest in streaming SBE’s Diamond Open 9-Ball Tournament, go to https://superbilliardsexpo.com/watch/ and to follow along with the online brackets, head to https://digitalpool.com/tournaments/2024-diamond-open-at-super-billiards-expo/viewer/stage-1.  

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A diversified, skill-level talent pool completes Day One at the SBE

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz

Featuring a range of Fargo Rates from 495 (Eric Martin) to 841 (Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz), the 30th Annual 2024 Diamond Open at the Super Billiards Expo in Oaks, PA got underway yesterday (Thurs., April 11). Of the 118 competitors, who (literally) got the ball(s) rolling on Thursday morning, 29 of them entered the event without a (reported) Fargo Rate, leaving 89 competitors with an average Fargo rate of just under 700. The ‘700’ range had the most players (49), with unrated (29), ‘600’ (25), ‘500’ (8) ‘800’ (4) and a lone ‘400.’ 

It made for a diversified field that blended upper-tier, regional tour players with some of the best in the world, like Sanchez-Ruiz, Jayson Shaw, David Alcaide, Thorsten Hohmann and Wiktor Zielinski (to name just a few). Though there weren’t a lot of surprises in the opening two rounds on the winners’ side of the bracket, there were a few compelling matches.

Earl Strickland (772) got by his first opponent, Gary Serrano (618) readily enough 11-5 in the opening round, but had a local competitor, Kevin Clark (716), who’d shut out his first opponent, throw him a double-hill scare in the second round. Joss Tour veteran and winner of the 2023 New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open, Jeremy Sossei, sent this year’s US 8-Ball Open and McDermott Classic Champion, Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski to the loss side 11-8.

US Open 9-Ball Champion (1992), Tommy Kennedy brought his (Corrected) 735  Fargo Rate to the table and defeated two ‘698’s in a row; Jimmy Rivera and Matt Krah. In a marquee match-up promoted on the SBE Web site, Darren “Dynamite” Appleton defeated Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer 11-8 in the opening round. Jeffrey DeLuna gave up just a single rack in his first two matches. Jason Shaw, who played his first match at 11:30 p.m. last night (Thursday), had his opponent open by dropping the 9-ball on the break, but recovered nicely to win 11-6.

Thorsten Hohmann, Jeremy Seaman fight representative battle for winners’ side advancement

Arguably, most indicative of the skill-level(s) caliber of play at this year’s Diamond Open, and the relative unpredictability of any handicapping system in the world of pool was a second round match between a journeyman competitor from Battle Creek, MI – Jeremy Seaman (762), who’s been cashing in events all over the US map since 2003, though, as far we know, has never won an event – and World Champion Thorsten Hohmann (789), whose career started two years earlier than Seaman’s.

Hohmann opened the race to 11 with a win off Seaman’s break and broke and ran his own rack for a quick 2-0 lead; ‘off to the races,’ you’d think, but not so fast. Seaman won a rack and Hohmann added two to make 4-1. Seaman won two to pull within one and Hohmann chalked up another to make it 5-3. At that point, Seaman stepped to the table and chalked up three in a row to tie and then take a lead at 6-5. It proved to be the longest run of racks in the match. The two traded racks, back and forth, to a 7-7 tie when, off his own break, Seaman ran to the 8-ball, which stubbornly rattled in a corner pocket and did not fall. Hohmann took the 8-7 lead.

Hohmann dropped two on his break in Rack 16, but scratched. Seaman ran the table to tie it up again and broke Rack 17. He did not, however, win it. Hohmann, at a critical juncture, took the lead 9-8 and on his break, reached the hill, ahead by two. Seaman came back to win the 19th rack, setting up the fateful last rack of the match at which Hohmann broke dry. They chased the 1-ball for what seemed like ages before Seaman broke through, advancing to the 6-ball, at which point he made a critical unforced error that cost him the game and the match, as Hohmann closed it out. 

And in so doing, provided a generalized answer to the question “Which of the upcoming matches should I watch, either in person, or via digitalpool streaming?” Answer: Any of them.    

All of the Diamond Open matches on Opening Day were winners’ side matches, allowing that side of the bracket to get through two rounds. As a result, the winners from yesterday will not be competing until this evening (Friday), beginning at around 9:15 p.m. 

The winners’ side 9:15 matches are:

Earl Strickland/Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz                     David Alcaide/Hunter Lombardo
Darren Appleton/Alex Osipov                                     Shane Wolford/Shaun Wilkie
Jonas Souto Comino/Eric Roberts                               Ralf Souquet/Brandon Shuff
Michael Feliciano/Dylan Spohr                                   Konrad Juszczyszyn/Mika Immonen
Rodney Morris/Moritz Neuhausen                              John Morra/Nicholas DeLeon
Thorsten Hohmann/Lukas Fracasso-Verner                Tyler Styer/Francesco Candela
Pijas Labutis/Jeffrey DeLuna                                       BJ Ussery, Jr./Sam Henderson
Jeremy Sossei/Jake Sollman                                        Jayson Shaw/Tommy Kennedy

Notable competitors currently on the loss side: Johnny Archer, Danny Olson, Jonathan Pinegar, Wiktor Zielinski, Robb Saez, Bucky Souvanthong, Donny Mills, Nathan Childress, Ray Linares, Oscar Dominguez.

Dependent on the timely advance of both sides of the bracket, there may be 11:30, winners’ side matches or they may just bring the 16 competitors looking to advance to single elimination back on Saturday.

If you have interest in streaming SBE’s Diamond Open 9-Ball Tournament, go to https://superbilliardsexpo.com/watch/ and to follow along with the online brackets, head to https://digitalpool.com/tournaments/2024-diamond-open-at-super-billiards-expo/viewer/stage-1.

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2024 World Pool Masters Draw – Ko Pin Yi Title Defense Begins With David ‘El Matador’ Alcaide

The draw for the 30th Anniversary of World Pool Masters has been made with defending champion Ko Pin Yi set to meet David Alcaide in the opening match of the tournament from April 25-28 2024 at Halle39, in Hildesheim, Germany in partnership with local organiser Moltke Sports and host broadcaster Sky Sports.

BUY TICKETS HERE

World Pool Masters will maintain last year’s most challenging format, with 16 players competing to take home a $40,000 share from an enticing $125,000 prize pool. Opening round ties will be Race to 9 with the Matchroom break box, magic-racking, and winner breaks in action with the tournament stretching going to race to 10 for the quarter finals, 11 for the semi-finals, and 13 for the final.

The top 14 players from the World Nineball Tour Rankings following the FSR91 Open received invitations, plus two wildcard entries. The players ranked 1-8 were seeded and paired against the remaining players in the draw, which was conducted two weeks prior to the opening matches.

Defending champion Ko Pin Yi will meet ‘El Matador’ David Alcaide in the first round, while World Champion and WNT No.1 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz faces wild card James Aranas once again in the tournament after last year’s opening round encounter. Shane Van Boening, the only player to ever win the title back-to-back, seeks redemption as he faces Duong Quoc Hoang, who knocked out the ‘South Dakota Kid’ in last year’s World Champions. Whichever of the two secures the win will be expected to face the victor of Jayson ‘Eagle Eye’ Shaw vs Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp.

Adding to the excitement, Albin Ouschan will face former World Cup of Pool teammate Max Lechner in a battle of the Austrians. The winner of that tie will then have to take on either WNT No.2 Fedor Gorst or ‘The Panda’ Mario He. The winner between Joshua Filler and Eklent Kaçi, who will reunite following their clash in last year’s UK Open final, will either compete against Wiktor Zielinski or defending US Open champion Ko Ping Chung, to complete the opening round match-ups.

Tickets are available for all four days from €15 a day with the link here. Buy here.

Round 1 Draw

WATCH

In partnership with local organiser Moltke Sports, the 2024 World Pool Masters is live globally wherever fans are in the world including Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in the USA, Brazil, Spain and Italy as well as on Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, Poland, and Matchroom.Live in selected territories.

Broadcaster List

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Ouschan Perfect while Woodward Stumbles Late on Day 1 of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Skyler Woodward

Skyler Woodward managed to escape his first match of the day with a victory but wasn’t so fortunate in the next round.

Jeffrey De Luna stood at the table on the hill in the second set of his opening day match against Woodward, leading 3-0 losing the first set and a game away from forcing a sudden death shootout.

De Luna broke and failed to pocket a ball, handing Woodward all of the opportunity that he needed as the American rattled off four straight games to snatch the clinching set and secure the win on the opening day of the 192-player Alfa Las Vegas Open at the Rio All-Suites Casino Wednesday.

After Woodward won the first set, 4-2, De Luna came out on fire in the second before he forfeited the table in the fourth game then leaving a combination shot on the 10 ball after a safety. The American pocketed the shot to climb onto the scoreboard and broke and ran to pull within a game but forfeited the table when he broke dry in the sixth rack.

De Luna began to struggle as he misplayed a safe on the 3 ball and left his opponent a wide-open shot. The Filipino was bailed out when his opponent missed but he ultimately misplayed position on the 8 ball and was forced to play a safety. Woodward jumped in the object ball and tied the match then used a safety exchange on the 2 ball in the next rack to secure the second set and the victory, 4-3.

Facing Jonas Souto in the next round, the Spaniard used a dry break and a missed shot by Woodward to build a 2-0 advantage but missed a chance to increase his lead when he failed to pocket a combination shot on the 10 ball. After Woodward cleared the table to cut the lead to 2-1, he took advantage of missed shots by his opponent in back-to-back racks then added a break-and-run to finish off the comeback, 4-2. Having lost the lag, Souto had breaking privileges in the second set and capitalized, using a break-and-run, a safety exchange and a missed shot by his opponent to shut out the American and force a sudden death shootout.

Woodward missed his opening shot of the extra frame while Souto was perfect, pocketing four straight to win the set.

The American moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will face Lian Han Toh Thursday morning at 9 a.m. local time.

Albin Ouschan

Meanwhile, Albin Ouschan was feeling it in his opening match against Billy Thorpe, blanking the American in straight sets in his opening round match.

Using a one-rail kick in, a bank shot that sent the cue ball three rails for position on the next shot and tricky carom shot on the 1 ball, the Austrian built a commanding 3-0 lead but scratched on a kick shot at the in the fourth rack. Thorpe had a chance to capitalize but missed the 2 ball in the side, allowing the Ouschan to clear the table and pitch a 4-0 opening set shut out.

Ouschan took the first rack of the second set when Thorpe failed to make a ball on the break, then snagged another rack when his opponent missed the 9 ball in the second game. After winning a safety battle in the next rack he closed the match out with a break and run.

Ouschan will face Germany’s Ralf Souquet in the next round Thursday afternoon.

In other matches, Austria’s Mario He took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent Omar Al Shaheen to win in straight set, 4-2, 4-0, Japan’s Yoshihiro Kitatani defeated Estonia’s Denis Grabe in a shootout and

Play resumes today with notable matches including Shane Van Boening versus Jun-Ling Chang and David Alcaide taking on Thorsten Hohmann on the winner’s side. Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International. A schedule of televised matches will be posted daily on the Pro Billiard Series and CSI Facebook and Instagram pages.

Watch Live on World Billiard TV YouTube channel, Billiard TV and at tv.kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2023-men/2023-alfa-las-vegas-open/

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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2023 Longoni 9 Ball League – Wins For Poland And Spain in Tallinn

THE 2023 LONGONI 9 BALL LEAGUE got underway on Friday evening as two matches completed, giving wins to Poland and Spain at the Kalev Sports Hall in Tallinn. The two victorious pairs were finalists in last year’s event and their form carried forward in Estonia.

The evening’s programme was shortened as two of the matches were postponed due to travel issues for the competing players but the quality of pool was such to entertain the fans in attendance as well as viewers watching on the stream.

Defending champions Poland got off to a comfortable start as they beat Turkish North Cyprus 7-3. Wojciech Szewczyk, an ever-present last year, was joined by Miesko Fortunski who was making his Longoni 9 Ball League debut. The top two qualifying players in the rankings were Wiktor Zielinski and Fortunski, but Zielinski’s absence from the event gave Szewczyk the chance to continue his run.

Making their first appearance were the TNC pairing of Mustafa Alnar (Euro Tour #26) and Osman Sanlisoy (ET#181). The Turkish Cypriots did well to keep themselves in the match in the early stages, holding their more experienced opponents at 2-2, before the Poles pulled away as they moved the score to 5-2.

Miesko Fortunski and Wojciech Szewczyk

A scratch following a jump shot from Fortunski, got the Northern Cypriots back to the table and they cleared up for 5-3. The Poles though, took the next to reach the hill. At 6-3 down, a solid break from Alnar gave Turkish North Cyprus a great chance to keep themselves in the match but Sanlisoy missed the 6 ball and it was game over as the defending champions took the victory.

Commented Szewczyk; “I’m the lucky guy today because I wanted to play in the doubles and wanted to carry on as it’s a lot of fun, good experience and there’s prizes as well. I’m just fortunate Wiktor couldn’t make it! It sounds bad but I benefitted from that and I was happy to be able to partner Miesko this time.”

Fortunski added, “I didn’t play last year in the Longoni tournament but I watched and enjoyed it and kept my fingers crossed for the Polish team. They made a good job of it and I’m really happy to have played with Wojciech tonight.”

The Spanish pair of David Alcaide and Francisco Ruiz are arguably the best scotch doubles pairing in the world and they made it an unhappy Longoni debut for home-town players Dennis Grabe and Karl Gnadeberg of Estonia.

Spain got off to a flyer and had got to five racks before Estonia put their first one on the scoreboard. However, another dry break from the Estonians put the Spanish back at the table. And although it was a drawn-out rack, Spain prevailed to put themselves on the hill at 6-1.

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and David Alcaide

They made no mistakes in what was the final rack to give themselves the perfect start to their 2023 campaign.

Full Results

Group A – Poland (Fortunski / Szewczyk) 7 – 3 Turkish North Cyprus
(Other group member – Austria)

Group B – Spain (Alcaide / Sanchez Ruiz) 7 – 1 Estonia (Grabe /
Gnadeberg)
(Other group member – Czech Republic)

The other two matches scheduled for this evening – Norway v Switzerland in Group C and Germany v Netherlands in Group D were both deferred until the next Euro Tour stop in Austria in April as some of the players had flight issues and could not reach the venue in good time.

As per the format of the Longoni 9 Ball League, the bottom placed teams in the four groups from last year have been replaced for this season. That means that Albania, Greece, Serbia & Italy have stood down to be replaced with Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkish North Cyprus and Switzerland.

Play reconvenes at St Johan im Pongau, Austria with the second round of matches which take place on Friday 14th April.

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Fisher and Sanchez-Ruiz Wins AzB Player of the Year Awards

Kelly Fisher

Choosing the winners of the AzBilliards “Player of the Year” is never an easy task. While the Women’s award is usually a pretty easy choice, the Men’s award is a lot more difficult. 

The 2022 AzBilliards Women’s Player of the Year award goes to Kelly Fisher. Fisher appears to be back in the form that she showed in early 2010’s with a dominating year in 2022. Fisher has over $120,000 in winnings and seven major title wins in 2022. Most of her success came on the WPBA Tour, but she also had a win at the Predator Germany Women’s Open in June and possibly her biggest title of the year with her gold medal at the 2022 World Games in July. This is Fisher’s third AzBilliards Player of the Year award. 

As usual, the Men’s Player of the Year was a much tougher decision. Joshua Filler had to be a part of any Player of the Year conversation, with major wins at the World Pool Masters, UK Open, Derby City, EuroTour and European Championships. 

Filler looked to be in a Player of the Year race with Fedor Gorst for much of the year, with Fedor literally winning everywhere he was allowed to play. After his dominating performance at the Derby City Classic (wins in the Banks, One Pocket and Master of the Table) and defending his title at the Arizona Open, the WPA ban of Russian players went into affect and Gorst was forced to limit himself to competing in the US. Gorst made the most of those limitations and led the AzBilliards Money List for most of the year. Gorst has wins in nearly 20 US events (that we have record of) and over $250,000 in recorded prize money. 

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz

While Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz’s year started with a win in the 9-ball event at Derby City, it looked for a couple of months as if Sanchez-Ruiz might have peaked at Derby and he would be off of the Player of the Year radar after that. He continued to play strong throughout the year though with a runner-up finish at the UK Open and then a win at World Cup of Pool (along with teammate David Alcaide). Late in the year, the talented Spaniard really hit his stride with a win on home soil at the PRP Nineball Open and then a win at the prestigious US Open 9-Ball Championship in mid October. Those wins moved Sanchez-Ruiz back into the Player of the Year conversation and in our opinion, his win a month later at the World 8-Ball Championship was enough to tilt the scales in his direction for the final award. All told, at year’s end, Sanchez-Ruiz had over $260,000 in prize money and a World Championship to display in his trophy case. He will also have the 2022 Men’s Player of the Year trophy in that case. 

Congratulations to both Sanchez-Ruiz and Fisher, and we wish them all of the best rolls in their 2023 quests to defend those titles. 

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Pagulayan Downs Filler At World Pool Championship 2023

Alex Pagulayan (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Alex Pagulayan has knocked Joshua Filler out of the World Pool Championship 2023 in Kielce, Poland at the Last 64 stage by Alex Pagulayan live on Sky Sports, Viaplay, DAZN, Matchroom.Live and TV networks worldwide.

Brackets / Scores

Filler was up against Pagulayan for the second time in a matter of days but this time with no second lifeline as the tournament reached single elimination. The pair traded blows yesterday as Pagulayan remained on the winners’ side with victory forcing Filler through Losers’ Qualifcation. Pagulayan prevailed once again 11-9 to set up a clash with Serbia’s Aleksa Pecelj in the Last 32 this evening.

Another member of Team Europe’s victorious 2022 Mosconi Cup side tumbled on Friday afternoon as David Alcaide fell at the hands of home favourite Wojciech Szewczyk 11-9 whilst the other three members of that Mosconi Cup side in Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Albin Ouschan and Jayson Shaw all made sure of spots in the Last 32.

Chris Melling suffered defeat to Aloysius Yapp in the opening match of the day on table one whilst Shane Van Boening‘s title hunt gathered momentum with an emphatic win over Finland’s Jani Uski 11-2. 2015 champion Ko Pin Yi came from 10-7 down to defeat Jan Van Lierop to meet compatriot Chang Jung-Lin this evening. Meanwhile, Thorsten Hohmann got the better of Khalid Alghamdi to face Sanchez Ruiz later this evening.

Action returns from 6pm CET tonight on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia, the Baltics, and the Netherlands, DAZN in the USA and Italy as well as on Matchroom.Live and broadcasters worldwide. Table 2 and Table 3 are on the Matchroom Pool and Multi Sport YouTube Channels respectively and Viaplay in above listed territories. See where to watch here.

Friday 3 February – Evening Session – 6pm (CET)

Table 1 

Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Aloysius Yapp (SGP)

Jayson Shaw (GBR) vs John Morra (CAN)

Table 2 

Wojciech Szewycyk (POL) vs Duong Quoc Hoang (VIE)

NB 8pm – Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) vs Thorsten Hohmann (GER)

Table 3

Max Lechner (AUT) vs Johann Chua (PHI)

NB 8pm – Ko Pin Yi (TPE) vs Chang Jung-Lin (TPE)

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64 Remain In Poland At World Pool Championship 2023 Inbox

Joshua Filler (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Joshua Filler survived being knocked to the loser’s side by Alex Pagulayan on day two of the World Pool Championship 2023 in Kielce, Poland as only 64 remain after two days of action live on Sky Sports, Viaplay, DAZN, Matchroom.Live and TV networks worldwide.

Brackets / Scores

Filler faced Pagulayan early on for a spot in the Last 64 to avoid an extra match in Losers’ Qualification round this evening. The Killer fell to a 9-7 defeat, his second defeat to the Canadian in a matter of days after a loss at the Derby City Classic. It left Filler having to beat Daniele Corrieri to ensure his hunt for a second world title would continue and he did so in emphatic fashion in a 9-1 dismantling. Crucially, defeat to Pagulayan meant Filler lost his seeded position in the bracket ahead of the Last 64 redraw.

Other top seeds had less trouble as Shane Van Boening stepped past Mats Schjetne 9-2 whilst two-time winner Albin Ouschan put Khalid Alghamdi onto the losers side. Jayson Shaw meanwhile took out young German Tobias Bongers 9-5 and World Cup of Pool winner David Alcaide whitewashed Jani Uski to secure an afternoon off.

Last year’s semi-finalist Abdullah Alyousef suffered a 9-3 defeat to USA hotshot Shane Wolford to be sent home at the first major hurdle whilst Oliver Szolnoki suffered the same fate in a hill-hill finish against Ajdin Piknjac. 2021 runner-up Omar Al-Shaheen struggled for his groove against Denis Grabe as the Estonian came good to knock the 2021 runner-up out the competition. There was frustration for 1996 champion Ralf Souquet also, the Kaiser well beaten by Pole Daniel Maciol in Winners’ Qualification before defeat at the hands of Dimitri Jungo. Home favourite Mieszko Fortunski was also knocked out with the World Pool Masters semi-finalist knocked out by Lars Kuckherm.

The 32 players who qualified through Winners’ Qualification were seeded in the Last 64 redraw against an unseeded player who came through the Losers Qualification matches with Karl Boyes completing the draw with Rachel Casey on the Matchroom Pool YouTube page. Pagulayan and Filler will have to dance again after being drawn against each other whilst defending champion Van Boening will come up against Uski.

Action returns from midday local time tomorrow on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia, the Baltics, and the Netherlands, DAZN in the USA and Italy as well as on Matchroom.Live and broadcasters worldwide. Table 2 and Table 3 are on the Matchroom Pool and Multi Sport YouTube Channels respectively and Viaplay in above listed territories. See where to watch here.

Last 64 Draw

Shane Van Boening VS Jani Uski
Aloysius Yapp VS Chris Melling
David Alcaide VS Wojciech Szewczwk
Lo Ho Sum VS Duong Quoc Hoang
Max Lechner VS Ruben Bautista
Nick Van Den Berg VS Johann Chua
Naoyuki Oi VS Emil-Andre Gangflot
Alexander Kazakis VS Wu Kun Lin
Sebastian Batkowski VS Francesco Candela
Ali Nasser Al Obaidli VS James Aranas
Imran Majid VS Mika Immonen
Mariusz Skoneczny VS Mohammad Soufi
Gerson Martinez VS Lars Kukcherm
Mateusz Sniegocki VS Fabio Petroni
Daniel Maciol VS Dimitri Jungo
Albin Ouschan VS Tyler Styer
Alex Pagulayan VS Johshua Filler
Aleksa Pecelj VS Roman Hybler
Sanjin Pehlivanovic VS Petri Makkonen
Niels Feijen VS Adjn Piknjac
Eklent Kaci VS Mario He
Ko Ping Chung VS Shane Wolford
John Morra VS Luong Duc Thien
Jayson Shaw VS Besar Spahiu
Wiktor Zielinski VS Mickey Krause
Jose Alberto Delgado VS Moritz Neuhausen
Chang Jung-Lin VS Hunter Lombardo
Ko Pin Yi VS Jan Van Lierop
Konrad Juszczyszyn VS Nguyen Anh Tuan
Robbie Capito VS Denis Grabe
Thorsten Hohmann VS Khalid Alghamdi
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz VS Oscar Dominguez

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World Pool Championship 2023 Draw | Van Boening Starts Defense Against Yoshioka

Shane Van Boening (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Shane Van Boening will begin the defense of his World Pool Championship title against Japan’s Masato Yoshioka in Kielce, Poland from February 1-5 live on Sky Sports in the UK, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia and the Baltics, DAZN in the USA as well as Matchroom.Live and networks worldwide.

FORMAT

TICKETS

WATCH DRAW

The American will look to become only the second player in history to defend the title following in the footsteps of Earl Strickland in a packed arena at Targi Kielce. 46 countries will be represented in the 128-player field as it is whittled down to the Last 64 over the first two days of action before it’s straight knockout to the end where one will claim the $60,000 first-place prize and the world crown.

The draw was completed with the top 64 players from the Nineball World Rankings against an unseeded player from the other 64 in the hat. Standout first-round ties include 2015 world champion Ko Pin Yi facing James Aranas of the Philippines whilst 2022 semi-finalist Abdullah Alyousef faces the tricky prospect of Johann Chua. 2004 world champion Alex Pagulayan was unseeded and will meet Michael Schneider.

World Cup of Pool winner David Alcaide takes on Billy Thorpe and Shane Wolford‘s mission for a spot on Team USA at the 2023 Mosconi Cup takes on Pia Filler. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz had a year to remember last year and will begin his Nineball campaign against So Shaw of Iran.

Double elimination matches are all race to 9, with all matches from the Last 64 a race to 11 except the final, which is a race to 13.

SEED Name Name
1 Shane Van Boening (USA) VS Masato Yoshioka (JPN)
2 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) VS  So Shaw (IRI)
3 Joshua Filler (GER) VS James Georgiadis (AUS)
4 Albin Ouschan (AUT) VS Juan Carlos Exposito (ESP)
5 Mario He (AUT) VS Sebastian Batkowski (POL)
6 Jayson Shaw (GBR) VS Francesco Candela (ITA)
7 Wiktor Zielinski (POL) VS Aziz Moussati (MAR)
8 Alexander Kazakis (GRE) VS Erik Hjorleifson (CAN)
9 Max Lechner (AUT) VS Max Eberle (USA)
10 Ko Pin Yi (TPE) VS James Aranas (PHI)
11 Eklent Kaçi (ALB) VS Dimitris Loukatos (GRE)
12 Abdullah Alyousef (KUW) VS Johann Chua (PHI)
13 Oliver Szolnoki (HUN) VS Marcel Price (GBR)
14 Niels Feijen (NED) VS Muhummed Daydat (RSA)
15 Konrad Juszczyszyn (POL) VS Daniel Guttenberger (AUT)
16 Mieszko Fortunski (POL) VS Emil-Andre Gangflot (NOR)
17 David Alcaide (ESP) VS Billy Thorpe (USA)
18 Marc Bijsterbosch (NED) VS Nguyễn Anh Tuấn (VIE)
19 Sanjin Pehlivanović (BOS) VS Joseph Spence (CAN)
20 Jonas Souto Comino (ESP) VS Karl Gnadeberg (EST)
21 Wojciech Szewczyk (POL) VS Bashar Hussain Abdul Majeed (QAT)
22 Ko Ping Chung (TPE) VS Michal Gavenčiak (CZE)
23 Chang Jung-Lin (TPE) VS Jonas-Kvalsund Hansen (NOR)
24 Ronald Regli (SUI) VS Iker Andoni Echeverría (ESP)
25 Naoyuki Oi (JPN) VS Mickey Krause (DEN)
26 Jose Alberto Delgado (ESP) VS Joey Tate (USA)
27 John Morra (CAN) VS Tayfun Taber (GER)
28 Denis Grabe (EST) VS  Ali Nasser Al Obaidli (QAT)
29 Ralf Souquet (GER) VS Sullivan Clark (NZL)
30 Dimitri Jungo (SUI) VS Hunter Lombardo (USA)
31 Thorsten Hohmann (GER) VS Tanes Tansomboon (THA)
32 Aloysius Yapp (SGP) VS Sharik Sayed (SGP)
33 Tomasz Kaplan (POL) VS Ko Ping Han (TPE)
34 Moritz Neuhausen (GER) VS Lường Đức Thiện (VIE)
35 Aleksa Pecelj (SRB) VS Marco Dorenburg (GER)
36 Daniel Maciol (POL) VS  Sina Valizadeh (IRI)
37 Oscar Dominguez (USA) VS Stephen Holem (CAN)
38 Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) VS Joao Grilo (POR)
39 Skyler Woodward (USA) VS Chris Alexander (GBR)
40 Besar Spahiu (ALB) VS Ramazan Akdag
41 Hseih Chia Chen (TPE) VS Nick Van Den Berg (NED)
42 Chris Melling (GBR) VS Duong Quoc Hoang (VIE)
43 Petri Makkonen (FIN) VS Elliott Sanderson (GBR)
44 Imran Majid (GBR) VS Marco Teutscher (NED)
45 Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) VS Mohammad Soufi (SYR)
46 Radoslaw Babica (POL) VS Jan Van Lierop (NED)
47 Robbie Capito (HKG) VS Toh Lian Han (SGP)
48 Jani Uski (FIN) VS Chetan Chhabra (IND)
49 Lo Ho Sum (HKG) VS Lars Kuckherm (GER)
50 Bader Alawadhi (KUW) VS Richard Halliday (RSA)
51 Pijus Labutis (LTU) VS Ajdin Piknjac (BOS)
52 Mika Immonen (FIN) VS  Gerson Martinez (PER)
53 Greg Hogue (USA) VS Mariusz Skoneczny (POL)
54 Shane Wolford (USA) VS  Pia Filler (GER)
55 Karol Skowerski (POL) VS Abdullah Al-Anzi (KUW)
56 Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) VS Ruben Bautista (MEX)
57 Tyler Styer (USA) VS Mason Koch (USA)
58 Roman Hybler (CZE) VS Matt Edwards (NZL)
59 Tobias Bongers (GER) VS Davy Piergiovanni (ITA)
60 Mustafa Alnar VS  Szymona Kural (POL)
61 Daniele Corrieri (ITA) VS Khalid Alghamdi (KSA)
62 Michael Schneider (SUI) VS Alex Pagulayan (CAN)
63 Wu Kun Lin (TPE) VS Fabio Petroni (ITA)
64 Mats Schjetne (NOR) VS Jakub Koniar (SVK)

WHERE TO WATCH

Table 1 will be live on broadcasters worldwide including Sky Sports in the UK, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia, Baltics, and the Netherlands, DAZN in the USA, Canada, and Italy, as well as on Matchroom.Live and networks worldwide. See where to watch here.

Table 2 will be live on Viaplay in selected territories as well as on Matchroom.Live and the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel.

Table 3 will be live on Viaplay in selected territories as well as on Matchroom.Live and the Matchroom Multi Sport YouTube channel.

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