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2018 Joy World Chinese 8-Ball Masters – The Preview

The 6th annual JOY World Chinese 8-Ball Masters is set to be the biggest yet with a record breaking $151,000 going to the eventual champion – the largest first prize in the history of the discipline.
 
Chinese 8-Ball continues to grow globally. Besides the obviously strong home contingent, 6 continents and a host and countries will be represented in Qinhuangdao. If you are not familiar with the rules and set-up, please visit the Home Leisure Direct Chinese 8-Ball Blog here to find out.
 
QUALIFICATION & THE FORMAT
The main draw will feature 64 players. This consists of 24 players from China and the remaining 40 made up of international talent.
 
Getting a place in the 64 is tough – nearly half of that starting entry will have only secured their place during the last week. The China Regional Finals have just been completed in the venue whilst there are 8 places up for grabs in the ongoing International Qualifier that is taking place between 4th-6th January.
 
The rest of the line-up has been decided by other avenues such as national and international qualifying events and selection. The full list of players now confirmed is at the bottom of this article.
 
In the main draw, a Double Elimination format will be used all the way to the final, which will then be a one-off Championship Match.
 
Matches will increase in distance as the tournament progresses, but so too will the time limit for each match. Should the time expire before a target is achieved, whoever is leading at that point will win the tie.
 
If the scores are level, the players will contest a dramatic Black Ball Shoot-Out to determine a winner.
 
THE PRE-TOURNAMENT FAVOURITES
Gareth Potts is the reigning and defending World Masters Champion. In 2017 the Englishman claimed this title for a third time after a thrilling Shoot-Out victory against Chinese youngster Zhang Kunpeng.
 
Potts, who bagged the first two editions in 2013 and 2014 and is a four-time English 8-Ball Pool World Champion, trailed throughout almost all of that final. After an early defeat in the event he was forced to take the losers side of the draw too – in total he ran a gauntlet of 10 wins to lift the trophy.
 
At the JOY International Open in October, Potts almost secured a unique double, but was denied by home player Liu Yang in the final. As an example of how tough the qualification process for this year's event is, Liu did not make it through here.
 
Zhang will be looking to go one better and put behind any bitter memories of his final defeat; earlier in this season he tasted success at a tour event in Xining.
 
Elsewhere during the campaign, Zheng Yubo won back-to-back legs in Linyi and Lianyungang, whilst the effervescent Yang Fan claimed the top prize in Hangzhou.
 
Yang is arguably Potts' biggest rival in the sport. He is the only other winner of the JOY World Masters following his consecutive victories in 2015 and 2016. Yang also comes here as the current World Chinese Pool Champion having won the title in 2017.
 
There appears to be a real rivalry and power struggle between Potts and Yang; hopefully they will cross cues at some point within the coming days.
 
?The list of big Chinese hopes doesn't end there, though. 2016 World Chinese Pool Champion Shi Hanqing, Two-Time World Cup of 9-Ball Pool Champion Li Hewen and former professional snooker player – and Crucible qualifier, Liu Chuang are other big name contenders.
 
As too is Wu Zhenyu, who finished top of the 2017 JOY Cup Rankings. Because of this Wu was the only Chinese player to automatically make the main draw and was not required to take part in the recent China Qualifying.
 
 
INTERNATIONAL STARS
One of the most exciting aspects of this tournament is that we see stars from other Cuesports backgrounds take part.
 
The Philippines' Carlo Biado recently became the World 9 Ball Pool Champion in Qatar. Alongside former World 8 Ball Pool Champion, World Cup of Pool and multiple Mosconi Cup winner Karl Boyes (England), they have been selected via the World Pool Association.
 
Names in American Pool don't really come much bigger than the USA's Shane Van Boening – a 5-Time US Open 9-Ball Champion. He is back in Qinhuangdao after a disappointing result last year.
 
Corey Deuel is another famous Stateside figure returning. Deuel replaces original national qualifying event winner Darren Appleton, who had to withdraw due to personal reasons.
 
Former World Blackball Champions Ben Davies (Wales) and Westi Morake (South Africa), former World 9-Ball Youth Champion Aloysius Yapp (Singapore) and current World Under 17 9-Ball Champion Sanjin Pehlivanovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) have also earned places.
 
There are other players you may be familiar with on the list such as Italy's Fabio Petroni and Chile's Enrique Rojas.
 
 
THE UK ANGLE
As mentioned earlier, Potts, Boyes and Davies are all in the main draw, as too is Shaun Storry, who won the first of two qualifying tournaments held in the UK (Davies won the second). You can read about their wins here.
 
However, representation from the UK may not end there, as a number of players have made the long trip to Asia to take part in the International Qualifier (which is happening at the time of writing this article).
 
THE FULL LIST OF PLAYERS IN THE MAIN DRAW
AFRICA
Jaouad Tabit (Morocco), Richard Halliday (South Africa), Westi Morake (South Africa), Gangnant Karyl (Reunion Islands), Ahmed Galal (Egypt), Cadet Christopher (Madagascar)
 
ASIA
Carlo Biado (Philippines), Ko Ar Ti (Myanmar), Hwang Yong (South Korea), Toh Lian Han (Singapore), Aloysius Yapp (Singapore), Tsuchiya Junko (Japan), Fukuda Takeshi (Japan), Matsumura Hiroshi (Japan), Hijikata Hayato (Japan)
 
CHINA
Wu Zhenyu, Shi Hanqing, Gong Haifeng, Zhang Kunpeng, Xi Hongyu, Xia Hongyan, Meng Fanyu, Zheng Yubo, Liu Chuang, An Hongyu, Yu Guangyu, Zhao Yunbiao, Lv Xin, Abulajiang, Shi Weida, Shen Chongyang, Wu Hao, Li Hewen, Wang Yang, Chen Shuangyou, Zhang Lei, Shan Hongyu, Yang Fan, Wang Dashuang, 
 
EUROPE
Gareth Potts (UK), Karl Boyes (UK), Brian Ochoiski (France), Ricardo Freitas (France), Joao Grilo (Portugal), Nacho Schmit (Spain), Mark McGauley (Norway), Fabio Petroni (Italy), Shaun Storry (UK), Ben Davies (UK), Michalis Spyrou (Cyprus), Sanjin Pehlivanovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
 
NORTH AMERICA
Andrew Wroblewski (Canada), Corey Deuel (USA), Shane Van Boening (USA)
 
SOUTH AMERICA
Mauro Valdez (Argentina), Enrique Rojas (Chile)
 
*THERE ARE STILL 8 REMAINING SPOTS TO BE FILLED VIA THE INTERNATIONAL QUALIFIER (4th-6th January)*
 

Bearing Down for Survival


32 PLAYERS SAY GOODBYE TO DOHA AS ALL BUT ONE OF THE TOP PLAYERS STAY ALIVE AT THE 2012 WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP

(Doha, Qatar)–32 players saw their dreams of glory crash and burn after a busy day 2 of the 2012 WPA World 9-ball Championship came to a close here in searing hot Doha, Qatar.

The proceedings inside the Al Sadd Sports Club went pretty much to the script, unlike day 1 where upsets were the order of the day.  All but one of the sport’s big name players won and will continue on in the group stages.

The day started with Groups 13 through 16 seeing their first action of  the tournament. The Philippines’ Ronnie Alcano, runner up last year in this event, easily took down Singapore’s Toh Kian Han, 9-3.  The USA’s Hunter Lombardo, one of only two Americans in this year’s championship, sprinted past Morrocan youngster Al Masskini, 9-2.

World number 8, Lee Van Corteza of the Philippines blanked Croatia’s Ivica Putnik 9-0.  Japan’s Tohru Kurbayashi defeated New Zealand’s Ceri Worts, 9-6.

The Philippines’s Dennis  Orcullo, definitely one of the top five favorites to win this event, had a tight tussle early with the UAE’s  Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi, but prevailed 9-6. Also claiming wins were Germans Oliver Ortmann, and Ralf Souquet.  The Netherland’s Nick Van den Berg had a tough opening match against the Philippines Joven Alba, but prevailed, 9-7.

All winners in the group stages need one more win to advance to the knockout stage in the final 64. The losers of each match headed over to the left side of the bracket where they would need to win twice to advance.

The rest of the day was given over to that left side of the bracket, where a single roll of the ball can spell ultimate  doom for any visions of pool grandeur. In other words, one more loss and you’re history.

The most surprising early exit from this year’s event was from England’s Mark Gray. Gray is one of his country’s and Europe’s top talents and was a semi-finalist here last year, where he played gutsy pool in brutally pressure packed situations.  But in his do or die match against Hong Kong’s very capable Lee Chenman, Gray fell victim to that mysterious malady that lurks throughout this sport; play great but the balls don’t behave.

“I didn’t miss a pot today,” Gray said afterward. “But I guess I didn’t get the rolls.” Gray’s only consolation is that he’ll be playing with Team England next week in Beijing at the brand new World Team Championship.

For the rest of pool’s top names, the afternoon and evening session of do or die matches spelled pure redemption. The Netherland’s Huidji See and Niels Feijen, Finland’s Mika Immonen, the USA’s Shane Van Boening, and England’s Chris Melling all put in solid efforts  to win handily. All are still on the chopping block but will need one more win to advance to the single elimination stage.   

The Philippines contingent, which is backed by a vocal throng of overseas Filipinos who work and reside in Doha,  bounced back nicely on day 2. Elvis Calasang, Joven Alba, Israel Rota and Raymond Faraon all won in do or die matches are still alive in the event.

The Al Sadd Sports Club is sure to back packed to the rafters on day 3 as Filipino and world pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes sees action in round two of the winner’s side.   Reyes is sure to be received like a rock star by his fellow Filipinos.   

The group stages continue on Day 3 with winners’ side matches.  All winners of these matches advance to the final 64, while the losers will get one more shot.

The final 64 will begin single elimination play on June 27th. The semi-finals and finals will take place on June 29th. The winner will receive $40,000, while the runner up with take home $20,000.

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

*Note: The WPA has experienced technical difficulties with its live scoring platform. We expect to have it fixed by Day 3. In the meantime, fans can also access live scoring through the official website of the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation at: http://www.qbsf.net/en/live_score.php.

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

Day 2 Results, Group Stages, Opening Matches

Group 13
Ronnie Alcano(PHI) 9 – 3 Toh Lian Han(SIN)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 2 Al Masskini(MAR)
Antonio G.bica(PHI) 9 – 4 Andrea Klasovic(CRO)
Denis Grabe(EST) 9 – 7 Salaheldeen Alrimawi(UAE)

Group 14
Lee Van Corteza(PHI) 9 – 0 Ivica Putnik(CRO)
Marlon Caneda(PHI) 9 – 6 Francisco Diaz Pizarro(ESP)
Tohru Kurbayashi(JPN) 9 – 6 Ceri Worts(NZL)
Majed Alazmi(KUW) 9 – 3 Nguyen Anh Tuan(VIE)

Group 15
Dennis Orcullo(PHI) 9 – 6 Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi(UAE)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 9 – 6 Richard Jones(GBR)
Jonny Martinez(VEN) 9 – 8 Raymond Faraon(PHI)
Andrew Kong(HKG) 9 – 6 Hori Ryouji(JPN)

Group 16
David N. Anderson(RSA) 9 – 4 Henrique Correia(POR)
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 2 Israel Rota(PHI)
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 7  Joven Alba(PHI)
Nayf Abdel Afou(JOR) 9 – 5  Lee Wan Su(KOR)

 

Day 2 Results, Group Stages, Losers Bracket
Winner stays in, Loser is out of the tournament

Group 1
Huidji See(NED) 9 – 6 Philipp Stojanovic(CRO)
Mohammed Ali Berja(LIB) 9 – 7  Hwang Yong(KOR)

Group 2
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 9 – 4 Abdulwahed Al Awad(KSA)
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 – 5 Sundeep Gulati(IND)

Group 3
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 – 5 Aloysius Yapp(SIN)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 0 Abdulatif Fawal(QAT)

Group 4
Waleed Majeed(QAT) 9 – 1 Rajandran Nair(RSA)
Lee He Wen(CHN) 9 – 4   Edwin Montal(CAN)

Group 5
Do The Kien(CHN) 9 – 5 Mohd Buainain(QAT)
Takashi Uraoka(JPN) 9 – 6 Marcus Chamat(SWE)

Group 6
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 1 Mohd Al Bin Ali(QAT)
Dmitri Jungo(SUI) 9 – 5 Robby Foldavi(AUS)

Group 7
Jalal Yousef(VEN) 9 – 2 Dang Jin Hu(CHN)
Ryu Seung Woo(KOR) 9 – 8 Hanni Alhowri(UAE)

Group 8
Lee Chenmen(HKG) 9 – 5 Mark Gray(GBR)
Serge Das(BEL) 9 – 5 Luis Lemus(GUA)

Group 9
Lo Li Wen(TPE) 9 – 3 Oliver Medenilla(PHI)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 2 Mazen Berjawi(LIB)

Group 10
Takhti Zarekani(IRI) 9 – 7 Alaa Bata(QAT)
Dominic Jentsch(GER) 9 – 4 Harvey Shognosh(CAN)

Group 11
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 6 Hamza Alsaeed(ERI)
Elvis Calasang(PHI)9 – 8 Kuo Yi Che(TPE)  

 Group 12
Mario He(AUT) 9 – 5 Alok Kumar(IND)
Imran Majid(GBR) 9 – 6 Mohamed Elassal(EGY)

Group 13
Andrea Klasovic(CRO) 9 – 0 Salaheldeen Alrimawi(UAE)
Toh Kian Han(SIN) 9 – 3 Al Masskini(MAR)

Group 14
Francisco Diaz Pizarro(ESP) 9 – 5 Ivica Putnik(CRO)
Ceri Worts(NZL) 9 – 8 Nguyen Anh Tuan(VIE)

Group 15
Hori Ryouji(JPN) 9 – 3 Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi(UAE)
Raymond Faraon(PHI) 9 –  6 Richard Jones(GBR)

Group 16
Joven Alba(PHI) 9 – 4 Henrique Correia(POR)
Israel Rota(PHI) 9 – 4 Lee Wan Su(KOR)

New Talents and Old Hands Shine in Doha


DAY 1 AT THE 2012 WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP PRODUCES SURPRISING UPSETS AND SOLID OUTINGS FROM THE GAME’S BEST

(Doha, Qatar)–With 128 of the world’s best pool players on hand contesting  the 2012 World 9-ball Championship, and all playing a slew of matches in their groups and trying, over the next few days, to whittle the field down to 64, it’s nearly impossible to predict who exactly will emerge as the new king of 9-ball.

But as day one here in blazing hot Doha, Qatar has come to a close, certain important trends have already revealed themselves. Perhaps most important among them is the fact that the talent level throughout the world of pool has risen dramatically in the last few years.

We all know that the Philippines, Taiwan, England and many European countries produce serious pool talent. But what about not so known hotbeds of pool such as Iran, Lebanon, Finland, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, New Zealand, UAE and right here in Qatar?

The first 48 matches held Saturday inside the Al Sadd Sports Club have proven one thing and that is that the sport of 9-ball has literally gone viral, with solid players  emerging from the most unlikely of places. Which means known players cannot take any match for granted. And that, of course, brings to us another trend we will witness this week in Doha; fans should prepare themselves for lots of upsets.

The first surprising result of the day came in the very first group out of the gates, when Kuwait’s Badr Al Awadi defeated former World 10-Ball champion Huidji See of the Netherlands, 9-7.  It should be noted that Kuwait seems to be one of the big beneficiaries of the presence of big time pool tournaments being played year after year in the Middle East. Many of the Kuwaiti players are very competitive out on the table and seem to be gaining confidence with each passing year.

Also during the first session another upset caused waves around the arena, this one coming from Down Under.  24 year old Matthew Edwards  from New Zealand knew his odds against American great Shane Van Boening were long.  And at 5-1 down in the race to 9, alternate break match things were looking bleak indeed for the young Kiwi.    But a massive fight back coupled with plenty of heart brought Edwards back into the match. He ended beating Van Boening 9-7 for the biggest win of his career.

Afterward, as many of the players do, Edwards went straight to his Facebook page to tell the world about his accomplishment. His comments are printed as is because, well, they speak volumes about how fascinating the sport of 9-ball at the professional level can be.

Edwards wrote:  “I came into the match feeling very excited and a little out of depth… After our 5min warm up I was shocked to find out how tight the pockets were and how different the cushions reacted!!! What a confidence blower the warm up was 🙁 ! It was clear that Shane was more than comfortable on the American made Diamond pool table! Shane jumped out to a 5-1 lead without me doing too much wrong… I then kept telling myself I would stick to my initial game plan and never give up , try my best and fight to the end! At 5-1 I remember only seeing the ball in front of me and focusing on the sinking the ball! As weird as it sounds I was so nervous I was afraid to miss which drove me to focus harder and harder… I knew I didn’t know the cushions well enough so I would play basic position even if it meant playing a longer tougher pot on relying on my potting skills! I ended up winning 9-7!! I was very happy to beat such a great player and happy with myself that I didn’t give up and fought right to the finish line !!! I was playing on all heart despite the odds! I kept the belief in myself no matter what!!”

Folks, if you can’t get excited about the excitement of Matthew Edwards then it’s time to turn to following competitive hot dog eating to get your thrills.

As the day wore on, a few more surprising results kept coming in.  Aki Heiskanen, a fresh face out of Finland, handily defeated Dutch star Niels Feijen . 9-4.   Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen got the crowd pumped up with his nervy 9-8 win over Belgium’s Serge Das.   

Many of the games big names had solid outings on day one. The Philippines Efren “Bata” Reyes beat Croatia’s Philipp Stojanovic, 9-3. Defending champion  Yukio Akagariyama of Japan won  9 – 7 over Dominic Jentsch of Germany. 2010 World 9-ball Champion Francisco Bustamante beat Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen, 9-6. 2007 World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach of England prevailed  9 – 7 over a very tough Sniegocki Mateusz  of Poland.  Current World 8-ball champion Chang Jun Lin of Taiwan defeated Dimitri Jungo of Switzerland, 9-7. Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, the 2003 World 9-ball Champion, beat Taiwan’s Hsu Kai Lun 9-5.

Two time US Open Champion and former World 10-ball champion Darren Applenton of England nearly made it to our upset list as he had a very difficult time with Hamza Alsaeed of Eritrea, coming back from a 6-4 deficit to win 9-7.

Several high quality matchups produced some interesting results. Malta’s Tony Drago was leading Finland’s great Mika Immonen 7-1, only to see  Immonen storm back to tie the match. The two went to the hill where Drago broke and ran the last rack for the win.

The Philippines talented but underrated Jundel Mazon beat England’s  number one Chris Melling, 9-7.  Two time World 9-ball Champion Fong Pang Chao of Taiwan beat China’s Le He Wen, 9-7.  Taiwan’s Yang Ching Shun returned to competitive pool after a several year hiatus and beat  the UAE’s  Hanni Alhowri, 9-2.

In a result that won’t get too much attention outside of Tirana, Malaj Nikolaos notched  the  first  ever win for Albania in the World 9-ball Championship when he squeaked by Qatar’s Abdulatif Fawal, 9-8.  Nikolaos is actually a rising talent on the European scene. In 2011 he won the Kremlin Cup, defeating Mika Immonen in the final, an event that was sponsored by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

 The 2012 World 9-ball Championship continues in the group stages on Sunday. All first round matches will be played as will several on the losers’ side bracket of each group.

The final 64 will begin single elimination play on June 27th. The semi-finals and finals will take place on June 29th. The winner will receive $40,000, while the runner up with take home $20,000.

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

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

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

Results from Day 1, Group  Stages
Winner goes to winner’s side of the bracket and needs one more win to advance
Loser goes to losers side of the bracket and needs two wins to advance

Group 1
Badr Al Awadi(KUW) 9 – 7 Huidji See(NED)
Efren  Reyes(PHI) 9 – 3 Philipp Stojanovic(CRO)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – Hwang Yong(KOR)
Loyme Vicente(PHI) 9 -4  Mohammad Berjawi(LEB)

Group 2
Tony Drago(MLT) 9 – 8 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Ramil Gallego(PHI) 9 – 6 Sundeep Gulati(IND)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 5 Hsu Kai Lun(TPE)
Ali Podel(IRI) 9 – 2 Abdulwahed Al Awad(KSA)

Group 3
Jundel Mazon(PHI) 9 – 7 Chris Melling(GBR)
Matthew Edwards(NZL) 9 – 7 Shane Van Boening(USA)
Vincent Faquet(FRA) 9 – 7 Aloysius Yapp(SIN)
Malaj Nikolaos(ALB)  9 – 8 Abdulatif Fawal((QAT)

Group 4
Chao Fang Pong(TPE) 9 – 7 Lee He Wen(CHN)
Thomas Engert(GER) 9 – 4 Edwin Montal(CAN)
Carlo Biado(PHI) 9 – 1 Rajandran Nair(RSA)
Roman Hybler(CZE) 9 – 3 Waleed Majeed(QAT)

Group 5
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 9 – 8 Do The Kien(VIE)
Karlo Dalmatin(CRO) 9 – 2 Mohd Buainain(QAT)
Fu Jianbo(CHN) 9 – 7 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
Jason Shaw(GBR) 9 – 5 Takashi Uraoka(JPN)

Group 6
Aki Heiskanen(FIN) 9 – 4 Niels Feijen(NED)
Khaled Al Mutairi(KUW) 9 – 4 Mohd Al Bin Ali(QAT)
Chang Jun Lin(TPE) 9 – 7 Dimitri Jungo(SUI)
Naoyuki Ohi(JPN) 9 – Robby Foldvari(AUS)

Group 7
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 3 Jalal Yousef(VEN)
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 7 Dan Jingu(CHN)
Karl Boyes(GBR) 9 – 5 Ryu Seung Woo(KOR)
Yang Ching Shun(TPE) 9 – 2 Hanni Alhowri(UAE)

Group 8
Hayato Hijikata(JPN) 9 – 3 Mark Gray(GBR)
Manuel Gama(POR) 9 – 7 Lee Chenman(HKG)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 1 Luis Lemus(GUA)
Omar Al Shaheen(KUW) 9 – 8 Serge Das(BEL)

Group 9
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9 – 7 Sniegocki Mateusz(POL)
Bozo Primic(CRO) 9 – 8 Mazen Berjaoui(LIB)
Francisco Bustamante(PHI) 9 – 6 Lo Li Wen(TPE)
Abdullah Al Yousef(KUW) 9 – 3 Oliver Medenilla(PHI)

Group 10
Roberto Gomez(PHI) 9 – 6 Takhti Zarekani(IRI)
Mohammad Saeed(QAT) 9 – 8 Alaa Bata(QAT)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 7 Dominic Jentsch(GER)
Konstantine Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 3Harvey Shognosh(CAN)

Group 11
Abdul Rahman Al Amar(KSA) 9 – 7 Bruno Muratore(ITA)
Bashar Hussain(QAT) 9 – 1 Kuo Yi Che(TPE)
Han Hao Hang(CHN) 9 – 6 Elvis Calasang(PHI)
Darren Appleton(GBR) 9 – 7 Hamza Alsaeed(ERI)

Group 12
Jason Klatt(CAN) 9 – 3 Imran Majid(GBR)
Ali Obaidly(QAT) 9 – 8 Mohamed Elassal(EGY)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 3 Mario He(AUT)
Nick Ekonomopoulos(GRE) 9 – 5 Alok Kumar(IND)

WPA World 9-Ball Championship Underway

Reigning Champion Yukio Akagariyama

The Big One is finally here.

The WPA 2012 World 9-ball Championship, considered perhaps the most prestigious title in men’s professional pool, has gotten underway at the beautiful Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.

The action over the next 8 days promises to be as scorching hot as the weather is outside, where searing hot winds sweeping in off the desert combine with the blazing Middle Eastern sun to send temperatures into the mid-40’s celcius.

Indeed the event has attracted 128 of the best pool players from over 50 countries, who are vying for $300,000 in prize money, with $40,000 going to the eventual winner.

The tournament is run in two stages.  The first stage has the players divided up into 16 groups of 8.  There the players will play a double elimination format, race to 9, alternate break. The top four players in each group, two from the winners side, and two from the losers side, will advance into the final 64, which begins on June 27th. 

From there, the tournament becomes a straight knockout, with all matches single elimination race to 11, alternate break. The finals, which will be played on June 29th, will be race to 13, alternate break. 

The list of names assembled here in Doha is a who’s who of the games top stars, with literally dozens of world championships and major victories among them.  In all there are 10 current or former world 9-ball champions in the field, including defending champion Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama who won in this very venue last year. 

Other world 9-ball champions include the Philippines Francisco Bustamante(2010), England’s Daryl Peach(2007), the Philippines Ronnie Alcano(2006), Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann(2003), Finland’s Mika Immonen(2001), Taiwan’s Fong Pang Chao(2000, 1993), the Philippines Efren “Bata” Reyes(1999), Germany’s Ralf Souquet(1996), Germany’s Oliver Ortmann(1995).

The list of pool champions in the field doesn’t include just 9-ball. Current World 8-ball champion Chang Jun Lin of Taiwan is here.  Also vying for glory will be two time US Open Champion and former World 10-Ball Champion Darren Appleton of England, 2011 World 8-ball Champion Dennis Orcullo of the Philippines, 2010 World 8-ball champion Karl boyes of England, 2010 World 10-ball champion Huidji See of the Netherlands, and former US Open Champion and the USA’s number one player, Shane Van Boening.

But of course as in every World 9-ball Championship, part of the fun is witnessing the rise of new talents from across the globe, as the game of 9-ball has spread far and wide over the last ten years.  Fans are guaranteed train loads of nerve jangling drama throughout the event, with plenty of upsets sure to rock the Al Sadd and the pool world. 

Once again the Philippines has the most number of entries with 16 players.  Last year, more than a quarter of the players in the final 64 were from the Philippines. Considering the numbers entered this year, and with the high standard of all the Filipino players, expect a similar scenario this week. It would even be a fair bet to say a Filipino will probably make it at least to the semi-finals. 

In order to stop players from soft breaking, the WPA has instituted the Illegal Break rule this year. On the break shot, a player must get three balls past the head string, or get a combination of 3 balls past the head string and/or pocketed.

The 2012 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation. The official tables are once again Diamond Tables, and the pockets have been set extremely tight as befits a world championship.    

This is now the third straight year that Qatar has hosted the World 9-ball Championship.    Qatar, which has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, hosting the prestigious pool world championship is adding yet another milestone in its sporting achievements.

Qatar emerged as the leading centre for sports. The country has been a major hub for big time international sporting events, including the 2006 Asian Games, the 2011 Asian Cup Football Championships, and the MotoGP World Championship.

The small but oil-rich country will also host the 2022 FIFA World Cup of Football and the 2015 World IHF Handball Championship.

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

 The prize breakdown is as follows:
Champion – $40,000
Runner-up – $20,000
3- 4 – $12,000
5-8 -$8,000
9-16 -$5,000
17-32 – $3,500
33-64- $2,000
65-96 – $1000 (loser of 2nd round in the loser’s bracket of Stage 2)
Total – $300,000

FACT FILE
Sponsored by – Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC)
Co-sponsored by – Simonis (cloth)
Organised by – Qatar Billiards & Snooker Federation (QBSF)
Sanctioned by – World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) & Asian Pocket
Billiard Union (APBU)
Official Hotel: Wyndham Grand Regency

EQUIPMENT:
Diamond Tables
Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color.
Aramith Super Pro TV Ball

FULL PLAYERS LIST

1            Akagariyama Yukio                          JPN
2            Chang Jung Lin                                 TPE
3            Chris Melling                                      GBR
4            Fu Che Wei                                         TPE
5            Huidji See                                           NED
6            Dennis Orcollo                                   PHI
7            Darren Appleton                                GBR
8            Lee Van Corteza                               PHI
9            Ronnie Alcano                                   PHI
10           Ko Pin Yi                                               TPE
11           Liu Haitao                                            CHN
12           Carlo Biado                                         PHI
13           Thorsten Hohmann                         GER
14           Ralf Souquet                                      GER
15           Chang Yu Lung                                   TPE
16           Daryl Peach                                        GBR
17           Fu Jianbo                                             CHN
18           Roberto Gomez                                  PHI
19           Shane Van Boening                         USA
20           Mark Gray                                           GBR
21           Mika Immonen                                 FIN
22           Lo Li Wen                                             TPE
23           Hwang Yong                                       KOR
24           Alok Kumar                                         IND
25           Sundeep Gulati                                 IND
26           Kuribatashi Tohru                            JPN
27           Hori Ryouji                                          JPN
28           Kuo Yi Che                                           TPE
29           Hsu Kai Lun                                         TPE
30           Ryu Seung Woo                                 KOR
31           Lee Wan Su                                        KOR
32           Toh Lian Han                                      SIN
33           Aloysius Yapp                                    SIN
34           Do The Kien                                        VIE
35           Nguyen Anh Tuan                              VIE
36           Francisco Bustamante                    PHI
37           Jundel Mazon                                    PHI
38           Efren Reyes                                        PHI
39           Antonio G.bica                                 PHI-QAT
40           Israel Rota                                         PHI-QAT
41           Kong Andrew                                    HKG
42           Lee Chenman                                    HKG
43           Lee He Wen                                       CHN
44           Han Hao Xiang                                   CHN
45           Dan Jing Hu                                         CHN
46           Edwin Montal                                    CAN
47           Jason Klatt                                          CAN
48           John Morra                                         CAN
49           Harvey Shognosh                             CAN
50           Hunter Lombardo                            USA
51           Tony Drago                                         MLT
52           Philipp Stojanovic                            CRO
53           Ivica Putnik                                         CRO
54           Karlo Dalmatin                                   CRO
55           Bozidar Primic                                    CRO
56           Malaj Nikolaos                                  ALB
57           Roman Hybler                                   CZE
58           Vincent Facquet                                  FRA
59           Francisco Diaz-Pizarro                    ESP
60           Andrea Klasovic                                SRB
61           Marus Chamat                                  SWE
62           Aki Heiskanen                                   FIN
63           Mario He                                             AUT
64           Albin Ouschan                                   AUT
65           Manuel Gama                                   POR
66           Henrique Correia                             POR
67           Dimitri Jungo                                      SUI
68           Nick Van Den Berg                           NED
69           Niels Feijen                                        NED
70           Jason Shaw                                         GBR
71           Imran Majid                                       GBR
72           Jones Richard                                    GBR
73           Karl Boyes                                           GBR
74           Oliver Ortmann                                 GER
75           Jentsch Dominic                               GER
76           Thomas Engert                                  GER
77           Serge Das                                            BEL
78           Sniegocki Mateusz                          POL
79           Konstantin Stepanov                      RUS
80           Bruno Muratore                               ITA
81           Denis Grabe                                       EST
82           Luis Lemus                                          GUA
83           Jonny Martinez                                 VEN
84           Jalal Yousef                                         VEN
85           Ceri Worts                                           NZL
86           Matthew Edwards                           NZL
87           Robby Foldvari                                  AUS
88           Mohammad Ali Berjaoui               LIB
89           Mazen Berjaoui                                LIB
90           Takhti Zarekani                                 IRI
91           Ali Pordel                                             IRI
92           Badr Al Awadi                                    KUW
93           Abdullah Al Yousef                          KUW
94           Abdulwahed Al Awad                    KSA
95           Abdul Rahman Al Amar                 KSA
96           Hanni Alhowri                                    UAE
97           Salaheldeen Alrimawi                    UAE
98           Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi                         UAE
99           Nayf Abdel Afou                              JOR
100         Rajandran Nair                                  RSA
101         David N. Anderson                          RSA
102         Hamza Alsaeed                                 ERI
103         Mohamed Elassal                             EGY
104         Al Masskini                                         MAR
105         Bashar Hussain                                  QAT
106         Mohd Al Bin Ali                                 QAT
107         Abdulatif Fawal                                 QAT
108         Mohd Buainain                                 QAT
109         Ali Obaidly                                           QAT
110         Waleed Majeed                                  QAT
111         Mohammad Saeed                         QAT
112         Hayato Hijikata                                  JPN
113         Yang Ching Shun                               TPE
114         Joyme Vicente                                  PHI-UAE
115         Nick Ekonomopoulos                     GRE
116         Naoyuki Ohi                                       JPN
117         Olver Medanilla                                PHI-UAE
118         Ramil Gallego                                     PHI
119         Joven Alba                                          PHI-UAE
120         Chao Fang Pang                              TPE
121         Majed Alazmi                                    KUW
122         Marlon Caneda                                 PHI-KSA
123         Omar Al Shahen                               KUW
124         Takashi Uraoka                                 JPN
125         Elvis Calasang                                   PHI-UAE
126         Khaled Al Mutairi                                KUW
127         Raymound Faraon                           PHI-UAE
128         Alaa Bata                                             QAT

And down they go – World 8-Ball Championship Final 64

The World 8-ball Championship turned into a wide open race on Wednesday in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, as some of the games biggest names, including defending champion Dennis Orcullo, last year’s runner up Niels Feijen, and semi-finalist Darren Appleton all were sent packing barely after the knockout stages had gotten going. 

Other big names, like former champions Ralf Souquet and Karl Boyes were also handed their walking papers. In all it amounted to a proverbial one day bloodletting in one of the sport’s biggest championships.

The biggest upset of the day was easily Orcullo, who went down hard to upstart Karol Skowerski of Poland.  Both Orcullo and Skowerski had won their round of 64 matches earlier in the day, and came up against each other in the first of the round of 32 matches later in the evening.  When the defending champion sent the cue off the table on the opening break it must have been a terrible omen for the Filipino, who was certainly expecting to go far in the event he won last year.

Indeed things continued downhill even  faster for Orcullo as he fell behind 5-0 in the race to 9, alternate break contest.  The 28 year old Skowerski, who’s ranked number 4 in Poland, took advantage of several errors from the defending champion, and played surprisingly confident pool throughout.  The Kielce native showed superb potting skills and was never intimidated even when Orcullo began a fight back.  In fact it was the Filipino who seemed to fold as Skowerski won the match going away, 9-3 for the biggest win of his career.

“I played well and I really concentrated well the whole match,” an obviously delighted Skowerski said after the match as he was congratulated by teammates Radislaw Babica and Tomasz Kaplan, both of whom were eliminated earlier in the day.  “I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t nervous.”

At about the same time, Feijen, who’s been runner up here two years running, found himself in a difficult match against the very talented Ko Pin Yi of Taiwan in a round of 32 contest. Everyone expected this one to go the distance but it wasn’t even close. Ko, who over the last year has been making it clear he intends to be one of the world’s best players, blew Feijen out of the building, taking the match 9-2. 

One of the more interesting matchups of the early sessions in the round of 64 was perennial favorite Souquet taking on the USA’s Max Eberle.  Eberle is the last American standing in this year’s championship, and over the last 24 hours he’s been openly relishing carrying the mantle for the USA, the ancestral home 8-ball.  

Indeed “Mad Max” started his match like a man possessed as he jumped out to a 4-0 lead. As expected the Kaiser methodically crawled his way back into the match and looked to be squeezing the air out of the American.  Eberle, though, stood  his ground and wouldn’t let the German great catch him as he held on for a gritty 9-7 win.

“I came out strong and I think that set him back a bit,” Eberle said afterward. “Ralf was tight today. He usually plays cleaner but he kept giving me opportunities.” 

Darren Appleton came into this year’s championship supremely confident of his chances to take the title, even admitting early in the week that for him to lose, an opposing player would have to shoot lights out pool.

“You really have to beat me,” the powerhouse Brit said. Those words came back to haunt Appleton tonight as China’s talented Li He Wen beat him senseless in the round of 64. The 31 year old Li, who hails from Shenyang in northeastern China and is China’s number one ranked player, steamrolled Appleton 9-3 to move into the round of 32 on Thursday.

“I played very good today,” Li said afterward through an interpreter. “He didn’t break good and he gave me too many chances.”

Several times  today in Fujairah it was proved that players from  the Middle East  have made great strides in recent years and are no longer just filler for tournament fields. 23 year old Salah Al-Rimawi of the UAE brought some noise to the Fujairah Tennis Club as he upended fancied Brit Daryl Peach, 9 – 5.  Al-Rimawi, who is the UAE’s number one player and made it all the way to the final 16 last year here,  played solid pool throughout and jumped out to a 7-1 lead over the former World 9-ball champion, who had seemed out of sorts the entire tournament.    Peach fought back but Al-Rimawi showed true grit by bearing down and crossing the finish line in style. 

Earlier, 20 year old Ahmad Jallad, who showed fine form last June in Qatar for the World 9-ball championship, showed he can play serious 8-ball as he put in a gutsy performance  against favored Filipino Joven Alba.  Alba, who coaches the national team of the UAE, went up 6-2 only to commit some glaring errors that allowed the youngster to gain some momentum. Jallad clawed his way back to go up 7-6, then held off the Filipino for a narrow win, 9-8.

It was not the best of days for the Philippine contingent as six Pinoys went down to defeat. Still three big names are still in the championship; Lee Van Corteza, Roberto Gomez, and Carlo Biado

Thursday is sure to provide plenty of drama and tension as the field will be reduced to four players by the end of the day.  Thursday play begins at 2pm in Fujairah(GMT +4). 

The 2012 World 8-ball Championship concludes on Friday with the semis and finals. The winner will receive $20,000 while the runner up will get $15,000.  The tournament has a $156,000 prize fund. 

The WPA will be providing up to the minute coverage of all the happenings on its website, www.wpa-pool.com, including live scoring of all matches, in depth articles on the goings on posted several times a day, as well as blow by blow coverage of big matches via the WPA’s Twitter page, @poolwpa. 

For Live scoring, CLICK HERE

For Updated Brackets and complete Final 64 draw, CLICK HERE

For Photo Gallery, CLICK HERE

 

*The World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA) is the world governing body of the sport of pool. The WPA is also the member organization for pool of the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS), the international umbrella organization encompassing all the major cue sports.

 

Day 3, FINAL 64
Race to 9, Alternate Break

2:OO PM

Dennis Orcullo(PHI) 9 – 5 Nasser Al Mujaibel(KUW)
Vilmos Foldes(HUN) 9 – 5 Kuo Po Chen(TPE)
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 1 Saleh Mohammed(KUW)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 5 Raymund Faraon(PHI)
Jalal Yousef(VEN) 9 – 5 Konstantin Stepanov(RUS)
Karol Skowerski(POL) 9 – 6 Shaker Wahdan(JOR)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 6 Abdulatef Fawal(QAT)

4pm Session

Max Eberle(USA) 9 – 7 Ralf Souquet(GER)
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 9 – 7 Reiner Wirsbitzki(GER)
Ahmad Jallad(JOR) 9 – 8 Joven Alba(PHI)
Hwang Yong(KOR) 9 – 8 Demosthenes Pulpul(PHI)
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 – 7 Omran Salem(UAE)
Lee Van Corteza(PHI) 9 – 2 Lee Chen Man(HKG)
Nguyen Phuc Long(VIE) 9 – 8 Amin Fekry(UAE)

6PM Session

Serge Das(BEL) 9 – 7 So Shaw(IRI)
Nick van den Berg(NED) 9 – 7 Karl Boyes(GBR)
Li Hewen(CHN) 9 – 3 Darren Appleton(GBR)
Carlo Biado(PHI) 9 – 2 Elmer Haya(PHI)
Imran Majid(GBR) 9 – 5 Kenny Chi Ho Kwok(HKG)
Oliver Ortman(GER) 9 – 3 Lo Li Wen(JPN)
Huidji  See(NED) 9 – 4 Dominic Jentsch(GER)

 

8pm Session

Bruno Muratore(ITA)9 –4  Radislaw Babica(POL)
Chang Jun Lin(TPE) 9 –6 Carlos Cabello(ESP)
Salah Al-Rimawi(UAE)  9 – 5 Daryl Peach(GBR)
Toru Kuribayashi(JPN) 9 — 7 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 2 Ryoji Aoki(JPN)
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 –5  Omer Al Serkal(UAE)
Fancisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP) 9 — 4  Omar Al Shaheen(KUW)

10PM Session

Roberto Gomez(PHI) 9 – 4 Mario He(AUT)
Mark Gray(GBR) 9 – 3 Maghsoud Ali(IRI)
Hijikata Hajato(JPN) 9 – 8 Takhti Zarekani(IRI)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)9 –2  Elvis Calasang(PHI)

ROUND OF 32 MATCHES

Karol Skowerski(POL) 9 – 3 Dennis Orcullo(PHI)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 2 Niels Feijen(NED)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 7 Vilmos Foldes(HUN)