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Woodward Fires Past Thorpe As Sajich, Kaci And Melling Advance At Dafabet World Pool Masters

Preliminary Round
Kelly Fisher 3-7 Justin Sajich
Eklent Kaci 7-3 Petri Makkonen
Chris Melling 7–4 Sanjin Pehlivanovic
Billy Thorpe 1-7 Skyler Woodward

Skyler Woodward inflicted a 7-1 defeat on Mosconi Cup teammate Billy Thorpe to advance to the last 16 of the Dafabet World Pool Masters, while Justin Sajich, Eklent Kaci and Chris Melling also progressed on the opening evening of play at Europa Sports Complex, Gibraltar.

With fans returning to the Matchroom Pool arena for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, those lucky enough to have a ticket were treated to a top-class evening of pool.

Sajich registered a 7-3 win over Women’s World Champion 7-3 before Petri Makkonen suffered the same reversal against Kaci. Melling beat Sanjin Pehlivanovic with the performance of the night, a 7-4 win against a debutant who acquitted himself well.

In the evening’s opening match, Sajich ran the second rack after coming out on top of a safety battle from Fisher’s break in the first. The Australian looked set to lead 3-0 but missed the 9, allowing the Women’s World Champion to half her deficit.

Sajich took the fourth but broke dry and Fisher was back to within one at 3-2 down. However, she was soon three down after Sajich won the sixth and made a golden break to go 5-2 up thanks to a kick from the 3.

The Australian reached the hill after Fisher couldn’t bank the 4 to safety after a great jump on the 3. A brilliant 1/9 kept Fisher in it but the 4 thwarted her in the next, and Sajich cleared the table for a 7-3 victory to set up a last-16 clash with Greece’s Alex Kazakis.

The following match saw Eklent Kaci storm to a 5-0 lead over Petri Makkonen. The Finn got on the board with a great 5/9 carom and cut the gap further to train 5-2. However, Kaci took the next to reach the hill and a great cut on the 2, with plenty of side to reach the 3, set the Albanian on the road the last 16. However, he missed the 3 in the tight four-inch pockets and Makkonen was able to reduce the score to 6-3.

The match was over in rack 10, though, as Kaci took his chance to close out the win and book a last-16 match against Naoyuki Oi on Sunday evening.

Chris Melling, like Kaci before him, took control of the early exchanges against Sanjin Pehlivanovic, who was making is Masters debut. The Yorkshireman was quick to gain a 4-0 advantage and despite losing the fifth, his four-rack lead was restored at 5-1.

The Bosnian started a comeback at that stage, winning three consecutive racks to bring the scores to 5-4. Melling won the tenth to reach the hill with breathing space, and the break and the former Mosconi Cup MVP won the match thanks to the shot of the night, a brilliant 2 in which he hammered the cue ball back off the bottom rail for position on the 3.

“I got off to a good start but then Sanjin came back well,” said Melling “I potted some good balls and I am delighted to get through. I was very nervous and the pockets are a lot tighter than normal, so when you are playing the ball with force you can miss them, but luckily for me they went in.”

The evening ended with the much-anticipated all-American affair between Mosconi Cup and World Cup teammates Woodward and Thorpe. Thorpe took the first but Woodward dominated the next four; Thorpe should have taken his opponent’s 3-1 lead down to 3-2, but a simple 4 missed to the middle meant Thorpe lost the table and Woodward was 4-1 ahead.

The Ohio man had a chance again in the next but got hooked behind the jaw of the middle pocket with only the 8 and 9 left. After jacking up in an attempt to get enough cue ball movement to make the 8, Thorpe left it on for Woodward, who removed the remaining balls for a 5-1 lead.

Thorpe missed a long 3 in the next, again hitting it too hard. Woodward wasn’t perfect in the match, but didn’t need to be and cleaned up each time Thorpe made a mistake. However, he wasn’t given another chance as Woodward, breaking on the hill, controlled the table for a 7-1 win and a last-16 meeting with defending champion David Alcaide.

The Dafabet World Pool Masters continues on Sunday with two sessions. The afternoon session begins at 12:00 local time (CET) with matches including Niels Feijen vs. Jeffrey De Luna and the first of the last 16 matches; Chris Melling against Joshua Filler.

The event is broadcast globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Zhibo.tv. Coverage is available on Matchroom.Live in nations without a TV broadcaster. Full details can be found at www.matchroompool.com.

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

Draw Made For World Pool Masters

The draw for the World Pool Masters has been made, with defending champion David Alcaide set to begin his defense against either Billy Thorpe or Skyler Woodward in the event, which runs from May 22-25 at Europa Point Sports Complex, Gibraltar.

The all-American clash between Thorpe and Woodward was the standout match from the preliminary round draw, and the pair, currently representing USA in the World Cup of Pool, know the defending champion lies in wait in the last 16.

Alcaide and the top 7 players on the Matchroom Pool World Ranking were seeded through to the last 16, while the remaining 16 players in the field will battle it out in the preliminary round.

Other fixtures include Women’s World Champion Kelly Fisher against Justin Sajich, with the winner set to face Alex Kazakis in the last 16. World Champion Fedor Gorst will face either Shane Van Boening or debutant Jakub Koniar of Slovakia.

Albanian Masters rookie Max Lechner will meet either Mieszko Fortunski or Kristina Tkach, while Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw will face either Niels Feijen or Jeffrey De Luna.

The World Pool Masters begins on Saturday, May 22 and will be broadcast globally, including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. All matches are race to 7, winner breaks, except the final, which will be a race to 9.

Alcaide won the 2019 Masters in dramatic fashion with a memorable up-table bank to make the winning 9 at hill-hill against Kazakis, who he could meet in this year’s quarter-finals.

The World Pool Masters marks the return of spectators to Matchroom Pool Series events. Tickets are available exclusive to residents of Gibraltar via BuyTickets.gi. The full match schedule can be found at MatchroomPool.com.

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

WORLD POOL MASTERS DRAW

LAST 16 MATCHES

David Alcaide vs. Billy Thorpe/Skyler Woodward
Alexander Kazakis vs. Kelly Fisher/Justin Sajich

Naoyuki Oi vs. Eklent Kaci/Petri Makkonen
Jayson Shaw vs. Niels Feijen/Jeffrey De Luna

Fedor Gorst vs. Shane van Boening/Jakub Koniar
Max Lechner vs. Mieszko Fortunksi/Kristina Tkach

Joshua Filler vs. Chris Melling/Sanjin Pehlivanovic
Albin Ouschan vs. Denis Grabe/Roberto Gomez

Great Britain A Survive Almighty Belarus Scare As USA March On At World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1
USA 7
-2 Australia
Great Britain C 7-5 South Africa
Great Britain 7-4 Belarus

Great Britain A survived a huge first round scare against Belarus to advance to the second round of the World Cup of Pool, while Great Britain C and USA also progressed on Tuesday evening.

Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw was joined by Chris Melling on Great Britain A but they found themselves struggling against Belarus’ all-female pairing of Margarita Fefilova and Yana Halliday, whose husband Richard had represented South Africa earlier in the evening.

Belarus showed early in the match that they certainly weren’t here to make up the numbers, taking two of the first four racks. The hosts looked set to regain the lead in the fifth but Melling left Shaw poor position on the 9, and his attempted thin cut barely moved the 9 and Belarus took the lead.

Great Britain levelled but with the chance to lead it was Melling who missed the 9, Shaw guilty of poor position on that occasion. Belarus then missed one of their own; 5-3 looked on the cards until Halliday missed the 6, allowing Shaw and Melling off the hook, and GB levelled again.

That was the end of Belarus’ hopes, though, as Shaw and Melling ran the next rack to finally lead again for the first time since 1-0, and they ran the next two racks too to complete a 7-4 victory after an almighty scare served up by Halliday and Fefilova.

Great Britain C, late entrants after Canada suffered travel issues, were hoping to roll back the years as Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes looked to recreate the partnership which made them so formidable at the Mosconi Cup and saw them lift the World Cup in 2014.

They were up against South Africa, who had Richard Halliday alongside JJ Faul, a late-replacement for Richard’s brother Vincent. Both teams struggled under the arena lights. Appleton and Boyes got themselves 5-3 ahead but with a chance to reach the hill, ‘Dynamite’ missed an 8 to the middle. GB took the next to reach the hill, but South Africa got a chance again in the 11th rack.

Faul looked certain to close the gap and pile the pressure on the Brits but missed the 9 off the spot. With head in hands certain he’d given away the match, the South African earned a reprieve as the 9 sailed up table and fluked into the top left pocket.

South Africa were then breaking to level, but didn’t have a shot despite making the 1 on the break. Boyes got a chance when he had sight of the 2 and when he landed it, the 2014 champions were able to clear the table to meet Greece in round two on Wednesday.

The session had opened with American pairing Skyler Woodward and Billy Thorpe easing to victory over Australia’s Justin Sajich and Ivan Li.

After a shaky start including a missed 9 by Woodward at 3-1, USA settled. Australia couldn’t take advantage of the break at 3-2 down and from there the American pair were able to pull away. Having gone 4-2 up they ran the next two racks, a trademark Thorpe bank on the 2 the highlight of the eighth rack.

USA lost control of the table in the ninth but Australia could only play a hopeful jump on the 2, however Sajich left it open and Woodward and Thorpe, already on the hill, ran out to set up a mouth-watering clash with the Philippines in round two.

The World Cup of Pool continues on Wednesday with second round matches including Japan vs. Russia and Germany vs. Kuwait in the afternoon, before both remaining Great Britain teams feature in the evening session.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Stars Complete World Cup Of Pool Line-Up

Germany’s formidable pairing of Josh Filler and Ralf Souquet (JP Parmentier)

The final teams have been confirmed for the 2019 World Cup of Pool with powerhouse nations such as Philippines, Germany and Holland all set to compete at the Morningside Arena, Leicester this June 25-30.
 
Tickets are on sale now at www.matchroompool.com for pool’s biggest doubles event with the draw to be announced shortly.
 
A further 15 teams have been added to the line-up with the final nation to be the winner of a European qualifying event, which will take place over the weekend of June 1-2 at IDM Club in Bucharest, Romania.
 
US Open and World Champion Joshua Filler will again compete alongside Ralf Souquet for Germany, with another Mosconi Cup legend in Niels Feijen being joined by Marc Bijsterbosch for Holland. Alex Pagulayan teams up with John Morra to represent Canada, and Ko brothers Pin-Yi and Ping-Chung will be aiming to win Chinese Taipei’s second World Cup title.
 
Other Asian nations will include Japan (Naoyuki Oi and Toru Kuribayashi), Hong Kong (Lo Ho Sum and Yip Kin Ling Leo), Singapore (Aloysuis Yapp and Sharik Aslam Sayed) and three-time World Cup winners Philippines (Carlo Biado and Jeff De Luna).
 
European representation is completed by France (Alex Montpellier and Fabio Rizzi), Russia (Fedor Gorst and Ruslan Chinakhov) and Poland (Konrad Juszczyszyn and Mateusz Sniegocki).
Elsewhere South American Champions Chile will be represented by Enrique Rojas and Alejandro Carvajal, while there will also be teams from Brazil and Saudi Arabia, with players to be confirmed shortly.
 
2019 World Cup of Pool Confirmed Teams:
Albania               Eklent Kaci / Besar Spahiu
Australia            Justin Sajich / Danny Stone
Austria                Albin Ouschan / Mario He
Brazil                   TBC / TBC
Canada               Alex Pagulayan / John Morra
Chile                    Enrique Rojas / Alejandro Carvajal
China                   Wu Jiaqing / Liu Haitao
Chinese Taipei  Ko Pin-Yi / Ko Ping-Chung
Czech Republic Roman Hybler / Michal Gavenčiak
European Qualifier
Estonia               Denis Grabe / Mark Magi
Finland               Petri Makkonen / Mika Immonen
France                 Alex Montpellier / Fabio Rizzi
Germany            Joshua Filler / Ralf Souquet 
Great Britain A Jayson Shaw / Chris Melling
Great Britain B Mark Gray / Imran Majid
Greece                Alexander Kazakis / Nick Malaj
Holland               Niels Feijen / Marc Bijsterbosch
Hong Kong         Lo Ho Sum / Yip Kin Ling Leo
Italy                     Fabio Petroni / Daniele Corrieri
Japan                  Naoyuki Oi / Toru Kuribayashi
Malta                  Tony Drago / Clayton Castaldi
New Zealand     Matt Edwards / Simon Singleton
Philippines         Carlo Biado / Jeff De Luna
Poland                Konrad Juszczyszyn / Mateusz Sniegocki
Russia                 Fedor Gorst / Ruslan Chinakhov 
Saudi Arabia      TBC / TBC
Singapore           Aloysuis Yapp / Sharik Aslam Sayed
South Africa       Richard Halliday / Jason Theron
Spain                   David Alcaide / Francisco Sanchez Ruiz
Sweden              Marcus Chamat / Tomas Larsson
USA                     Shane Van Boening / Skyler Woodward
 
Tickets for the 2019 World Cup of Pool are on sale now priced at £5 for weekday afternoons and £10 for weekday evenings and weekend sessions. A season ticket is available for £75 with premium ticket packages available for weekend days including food and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks.
 
The 2019 World Cup of Pool features 32 two-player teams battling for the $60,000 first prize from a total prize fund of $250,000. Matches are race to 7 in the first two rounds, race to 9 in the quarter and semi-finals and, for the first time, race to 11 in the final.
 
The 2019 World Cup of Pool is sponsored by the following partners: Iwan Simonis (Cloth), Saluc (Aramith Balls), Rasson (Table), Predator (cues), Kamui (chalk and tip).

First Teams Confirmed For World Cup Of Pool

China’s Wu Jiaqing and Liu Haitao (JP Parmentier)

The first 16 teams to participate in the 2019 World Cup of Pool have been confirmed ahead of the event at Morningside Arena, Leicester which takes place from Tuesday, June 25 until Sunday, June 30 with tickets on sale at midday this Friday, May 24 at www.worldcupofpool.com.
 
The line-up includes three pairs who have previously won the event together; defending champions Wu Jiaqing and Liu Haitao of China, 2017 winners Albin Ouschan and Mario He of Austria and Finland’s Petri Makkonen and Mika Immonen.
 
As host nation Great Britain can enter two teams, with Scotland’s Jayson Shaw and Yorkshire’s Chris Melling making up Great Britain A and Mark Gray and Imran Majid on Great Britain B. Team USA will be among the favourites after defeating Europe at December’s Mosconi Cup in London; Shane Van Boening, a World Cup winner in 2008, returns and is partnered by Mosconi MVP Skyler Woodward for a third time. They reached the World Cup final two years ago before losing out to Austria.
 
Also familiar to Mosconi Cup fans will be team Sweden, led by European captain Marcus Chamat with Tomas Larsson as his partner. Eklent Kaci is joined by Besar Spahiu for Albania, with Francisco Sanchez Ruiz and World Pool Masters winner David Alcaide playing for Spain.
 
Former Mosconi MVP Tony Drago pairs with Clayton Castaldi for Malta while Italy’s Fabio Petroni, who memorably played for Europe in the 1998 Mosconi Cup, joins Daniele Corrieri on the Italian team.
Justin Sajich and Danny Stone won their national qualifier to earn the right to represent Australia, and Matt Edwards will this year be paired with Simon Singleton for New Zealand. Richard Halliday returns for South Africa and is this year partnered by Jason Theron while Czech Republic (Roman Hybler and Michal Gavenčiak) and Estonia (Denis Grabe and Mark Magi) have also been confirmed.
 
More teams will be announced in the coming days with draw and schedule information to follow in due course.
 
The 2019 World Cup of Pool features 32 two-player teams battling for the $60,000 first prize from a total prize fund of $250,000. Matches are race to 7 in the first two rounds, race to 9 in the quarter and semi-finals and for the first time race to 11 in the final.
 
Tickets for the 2019 World Cup of Pool go on pre-sale to Matchroom Pool Club members from midday on Thursday, May 23. Membership of the Matchroom Pool Club is free of charge and new members can register now at http://www.matchroompool.com/pool-club/.
 
General sale begins at midday on Friday, May 24 with tickets priced at £5 for weekday afternoons and £10 for weekday evenings and weekend sessions. Season tickets and premium ticket options are also available.
 
2019 World Cup of Pool Confirmed Teams:
Albania               Eklent Kaci / Besar Spahiu
Australia             Justin Sajich / Danny Stone
Austria                Albin Ouschan / Mario He
China                  Wu Jiaqing / Liu Haitao
Czech Republic  Roman Hybler / Michal Gavenčiak
Estonia               Denis Grabe / Mark Magi
Finland               Petri Makkonen / Mika Immonen
Great Britain A  Jayson Shaw / Chris Melling
Great Britain B  Mark Gray / Imran Majid
Italy                     Fabio Petroni / Daniele Corrieri
Malta                  Tony Drago / Clayton Castaldi
New Zealand     Matt Edwards / Simon Singleton
South Africa       Richard Halliday / Jason Theron
Spain                   David Alcaide / Francisco Sanchez Ruiz
Sweden              Marcus Chamat / Tomas Larsson
USA                     Shane van Boening / Skyler Woodward
 
The 2019 World Cup of Pool is sponsored by the following partners: Iwan Simonis (Cloth), Saluc (Aramith Balls), Rasson (Table), Predator (cues), Kamui (chalk and tip).

Seeds Fall In Gibraltar

Alex Kazakis (JP Parmentier – Matchroom Multi Sport)

LAST 16
 
Niels Feijen (NED) 3 – 7 David Alcaide (ESP)
Han Yu (CHN) 6 – 7 Shane Van Boening (USA)
Ko Pin-Yi (TPE) 6 – 7 Alex Pagulayan (CAN)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) 7 – 3 Justin Sajich (AUS)
 
PLAY CONTINUED at the Dafabet World Pool Masters with four of the first round matches the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.  There was plenty of excitement with two matches going all the way as two-time winner Shane Van Boening came within a whisker of elimination.
 
David Alcaide enjoyed another 7-3 win as he coasted past defending champion Niels Feijen to keep on track for his second Masters title. The veteran Spaniard, a champion here in 2017, never really looked in trouble as he pulled away from the shaky Dutchman in the latter half of the game.
 
“This tournament, I remember two years ago I played not perfectly but at 95%. Today, I didn’t have a good break. It is very important when you play close to home to have the support from your home fans. When you play the World Pool Masters every player is a top player in the world so it doesn’t matter who you play.”
 
The most dramatic match of the session saw two-time winner Shane Van Boening crawl over the line as he narrowly escaped a first-round exit at the hands of China’s Ladies World No.1 Han Yu.
 
With Han starting the match at as much as 11/1 there were few who gave her much of a chance but she took the opening rack after a long safety battle with the six-ball tied up with the 9.
 
Van Boening took the next two racks but missed a relatively straight forward two ball to allow Han to level. She then surged ahead and at 6-3 and breaking had every chance of landing the upset. A misjudged safety allowed Van Boening back in and he ran out for 6-4 and he took racks 11 and 12 to make it hill-hill. Han got back to the table in the last but Van Boeing held on to survive a massive scare.
 
The next match also went down to a decider as Alex Pagulayan made it two wins in two days as he dislodged Ko Pin-yi by 7-6. The plucky Canadian-Filipino had a tough draw – he defeated Wu Jiaqing yesterday and was rewarded with Ko – but was in irrepressible form to dispose of those two world-beaters.
 
In the final match of the session, yesterday’s giant-killer, Justin Sajich of Australia, failed to make further progress as he was stopped in his tracks by Alex Kazakis of Greece.
 
Kazakis, who qualified for the Masters by virtue of being World No.1 at the close of 2018, had too much as he closed out the match for a 7-3 win and a quarter-final match against either Konrad Juszczyszyn or Matt Edwards.
 
Play continues on Saturday evening with the conclusion of the Last 16 matches:
 
Jayson Shaw (SCO) v Eklent Kaci (ALB)
Konrad Juszczyszyn (POL) v Matt Edwards (NZL)
Joshua Filler (GER) v Albin Ouschan (AUT)
Skyler Woodward (USA) v Fedor Gorst (RUS)
 
2019 Dafabet World Pool Masters 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 of the event, Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip and Ultimate Team Gear provide all World Pool Masters apparel.

Double Down-Under Delight In Gibraltar at Dafabet World Pool Masters

Australia’s Justin Sajich

PRELIMINARY ROUND
Eklent Kaci (ALB) 7 – 2 Earl Strickland (USA)
Shane Van Boening (USA) 7 – 2 Kelly Fisher (ENG)
Petri Makkonen (FIN) 4 – 7 Justin Sajich (AUS)
Chris Melling (ENG) 3 – 7 Matt Edwards (NZL)
Wu Jiaqing (CHN) 4 – 7 Alex Pagulayan (CAN)
Fedor Gorst (RUS) 7 – 2 Naoyuki Oi (JAP)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 7 – 2 Jeffrey De Luna (PHI)
David Alcaide (ESP) 7 – 3 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP)
 
THE NEW LOOK 26TH annual Dafabet World Pool Masters got underway at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar with eight matches over the opening day as the event included 24 players for the first time in its history.
 
There are eight seeded players who will enter the event in the first round while the other 16 competitors competed today in the preliminary round to determine which eight players went through to face the seeds.
 
The seeded players are:
 
European Champion:        Konrad Juszczyszyn (POL)
Ladies World No.1:            Han Yu (CHN)
Men’s World No.1:            Alexander Kazakis (GRE)
Mosconi Cup MVP:            Skyler Woodward (USA)
Previous Champion:          Niels Feijen (NED)
Asian Champion:                Ko Pin-yi (TPE)
US Open Champion:          Jayson Shaw (SCO)
World 9 Ball Champion:   Joshua Filler (GER)
 
Such was the high standard of the field that there were plenty of 50/50 games on the opening day. Alex Pagulayan, a former winner of this event, beat Wu Jiaqing, one of the favourites for this event, while young Russian Fedor Gorst, the 2017 WPA World Junior Champion, continued his emergence with a big win over Naoyuki Oi.
 
Albin Ouschan enjoyed a comfortable win over Philippines’ Jeff De Luna and in the final match of the afternoon, 2017 champ, David Alcaide beat compatriot Francisco Sanchez Ruiz. Both players had previously competed at the same venue a couple of weeks ago when they competed in snooker’s Gibraltar Open which Sanchez Ruiz particularly impressing against world ranked snooker players.
 
The evening saw a comfortable win for two-time Masters champ Shane Van Boening, whilst the opening match featured former world no.1 Klenti Kaci against 1997 Masters winner Earl Strickland. The Albanian ran out a 7-2 winner but Strickland was his usual incendiary self as he bickered with the crowd and did everything he could to unsettle his opponent but ultimately undid himself.
 
Commented Kaci, “I enjoyed every single moment of the match. I was happy to play Earl because I have been watching him since I was very young, he was one of my inspirations.”
 
Earl didn’t quite see it that way, “I can’t play I guess, that’s what it is. Those guys over there were sharking me the whole time. They singled me out over there. I’d like to see them do that in golf, they’d put him in jail.
 
“It is too cold in here for me. You really want to know what I think about this? One, they don’t have the right to sit over there and grab a beer while I’m shooting the 6-ball. Two, this place is way too cold. Don’t say it’s the same for everybody, cos it isn’t. I am 38 years older than him, I wonder if the commentators have mentioned that?
 
Hitting his stride, ‘The Pearl’ continued, “The guy is a good player. He is not a great player. He has a long life, he is not great yet. He might be.
 
“I can still play but I am not being given the opportunity to play. I don’t compete because there are no tournaments. Pool is in jeopardy. It’s not hunky-dory. All you want to hear is a reaction, or you want to see me break a cue or something like that. I have watched Serena Williams break a thousand tennis rackets and nobody has condemned me the way I was in the Mosconi Cup when I broke one. Why are you singling me out? The whole world is acting up, not just me.
 
“I know he is a great kid, but you have to remember I am 58 years old and I need warmer conditions. I won’t be back.”
 
Young Australian Justin Sajich upset the odds with a terrific win over fancied Finn Petri Makkonen. Australians haven’t enjoyed the greatest of successes at the Masters but Sajich put in an excellent performance.
 
“The more opportunities we get, we are grateful for the chance to play these big tournaments. It is a dream come true,” said Sajich.
 
There was more joy for the down under contingent as New Zealand’s Matt Edwards kept himself together to upset an out-of-sorts Chris Melling in the day’s final match.
 
Melling made too many errors for a match of this standard but full credit to Edwards for stepping up to the plate and asserting himself for victory.
 
Commented Edwards, “I was supporting Justin there and when I saw he got the win I thought I can’t let him get all the glory so I’ll get out there and do it for New Zealand. This is 9 ball pool, there’s a lot of pressure, anything can happen and you’ve just got to back yourself.”
 
Play continues Saturday afternoon with four Round One matches:
 
Niels Feijen (NED) – David Alcaide (ESP)
Han Yu (CHN) – Shane van Boening (USA)
Ko Pin-Yi (TPE) – Alex Pagulayan (CAN)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) – Justin Sajich (AUS)
 
2018 Dafabet World Pool Masters 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 of the event, Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip and Ultimate Team Gear provide all World Pool Masters apparel.

2018 World Cup of Pool – Down to the final eight in Shanghai

Shane Van Boening and Skyler Woodward

Round Two
 
Finland 5-7 USA
Spain 7-3 Sweden
Australia 4-7 China A
 
The quarter final line up at the 2018 World Cup of Pool is now complete as the remaining three second round matches concluded at the Luwan Arena, Huangpu District in Shanghai. The USA, runners-up at last year’s event, made it through as they got the better of a Finnish pair who won the event in 2012.
 
In the second match Spain eased through ahead of Sweden while the final game saw home favourites China A put paid to the hopes of the final non-seeded country left – Australia.
 
The $250,000 tournament originated in 2006 and has since moved around the world before touching down in Shanghai. The World Cup features 32 pairs from across the globe including two from host nation China. Running from 15th to 20th May, the event is on live TV in over 100 countries around the world.
 
 
Having tripped up at the final hurdle at the York Hall last June, Shane Van Boening and Skyler Woodward are two matches away from another crack at the title following a 7-5 win over Sweden, Petri Makkonen and Mika Immonen.
 
Commented Van Boening, “We felt uncomfortable at the beginning but at the end of the match we battled out the safeties and we won from there. I love playing with Skyler, we have been friends for ten years and have played a lot of tournaments together. We always have fun and that is the important thing.”
 
Woodward was looking ahead to their last eight match against Chinese Taipei; “It doesn’t matter that Chinese Taipei have played well because they are playing us next. We played better than in the first match and we will get better and better.”
 
In the second match, Spain beat Sweden 7-3 and never really looked under any pressure to complete the win. David Alcaide has had a consistent career in the World Cup of Pool but this year, in the company of Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, they look to be real dark horses.
 
“It is the first time Spain have reached the World Cup quarter-finals. We did a good job against Sweden, it wasn’t an easy match. We have a good feeling at the table but now the most important thing is we focus on the next round,” said Alcaide.
 
In the final match, China (Wu Jiaqing and Liu Haitao) strolled to a 6-0 lead over unseeded Australia before staging a mini collapse as they missed everything possible to let the Australians back in. The Australian pair of Justin Sajich and James Delahunty took the opportunity to claw it back to 6-4 but the bridge was just too far as Wu ended proceedings with an 8/9 combo.
 
Play continues on Saturday afternoon with the first two quarter-final matches. The remain two last eight matches continue in the evening session.
 
Saturday 19th 13:00
Quarter-Final 1 – Austria v Holland
Quarter-Final 2 – China B v Philippines
 
Saturday 19th 18:00
Quarter-Final 3 – Chinese Taipei v USA 
Quarter-Final 4 – Spain v China A
 
2018 World Cup of Pool sponsored by Iwan Simonis who supply the Official Cloth; the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc, and Predator is the Official Cue of the event.

2018 World Cup of Pool – Australia record first ever win at World Cup

The Australian team of James Delahunty and Justin Sajich

Finland (11) 7-3 Malaysia
Japan (10) 5-7 Sweden
Russia (15) 4-7 Australia
 
Two of the unseeded sides upset the applecart as they made their way into the second round of the 2018 World Cup of Pool against fancied opposition as three further round one matches took place at the Luwan Arena, Huangpu District in Shanghai.
 
The $250,000 tournament originated in 2006 and has since moved around the world before touching down in Shanghai. The World Cup features 32 pairs from across the globe including two from host nation China. Running from 15th to 20th May, the event is on live TV in over 100 countries around the world.
 
The Australian pair of James Delahunty and Justin Sajich became the first Australian team to win a match at the World Cup of Pool as they progressed at the expense of the fancied Russian pairing of Fedor Gorst and Ruslan Chinakhov.
 
A delighted Sajich said, “It was tough out there, we were nervous but we fought hard, kept it together and we managed to pull it off. I think we knew we were the underdogs, although we wouldn’t have admitted it to each other. We will go back to the pool hall before the next round. We have been practicing six hours a day since we got here.”
 
Delahunty was equally thrilled, “We knew it wouldn’t be an easy match and we had to play as well as we could and I think we performed pretty well. We didn’t miss many pots and that’s what we needed to do. We weren’t looking too far ahead in the draw but we will have to play well in the next round – it is on us again, if we play well then we give ourselves the best chance to win.”
 
Earlier, underdogs Sweden (Christian Sparrenloev-Fisher and Tomas Larsson) put in an equally fine performance to bring down the fancied Japanese duo of Naoyuki Oi and Toru Kuribayashi. The score was 7-5.
 
Fischer said, “We are really happy, of course. We knew we needed to play well to win it and we played okay. We know the Spanish players well, they are friends to us and we know we can beat them, we just need to play our game and anything can happen.”
 
Finally, in the opening match, Finland looked a bit shaky but still had too much for the Malaysian duo of Muhammad Almie and Darryl Chia.
 
Mika Immonen: “It wasn’t our best performance but we got through. We played better at the start of the match even though we were settling in. Then we gave them a little window, but they didn’t take it.
 
“We are looking forward to playing USA. We played them in the quarter-finals last year and we lost, but we are confident we can improve from this match. We will need to improve against USA because they are a formidable team. We are looking forward to that and avenging the loss from last year.”
 
Play continues on Thursday evening with the final first round match and two second round matches.
 
Rnd 1 China A (2) v Estonia
 
Rnd 2 Austria v Poland
Scotland v Holland
 
2018 World Cup of Pool sponsored by Iwan Simonis who supply the Official Cloth; the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc, and Predator is the Official Cue of the event.