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Russia, Greece And Estonia Safely Through At World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1
Russia 7-4 Switzerland
Greece 7-2 Serbia
Estonia 7-5 Belgium

Seeded teams Russia, Greece and Estonia all advanced to the second round of the World Cup of Pool on Monday evening, the latter fighting back from 5-1 down to defeat Belgium 7-5 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

Earlier in the session Russia had beaten Switzerland 7-4 to set up a second-round match against Japan, while Greece defeated Serbia 7-2.

Russia, featuring World Champion Fedor Gorst and new playing partner Sergey Lutsker, raced to a 5-0 lead with a combination of confident play and some poor Swiss errors. Russia, despite their strength in the sport, have suffered first round defeats in the last two World Cups. Gorst had yet to advance beyond round one in this event and was made to sweat by Switzerland (Ronald Regli and Dimitri Djungo), who won four consecutive racks to cut the deficit to 5-4.

However, Russia got another chance in the tenth and moved to the hill, before winning the next rack to book their place in round two, where Japan, who defeated Croatia earlier in the day, await.

In the evening’s second match Serbia (Aleksa Pecelj and Andreja Klasović) made a promising start against the Greek pair of Alexander Kazakis and Nick Malai, a pairing who reached the semi-finals last time out. However, the wheels soon came off for the Serbian pair and Greece pulled well clear, winning 7-2. They’ll meet the winners of Canada’s clash with South Africa in round two on Wednesday evening.

Estonia (Denis Grabe and Mark Magi) became the sixth team to advance on the first day of play, but only after surviving an almighty scare against Belgium (Serge Das and Kavin Lannoye).

Das and Lannoye fired themselves to a 5-1 lead, but after a fluid start lost their way with the finish line in sight. A string of errors allowed Estonia to fight back, though they themselves were far from faultless. At 5-4 up, Belgium looked set to reach the hill before a time foul was called against Das, giving Estonia ball in hand to level the match.

A dry break brought Belgium back to the table, but a Lannoye scratch on the 1 gave initiate back to Estonia, who from 5-1 down were now first to the hill and complete their turnaround by running the next to win 7-5. They’ll face either Great Britain or Belarus in the second round on Wednesday.

Round one continues on Monday with sessions at 12 noon and 5:30pm UK time. Matches include Finland vs. Iceland in the afternoon and Spain vs. Italy in the evening.

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.

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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.