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Szolnoki bests Josh Filler in second set of true double final to win Diamond Open 9-Ball

Oliver Szolnoki (File photo courtesy Matchroom Pool)

‘Oliver’ who?

Szolnoki is the man’s last name. He’s from Hungary and while he’s not the household name that his last two opponents (Shane Van Boening and Josh Filler) have become here in the US, he did work his way through the 128-entrant field of the inaugural $10,000-added Omega Diamond Open 9-Ball tournament at The Rack and Grill III in Aiken, SC this past weekend (Oct. 2-3) to claim that event’s 1st title. 

Though relatively unknown here, Szolnoki has been a force to be reckoned with in Europe since he first appeared in our database in October, 2017, after placing 33rd in a Dynamic Klagenfurt Open in Austria. He kept plugging away on the EuroTour and independent events until this year, which (according to available records) has seen him rake in just shy of four times more cash than in any other previous year. His biggest win, financially, proved to be his third-place finish (tied with David Alcaide) at the World Pool Championships in England this past June. Won by Albin Ouschan, that event featured more than just a few of the competitors who were on hand in Aiken, SC this past weekend; Sky Woodward, Mieszko Fortunski, Naoyuki Oi, Roberto Gomez and Shane Van Boening. When Szolnoki and Van Boening met in the hot seat match this past weekend, Van Boening was keenly aware of their meeting in England four months ago, when Szolnoki came from 5-1 down in a final-16 matchup to win 11 straight and eliminate Van Boening from the event. 

And Szolnoki’s win in South Carolina was not just the ‘luck of the (bracket) draw’ either, although at the Open/Pro level, it’s hard to ever make that argument convincingly. He survived two straight double hill matches against Abdullah Alshammari and Mario He and in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals, he won his third double hill match against last month’s runner-up at the US Open Pool Championships in Atlantic City, Aloysius Yapp. That put him into a winners’ side semifinal against Greece’s Alex Kazakis.

The eventual runner-up, Josh Filler, had lost his opening round match to Roland Garcia 7-4 and was already working on the 12-match, loss-side winning streak that would give him a shot against Szolnoki in the finals. Van Boening, in the meantime, had sent Jesse Link, Levi Taylor, Jeffrey DeLuna, Garcia, and Mieszko Fortunski to the loss side to face Naoyuki Oi in his winners’ side semifinal.

Szolnoki earned his place at the hot seat table with a 7-5 win over Kazakis. Van Boening joined him sending Oi west by the same score. Szolnoki put another 7-5 win in the books to claim the hot seat over Van Boening and waited on fellow Euroman, Josh Filler to finish his lengthy loss-side run.

On the loss side, Filler opened up against John Francisco, whom he defeated 7-2. In the second loss-side round, he met and defeated Landon Hollingsworth 7-1.

Hollingsworth, who won two separate divisions of the BEF Junior National Championships this past July in Las Vegas and will be competing at the International Open later this month, was preparing (warming up?) for a trip to Austria to represent the US in the World Junior Nationals (he left today, Tuesday, Oct. 5). What is striking about his appearance in the weekend’s Omega Diamond Open’s 9-Ball event was not that he lost to Filler on the loss side, which surprised no one (least of all, him), but who he defeated on the winners’ side in his opening match. Normally lost in a narrative that by necessity condenses match results down to a manageable number, any opening round match, not won or lost by one of the final five or six standing would not generally find its way into a basic report on an event. That said, Hollingsworth earned his way into the narrative, by virtue of his opening round, double hill victory over Sky Woodward, a junior competitor himself, not so long ago. The win occasioned a surprised, “yeah, can you believe it?’ chuckle from him on Sunday afternoon, as he spoke briefly about his expectations and the general excitement of preparing for his first trip overseas. Hollingsworth is our Junior Player of the Month, profiled in the October edition of Billiard’s Buzz.

We and Joshua Filler move on. He downed Mickey Krause, Richard Kolgore (double hill) and happily accepted a forfeit win from his wife, Pia. Subsequent wins over Scott Frost, John Morra and Mieszko Fortunski brought Filler to Jeffrey DeLuna, whom he shutout to draw Kazakis, just over from his winners’ side loss to Szolnoki. Naoyuki Oi picked up Yapp, who, following his loss to Szolnoki, had eliminated Fedor Gorst and Eklent Kaci.

Yapp defeated Oi 7-1 and, in the quarterfinals met Filler, who’d downed Kazakis 7-1. Filler then sent Yapp home (so to speak) 7-1 and shortly thereafter, in the semifinals, Van Boening 7-5. 

The waiting seemed to have cooled Szolnoki down a bit, as Filler stepped in and took the opening set of the true double elimination final 7-2. Szolnoki rallied in the second set, fighting tooth and nail (which, by the way, means “with the use of one’s teeth and nails as weapons, biting and scratching”). They fought back and forth to double hill before Szolnoki dropped the last 9-ball to claim the title and arguably end further usage of the ‘Oliver who?’ question.

Tough Matches, Luck and Misfortune in Sankt Johann

Mateusz Sniegocki

The second day of the Dynamic Billiards St. Johann im Pongau Open Euro Tour was once again full of action-packed matches.

Michael Schneider (SUI) faced Oliver Szolnoki (HUN) in the second winners round. After he already won 9:7 against David Larsson (SWE) yesterday evening, he wanted to continue his good performance from last night today. His opponent, Szolnoki, has been known as a dark horse since his youth. He often plays unspectacularly, but is also capable of top performances. You never know what you get when you face him. Today, however, Schneider was out of his league for Szolnoki. The Swiss kept the upper hand during the match and in the end drove the match home clearly with 9:6. Schneider is now in the winners’ qualifying round and will have to face Roman Hybler (CZE) tomorrow. The winner of the match books a spot among the best 32 players of the tournament.

Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) and former World Champion Oliver Ortmann (GER) also delivered a thriller. Both opponents did not give each other anything and the match was open for a long time. Sniegocki always had his nose a bit in front, but Ortmann managed to keep his foot in the door. After Ortmann had bravely fought his way back to 8:8, the last decisive game had to determine the winner. After a few safety shots, Ortmann left a long shot on the 2-ball for Sniegocki.The Pole took the measure and kicked the 2-ball on the 9-ball, which fell into the corner pocket. What a dramatic end to a passionately contested match.

The Dynamic Billard St. Johann i.P. Open 2021 will continue tomorrow morning at 09:00 CET with matches from the loser’s round.

Ouschan To Face Al Shaheen For World Title

Omar Al Shaheen

Albin Ouschan will face Omar Al Shaheen in the World Pool Championship final at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

Ouschan defeated David Alcaide 11-4 in his semi final before Al Shaheen came from 6-1 down to beat Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki 11-9 in front of spectators to book his place in the final.

Alcaide drew first blood in the opening semi-final after Ouschan scratched on the break having won the lag. The Spaniard was soon 2-0 up but left the 6 in the jaws allowing his opponent to half the deficit. Ouschan moved 5-2 ahead before Alcaide scored again, and despite a nicely banked 1 in the ninth from Ouschan, Alcaide took that rack to trail 5-4.

However, from there the Austrian was floorless. A 99% pot success rate for the match was reflective of just how well Ouschan played to close out an 11-4 win and book his place in a third World Championship final.

“I started where I ended the match against Skyler in the quarter-finals,” said Ouschan. “I played almost a perfect set, just a few safety errors, and overall I am very happy. It was the best I have played this week and I hope I can continue like this.

“I had a good feeling, I was playing well and feeling good and I was ready to go this morning. It is great to be in the final, it is my third time, and I hope I can take it home.”

In the second semi-final Szolnoki opened up a 6-1 lead over Al Shaheen before the Kuwaiti settled and found the speed of the table, winning the next seven racks with five runouts to lead 8-6. Szolnoki, buoyed by support from Hungarians in the crowd, took a massive rack to half his deficit. Al Shaheen pulled two clear against before finding himself hooked on the 2, and Szolnoki again closed to within one before levelling the match at 9-9.

Al Shaheen was first to the hill at 10-9 and breaking for a place in the final he made two balls and had an open table. He cleared, punched the air, and will now meet Ouschan for the World Championship.

“I lost my cue ball a couple of times at the start but I kept telling myself, if I am going to win I will win and if I am going to lose, that is it,” said Al Shaheen. “I have been focussed, I am playing well and I hope now to continue that into the final.

“I am glad I am going to play Ouschan in the final because he has been World Champion and it takes beating a World Champion to become a World Champion.”

The race-to-13 final begins at 6pm local time, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Live scoring is at MatchroomPool.com.

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

Down To Final Four At World Pool Championship

Omar Al Shaheen

Albin Ouschan will meet David Alcaide before Omar Al Shaheen faces Oliver Szolnoki in the semi-finals of the World Pool Championship after all four won their quarter-finals on Wednesday evening at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

Ouschan came from 5-3 down to defeat Skyler Woodward 11-5 in the evening’s second televised quarter-final, after Alcaide had beaten Max Lechner 11-4 in his quarter-final. The two met in the Predator Championship League Pool final earlier this year, when Ouschan took home the title.

Woodward was 3-1 and then 5-3 up before a 2-ball rattled in the jaws to allow Ouschan a chance, and it was a chance he took. The Austrian settled at the table and made some great shots along the way; a great jumped 8 helped get Ouschan level and an incredible 1/9 carom took him 9-5 up before he closed out the match without Woodward scoring another rack.

“I didn’t feel that well at the beginning, I was maybe a bit stiff and cold and had to get used to the TV table again because it is a little bit different to the outside table,” said Ouschan. “After the match, I can think that the 8-ball jump shot gave me a great confidence boost.

“I played well in the end but it could have gone the other way that he runs away with the score, but I am glad he didn’t and I am happy to be in the semis. I am playing David, he played a great tournament, so I hope it will be a good match and I will expect that and try my best. I saw his match against Max Lechner and he played a great match, so I will have to try my best.”

Alcaide was 5-0 before Lechner got on the board in their semi final. It was a strong tactical game from the Spaniard, who is into his fourth World semi-final having previously made the last four in the World 8-Ball and twice at the World 10-Ball.

The two-time World Pool Masters champion reached the hill in fortunate circumstances, taking a 10-3 lead after Lechner dropped his chalk onto the 3 ball. The Austrian pulled another rack back but at 10-4 Alcaide returned to the table to wrap up a victory which sees him into the semis.

The second semi-final will see Szolnoki take on Al Shaheen. Szolnoki, the 24-year-old from Hungary, had to sweat out a strong fightback from Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz as the Spaniard recovered from 9-3 down to cut the deficit to 10-9 before the Hungarian finally sealed his place in the last four.

Al Shaheen and Tomasz Kaplan shared the first four racks of their match before the Kuwaiti pulled ahead to 4-2. Kaplan took the next two to return the scores level but Al Shaheen then built up a head of steam to lead at 6-4 and 7-5. Kaplan cut the deficit to one at 7-6 but didn’t win another rack as Shaheen confidently closed the match 11-6.

The semi-finals begin at 12pm on Thursday, before the race-to-13 final from 6pm, which will see the 2021 World Champion crowned in front of returning fans at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

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

Szolnoki Knocks Van Boening Out Of World Pool Championship

Oliver Szolnoki

Oliver Szolnoki came from 5-1 down to defeat Shane van Boening 11-5 in the last 16 of the World Pool Championship at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

The 24-year-old Hungarian, who had practiced with Van Boening prior to travelling to the event, will now face Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz in this evening’s quarter-finals after the Spaniard beat Naoyuki Oi 11-7.

“I started very shaky and made many mistakes,” said Szolnoki. “I settled down a little bit but he couldn’t find his break and broke try many times. I figured out a break that worked so could make break and runs and dominate the racks by playing safety and getting shots from him. I didn’t give him many chances.

“I was really happy to play a straight shot on the 9 at the end because I was really nervous, but I left one which I knew I could not miss.”

Sanchez-Ruiz held a 4-0 lead before Oi got on the board in the session’s opening TV match, but the Spaniard then extended his lead to 6-1. The Japanese star took the next two to turn up the heat on his opponent, who had been fluid in the first half of the match. The pressure of Oi’s fightback showed but ultimately it was Sanchez-Ruiz who progressed with an 11-7 win.

Skyler Woodward defeated Roberto Gomez 11-7, pulling away in the later stages after a tight match had been locked at 7-7. The American will now face Albin Ouschan in the quarter-finals after the Austrian came through a tough quarter-final clash against Mieszko Fortunski 11-8.

Max Lechner will meet David Alcaide in the quarter-finals. Two-time World Pool Masters winner Alcaide beat America’s Jeremy Sossei 11-4 while Lechner came past Dutchman Marc Bijsterbosch with an 11-6 win.

The fourth quarter-final will see Poland’s Tomasz Kaplan face Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait. Kaplan staved off a Dimitri Jungo fightback to beat the Swiss player 11-9, while Al Shaheen had been locked at 8-8 in a tight encounter with Nikos Ekonomopoulos before pulling clear for an 11-8 victory.

The quarter-finals take place from 6pm this evening, before finals day on Thursday sees both semi-finals and the final in a one-table setup with fans back to enjoy the action.

The full draw and brackets can be found at matchroompool.com, along with live scoring throughout the event. For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Slovakia Stun Austria To Knock Defending Champs Out Of World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1 RESULTS
Japan 7-1 Croatia
Czech Republic 7-4 Hungary
Austria 1-7 Slovakia

World Cup of Pool debutants Slovakia stunned defending champions Austria, knocking out the No.1 seeds with a brilliant 7-1 victory on the opening afternoon at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

Albin Ouschan and Mario He have reached the last three World Cup finals, lifting the trophy in 2017 and 2019. However, Jakub Koniar and Jaroslav Polach barely gave their opponents a chance as Slovakia proved exactly why they had been invited for the first time. A little luck along the way helped but Koniar and Polach looked calm at the table as they ran four of the seven racks won to advance to the second round.

“It is amazing,” said Koniar. “We had a little bit of luck in the beginning but with the 1-ball on the spot and winner breaks, you can even beat the best team in the world.

“We knew we could win. I have beaten Albin a few times, Jaro has won against both players in the Austrian Bundesliga, so we knew if we played our best game we could win.

“We practiced the break all last weekend together,” added Polach. “We played a hard break, the cue ball control was good, and we had a little bit of luck, but from 2-1 to 6-1 they weren’t at the table. In this game you can beat anybody in the world.”

Slovakia will face Czech Republic in the second round after a 7-4 success over Hungary for the Czechs.

“It will be a federal derby,” said Jaroslav. “We play every year something like the Mosconi Cup between Czech Republic and Slovakia. It hasn’t played last year because of Covid so now we will play one scotch doubles to see who is best!”

The event opened with Japanese favourite Naoyuki Oi, alongside debutant Masato Yoshioka, up against Croatian duo Philipp Stojanovic and Roberto Bartol.

Yoshioka earned his first appearance in the World Cup on the back of a fine run of form prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. A win in the Kansai Open in his homeland and a bronze medal at the World 10-Ball Championship helped him rise to Japanese No.1 and World No. 36.

In their opening match, he actually looked the more comfortable of the pair, his experienced partner struggling at times with cue-ball control. Croatia, though, were really struggling. Japan only ran out one rack, so even with the winner breaks format the Europeans had chances, but they were only able to take one of them and Japan eventually won 7-1, a result which meant TV viewers were treated to another colourful Oi interview.

“It was a very fast match today, the table was playing very quick with the new ball and the new cloth. It was difficult but my teammate was confident,” he said, before treating those watching to a victory dance. “In the next round it will be Russia, they have the World Champion, or Switzerland who are very good, they have strong players. But Japan will play to win.”

After Japan’s cruising first-round victory, the clash between Czech Republic (Petr Urban and Michal Gavenciak) and Hungary (Oliver Szolnoki and Vilmos Foldes) was a more attritional affair. The Czech team’s preparations were hit when Roman Hybler had to withdraw less than a week before the event, but Urban proved a worth deputy.

The first six racks were shared before the Czech team pulled ahead and moved to the hill at 6-3 up. Hungary fought back briefly but their campaign was ended when Urban and Gavenciak won the 11th for a 7-4 victory.

The World Cup of Pool continues from 5:30pm (UK time) this evening with three more first round matches; Russia will face Switzerland, Greece take on Serbia and Estonia are up against Belgium.

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.

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

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

 

Casper Matikainen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results Final 64

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ko Ping-Chung

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

Grabe Takes Antalya Open 2019

Denis Grabe

Denis Grabe (EST) just won the Dynamic Billard Antalya Open 2019 with a clear 9:2 victory over Eklent Kaci (ALB). That is Grabe’s third Euro-Tour victory after Sankt Johann and Portoroz, both in 2014.
 
The two athletes who have made it to the finals belong undoubtedly to the top players of Europe’s elite who are always capable to win an event like this. However, since the Euro-Tour is probably the hardest event to win in the pool world, there are many other applicants for the title every time the Euro-Tour stage opens its curtains. Today, Grabe made the final with victories over Oliver Szolnoki (HUN) 9:5, Mieszko Fortunski (POL) 9:6 and Fedor Gorst (RUS) 9:6 in the semi-final. Kaci, member of this year’s Mosconi Cup team, made the final by eliminating Aleksa Pecelj (SRB) 9:2, Sanjin Pehlivanovic (BIH) 9:5 and David Alcaide (ESP) 9:4 in his semi-final match. The stage was set for a high class final. The last match of the tournament turned out to be high class but only from one side. Denis Grabe performed rock solid while Kaci seemed to struggle. He was probably very upset with his play. Trailing 1:4, Kaci even conceded a rack when he missed the 2-ball. This was a clear indication of how frustrated Kaci was with his performance in the final match. This concession was considered unsportsmanlike by referee Nikola Pešo from Croatia and he penalised Kaci by awarding the next rack to Grabe as well. This correct decision was predetermining the outcome of the match. Kaci could not match Grabe today and consequently lost the match 2:9. Grabe was clearly the better player in that match and rightfully pocketed his third victory in a Euro-Tour event.
 
Top Eight Finishers Dynamic Billard Antalya Open 2019
 
1. Denis Grabe EST
2. Eklent Kaci ALB
3. David Alcaide ESP
    Fedor Gorst RUS
5. Joshua Filler GER
    Sanjin Pehlivanovic BIH
    Mieszko Fortunski POL
    Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz ESP
 
That concludes the coverage of the Dynamic Billard Antalya Open 2019.
 
The Dynamic Billard Antalya Open were played in the Limak Atlantis Resort in Belek, Turkey, on up to 20 tables which were all streamed LIVE throughout the whole event. In order to be able to follow all the action LIVE, premium membership can be obtained at www.kozoom.com. Once a premium membership is held, all events for the respective period of time can be viewed LIVE. Additionally, a huge video gallery is contained in the website.
 
The event was hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.eurotouronline.com or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.