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Day Two Sees First International Open Eliminations

Tommy Kennedy (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Day two is complete at the International 9-Ball Open. 
 
Morning matches on day two were one loss side matches, and the first group of players were shown to the doors. While most of those players were of the regional variety, two surprising names were eliminated with Zion Zvi’s elimination of The Netherlands’ Marc Bijsterbosch and Muhammed Alghumayz’s elimination of Bosnia’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic. 
 
The evening session saw action on the right side of the board, and plenty of top players were sent to the one loss side. Alex Kazakis started the evening session on the TV table with a tough match against crowd favorite Earl Strickland. Strickland was much more subdued than normal, in an 11-9 loss to Kazakis. John Schmidt won a back and forth match with Poland’s Radoslaw Babica. Babica took a 2-0 lead, but Schmidt then ran six racks for a 6-2 lead. Babica clawed back to 6-6 and the match eventually went hill-hill before Schmidt broke and ran the final rack for the win.
 
Shane Van Boeing remained undefeated, but was tested by Russia’s Maksim Dudanets. The final score of 11-7 does not accurately represent how close this match really was. Ko Pin-Yi was also tested, in a hill-hill match against Phuc Long Nguyen from Vietnam. Nguyen led the majority of the match, but Ko buckled down to earn the late win. 
 
Tommy Kennedy surprised the large number of Filipino players and fans in his day two win over Johann Chua. Chua had been in action all night and looked to be dialed in at the start of the match, but Kennedy quickly took control and ran off to an 11-6 win. When asked about his success in this event, Kennedy was his usual humble self. “I want to win this event, of course, but I really want to just cash for my sponsors” Kennedy said. Kennedy has an appointment with Van Boening on Tuesday evening, and the winner will be in the money. 
 
In the final match of the night, recently converted southpaw John Morra took on Brandon Shuff. Morra had considered quitting the game due to physical issues related to his left eye dominance. Instead of quitting though, he converted in May to shooting the majority of his shots left handed. (He still breaks right handed). While Morra considers his game to be about 70% of what it used to be, that was just enough to earn him an 11-9 win over Shuff. Morra will face Corey Deuel on Tuesday. 
 
Day three see’s a number of marquee matches. Those matches include…
 
Johnny Archer vs Denis Grabe
John Schmidt vs Alex Pagulayan
Ko Ping Chung vs Albin Ouschan
Joshua Filler vs Jung Lin Chang
Dennis Orcollo vs Mika Immonen
James Aranas vs Carlo Biado
Thorsten Hohmann vs Skyler Woodward
 
Watch select matches with the online PPV coverage from Accu-Stats and follow all of the action at this year's event with our online coverage including real time scoring and live brackets

Day two report from the World 8-Ball Championship

Judgement Day at the World 8-ball Championship in Fujairah has brought on the usual dramas that come when a slight roll of a pool ball can change your fortunes forever.  For guys who toil year round for moments like these, the stakes simply couldn’t be bigger; you win and you start afresh tomorrow, with the possibility of a life changing world title a few days  away. You lose and the cool breezes rolling in over the Al Hajar mountains will do nothing to ease your pain as you leave this friendly emirate by the Indian Ocean feeling weak and shamed.

The field began with 96 players yesterday from over 40 countries. 17 men from various corners of the globe qualified through to the knockout stage on Day 1, and 47 more will make it through today, Tuesday, here in Fujairah. 

In the first part of today’s session, quiet tension and drama was the order of the day as players known and unknown battled for the chance to move on to the round of 64. Two time world champion Mika Immonen finally saw action, but had to battle back from from 5-3 down in his race to 7 alternate break match versus talented Brit Jayson Shaw.  The two engaged in a mano-a-mano slugfest , trading break and runs until Shaw capitalized on a bad roll of the ball from the Finn. Immonen sucked up the tension and battled back. Down 6-5 he cleared off a dry break by Shaw, then broke and ran for a spot in the final 64. Shaw gets one more chance to go through later in the night.

“The break is everything here,” Immonen said afterward  repeating an oft heard sentiment from all the players here. “One dry break can cost you the match. If you break consistently, you’ll win this thing.”

Immonen, who admittedly didn’t have a good year in 2011, especially compared to the historic tear he went on in 09 and ’10, says he’d lately been working himself back into top physical condition and feels good about his chances to finally add the 8-ball world title, to his 9-ball and 1- ball crowns.

“I’m in ‘kill’ shape now,” he said, and revealed he’s run 6 kilometers on the treadmill at his hotel before the match.  “I’m feeling good.”

Another player feeling good right now is Bruno Muratore. The friendly 44 year Italian veteran wasn’t a ceded player, so he had to win two to move on to the knockout stage.  After winning his match on day 1, Muratore found himself in a winner’s side dogfight with China’s tough Fu Jianbo.  The battle went hill-hill when Fu lost position and fouled. Muratore nearly lost his way on the clear, but he held his nerve to book a spot in the final 64.

“I had a lot of stress in this match because I know him,” Muratore said afterward. The Rome native said he likes his chances here because unlike a lot of touring pros, he plays 8-ball regularly back home.  He finished 5th in this event back in 2008, losing to Philippine great Ronnie Alcano.

“In Italy I play 8-ball all the time,” he said.  “I like 8-ball because it’s a brain game. You have to think about the path to the 8, and when you play safe, you have to think how you change the path for your opponent.”

The always strong Philippine contingent is looking rock solid so far this year and will easily have the most number of players in the final 64.  As of press time, six Filipinos have qualified for the final 64 today alone. They’ll join defending champion Dennis Orcullo and two others in the knockout stages beginning Wednesday. Two Pinoy’s of note, Roberto Gomez and Carlo Biado, cruised through with easy victories today.

Elmer Haya is not a name one normally thinks of when talking about heavyweights from the Philippines. But this 35 year old from Molave, Zamboanga del Sur and Butuan City did himself and his country proud today by  defeating Morroco’s Yousfi Chaouki 7-5 and qualifying for the knockout stage. 

Haya’s one of these Filipino players who are easy to root for considering their life story. With few opportunities to earn back home, he’s been toiling for the last year in the UAE as a house pro in the Champion Billiard Club one hour from Fujairah in the emirate of Ras Al Khaima, sending home $700 each month to keep wife and five kids fed, clothed and educated.

Haya, though, is here to grab opportunity, not sympathy. He can flat out play. He recently won the Dubai 9-ball festival and collected $3000.  And he says that unlike other Filipino players back home, 8-ball has been his game of choice in the UAE.

“I have confidence that I can do well here because I play a lot of 8-ball here,” Haya said.

The group stages will conclude this evening with several more sessions.

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, 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.

 

GROUP PLAY ON DAY 2

Winners are through to Final 64. Losers go to 1-loss side of group

Group I

Karl Boyes(GBR) 7 – 1 Noor Al Jarrah

Group J

Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 7 – 5 Mario He(AUT)
Mark Gray(GBR) 7 – 3 Demosthenes Pulpul(PHI)

Group K

Jalal Yousef(VEN) 7 –1 Daryl Peach(GBR)
Kou Po-Cheng(TPE) 7 – Sundeep Gulati(IND)

Group L

Amin Fekry(UAE) 7 – 4 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 7 – 2 Maghsoud Ali

Group M

Roberto Gomez(PHI) 7 – 3 Luke Rollinson(GBR)
Carlo Biado(PHI) 7 – 2 Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP)

Group N

Hajato Hijikata(JPN) 7 – 5 Ko Pin YI(TPE)
Raymund Faraon(PHI) 7 – 4 Nick Van den Berg(NED)
Group O

Lo Li Wen(JPN) 7 – 0 Carlos Cabello(ESP)
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 7 – 3 Chan Keng Kwang(SIN)
Group P

Mika Immonen(FIN)7 – 6 Jayson Shaw(GBR)
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 7 – 6 Fu Jianbo(CHN)
Losers Side Matches 
(Winner is through to Final 64, Loser is out)

Group A

Kenny Kwok(HKG) 7 – 5 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
Nasser Al Mujaibel(KUW) 7 – 0 Mohammed El Assal(EGY)
Group B

Phuc Long Nguyen(VIE) 7 – 2 Salah Al Awadi(UAE)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 7 – 3 Mohammed Al Hosani(UAE)
Group C

Vilmos Foldes(HUN) 7 – 3 Ali Saeed(UAE)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 7 – 1 Stuart Lawler(AUS)

Group D

Elmer Haya(PHI) 7 – 5 Yousfi Chaouki(MAR)
Ahmad Jallad(JOR) 7—4 Mohammed Ali(IRI)

Group E

Dominic Jentsch(GER) 7 – 1 Cho Pil Hyun(KOR)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 7 – 1 Abdulla Juma(UAE)
Group F

So Shaw(IRI) 7 – 2 Sayeem Hossaien(BAN)
Elvis Calasang(PHI) 7 — 5 Hanni Al-Howri(UAE)

Day Two Wrap-Up from World 8-Ball Championship

Facing elimination, and bearing the burden of having to carry the hopes of the United States squarely on his shoulders, Max Eberle proved his mettle tonight at the Fujairah Tennis and Country club, pulling out a hard fought come from behind 7-4 win over Singapore’s Kwang Chan Ken to advance to the round of 64 knockout stage at the 2012 World 8-ball Championship.

Eberle, who originally hails from Ohio but now resides in Las Vegas, is now the sole American left in this year’s World 8-ball Championship. The single elimination knockout stage begins on Wednesday at 2pm(GMT +4). All matches will be race to 9, alternate break. 

Eberle went into his do or die late night match already knowing he had to carry the flag for the red, white and blue. Moments earlier, Brandon Shuff, the only other American in this year’s competition, blew a golden opportunity to take down the Netherland’s Nick Van den Berg on the TV table. Shuff was clearing the table with the score tied at 5 and played poor position with just three balls left on the table, leading to a scratch. Van den Berg went up 6-5, then broke and ran for the 7-5 win.

“I dogged it,” a gutted Shuff said afterward.  Things were looking dire for Eberle as well before he decided enough was enough. Leading 3-0, Eberle suffered several dry breaks and soon found himself down 4-3. Then the fight back began.  “Mad Max” won four straight racks for the win.

“It was a gritty win,” a delighted Eberle said afterward. “I had to bear down and pull out some good run outs. I really fought hard and it feels good. America still has hope. I have to pull it out for the USA.”

It won’t be easy, though. Eberle has drawn none other than Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet in his first match in the round of 64. That match is scheduled for 4pm Fujairah time.(GMT +4)

Earlier, there were some tense moments out on the playing floor for former World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach. Peach found himself at deaths door while facing  13 year old…yes that’s right—13 year old Mohammed Saed Saed of Qatar.

The youngster was playing lights out pool in that fearless way that only a juvenile can do, while Peach   played horribly all match. Tied at 5 all, Peach had only the 8 ball left to go up by one, only to scratch after potting the black pearl. This put the kid on the hill with the break, but he broke dry and Peach cleared.  Peach nearly gave it away in the decider, but fear and nerves finally caught up with Saed Saed and he blew a certain win with awful position, leaving Peach an easy run out. 

“That was the worst match of pool I’ve ever played,” a somewhat stunned Peach said afterward.

The unique World Championship-style pressure seemed to infect many of the tables in the evening session.  Aoki Ryoji from Japan and  Jayson Shaw of Great Britain went down to the wire, with Ryoji pulling out a 7-6 squeaker.  Hamzah Ali, the first and only pro pool player to come out of the African country of Eritrea came from 6-3 down to take Spain’s Carlos Cabello to a one game decider. Hamzah got down to the 8-ball but missed a golden opportunity for pool glory when he missed, leaving a clear and win for the Spaniard.

The remaining three days of this year’s World 8-ball Championship promise plenty of nerves, tension and fireworks as most of pool’s big names made it through. It’s almost assured to see a Filipino in the final four at least as all nine Filipino players entered into the tournament qualified for the final 64. These include defending champion Dennis Orcullo, Lee Van Corteza, Roberto Gomez, Carlo Biado, Joven Alba, Elmer Haya, Ramund Faoron, Demosthenes Pulpul, and Elvis Calasang.

 Fans around the world can follow all the action from 2012 World 8-ball Championship in Fujairah on the WPA website  www.wpa-pool.com. The WPA will be providing  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.

 

Losers Side Matches From Day 2
(Winner is through to Final 64, Loser is out)

Group A

Kenny Kwok(HKG) 7 – 5 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
Nasser Al Mujaibel(KUW) 7 – 0 Mohammed El Assal(EGY)
Group B

Phuc Long Nguyen(VIE) 7 – 2 Salah Al Awadi(UAE)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 7 – 3 Mohammed Al Hosani(UAE)
Group C

Vilmos Foldes(HUN) 7 – 3 Ali Saeed(UAE)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 7 – 1 Stuart Lawler(AUS)

Group D

Elmer Haya(PHI) 7 – 5 Yousfi Chaouki(MAR)
Ahmad Jallad(JOR) 7—4 Mohammed Ali(IRI)

Group E

Dominic Jentsch(GER) 7 – 1 Cho Pil Hyun(KOR)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 7 – 1 Abdulla Juma(UAE)
Group F

So Shaw(IRI) 7 – 2 Sayeem Hossaien(BAN)
Elvis Calasang(PHI) 7 — 5 Hanni Al-Howri(UAE)

Group G

Takhti Zarekani(IRI) 7 – 1 Toh, Lian Han(SIN)
Omer Al Serkal(UAE)  7 – 4 Majid Sultan(UAE)

Group H

Saleh MohammedKUW) 7 –3 Meshaal Turki Al Ali(QAT)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 7 – 4 Saleh Ibrahim Ali(UAE)

Group I

Abdulatef Fawal(QAT) 7 – 1 Noor Al Jarrah(JOR)
Lee Chen Man(HKG) 7 – 0 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)

Group J

Demosthenes Pulpul(PHI) 7 – 6 Albin Ouschan(AUT)
Mario He(AUT) 7 – 5 Bahran Lofty(BEL)

Group K

Daryl Peach(GBR) 7 – 6 Mohammed Saed Saed(QAT)
Shaker Wahdan(JOR) 7 –3 Sundeep Gulati(IND)

Group L

Maghsoud Ali(IRI) 7 – 1 Majid Ghare Gozlu(IRI)
Li Hewen(CHN) 7 – 5 Yu Lung Chang(TPE)

Group M

Omran Salem(UAE) 7 – 4 Luke Robinson(GBR)
Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP) 7 – 3 Wetsi Morake(RSA)
Group N

Nick Van den Berg(NED) 7 – 5 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 7 – 0 Ahmed Al Hosani(UAE)

Group O

Carlos Cabello(ESP) 7 — 6  Hamzah Ali(ERI)
Max Eberle(USA) Keng Kwang Chan(SIN)

Group P

Reiner Wirsbitzki(GER)  Fu Jianbo(CHN)
Aoki Ryoji(JPN) 7 –6   Jayson Shaw(GBR)