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Shaw vs Lechner for International 9-Ball Title

Jayson Shaw (File photo courtesy of World Pool Series)

Only four men were left standing on Saturday morning at the International 9-Ball Open. The days first match was one-loss side action between Jayson Shaw and Justin Bergman. Bergman controlled the scene during the first part of the contest and jumped out to a 6-2 lead before Shaw could really see any daylight. Even then, the table seemed to work against him. He had a shot at getting within two games but his cue ball went nuts and struck the 8 ball early in the rack and it came out and snookered him. When  Bergman finished the rack out he led 7-3 and the fans of the Scotsman began to feel concern.
 
At 8-3, Shaw finally gained some daylight and began what he thought could be a comeback. His break failed him though, in rack #13 after he had cut the lead to 8-5. and Bergman put him in jail with a safety on the one ball. Shaw scratched on his jump shot, but Bergman had an unexpected miss on the four ball, so Shaw had another shot at the rack. He got out to make it 8-6 and keep the tension high.
 
Shaw scratched on the next break and left an open table. Bergman took that gift all the way home to lead 9-6. Shaw took the next rack, and the next. A safety battle early in the next rack resulted in Bergman scratching off of a kick shot. Shaw took the rack to tie the match at 9 games apiece and suddenly they were in a race to two games to see who would move on and who would settle for fourth place. When Shaw broke and ran the next rack he took his first lead of the match and got  to the hill first, at 10-9. Bergman would not get another shot as Shaw again broke and ran to win the match 11-9. 
 
Next was the winners side finals for the hot seat between Joshua Filler and Maximillian Lechner. Lechner had the first rack in his pocket when he followed the eight ball in and scratched, giving ball in hand and the first win to Filler. Filler took the next rack as well and then Lechner got his first bead off of a 4-9 combination to trail by one game at 2-1. Lechner scratched on the break shot in the next rack and at this level a scratch can be very costly. Filler ran out. 3-1. Filler was on his way to another run when he had to cheat the pocket on the 8 ball and it hung up. 3-2.
 
Filler took the next rack and then had a bit of good fortune as he nicked the 9 ball on a shot on the one ball and the 9 fell into  the side pocket to go up 5-4.  The next racks went as expected until we were tied at six games apiece. Lechner then scratched on the break and Filler cashed that in for  the lead at 7-6. Filler broke and ran the next rack to go up 8-6. 
 
Two racks later we were tied at 8 apiece and the players were shooting nearly dead even. Their TPA’s were at 903 and 905, not enough difference to notice. Lechner ran the next rack to lead 9-8. He then broke and ran the next game to get to 10-8. When he broke and ran the next game for a three-pack, he won the match and the right to take the first seat in our finals. 
 
Shaw took the early lead against Filler, going up 2-0 very quickly. He was about to take the third rack as well, but he got out of line on the 9-ball and hung it in the corner. Filler cashed in for 2-1. In the fourth game, Shaw tried a long-rail bank straight back and missed. The cueball collided with the still-moving object ball and it scratched him into the side pocket. Filler again took advantage of the error and soon we were tied at two games each.
 
Both players were solid for the next few racks and soon we stood at 5-4 with Filler holding the tiny lead. Filler’s game seemed then to reach another level. He was completely snookered on the two ball in the next rack and pulled off a table-length jump shot to stay at the table, run the rack, and take the 7-4 lead. 
 
Filler scratched on the next break shot. Shaw won that rack and the next and the next and once again we found two great players tied going  into the latter stages of the match.The wins had Shaw feeling strong and he broke and ran the 15th rack to go up 8-7. Filler was able to stop the rot by winning the next rack and we were again tied, this time at eight racks each.
 
Jayson won the next rack due to a fluke ball that kept him at the table. A little luck never hurts. His next break shot opened the  table beautifully. Shaw ran the table easily to get to the hill at 10-8. Shaw had broken and run five racks and so needed this one more. He had another great break result and that was all he needed to win and go into the finals against Maximillian Lechner.
 
The finals are scheduled for 8:30 Norfolk time tonight. Follow along with our realtime scoring and watch the final match online as part of the Accu-Stats online PPV

A Fine, Fun Start In Kuwait City

Pin Yi Ko

It was a busy day of high caliber pool  in Kuwait City on Wednesday, as the inaugural Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship got underway at the Al Ardiya Youth Center, with all 128 players seeing action on 16 tables.
 
Whenever this many of the very best pool players in the world gather in one building to do battle, two things always seem to stand out. First, in professional pool the talent level gets more varied and better each and every year. Secondly, because of this first fact, and the nature of the game itself, you can never, ever take anything for granted.  The minute you think you’ve got a match won or you are cruising to victory, is probably the moment when the pool gods will begin to conspire against you.
 
Both of these facets of championship pool were on full display over 12 long hours of play today. And when the proceedings concluded,  32 relieved players had notched two wins and booked their spots into the final 64 knockout stage that begins on Friday.  Those 32 players will enjoy a well -deserved rest on Thursday, which will see all losers side matches in the 16 groups and the field cut in half.
 
Of course that’s when the real fun begins. From there the tournament will be a two day sprint to the finish line and the $50,000 first prize. The total prize fund of $275,000 is the largest in professional 9-ball in 2016.
 
Perhaps it’s the thought of 9-ball’s biggest prize of the year that had early nerves jangling.  Spain’s David Alcaide looked to have former World 9-ball Champion Darrren Appleton on the ropes in their stellar first round match, but at 8-8 and breaking for the match, the Spaniard watched in horror as the cue ball dropped straight into the side pocket off the break. Appleton proceeded to clear and stayed on the winners’ side. The Yorkshireman came back later in the day to beat Indonesia’s Muhammad Bewi to book his spot in the final 64 knockout stage.
 
The Philippines rising young gun Jeffrey Ignacio must have thought he had a clear run to the final 64 after first thrashing Polish veteran Radislaw Babica 9 -4, then standing on the hill with an 8-3 lead over Saudi Arabia’s very capable Abdulrahman Alammar.  But from there it all fell apart for the fancied Filipino, as Alammar clawed back into the match and won at the wire, 9-8, to advance.  
 
 
Two time world champion Thorsten Hohmann had one of those days where he surely felt he had taken out a long term lease on a high wire. The German great first had to fend off a furious fight back from talented Filipino Roland Garcia to barely win, 9-8. Then in the winner’s side match later, Hohmann again got taken to the limit by the USA’s Corey Duel. Tied at 8 and breaking for the match, Hohmann scratched off the break, leaving a clear for the American, who moved on.
 
The USA’s Shawn Wilkie could almost taste his best result in an overseas tournament as he was up 8-5 over former World 9-ball champion Alex Pagulayan in a winner’s side match. But some crafty jumping by the Canadian-Filipino led to some hair raising clears and it was Pagulayan who advanced instead. Wilkie will get another shot at the final 64 on Thursday.
 
A similar fate befell Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki. Up 8-6 in his winners’ side match versus Russia’s Konstantine Stepanov, the Pole couldn’t close the deal. The Russian stormed back and ran the final rack for a well-deserved spot in the knockout rounds.
 
Not everyone had to put out fires today and, in fact, some looked downright cool as a cucumber in a chest full of ice.  Current World 9-ball Champion Albin Ouschan advanced  with two solid wins today, first over Czech Republic’s Roman Hybler, 9-7, and then the Philippines Elmer Haya, 9-1.   Former World 9-ball champion Niels Feijen of the Netherlands easily handled the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, 9-4, then took down strong Japanese Naoyuki Oi, 9-6. 
 
2015 World 9-ball champion Ko Pin Yi won two matches to advance, as did recent US Open runner up Chang Jung Lin. Their veteran countryman Yang Ching Shun had a confidence boosting day, first cutting down the Philippines Tommy Dato-On 9-7, then taking a big scalp in top Filipino Dennis Orcollo, 9 – 5.
 
The Philippines needn’t worry about not being represented well in the final 64 as Warren Kiamco, Carlo Biado, Lee Van Cortea, James Aranas Zoren, Oliver Mederilla, and Allan Cuartero all advanced with two wins each today.
 
Everyone expects the recent US Open champion Shane Van Boening to be there when the field reaches the money rounds. But the American great has some difficult work left. After an easy first round win, the Van Boening came up against his traveling buddy and roommate, fellow American Mike Dechaine, in a winner’s side match.  The two played a high quality match but it was Dechaine avenging a recent loss to Van Boening in the US Open who pulled out the win, 9-6. Van Boening will get one more chance on Thursday.
 
While it’s nigh impossible to pick a winner at this early stage, many eyes and bets this week are on Scotland’s Jayson Shaw.  Shaw has been building up a head of steam in pool circles over the last year. He’s won several notable events, recently placed third in the US Open, and is currently a near shoo-in to m
 
Jayson ShawBut it’s not just his actions on the blue pitch that speak volumes about where this man is going. Just listen to Shaw speak about the state of his actual game and his mental game, and you’ll get an idea of where he may very well be headed this week in Kuwait.ake the European Mosconi Cup team.  The Scotsman seems to possess all the right ingredients to go on a memorable tear through the sport. Today in Kuwait, he appeared to be just warming up for bigger things with two easy wins.
 
“I've put a lot of time in over the last year practicing hard and I've got that confidence,” Shaw said after his second win of the day. “Right from the start of the year I won some tourneys and I just kept going, not stopping or taking any little breaks like that.
 
“I’m playing really well and I can see that sometimes my opponents get uncomfortable and I feel people see that in me now, the confidence. So I think I have an edge over a few players now, which is massive. I actually feel that some players want to avoid me now.
 
“Pool is 60% mental, 30% skill and 10% luck.  If you can go out there and you got your head right and you're just in the zone and you play real good, there's only one person that can beat you and that's yourself.  Over the last year I've worked on the psychology of the game by not getting mad, enjoying it, not over-thinking things, just going out there and doing my thing. Last year if I'd been a mistake I’d just blow up and then lost the match. But this year there has been a lot of situations where I've made mistakes and I stayed calm. And then great things happen.”
 
* The 2016 Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Ardiya Youth Center in Kuwait City from October 24 to November 5, 2016. The winner of the Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship will receive $50,000. The runner up will receive $25,000. The total prize fund is $275,000.
 
The 2016 Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship is being played under the patronage of the Kuwait Olympic Committee.
 
The WPA will be on hand in Kuwait throughout this year’s Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship  providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 
 
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;https://www.facebook.com/worldpoolbilliardassociation/
 
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
 
Day 1 Results, Group Stages
 
Group 1
Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 9 – 6 Mark Anthony(PHL)
Allan Cuartero(PHL) 9 – 3 Abdulla Falah(KSR)
Aref Ali Awadhi(KUW) 9 – 8 Ameur Abdelati Riad(MOR)
Marc Bijsterbosch(NED) 9 – 7 John Morra(CAN)
 
Group 2
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 -8 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Imran Salem(KUW) 9 – 8 Ahmed Acana Okaily(JOR)
Anthony Raga(PHL) 9 – 6 Khalid Al Mutairi(KUW)
Karl Boyes(GBR) 9 – 6 Abdullah Al Yousef(KUW)
 
Group 3
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 4 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 4 Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)
Salahaleldeen Alrimawi(KUW) 9 – 4 Saeed Aseeri(KSA)
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 5 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP)
 
Group 4
Han Hao Xiang(CHN) 9 – 6 Tareq Al Mulla(KUW)
Olliver Mederilla(PHL) 9 – 3 So Shaw(GBR)
Payual Valeriano(PHL) 9 – 2 Francisco Diaz Piarro(ESP)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 2 Andreja Klasovic(CEZ)
 
Group 5
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 3 Mohammad Saleh(KUW)
Mike Dechaine(USA) 9 – 1 Khalid Sayaf(KUW)
Artem Koshoviy(UKR) 9 -5 Marcus Juva(FIN)
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 5 Daryl Peach(GBR)
 
Group 6
Jayson Shaw(GBR) 9 – 1 Raymund Faraon(PHL)
Mishari Buhaimed(KUW) 9 – 6 Abdullah Alsheha(KUW)
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 5 Muhammad Al Gumaiz(KSR)
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 2 Hamza M. Saeed Ali(ERI)
 
Group 7
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 1 Abdulla Alshammari(KSR)
Ricky boy Godez(PHL) 9 – 4 Omar Al Shaheen(KUW)
Abdulrahman Alammar(KSA) 9 -5 Nadim Okbani(ALG)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 4 Radislaw Babica(POL)
 
Group 8
Yang Ching Shun(TPE) 9 – 7 Tommy Dato-on(PHL)
Dennis Orcollo(PHL) 9 – 1 Mohammad Alhmoud(KUW)
Warren Kiamco(PHL) 9 – 7 Mario He(AUT)
Lui Haitao(CHN) Irsal 9 – 0 Nasution(INA)
 
Group 9
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 7 Roman Hybler(CEZ)
Elmer Haya(PHL) 9 – 3 Dario Hopilito(PHL)
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE) 9 – 5 Fahad Aljassas(BAH)
Lee Vann Corteza(PHL) 9 -5 Mark Gray(GBR)
 
Group 10
Johann Chua(PHL) 9 – 2 Meshall Al Murdhi(KUW)
William Millares(PHL) 9 – 5 Rodney Morris(USA)
Hayato Hijikata(JPN) 9 – 2 Fawal Abdul Latifal
Ko Ping Chun(TPE) 9 – 5 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
 
Group 11
Darren Appleton(GBR) 9 – 8 David Alcaide(ESP)
Muhammad Bewi(INA) 9 – 6 Mohammed Alhosani(KUW)
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 3 Majed Al Azmi(KUW)
Richard Alinsub(PHL) 9 – 5Wu Kun Lin(TPE)
 
Group 12
Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL) 9 – 6 Ruslan Chinakov(RUS)
Marcus Chamat(SWE) 9 – 1 Cherif Zine-El Abidine(MOR)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 0 Robert Hart(USA)
Chang Jung Lin(TPE) 9 – 5 Jundel Mazon(PHL)
 
Group 13
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 3 Bouchaib Farhat(MOR)
Shaun Wilkie(USA) 9 – 4 Masser Al Mujaibel(KUW)
Corey Duel(USA) 9 – 7 Nick Malai(GRE)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 8 Roland Garcia(PHL)
 
Group 14
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 4 Mieszko Fortunski(POL)
Edwin Gamas(PHL) 9 – 4 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Takenaka Hirishi(JPN) 9 – 5 Ali Hadi Al Marri(QTR)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 3 Ong Zhao Chieng(SIN)
 
Group 15
Dennis Grabe(EST) 9 – 5 Bader Al Awadhi(KUW)
Toru Kuribayashi(JPN) 9 – 6 Imran Majid(GBR)
Ivica Putnik(CRO) 9 – 5 Jalal Yousef(VEN)
Dang Jin Hu(CHN) 9 – 3 Wiktor Zielinski(POL)
 
Group 16
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 5 Li Hewen(CHN)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 7 Ahmed Naim Ali(JOR)
James Aranas Zoren(PHL) 9 – 2 Mohamed Chakib El Raousti(ALG)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 6 Maksim Dudanet(NED)
 
 
 
Day 1 Winners Side Matches
 
Group 1
Allan Cuartero(PHL) 9 – 6 Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 
Marc Bijsterbosch(NED)   9 – 3 Aref Ali Awadhi(KUW)  
 
Group 2
Imran Salem(KUW) 9 – 7 Hunter Lombardo(USA)  
Karl Boyes(GBR )  9 – 8 Anthony Raga(PHL)
 
Group 3
Niels Feijen(NED)  9 – 6 Naoyuki Oi(JPN)  
Salahaleldeen Alrimawi(KUW) 9 – 6  Nick Van Den Berg(NED
 
Group 4
Olliver Mederilla(PHL)   9 – 2 Han Hao Xiang(CHN)  
Ko Pin Yi(TPE)   9 – 7 Payual Valeriano(PHL)  
 
Group 5
Mike Dechaine(USA)   9 – 6 Shane Van Boening(USA)  
Aloysius Yapp(SIN)   9 – 4 Artem Koshoviy(UKR)  
 
Group 6
Jayson Shaw(GBR)  9 – 3 Mishari Buhaimed(KUW)  
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 8 Joshua Filler(GER)    
 
Group 7
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 7 Ricky Boy Godez(PHL)  
Abdulrahman Alammar(KSA) 9 – 8 Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL)  
 
Group 8
Yang Ching Shun(TPE) 9 – 5  Dennis Orcollo(PHL)  
Warren Kiamco(PHL) 9 – 7 Lui Haitao(CHN
 
Group 9
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 1  Elmer Haya(PHL)  
Lee Vann Corteza(PHL)   9 – 1 Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE)   
 
Group 10
 William Millares(PHL)  9 – 5 Johann Chua(PHL 
Hayato Hijikata(JPN) 9 – 6  Ko Ping Chun(TPE)  
 
Group 11
Darren Appleton(GBR)  9- 4 Muhammad Bewi(INA)  
Bruno Muratore(ITA)  9 – 3 Richard Alinsub(PHL)  
 
Group 12
Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL)  9 – 7 Marcus Chamat(SWE)   
Chang Jung Lin(TPE)  9 – 7 Waleed Majid(QAT)  
 
Group 13
Alex Pagulayan(CAN)  9 – 8 Shaun Wilkie(USA)  
Corey Duel(USA) 9 – 8  Thorsten Hohmann(GER)  
 
Group 14
Alexander Kazakis(GRE)  9 – 6 Edwin Gamas(PHL)  
Carlo Biado(PHL)  9 – 5 Takenaka Hirishi(JPN)  
 
Group 15
Toru Kuribayashi(JPN)  9 – 3 Dennis Grabe(EST)  
Dang Jin Hu(CHN)   9 – 7 Ivica Putnik(CRO)  
 
Group 16
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 8 Mateusz Sniegocki(POL)  
James Aranas Zoren(PHL)  9 – 7 Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 

Battle Hardened Hohmann Slugs His Way Through

Thorsten Hohmann

This Gulf nation of 4.2 million people is considered one of the richest countries on earth, a place where big business thrives.  And big business is exactly what the Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship will be all about for the next two days, as the race to 9-ball pool’s biggest prize of the year kicks into high gear.
 
The stellar field of 128 of the world’s best players that began battle yesterday at the Al Ardiya Youth Center in Kuwait City has now been cut in half to 64. The always difficult and dreaded double elimination group stages are now history, and from here on in over the course of the next two days, all matches will be single elimination knockout.   The player that wins six matches will take home this brand new title, and 50,000 tax fee US dollars.
 
With a total of $275,000 on offer, the inaugural Kuwait Open 9-ball naturally attracted a field that was as good as anyone will ever see in this game. Several big names bit the proverbial dust today, –among them Dennis Orcollo, Mika Immonen, Daryl Peach, Rodney Morris and Nick Van Den Berg. But the field that remains has some of the biggest names the game has to offer, along with plenty of rising stars, and upstarts who crashed this prestigious Middle Eastern pool party.
 
It all came into shape after yet another day of tense action, as all 64 matches today were played on the losers’ side of the group stage brackets. That meant all matches were do or die, with one small roll of the ball possibly meaning either quick and brutal elimination, or perhaps a wild ride all the way to 9-ball glory. Pool is perhaps the cruelest and hardest sport to earn one’s living at, and paydays like this don’t come along every day. It’s no wonder the tension in the arena throughout today’s play was palpable.
 
Former World 9-ball Champion Mika Immonen had high hopes coming into the event  this week. But after a stinging 9-8 loss to American Hunter Lumbardo yesterday, the flying Finn had to win two today. Immonen handily won his first match  and was a prohibitive favorite against 18 year old debutante Aton Raga of the Philippines, who was playing in his very first international tournament.
 
Surprisingly, the boyish Raga stayed with Immonen throughout their tight match. Then, down 8-7 in the race to 9 contest, Raga showed the grit of a wily veteran and hung on for a scintillating 9-8 win and a spot in the Final 64.
 
Raga is another in a long list of products from the Filipino pool school of hard knocks. From the southern city of Cebu, he dropped out of school after the 6th grade to earn money for his family playing money games. He makes enough bread playing 10-ball money games that he didn’t even give a thought to playing in international events, until his manager, Rolly Baron, convinced him to give it a try. Here in Kuwait, Baron had booked Raga’s ticket for the day after the group stages. 
 
“I will have to purchase him a new ticket,” Baron said. “I truly believe that this kid will be the new face of Philippine pool.”
 
The Philippines will be well represented in the Final 64 as Pinoys make up one fourth of the remaining field with 16 players. Among those still standing are veterans Warren Kiamco, Lee Vann Corteza, Jeffrey De Luna and young talents Carlo Biado and Jeffrey Ignacio. One disappointment for the Philippines was the surprise exit of Dennis Orcollo.  Orcollo went to the wire in a very tough do or die match with Austria’s steady Mario He, before flubbing an 8-ball in the very last rack, and allowing He to take the match and advance.
 
The USA’s Shane Van Boening got back on the winning track today, outlasting former World 9-ball champion Daryl Peach, 9-6, to advance.  The only other Americans to move on are Hunter Lombardo, who has shown excellent improvement in his game lately, and veteran Corey Duel. Newly minted Hall of Famer Rodney Morris came to Kuwait looking to notch some Mosconi Cup points. But he went away empty handed when he got dumped out of the tournament by top Tawainese youngster Ko Ping Chun, 9-4.
 
Six Taiwanese players  make up the final 64, including 2015 World 9-ball Champion Ko Pin Yi, recent US Open runner up Chang Jun Lin, and current world number 1, Cheng Yu Hsuan. Cheng looked the goods today with a 9-4 drubbing of Canadian John Morra.
 
China’s top two players, Wu Jia Jing and Liu Haitao, came through the losers side today to qualify for the final 64.
 
Fans may want to pay close attention to those top players who have not had an easy ride to the knockout rounds.  Spain’s David Alcaide has been through the gauntlet in the last two days. After a bitter hill-hill loss to Darren Appleton on day 1, Alcaide came back and won two matches today to quality. His last match against the Philippines Richard Alinsub went down to the last rack, with the Spaniard barely holding on for a clutch 9-8 win and a spot in the final 64.
 
The same could be said for England’s Mark Gray. Gray is ranked number one on the Euro tour and his rock steady stroke is always dangerous. After losing his first match yesterday, Gray had two solid wins today against tough opponents to advance to the knockout stage.
 
Perhaps no other top player has taken more heat on his way to the Final 64 then two-time World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann. After winning his first match 9-8 over the Philippines Roland Garcia on day 1, the German lost a hill-hill thriller to Corey Duel later in the day. Today Hohmann had to contend with stingy upstart Moroccan Bouchaib Farhat, who fought toe to toe with the German for 13 racks until Hohmann pulled away on a single mistake by his young opponent.
 
Whereas some players may prefer to waltz into the money rounds, Hohmann seems to feed off the rough and tumble. In fact, the German has been looking to recapture his mojo lately by doing battle in practice and in competition, and taking inspiration from one of the games hardest working and most successful players.
 
“I was very confident going into this tournament,” the 37 year old Hohmann said after his qualifying win today.  “I was in New York City lately practicing with Hunter Lombardo 8 hours a day at Amsterdam Billiards. I'm just hungry watching Shane win all of these tournaments. Watching him win the US Open for the 5th time was inspiring because he works the hardest in pool. He's the one that complains the least and does the job and that actually inspired me. I remember how it used to be playing that much and being hungry and wanting to win tournaments. And you lose that over the years. So watching him win the US Open inspired me to put in the hours and work.   I'm just happy to be in the last 64. I haven't had a tournament win in over a year and I need to prove myself.”
 
Play in the round of 64 begins on Friday at 10am Kuwait time, GMT +3. The rounds of 64, 32 and 16 will be played Friday, while the quarters, semis and finals will be played on Saturday. All matches in the knockout stage up to the final will be race to 11, alternate break. The final will be race to 13, alternate break.
 
* The 2016 Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Ardiya Youth Center in Kuwait City from October 24 to November 5, 2016. The winner of the Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship will receive $50,000. The runner up will receive $25,000. The total prize fund is $275,000.
 
The 2016 Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship is being played under the patronage of the Kuwait Olympic Committee.
 
The WPA will be on hand in Kuwait throughout this year’s Kuwait Open 9-ball Championship  providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 
 
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;https://www.facebook.com/worldpoolbilliardassociation/
 
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa 
 
Day 2
Groups 1-8 First Session
 
Group 1
Mark Anthony(PHL) 9- 5 Abdulla Falah(KSR)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 2  Ameur Abdelati Riad(MOR)
 
 Group 2
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 – 4 Ahmed Acana Okaily(JOR)
Abdullah Al Yousef(KUW) 9 – 4 Khalid Al Mutairi(KUW)
 
Group 3
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 7 Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 2 Saeed Aseeri(KSA)
 
Group 4
Tareq Al Mulla(KUW) 9 – 6 So Shaw(GBR)
Francisco Diaz Piarro(ESP) 9 – 8 Andreja Klasovic(CEZ)
 
Group 5
Khalid Sayaf(KUW) 9 – 5 Mohammad Saleh(KUW) 
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9 – 5 Marcus Juva(FIN)
 
Group 6
Raymund Faraon(PHL) 9 – 7 Abdullah Alsheha(KUW)
Muhammad Al Gumaiz(KSR) 9 – 6 Hamza M. Saeed Ali(ERI)
 
Group 7
Omar Al Shaheen(KUW) 9 – 4 Abdulla Alshammari(KSR) 
Radislaw Babica(POL) 9 – 3 Nadim Okbani(ALG) 
 
Group 8
Tommy Dato-on(PHL)9 – 3 Mohammad Alhmoud(KUW)
Mario He(AUT) 9 – 6 Irsal Nasution(INA)
 
Groups 1 to 8, 2nd Session
 
Group 1
Mark Anthony(PHL) 9 – 5 Aref Ali Awadhi(KUW)
Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 9 – 4 John Morra(CAN)
 
Group 2
Anthony Raga(PHL) 9 -8 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 7 Abdullah Al Yousef(KUW)
 
Group 3
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 5 Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 2 Naoyuki Oi(JPN)
 
Group 4
Han Hao Xiang(CHN) 9 – 8 Francisco Diaz Pizarro(ESP)  
Payual Valeriano(PHL) 9 – 1 Tareq Al Mulla(KUW)
 
Group 5
Artem Koshoviy(UKR) 9 – 1 Khalid Sayaf(KUW)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 6 Daryl Peach(GBR 
 
Group 6
Raymund Faraon(PHL) 9 – 8 Joshua Filler(GER)
Mishari Buhaimed(KUW)  9 – 2 Muhammad Al Gumaiz(KSR)
 
Group 7
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 –6 Omar Al Shaheen(KUW)
Radislaw Babica(POL) 9- 7 Ricky boy Godez(PHL) 9 – 4 
 
Group 8
Lui Haitao(CHN) 9 – 6 Tommy Dato-on(PHL)
7 Mario He(AUT) 9- 8 Dennis Orcollo(PHL)  
 
 
 
Group 9 to 16 1st Session
Roman Hybler(CEZ) 9 – 6 Dario Hopilito(PHL)
Mark Gray(GBR) 9 – 4 Fahad Aljassas(BAH)
 
Group 10
Rodney Morris(USA) 9 – 0 Meshall Al Murdhi(KUW) 
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 9 – 0 Fawal Abdul Latifal
 
Group 11
David Alcaide(ESP)9 – 3 Mohammed Alhosani(KUW)
Wu Kun Lin(TPE) 9 – 6 Majed Al Azmi(KUW)
 
Group 12
Ruslan Chinakov(RUS) 9 – 3 Cherif Zine-El Abidine(MOR)
Jundel Mazon(PHL) 9 – 4 Robert Hart(USA
 
Group 13
Bouchaib Farhat(MOR) 9 – 8 Masser Al Mujaibel(KUW)
Roland Garcia(PHL)  9 – 6 Nick Malai(GRE)
 
Group 14
Mieszko Fortunski(POL)9 – 6 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Ong Zhao Chieng(SIN) 9 – 2 Ali Hadi Al Marri(QTR)
 
Group 15
Imran Majid(GBR) 9 – 3 Bader Al Awadhi(KUW) 
Jalal Yousef(VEN) 9 – 5 Wiktor Zielinski(POL)
 
Group 16
Ahmed Naim Ali(JOR) 9 – 7 Li Hewen(CHN) 
Maksim Dudanet(NED) 9 – 2Mohamed Chakib El Raousti(ALG)
 
Group 9 to 16, 2nd Session
 
Group 9
Roman Hybler(CEZ) 9 – 6 Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE)
 Mark Gray(GBR) 9 – 4 Elmer Haya(PHL )
 
Group 10
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 9 – 4 Johann Chua(PHL) 
 Ko Ping Chun(TPE) 9 – 4 Rodney Morris(USA)
 
Group 11
David Alcaide(ESP) 9 – 8 Richard Alinsub
Wu Kun Lin(TPE) 9 – 1 Muhammad Bewi(INA)
 
Group 12
Ruslan Chinakov(RUS) 9 – 6 Waleed Majid(QAT) 
Jundel Mazon(PHL) 9 – 2 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
 
Group 13
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 6 Bouchaib Farhat(MOR)
Roland Garcia(PHL)  9 – 4 Shaun Wilkie(USA)  
 
Group 14
Takenaka Hirishi(JPN) 9 – 4 Mieszko Fortunski(POL)
Edwin Gamas(PHL) 9 – 5 Ong Zhao Chieng(SIN)
 
 
Group 15
Imran Majid(GBR) 9 – 3 Ivica Putnik(CRO)
Dennis Grabe(EST) 9 – 4 Jalal Yousef(VEN)
 
Group 16
Wu Jiaqing(CHN)  9 – 4 Ahmed Naim Ali(JOR) 
Maksim Dudanet(RUS) 9 – 6 Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 

Stars Collide in Norfolk

Day two of the U.S. Open Championships had more of the top dogs scrapping. Two of the top Brits, Darren Appleton and Karl Boyes, had to mix it up last night and both men played well but Appleton seems almost infallible at the Open (he has won it twice on the trot in the past) and he was not to be denied as he took the win 11-7.

 

Then Ching Shun Yang had to face young Ko. The Ko brothers have been paving their own road into pool history and no one can just expect to win against either of them. But Yang has his years of experience to kneel on and he prevailed 11-9.

 

Amar Kang had a brilliant match against Konstantin Stepanov of Russia where Kang took control early and just kept stretching out his lead until he emerged victorious 11-5. But that match took a lot out of him and he did not shine so brightly against Brandon Shuff as Shuff rolled out to an 11-7 win to send Kang over the left side of the charts.

 

Shane Van Boening had a narrow escape Monday evening. John Morra took him all the way to the hill before Van Boening could take the win 11-10. Another hill-hill bout found Mark Gray coming out on top of Mike Davis.

 

Raj Hundal finally got a chance to warm his arm after he took a forfeit from So Shaw in the opening round and had a fight on his hands to beat Cleiton Rocha 11-9. But then he seemed to find his gear as he took down Thorsten Hohmann 11-7.

 

Alex Pagulayan had a nervous night as J.H Dang took him to the hill before Pagulayan took control of the final rack for the win. Hall of Fame inductee Rodney Morris was having a fine time this week as he first defeated Oscar Dominquez 11-9 and then dismantled Rob Hart 11-1. But then he ran into Jayson Shaw and Shaw turned up the heat to win that one 11-6.

 

Niels Feijen and Albin Ouschan had an exhausting three hour match that wound up with Ouschan winning 11-9. Then Ouschan had to play Ramil Gallego and his spirit must have been used up as Gallego trounced him 11-3.

 

Other matches of note included Farncisco Sanchez-Ruiz defeating Nick Van Den Berg 11-9, Ko Pin Yi besting Skyler Woodward 11-7 and Lee Van Cortezza besting Mika Immonen 11-9. Y.L.Cheng was able to get by Chezka Centeno 11-8 and Carlo Biado came out on top with Johnny Archer 11-7. Dennis Orcullo got surprised by M.Fortunski 11-8 and David Alcaide beat Nikos Ekonomopoulos 11-9.

 

Play begins at 10:30 AM today and Accu-Stats has replacement equipment coming in today to get your stream going once again. We are not aware of how long it will take to unhook the malfunctioning gear and get the new stuff going but they are confident that the stream should resume today. Check with the Accu-Stats website during the day and they will let you know when they are ready to once again roll out the streams of the worlds best players. And be sure to follow all of the action with our Live Scoring page and our interactive brackets.

US Open 9-Ball Championship Kicks Off On Sunday

The 42nd US Open 9-Ball Championship kicks off at 10:30 EST Sunday morning, with a field of 139 players competing for the most presigious title on US soil. 
 
With 139 players, there are many players with first round byes, but that doesn't mean that the first round doesn't have any marquee matches. Marquee matches in round one include Eklent Kaci vs Ernesto Dominguez, Warren Kiamco vs Poland's Adam Mscisz and Ralf Souquet vs Earl Strickland
 
Fans can follow all of the action with our online brackets and live scoring at http://www.azbilliards.com/tours_and_events/158-us-open-9-ball-championship/7727-us-open-9-ball-championship/live/.
 
Accu-Stats is streaming all seven days of the event and complete information on that stream us available at www.accu-stats.com
 
The streaming schedule for Sunday is already set, with the following matches…
 
10:30 – Warren Kiamco vs Adam Miscisz
12:30 – Earl Strickland vs Ralf Souquet
2:30 – Tony Chohan vs Wu Jia Qing
6:30 – David Alcaide vs Kevin Cheng
8:30 – Ko Pin Yi vs Damianos Giallourakis
10:30 – Shane Van Boening vs Nick Van Den Berg
 

Giants Tumble in Norfolk

Tuesday was the beginning of the days at the U.S. Open where champions clash. Karen Corr's run out to the right ended narrowly when Jayson Shaw beat her 11-10, Carlo Biado took down Thorsten Hohmann 11-3 as Oliver Ortmann defeated Jung-Lin Chang 11-6.

Albin Ouschan continues undefeated as he got past Dennis Grabe 11-4 and Mika Immonen bested Martin Daigle 11-6. Karl Boyes sent Skyler Woodward left 11-6 and J.H. Dang won out over Dennis Orcollo 11-8. Warren Kiamco continues as he passed Jason Klatt 11-9 and Ralf Souquet continues his great play with a victory over Nikos Ekonomopoulos 11-6. Mike Dechaine dominated John Morra 11-2 and Corey Deuel fell 11-6 to the power of Y.H. Cheng. Justin Bergman made his Mosconi Cup declaration clear with a powerful win over defending three-time champion Shane Van Boening 11-7. Finally, Rodney Morris took out Nick Van Den Berg 11-7 and Ruslan Chinakov came out on top over Darren Appleton 11-8.

Some truly great players have already hit the exits after finding their second loss. The list of notables who must wait another year includes Scott Frost, P.C. Ko, Frankie Hernandez, Amar Kang, Imran Majid, Oscar Dominguez, Ernesto Dominguez, So Shaw, Allen Hopkins, Tom D'Alfonso, Tommy Kennedy and Raj Hundal.

Powerful matches lie ahead. Jayson Shaw will take on Carlo Biado, Oliver Ortmann faces Albin Ouschan, Warren Kiamco will stare across the table at Ralf Souquet, and Rodney Morris will do battle with Ruslan Chinakov.

On the one-loss side of the charts the desperate ones will fight for survival. Here we find Ko Pin-Yi awaiting Kenichi Uchigaki, Tony Drago prepares for Jeremy Sossei, Mike Davis will war with friend Johnny Archer, Stevie Moore must face Justin Hall and Earl Strickland will cue up against Jeffrey Ignacio. Shaun Wilkie awaits David Alcaide, Brandon Shuff is loading up for Kevin West, and Jundal Mazon will take on Michael Wong.

For the rest of the week the matches will just get tougher and tougher. Which means it is a good time to slide over to Accu-Stats.com and purchase the remaining pay-per-view. The sound problems noticed earlier in the week have been solved and the broadcast is now pristine with nothing but world-class matches in every round.
 

Appleton, Hohmann, Gomez, Van Boening 3-0: Shaw Runs 99 & Out

Patron Sponsor Randy Goldwater with Thorsten Hohmann

In some savory showdowns on Day 1, UK's Appleton looked strong and ready to defend his title in his one sided wins, while Scotland's young gun Jayson Shaw ran a 99 to capture the high run of the event thus far. The Andy Cloth World Tournament of 14.1 . A who's who of world class players are in attendance to etch their name into history's elite of the father of all pool games. Darren Appleton, Thorsten Hohmann, Stephan Cohen, Shane Van Boening, Johnny Archer, Earl Strickland, Mika Immonen, Tony Robles and many, many more. The main event will take place once more in New York City. As usual, a star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting this world class event. The World Tournament Official Equipment include Viking Cue with all matches played on Andy Cloth. Event partners include Mr.Tom Gleich, Dr. Gregory Diehl, Mr. Greg Hunt of Amsterdam Billiards, & Mr. Jim Gottier of Greenleaf's Pool Room. Patron sponsors include Mr. Harold Siegel of Excelsior Graphics, Dr. James Heller, Mr. Charles Eames of Charles Eames Photography, Frank Scharbach of Frank's Billard Cafe, Focused Apparel and the National Amateur Pool League. 
 
The World Tournament will be live streamed on AZBTV , order by going to www.worldstraightpool.com . Official media partners are www.NYCGrind.com , Pool & Billiard Magazine, & tech support by Gotham City Technologies. 
 
Complete group schedule at www.worldstraightpool.com for all matches. Tickets to watch live in person sold on site.
 
The day started with last year's semi-finalist Max Eberle defeating strong Kevin Clark of PA 100-15.  Shaw looking really good with a 99 and out over Dobosenski of WI and alSo Shaw annilhilated junior European champion Joshua Filler 100-14. 
 
Roberto Gomez of the Philippines makes his debut in 14.1 and had an impressive win over Mika Immonen and also won three more matches making him the favorite to win his Group 7 and earn a first round bye the next stage.
 
Van Boening looked stout with his three wins including a marquee win over Danny Harriman. Harriman took the bronze in 2007 World 14.1. Van Boening also had a personal best 305 ball run during practice on Sunday night which was on the livestream.
 
In the final marquee match, Appleton was too much to handle as he gave Strickland no out in a 100-32 rout. Appleton had a 87 ball run earlier in another match.
 
Germany's Reiner Wirsbitzki also went 3-0 included an escape from Eberle in a 100-93 win when Eberle scratched with an open table needing only 8 balls.
 
Tues Day 2 July 14 TV Stream
 
10:30 AM  Joshua Filler GER vs Tony Robles USA
12:00 PM Corey Deuel USA vs Jim Gottier USA
1:30 PM Mika Immonen FIN vs Dieter Johns GER 
3:00 PM Shane Van Boening USA vs Tom Karabotsos USA
5:00 PM Tony Robles USA vs Jayson Shaw SCO
6:30 PM Thorsten Hohmann GER vs Warren Kiamco PHL
8:00 PM Johnny Archer USA vs Danny Barouty USA 
 
Wed Day 3 July 15 TV Stream
 
10:30 AM Johnny Archer USA vs Jude Rosenstock USA
12:00 PM Warren Kiamco PHL vs Ivica Putnik CRO
1:30 PM Darren Appleton ENG vs James Landrum USA
3:00 PM Dennis Orcullo PHL vs Corey Deuel USA
8pm Hall of Fame Banquet Live Streamed for FREE at www.Ustream.tv/channel/azbtv
 
Each of the three players will have to play 6 matches each in the first stage of the championship. If they qualify in their respective groups, they advance to a double elimination knockout stage. If they advance again, they qualify for the final stage of 16 players in a single knockout stage, but with longer match races. The finals will be a race to 300 balls made first, which could take as long as 6 hours.
 
In addition to the World Tournament will be the 5th Annual Straight Pool Hall of Fame. A gourmet banquet dinner along with speeches from celebrity guests will take place July 15th at 8pm at Steinway Billiards. A special video presentation of each inductee will be produced and presented by www.NYCGrind.com's Jerry Tarantola.  The HOF Live Streamed for FREE at www.Ustream.tv/channel/azbtv
 
Support straight pool and the 14.1 Hall of Fame by joining the World 141 Club & for a very inexpensive sponsorship, become one of the 141 special people joining the 141 Club which will fund this year's events. The list of benefits & gifts are huge. Goto http://worldstraightpool.com/tickets.html . Tickets will be sold at the door during the event. Sponsors and private contributors can still join this year's event. Final added money and fundraising for the 5th Annual Straight Pool Hall of Fame are still being generated. To help be a part of this treasured event, please contact Dragon Promotions and join the World 141 Club.
Get the latest news and complete results of all years at www.worldstraightpool.com and daily year round updates on  www.facebook.com/Worldstraightpool  . Follow Dragon Promotions news at  www.twitter.com/Dragonpromoter
 
Vendor spaces are also available, for more information on player registration, sponsorship, or if you would like to submit a comment, please email worldstraightpoolchampionships@gmail.com or contact Dragon Promotions at 1-407-782-4978. Full event info is atwww.dragonpromotions.com
 

 

 

US Open Day One: Break Struggles and Tough Times for Team USA Hopefuls

Max Eberle

The 39th Simonis/Aramith U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship saw a few changes this year. First, the 9-Ball is being racked on the spot to de-power the break shot and to remove soft breaking. Then, we are playing all-ball fouls this year and the 9 only counts as a win on the break if it does not go into the bottom corner pockets. 

 
The break was a work in progress for almost every player as they experimented throughout their match with different break spots on the headstring, and different speeds and contact points on the 1 ball. This resulted in dry break after dry break, and certainly answered the organizers concern about stopping the wing ball dropping every time on the break.
 
The first top seed to get relegated to the losers bracket was World #1 ranked Niels Feijen who went down to Max Eberle 11-8 in the first TV match of the day.  Feijen has been winning a lot of late, and played very well in his match against Eberle but Eberle kept making clutch shots at critical moments and scratches by Feijen at two critical points in the match spelled the end of Feijen's stay on the right side of the board. Eberle recently returned from a successful trip playing in the Philippines and the trip appears to have affected his game for the better. "The trip made me more resilient to pressure" Eberle said. "If you can run out with a sticky cue, sweaty face, talcum all over and players standing by the table, you can run out anywhere" Eberle explained. 
 
This is an important event for the prospective USA Mosconi Cup team members. They are all here with coach Mark Wilson watching. The team members will be announced following this event, so they all want to show their stuff for the boss. Jeremy Sossei was first out and he had no opportunity to show his considerable skills as his opponent failed to show for the match.

 
Corey Deuel played well in his first match and won 11-8 over Sean Morgan. Oscar Dominguez was not so fortunate. He ran into a super-tough Jonathan Pinegar who came on very strong near the end of the match to send Dominguez to the one-loss side 11-9. Justin Bergman looked unstoppable in his 11-0 whitewash of Chris Cantrall, but Justin Hall had a much tougher time with Hanni Al Howri as the tough player from the UAE took Hall to hill-hill before Hall pulled out the win. John Schmidt fought hard, but couldn't get past Jason Klatt in their 11-9 match on the TV table. The night ended on a sour note for Mosconi hopeful Brandon Shuff as he came back from a late deficit to tie his match with Kenichi Uchigaki at hill-hill before Uchigaki won the case game. 
 
One of the most colorful guys out there, Larry Phlegar, won his match against Canadian Randy Russell 11-8 but it could have been a larger margin if he had not missed several 9 ball shots. He would play well until the last shot and then get completely out of his normal rhythm and rush the last shot. Nevertheless, he hung in there and came out of the pits a happy man.  
 
One match that caught the eye of the crowd was Majid V Majid. Popular player Imran Majid faced a new challenge in the form of Waleed Majid. W. Majid controlled this match the whole way, shot the lights out, and defeated I. Majid 11-4. He is a true force with which to be reckoned. 
 
While a number of players struggled with the break,  a handful of the top players seemed to have found the sweet spot, and are treating it as business as usual. Mike Dechaine and Darren Appleton seemed to be having no problem with the break. Mike trounced Tony Drago, who ended up on the wrong side of an 11-5 score line, and also having to watch Dechaine run a three pack in the process. Appleton also broke well against fellow Englishman So Shaw, and easily got the better of him 11-2.
 
Interesting matches coming up are: Skyler Woodward v Alex Pagulayan at 10:30 am Tuesday on the TV table and Efren Reyes v Jose Parica at 10:30 am Wednesday. While this match has not been announced on the TV table, logic dictates it deserves a home there.
 
Follow all of the action with our online brackets and real time scoring, and watch the PPV online at www.accu-stats.com

The Big Dance Starts To Take Shape

Enrique Rojas

Enrique Rojas BECOMES THE FIRST EVER PLAYER FROM CHILE TO ADVANCE TO A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP KNOCKOUT STAGE, JOINS 31 OTHERS IN DOHA'S FINAL 64

 

(Doha, Qatar)–Relief and pure joy were two emotions on wide display on Day 3 of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship,  as 32 players booked their spots into Wednesday’s Final 64, the single elimination knockout phase that signals the real start of pool’s most prestigious event.

 
Relief came from those top players who just wanted to notch their second win and put the madness that can be the group stages behind them. Pure joy came from the other players, those that know that winning this tournament is a massive long shot, and just getting through to the big dance is a career defining moment in itself.
 
The 128 player field that began here on Saturday was already considered by many to be the strongest ever gathered for this event. As the wannabes wither and the main stage starts to take shape, the remaining field promises to offer a brilliant collection of cue artists from all corners of the globe. It’s the kind of shot in the arm the sport of pool needs.
 
Today’s play inside the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha was given over to only winners’ side matches. Winners advanced to the Final 64, while losers were sent over to the losers side of their group brackets, where they will play for one more chance tomorrow on Judgement Day.
 
Middle Eastern pool once again shined brightly in the form of Omar Al Shaheen. Any lingering doubts about the authenticity of Al Shaheen’s pool genius, which he’s proudly displayed over the last year, were surely put to rest today as the 21 year old Kuwaiti laid waste to the Philippines Marlon Manalo, 9-1.
 
Manalo’s making a bit of a comeback after a three year hiatus, but anyone who knows this sport still considers the Filipino a true monster out on the floor. That didn’t seem to bother Al Shaheen  as he looked like he was having a stroll along the blue waters of the Gulf.
 
“I broke the balls good and always had a shot after the break,” said Al Shaheen. “He break the balls bad and can never see a ball.”
 
Kuwait's Omar Al Shaheen Can Al Shaheen go all the way? The university student who studies sports psychology is a long shot for sure, but his odds are definitely improving quickly. He reached the last 16 here last year and fought bravely in going out to eventual runner-up Li Hewen of China. In May of this year, Al Shaheen reached the semi-finals of the China Open in Shanghai, one of pool’s major events. He seems to be the man of the moment, and he’ll have the chance to prove it beginning Wednesday.
 
Defending champion Darren Appleton wore a smile of relief today after beating Korea’s Jeong Young H, 9-5. Like other favorites here, Appleton revealed that the two stage format had been playing tricks on his mind. You know you should win, but you could very easily find yourself sliding down a vortex of negativity if you’re not paying attention.
 
 “I was worried because if I lose I have to play Efren(Reyes),” Appleton said. “With all the Filipinos here that’s like playing in front of his hometown crowd. But if you come here to win this tournament you can’t think about who you’re going to play.  I made a few silly mind mistakes, like taking it easy when I was up 6-2. But I had 70% break and run outs. I played pretty well and I’m happy. I just wanted to get through to the final 64.”
 
China's Wu Jia QingTwo of Taiwain’s heavyweights, Chang Jun Lin and Ko Pin Yi, came through with nothing to worry about. Chang crushed Spain’s Marc Claramunt 9- 1, while Ko had an easy time with Qatar’s top player, Waleed Majed, 9-4. Another Taiwan player who always seems to play under the radar but who can do some serious damage is Cheng Yu Lung, who held off Great Britain’s Chris Melling, 9-5. 
 
The Philippines came out with a mixed bag today with four players advancing and five being swept over to the losers side. World number 2 Dennis Orcullo breezed past Poland’s Tomasz Kaplan, 9-4, to qualify. Antonio Gabica quietly remains one of the stronger Filipinos in the massive contingent of greats the country produces.  Gabica has lived in Qatar for four years now working as an assistant coach for the Qatar national team. Gabica even wears the colors of Qatar while playing. But his game and heart are true Filipino, something Germany’s young Dominic  Jentsch discovered today. Gabica won 9-7 to advance.
 
2010 World 9-ball Champion Francisco Bustamante wasn’t so fortunate as he stumbled to Portugal’s surprising Manueal Gama, 9-6. Jeffrey De Luna fell to a strong Mika Immonen by the same score.
 
Completely unheralded Filipino Marlon Caneda was the surprise of the day with a 9-0 trouncing of tough Greek player Nick Ekonmopoulos. The 30 year old Caneda has a hard luck story that makes it difficult not to root for him. He has spent the last four years working as a house pro at the Run Out pool club in the remote Saudi Arabian town of Sakaka Aljouf. Caneda earns a mere $700 a month which he uses to support his child, mother and sickly grandmother back in the Philippines.
 
The lonely hard scrabble existence has its upsides for Caneda, though. He practices up to 12 hours each and every day.
 
World number three Lee Vann Corteza found himself in a back and forth dog fight with Albania’s Nick Malaj. The 26 year old Malaj, who currently lives in Athens, is no longer the upstart he was last year when he burst onto the scene here in Doha. Fighting toe to toe with Corteza, Malaj came back from 8-7 down to shock the Filipino and advance, 9-8.
 
“That’s the third time I played him and the first time I beat him,” a drained but excited Malaj said afterward. “If I lose to the same guy three times, that’s no good. And Filipinos are good players so I feel like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
 
Other players who advanced today were the USA’s Shane Van Boening, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, the Netherlands Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen, Hungary’s come backing Vilmos Foldes, Austria’s Mario He, Russia’s Konstanin Stepanov and Ruslan Chinakhov, and Italy’s Fabio Petroni.
 
China’s Wang Can will be seeing action on Wednesday as well. Wang made waves in the US earlier with a semi-final finish at the Ultimate 10-ball event. He continued his fine run today easily beating the Philippines Ramil Gallego today, 9-1.
 
One player everyone has their eyes squarely glued on is former World 9-ball and World 8-ball champion Wu Jia Qing(formerly known as Wu Chia Ching.) Wu, who only last November returned from spending two years in the Taiwan military scrubbing toilets and floors and never touching his cue stick, continued what looks to be a very serious comeback to the top echelons of the sport, after he reached the semi-finals of the China Open in May. Today, Wu, who now lives in and plays for China, looked impenetrable as he defeated a very strong Karl Boyes of Great Britain, 9-4, to qualify.
 
One of the best feel-good stories of the tournament so far continued again today as Chile’s Enrique Rojas did something none of his countrymen have ever done: he qualified for the knockout stage of the world championship. The 35 year old Rojas played in this event in 2005, 2006 and 2007 but never advanced past the group stage. Two days ago he upended heavily favoured Li Hewen of China 9-6. Today Rojas beat Aloysius Yapp of Singapore by the same score to finally enter the round of 64 on Wednesday.
 
32 more matches are on tap Tuesday with the appropriately titled Judgement Day.  Nerves and drama are sure to be cascading throughout the Al Arabi Sports Club as every match is win-or-go home and careers could be hanging in the balance. 
 
Play begins at 12pm local time(GMT +3) with all matches race to 9, alternate break.  The single elimination round of 64  begins Wednesday with all matches race to 11, alternate break. The finals, which will take place on September 13th, will be a race to 13, alternate break.
 
The winner of the 2013 World 9-ball Championship receives $36,000. The runner up will pocket $18,000. The total prize fund is $250,000.
 
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA)  will be on hand in Doha throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Al Arabi Sports Club with daily articles containing insight, interviews and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.  
 
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 World 9-ball Championship here http://www.facebook.com/wpaworld9ballchampionship 
 
Follow the WPA on Twitter:  @poolwpa 
 
Visit the official website of the WPA at www.wpapool.com
 
*The 2013World 9-ball will be held in Doha, Qatar from September 2-13,2013 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the biggest prize in Men’s Pool. The 2013  World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Live scoring, CLICK HERE

For Updated Brackets and complete Final 64 draw, CLICK HERE

For Photo Gallery, CLICK HERE

 

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

 

Day 3, FINAL 64
Race to 9, Alternate Break

2:OO PM

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

4pm Session

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

6PM Session

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

 

8pm Session

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

10PM Session

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

ROUND OF 32 MATCHES

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