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Pool’s Best Push Through To The Final 64

Jung Lin Chang

A veritable armada of pool’s biggest stars pushed their way through to the Final 64 knockout stage at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha today, as the business end of proceedings quickly started to take shape at the 2018 World 9-ball Championship.
 
It was a very busy day which saw 32 players qualify for the money rounds, and another 32 players see their dreams of glory come to a screeching halt.
 
Of course it was quite expected when the tournament began on Friday that over half the original field of 128 players from over 40 countries had no chance at actually winning the event. But the outcomes today were somewhat surprising in that we saw few of the upsets fans have come to expect in the group stages over the years. The only big name to fall by the wayside and get a pink slip was 2001 World 9-ball Champion and Hall of Famer Mika Immonen, who lost his second straight match in as many days.
 
Otherwise the day’s action saw one superstar and rising star after the next take their place in the final 64. When the field is filled at the end of the day’s play on Sunday, fans around the world can expect one of the finest runs to the gold in many years.
 
World number one Klenti Kaci hasn’t looked his sharpest so far. But the 19 year old Albanian did what he had to do in a steady 9-6 win over Kuwaiti Meshaal Al Murdhi.
 
Defending champion Carlo Biado of the Philippines seemed to be on cruise control in his 9-5 win over Russia’s Sergey Lutsker. Despite being the reigning 9-ball king, the Filipino great benefits from being so humble and so low key that he plays almost unnoticed.
 
The biggest winners Saturday in terms of countries was Taiwan, which saw a whopping seven of its players qualify for the round of 64.  2015 World 9-ball champion Ko Pin Yi looked the goods today as he handily beat Czech Republic’s Roman Hybler, 9-4. 2017 semi-finalist Lin Wu Kun grinded out a solid 9 – 7 victory over former champion Yukio Akagariyama of Japan. Ko’s younger brother Ko Ping Chung took a 9 – 6 win over Greece’s Nikolas Malai.  Hsieh Chia Chen beat Russian strongman Ruslan Chinhov 9-8 to make it through.vLui Ri Ten beat American Billy Thorpe 9-7 to make it through.
 
Taiwan’s biggest monster right now—and that is saying something– is surely Chang Jung Lin who is currently ranked number 2 in the world. Chang did win his second straight match to qualify today, but he once again had to go to the limit to get there. Chang blew an 8-5 lead to Greece’s Damianos Giallourakis and had to eke out victory with a nervy clear in the very last rack for a second straight 9-8 win.
 
The USA’s Shane Van Boening, who is one of the heavy favorites this week in Doha, didn’t have as easy a time today as he did on day one. But he was never in real trouble against Venezuelan veteran Jalal Al Sarisi, winning 9-7. SVB’s Mosconi Cup teammate Corey Duel played steady 9-ball and easily defeated Finland’s Petri Makkonen 9-4 to make the knockout stage.
 
World number six and 2014 champion Niels Feijen had another solid day, defeating Spain’s Francisco Diaz-Pizarro, 9-7. The Dutchman’s Mosconi teammate Albin Ouschan didn’t fare as well as he took a thumping from Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn, 9-4.  Juszczyszyn may not be a household name to pool fans but it should be noted that he is the current European 9-ball champion. Another Pole who scored a very big victory was Mateusz Sniegocki who took down a very tough Filipino, Jeffrey Ignacio, 9-5. Tomasz Kaplan made it three for Poland today with a win over South Africa’s Jason Theron.
 
It was good day for the Germans as both Ralf Souquet and Joshua Filler won their second straight matches to qualify for the final 64.  18 year old Russian Fedor Gorst continued to impress as he qualified with a handy 9-1 win over Jeong Young Hwa of Korea.
 
It was a very big day for the Japanese side as three players made it through with impressive wins. Takano Tomoo took down former world champion Wu Jiaqing 9-8. Naoyuki Oi was a 9 – 4 winner over Finland’s Casper Matikainen. And Tomoya Iima took a 9 – 7 win over Hoang Guong Quoc of Vietnam.
 
Other winners who qualified for the knockout rounds included the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp, Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, Myanmar’s talented Phone Myint Kyaw, Spain’s Fracisco Sanchez Ruiz, Greece’s Alex Kazakis, China’s Wang Can and Russia’s Konstantin Stepanov.
 
Chris Melling, the lone Brit in the field, again looked the goods as he easily beat South Africa’s Richard Halliday, 9-3. Qatar’s Waleed Majid also won his second straight to make it through, beating China’s Xu Xiacong, 9-6.
 
Play continues on Sunday in Doha at the Al Arabi with the action beginning at 12pm local time(GMT +3.) All matches on Sunday will be do or die, losers side matches with the winners advancing to the knockout round and the losers going out of the event.
 
The winner of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
 
*The 2018 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from December 10-20, 2018. 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 many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform. Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public. Please visit the WPA Facebook Page for more information.
 
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
 
Visit the official website of the WPA at www.wpapool.com
 
The players will compete on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
 
Media coverage of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship is being supported by the American Poolplayers Association(APA).  Join the world’s largest pool league today. Please visit join.poolplayers.com
 
 
 
Results Losers Side Matches
 
Group 1
Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT) 9 – 4 Alejandro Carvajal(CHL)
Woo Seung Ryu(KOR) 9 – 3 Fayaz Hussain(MAL)
 
Group 2
Matt Edwards(NZL) 9 – 5 Ruslanov Stanimir(BUL)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 7 Sami Koylu(TUR)
 
Group 3
Roland Garcia(PHL) 9 – 5 1 Ahmed Nizam Uddin(BAN)
David Alcaide(ESP) 9 – 2 Ahmed Aleqaly(JOR)
 
Group 4
Omar Alshaheen(KUW) 9 – 6 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Johann Chua Gonzales(PHL) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
 
Group 5
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 5 Israel Rota(PHL)
Ahmed Tanvir(BAN) 9 – 4 Fawaz Al Rashedi(KUW)
 
Group 6
Satoshi Kawabata(JPN) 9 – 4 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Abdullah Alenzi(KUW) 9 – 1 Vincent Halliday(RSA)
 
Group 7
4 Ko Ping Han(TPE) 9 – 4 Jakub Koniar(SVK)
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 9 – 2 Ahmad Mohamad Silah(JOR)
 
Group 8
Sharik Aslam Sayed(SIN) 9 – 6 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Hasan Idan(IRQ) 9 – 6 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
 
Group 9
Nguyen Anh Tuan(VET) 9 – 2 Llanos Jorge(ARG)
Wiktor Zielinski(POL) 9 – 8 Ameer Ali(IRQ)
 
Group 10
Marlon Manalo(PHL)  9 – 2 Ali Abdulhadi(QAT)
Martin Daigle(CAN) 9 – 3 Abdullah Falah(IRQ)
 
Group 11
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 7 Takhti Zarekani(IRA)
Maximilian Lechner(AUS) 9 – 6 Jimmy Worung(NED)
 
Group 12
Ali Maghsoud(IRA) 9 – 8 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
Wojciech Sroczynski(POL) 9 – 7 Maksim Dudanets(RUS)
 
Group 13
Ivar Saris(NED) 9 – 3 Robert Hart(USA)
Marek Kudlik(POL) 9 – 8 Oliver Szolnoki(HUN)
 
Group 14
Denis Grabe(EST) 9 – 2 Toh Lian Han(SIN)
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 8 Enrique Rojas(CHL)
 
Group 15
Aung Moe Thu(MYN) 9 – 3 Roberto Brillantes(PHL)
Thomas Tokoph(USA) 9 – 8 Kong Bu Hong
 
Group 16
Bing Chen Gao(CHN) 9 – 6 Mohammed Hassan(MAL)
Kwon Hojun(KOR) 9 – 4 Bashar Abdulmajeed(QAT)
 
 
 
Results Winners Side Matches
 
Group 1
Eklent Kaci(ALB) 9 – 6 Meshaal AL Murdhi(KUW)  
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 8 Vitaliy Patsura(UKR)   
 
Group 2
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 5 Mazen Berjaoui(LEB)   
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 6 Radoslaw Babica(POL) 
   
 
Group 3
Hsu Jui An(TPE) 9 – 1 Bader Alawadhi(KUW)
Lui Ri Teng(TPE) 9 – 7 Billy Thorpe(USA)   
 
Group 4
Fedor Ghorst(RUS) 9 – 1 Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)
Robbie Capito(HKG) 9 – 5 Sanjin Pehlivanovic(BOS)
 
 
Group 5
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 7 Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP)  
Corey Duel(USA) 9- 4 Petri Makkonen(FIN)
 
Group 6
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE) 9 – 8 Ruslan Chinhov(RUS)  
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 5 Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL)   
 
Group 7
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 8  Hayato Hijikata(JPN)  
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 7 Xu Xiacong(CHN) 
 
 
Group 8
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 8 Toru Kurbayashi(JPN)    
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 4 Roman Hybler(CZE)
 
Group 9
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 5 Sergey Lutsker(RUS)    
Tomoya Iima(JPN) 9 – 7 Hoang Guong Quoc(VET)   
 
Group 10
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 6 Liu Haitao(CHN)  9 – 6 
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 4 Casper Matikainen(FIN)  
 
Group 11
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9- 5 Jason Theron(RSA)   
Takano Tomoo(JPN) 9 – 8 Wu Jiaqing(CHN)  
 
Group 12
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 – 3 Richard Halliday(RSA) 
Lin Wu Kun(TPE)  9 – 7 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)    
 
Group 13
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 6 Nikolas Malaj(GRE)   
Shane Van Boening(USA)  9 – 7 Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN)   
 
Group 14
Phone Myint Kyaw(MYN) 9 – 4 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)     
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS)  9 – 4 Dang Jinhu(CHN)  
 
Group 15
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 2 John Morra(CAN)
Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL) 9 – 4 Albin Ouschan(AUS)  
 
 
Group 16
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 –2 Wen Lo Li(TPE)   
Chang Jung Lin(TPE) 9 – 8 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)   

Van Boening, Other Top Stars Cruise On Day One In Doha

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening has never won a World 9-ball Championship. He did, of course, come ever so close, finishing runner up in 2015, and 2016. After skipping last year’s championship, however, there is a palpable sense in Doha that the American star is absolutely destined to finally grab the world crown in 2018.
 
Interestingly there are eight former World 9-ball Champions in this year’s field, all of them still highly capable of pulling off the impossible feat yet again. But nobody is yet talking about them. It’s the moniker ‘SVB’ who is on everyone’s lips.
 
Van Boening has admitted that he is playing his best pool perhaps ever. After a grueling six month training regime, he led Team USA to a thrilling victory in the Mosconi Cup last week. He showed up in Doha saying he intends to win, and that he is playing with zero pressure on his shoulders.
 
Fans in Doha, and the pro pool community itself seem to agree something is afoot. While most players played in the relative obscure quiet of the cavernous Al Arabi Sports Club on day 1 of this year’s championship, Van Boening’s time in the arena today actually drew a fair amount of watchers. Everyone and anyone who likes pro pool around here seems to feel something special is afoot. 
 
The American didn’t disappoint in his first outing, as he crushed Poland’s Marek Kudlik 9-1. Good breaking, solid potting, deft safeties all showed up in Van Boening’s arsenal today. Combined with his quiet confidence, SVB laid down an early marker stating that nothing short of victory in Doha will suffice.
 
As all 128 players saw action on the first day of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship, it’s clear, though, that Van Boening will have plenty of serious contenders just as eager and capable of taking the crown on December 20. This year’s field is positively stacked with ferocious talent, both young and not so young. With the Wiraka tables breaking fairly easily—wing ball down, 1 in or near the side pocket—it’s all going to come down to who can handle the almost impossible pressure. Pool fans are in for a real treat over the next six days.
 
In the group stages it’s all about just winning two matches, to make it through to the final 64, where the tournament becomes single knockout all the way to the final. Defending champion Carlo Biado of the Philippines had an easy time of it today, easily taking down Argentina’s Llanos Jorge, 9-3. The man who lost in last year’s final to Biado, fellow Filipino Roland Garcia, came into Doha one of the hottest players in Asia and with high expectations. Garcia, though, stumbled out of the blocks to Taiwan’s Hsu Jui An, 9-8. Garcia will move over to the one loss side of his group where he needs two wins to advance.
 
World number one Klenti Kaci came out looking tired against the always tough Chilean Alejandro Carvajal. The Albanian teen was down four racks early but battled back to clip Carvajal at the wire, 9-7.
 
Pool’s young guns get more numerous and more dangerous year after year. 21 year old German sensation Joshua Filler played his usual brand of solid, care free pool in a 9-6 win over Bulgaria’s Ruslanov Stanimir. 17 year old Russian Fedor Gorst handled the always tough Kuwaiti Omar Al Shaheen, winning 9-6. 17 year old Pole Wiktor Zielinski came in with some expectations on his shoulders but he fell to Japan’s Tomoya Iima, 9-7.
 
It was a good day for the USA Mosconi Cup team as both Billy Thorpe and Corey Duel notched victories, and moved with one win of making the final 64. Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, a winner in 2004, barely scraped by Lebanon’s Mohammad Berjaoui, 9 – 8.  Fellow Canadian John Morra has an easier time of it today, blanking the Philippines Roberto Brillantes, 9-0.
 
Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin is considered one of the tournament favorites but he struggled mightily against Korea’s Kwon Hojun. Chang was actually down 6-2 at one point but stormed back and won at the wire, 9-8.
 
Chang was one of eight Taiwanese notching victory today, including 2015 champion Ko Pin Yi, Ko’s younger brother Ko Ping Chun, Hsieh Chia Chen and Lin Wu Kun.  The Ko’s actually have an even younger brother in the event, Ko Ping Han, but he lost to Japan’s  Hayato Hijikata.
 
The four European Mosconi Cup players on hand all won today. Besides Kaci, Austria’s Albin Ouschan continued to look rock solid with a 9-4 win over the USA’s Thomas Tokoph. The Netherlands’ Niels Feijen waltzed to victory with a neat 9-5 win over the always stingy Taiwanese Chang Yu Lung. Greece’s Alexander Kazakis barely got by Slovakia’s Jakub Koniar, 9-8.
 
England’s Chris Melling is someone people seem to be talking about as a possible champion, and the lone British representative on hand didn’t disappoint, winning easily over the Netherlands Marc Bijsterboch, 9-2.
 
Former world champion Wu Jiaqing of China cruised with a 9-1 win over the Netherlands’ Jimmy Worung. China went 5 out of six today with wins also by Dang Jinhu, Liu Haitao, Wan Can and Xu Xiacong.
 
Former world champion and hall of famer Ralf Souquet found victory today with a 9-3 win over the Maldives’ Mohammed Hassan.  But former world champion and fellow hall of famer Mika Immonen fell to Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov, 9-5.
 
Qatar’s favorite player made a splash today. Waleed Majid, who made it to the quarterfinals here in 2014, showed that he has clawed his way back into championship form with a 9-5 win over former US Open champion, Yu Hsuan “Kevin” Cheng.
 
Play continues on Saturday in Doha at the Al Arabi with the action beginning at 10am local time(GMT +3.) After the four sessions on Saturday, 32 players will be out and 32 players will be through to the final 64.
 
The winner of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
 
*The 2018 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from December 10-20, 2018. 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 many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform. Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public. Please visit the WPA Facebook Page for more information.
 
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
 
Visit the official website of the WPA at www.wpapool.com
 
The players will compete on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
 
Media coverage of the 2018 World 9-ball Championship is being supported by the American Poolplayers Association(APA).  Join the world’s largest pool league today. Please visit join.poolplayers.com
 
Results Day 1
 
Group 1
Eklent Kaci(ALB) 9-7 Alejandro Carvajal(CHL)
Meshaal AL Murdhi(KUW) 9 – 5 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 3 Fayaz Hussain(MAL)
Vitaliy Patsura(UKR) 9 – 5 Woo Seung Ryu(KOR)
 
 
Group 2
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 6 Ruslanov Stanimir(BUL)
Mazen Berjaoui(LEB) 9 – 6 Matt Edwards(NZL)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 5 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Jeffrey De Luna(PHL) 9 – 7 Sami Koylu(TUR)
 
 
 
Group 3
Hsu Jui An(TPE) 9 – 8 Roland Garcia(PHL)
Bader Alawadhi(KUW) 9 – 1 Ahmed Nizam Uddin(BAN)
Billy Thorpe(USA) 9 – 4 Ahmed Aleqaly(JOR)
Lui Ri Teng(TPE) 9 – 1 David Alcaide(ESP)
 
 
 
Group 4
Fedor Ghorst(RUS) 9 – 6 Omar Alshaheen(KUW)
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 9 – 7 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Robbie Capito(HKG) 9 – 5 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
Sanjin Pehlivanovic(BOS) 9 – 7 Johann Chua Gonzales(PHL)
 
 
Group 5
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 5 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP) 9 – 2 Israel Rota(PHL)
Corey Duel(USA) 9- 5 Ahmed Tanvir(BAN)
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 3 Fawaz Al Rashedi(KUW)
 
Group 6
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE) 9 – 3 Satoshi Kawabata(JPN)
Ruslan Chinhov(RUS) 9 – 5 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 7 Vincent Halliday(RSA)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 6 Abdullah Alenzi(KUW)
 
Group 7
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 8  Jakub Koniar(SVK) 
Hayato Hijikata(JPN) 9 – 4 Ko Ping Han(TPE)
Xu Xiacong(CHN) 9 – Ahmad Mohamad Silah(JOR)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 5 Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE)
 
Group 8
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 8 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Toru Kurbayashi(JPN) 9 – 5 Sharik Aslam Sayed(SIN)
Roman Hybler(CZE) 9- 8 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 4 Hasan Idan(IRQ)
 
Group 9
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 3 Llanos Jorge(ARG)
Sergey Lutsker(RUS) 9 – 8  Nguyen Anh Tuan(VET)
Tomoya Iima(JPN) 9 – 7 Wiktor Zielinski(POL) 
Hoang Guong Quoc(VET) 9 – 5 Ameer Ali(IRQ)
 
Group 10
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 2 Ali Abdulhadi(QAT)
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 6 Marlon Manalo(PHL)  
Casper Matikainen(FIN) 9 – 8 Martin Daigle(CAN)
Naoyuki Oi(JPN)  9 – 2 Abdullah Falah(IRQ)
 
Group 11
Jason Theron(RSA) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9 – 6 Takhti Zarekani(IRA)
Takano Tomoo(JPN) 9 – 7 Maximilian Lechner(AUS)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 1 Jimmy Worung(NED)
 
Group 12
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 – 2 Marc Bijsterboch(NED)
Richard Halliday(RSA) Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 6 Maksim Dudanets(RUS)
Lin Wu Kun(TPE) 9 – 5 Wojciech Sroczynski(POL)
 
Group 13
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 6 Ivar Saris(NED)
Nikolas Malaj(GRE) 9 – 3 Robert Hart(USA)
Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN) 9 – 5 Oliver Szolnoki(HUN)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 1 Marek Kudlik(POL)
 
Group 14
Phone Myint Kyaw(MYN) 9 – 3 Denis Grabe(EST) 
Lo Ho Sum(HKG) 9 – 3 Toh Lian Han(SIN) 
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 8  Enrique Rojas(CHL)
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 8 Lin Ta Li(TPE)
 
Group 15
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 6 Aung Moe Thu(MYN)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 0 Roberto Brillantes(PHL)
Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL) 9 – 4 Kong Bu Hong(HKG)
Albin Ouschan(AUS) 9 – 4 Thomas Tokoph(USA)
 
Group 16
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 3 Mohammed Hassan(MAL)
Wen Lo Li(TPE) 9 – 5 Bing Chen Gao(CHN)
Damianos Giallourakis(GRE) 9 – 7 Bashar Abdulmajeed(QAT) 
Chang Jung Lin(TPE) 9 – 8 Kwon Hojun(KOR) 

2018 World Cup of Pool – Wins for Greece, England and USA

Nick Malaj & Alex Kazakis

Greece (14) 7-0 Hong Kong
England (13) 7-2 South Korea
USA (6) 7-5 Singapore
 
 
The three evening session matches went true to the seeding as Greece, England and the USA enjoyed victories in the opening round of the 2018 World Cup of Pool at the Luwan Arena, Huangpu District in Shanghai.
 
The $250,000 tournament originated in 2006 and has since moved around the world before touching down in Shanghai. The World Cup features 32 pairs from across the globe including two from host nation China. Running from 15th to 20th May, the event is on live TV in over 100 countries around the world.
 
The Greek pairing of Nick Malaj and Alex Kazakis whitewashed their Hong Kong opponents 7-0 and looked in excellent shape as they look to mount a realistic challenge for the title. Hong Kong by contrast looked relative novices as they struggled to make an impact.
 
England eased into the second round where they will play the Philippines after a comfortable win against South Korea. Mosconi Cup veterans Imran Majid and Mark Gray had the match under control as Jeong struggled to keep him cueing arm under control.
 
Commented Imran, “It is great to get the W in the first match. We had some help from them, they missed two or three balls.”
 
Gray continued, “We both played well, until the last rack none of us had missed a ball in open play. English players pride themselves on not missing shots, I know that’s not what the game is about in general but in a short race to seven you can’t afford to be missing balls and not taking out clearances.
 
“Me and Daryl Peach beat Philippines en route to the final a few years ago. They are one of the biggest nations in pool so we know we are in for a tough time and we will be underdogs but I like being the underdog.”
 
In the final match, the USA pair of Shane Van Boening and Sky Woodward enjoyed a tussle against Singapore as they bumped their way over the line with a 7-5 win. Breaking at 5-5, the Singaporean pair of Toh Lian Han and Aloysius Yapp were favourites for the win but Woodward stepped up a bit after a shaky early part of the match.
 
Van Boening said, “I travel all over the world and the first match is always the toughest – you have to get use to the atmosphere and get more comfortable and after we won we have a day off now so we will think it over a little more and do the best we do.”
 
Play continues on Thursday afternoon with three more first round matches.
 
Finland (11) v Malaysia
Japan (10) v Sweden
Russia (15) v Australia
 
2018 World Cup of Pool sponsored by Iwan Simonis who supply the Official Cloth; the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc, and Predator is the Official Cue of the event.
 

2018 Joy World Chinese 8-Ball Masters – The Preview

The 6th annual JOY World Chinese 8-Ball Masters is set to be the biggest yet with a record breaking $151,000 going to the eventual champion – the largest first prize in the history of the discipline.
 
Chinese 8-Ball continues to grow globally. Besides the obviously strong home contingent, 6 continents and a host and countries will be represented in Qinhuangdao. If you are not familiar with the rules and set-up, please visit the Home Leisure Direct Chinese 8-Ball Blog here to find out.
 
QUALIFICATION & THE FORMAT
The main draw will feature 64 players. This consists of 24 players from China and the remaining 40 made up of international talent.
 
Getting a place in the 64 is tough – nearly half of that starting entry will have only secured their place during the last week. The China Regional Finals have just been completed in the venue whilst there are 8 places up for grabs in the ongoing International Qualifier that is taking place between 4th-6th January.
 
The rest of the line-up has been decided by other avenues such as national and international qualifying events and selection. The full list of players now confirmed is at the bottom of this article.
 
In the main draw, a Double Elimination format will be used all the way to the final, which will then be a one-off Championship Match.
 
Matches will increase in distance as the tournament progresses, but so too will the time limit for each match. Should the time expire before a target is achieved, whoever is leading at that point will win the tie.
 
If the scores are level, the players will contest a dramatic Black Ball Shoot-Out to determine a winner.
 
THE PRE-TOURNAMENT FAVOURITES
Gareth Potts is the reigning and defending World Masters Champion. In 2017 the Englishman claimed this title for a third time after a thrilling Shoot-Out victory against Chinese youngster Zhang Kunpeng.
 
Potts, who bagged the first two editions in 2013 and 2014 and is a four-time English 8-Ball Pool World Champion, trailed throughout almost all of that final. After an early defeat in the event he was forced to take the losers side of the draw too – in total he ran a gauntlet of 10 wins to lift the trophy.
 
At the JOY International Open in October, Potts almost secured a unique double, but was denied by home player Liu Yang in the final. As an example of how tough the qualification process for this year's event is, Liu did not make it through here.
 
Zhang will be looking to go one better and put behind any bitter memories of his final defeat; earlier in this season he tasted success at a tour event in Xining.
 
Elsewhere during the campaign, Zheng Yubo won back-to-back legs in Linyi and Lianyungang, whilst the effervescent Yang Fan claimed the top prize in Hangzhou.
 
Yang is arguably Potts' biggest rival in the sport. He is the only other winner of the JOY World Masters following his consecutive victories in 2015 and 2016. Yang also comes here as the current World Chinese Pool Champion having won the title in 2017.
 
There appears to be a real rivalry and power struggle between Potts and Yang; hopefully they will cross cues at some point within the coming days.
 
?The list of big Chinese hopes doesn't end there, though. 2016 World Chinese Pool Champion Shi Hanqing, Two-Time World Cup of 9-Ball Pool Champion Li Hewen and former professional snooker player – and Crucible qualifier, Liu Chuang are other big name contenders.
 
As too is Wu Zhenyu, who finished top of the 2017 JOY Cup Rankings. Because of this Wu was the only Chinese player to automatically make the main draw and was not required to take part in the recent China Qualifying.
 
 
INTERNATIONAL STARS
One of the most exciting aspects of this tournament is that we see stars from other Cuesports backgrounds take part.
 
The Philippines' Carlo Biado recently became the World 9 Ball Pool Champion in Qatar. Alongside former World 8 Ball Pool Champion, World Cup of Pool and multiple Mosconi Cup winner Karl Boyes (England), they have been selected via the World Pool Association.
 
Names in American Pool don't really come much bigger than the USA's Shane Van Boening – a 5-Time US Open 9-Ball Champion. He is back in Qinhuangdao after a disappointing result last year.
 
Corey Deuel is another famous Stateside figure returning. Deuel replaces original national qualifying event winner Darren Appleton, who had to withdraw due to personal reasons.
 
Former World Blackball Champions Ben Davies (Wales) and Westi Morake (South Africa), former World 9-Ball Youth Champion Aloysius Yapp (Singapore) and current World Under 17 9-Ball Champion Sanjin Pehlivanovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) have also earned places.
 
There are other players you may be familiar with on the list such as Italy's Fabio Petroni and Chile's Enrique Rojas.
 
 
THE UK ANGLE
As mentioned earlier, Potts, Boyes and Davies are all in the main draw, as too is Shaun Storry, who won the first of two qualifying tournaments held in the UK (Davies won the second). You can read about their wins here.
 
However, representation from the UK may not end there, as a number of players have made the long trip to Asia to take part in the International Qualifier (which is happening at the time of writing this article).
 
THE FULL LIST OF PLAYERS IN THE MAIN DRAW
AFRICA
Jaouad Tabit (Morocco), Richard Halliday (South Africa), Westi Morake (South Africa), Gangnant Karyl (Reunion Islands), Ahmed Galal (Egypt), Cadet Christopher (Madagascar)
 
ASIA
Carlo Biado (Philippines), Ko Ar Ti (Myanmar), Hwang Yong (South Korea), Toh Lian Han (Singapore), Aloysius Yapp (Singapore), Tsuchiya Junko (Japan), Fukuda Takeshi (Japan), Matsumura Hiroshi (Japan), Hijikata Hayato (Japan)
 
CHINA
Wu Zhenyu, Shi Hanqing, Gong Haifeng, Zhang Kunpeng, Xi Hongyu, Xia Hongyan, Meng Fanyu, Zheng Yubo, Liu Chuang, An Hongyu, Yu Guangyu, Zhao Yunbiao, Lv Xin, Abulajiang, Shi Weida, Shen Chongyang, Wu Hao, Li Hewen, Wang Yang, Chen Shuangyou, Zhang Lei, Shan Hongyu, Yang Fan, Wang Dashuang, 
 
EUROPE
Gareth Potts (UK), Karl Boyes (UK), Brian Ochoiski (France), Ricardo Freitas (France), Joao Grilo (Portugal), Nacho Schmit (Spain), Mark McGauley (Norway), Fabio Petroni (Italy), Shaun Storry (UK), Ben Davies (UK), Michalis Spyrou (Cyprus), Sanjin Pehlivanovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
 
NORTH AMERICA
Andrew Wroblewski (Canada), Corey Deuel (USA), Shane Van Boening (USA)
 
SOUTH AMERICA
Mauro Valdez (Argentina), Enrique Rojas (Chile)
 
*THERE ARE STILL 8 REMAINING SPOTS TO BE FILLED VIA THE INTERNATIONAL QUALIFIER (4th-6th January)*
 

2017 12BET World Cup of Pool – Japan and Finland first through to quarter finals

Naoyuki Oi and Hijikata Hayato

Japan became the first team through to the last eight of the 2017 12BET World Cup of Pool as they enjoyed a comfortable win against Canada. There was also a second-round win for Finland as the USA closed out the first-round matches with a whitewash against Singapore.
 
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the globe, the 12BET World Cup of Pool is into its 11th year as reigning champions Chinese Taipei attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title at the York Hall.
 
The final first round match featured the American pair of Shane Van Boening and Skyler Woodward and they looked an excellent combination as they outplayed the Singaporean duo of Aloysius Yapp and Toh Lian Han. 7-0 was the final score – the fourth whitewash of the first round.
 
Commented Van Boening, “We played great and only made one mistake early on and we were able to take advantage of their mistakes. They didn’t perform well and they didn’t get the layouts on the table they would have wanted.
 
“I have played against Skyler in quite a few tournaments and he is a great player, which is why I decided to pick him as my partner.”
The second round started in earnest as Japan and Canada faced off in what was on paper a 50/50 match but it was Naoyuki Oi and Hijikata Hayato who were the better side. They lead throughout as Pagulayan and Morra could never catch up.
 
The final match of the evening saw Finland make their way to the quarter-finals as they beat a well-supported India 7-3. Raj Hundal and Amar Kang were a bit unlucky as they suffered an unlucky scratch off the break at a critical time and a few rolls went against them.
 
Finland though, looked a very solid unit, and a repeat of their 2012 victory in Manila, can’t be ruled out.
 
“We are happy to get over the hurdle but we had some trouble with a few dry breaks. Even though we were hitting the break pretty good it wasn’t opening for us,” said Immonen.
 
“We feel comfortable at the table and if we get the opening shot we are confident we can clear it every time. We have a little bit of a break now before the quarter-final, we will regroup and work on the break.”
 
Makkonen added, “We have played this event together as a pair for five or six years, we’ve won it together too. They chemistry between us is good.”
 
Play continues Friday afternoon with one three more second round matches:
 
Chinese Taipei v Poland
China v Germany
Russia v Austria
 
Broadcast for six days live on Sky Sports in the UK; the tournament is available live in over 100 countries around the world. A comprehensive list of countries and networks broadcasting the World Cup of Pool can be found here: http://www.matchroompool.com/world-cup-of-pool/#watchlive
 
The 12BET World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports as well as other stations around the world.
 
12BET World Cup of Pool Tickets are on sale now at www.matchroompool.com   priced at just £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Sunday) and £8.00 per weekend afternoon session. Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free. A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £60.00.
 
2017 12BET World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event.

World Cup of Pool Welcomes Global Superstars to London

Following yesterday’s announcement of the European contingent for the 2017 World Cup of Pool, the rest of the field can now be revealed. With ten teams from Asia and six from around the rest of the world, some of the biggest names in the game will be coming to the York Hall in London to contest the $250,000 prize fund.

 

They include defending champions, Ko Pin Yi and Chang Yu Lung of Chinese Taipei, as well as former World Pool Champion Wu Jiaqing who shocked the pool world winning as a 16 year-old in 2005. He teams up Dang Jinhu to represent China.

 

Elsewhere, Shane Van Boening is chasing his second World Cup of Pool title, this time in the company of Skyler Woodward, and under-the-radar Filipinos Johan Chua and Carlo Biado will offer a fierce challenge.

 

The remaining teams are:

 

China – Wu Jiaqing / Dang Jinhu

Chinese Taipei – Ko Pin Yi / Chang Yu Lung

Hong Kong – Andrew Kong / Lo Ho Sum            

India – Raj Hundal / Amar Kang

Indonesia – Irsal Afrinneza Nasution / Muhammad Bewi Simajuntak

Japan – Naoyuki Oi / Hijikata Hayato

Malaysia – Kok Jken Yung & Muhammad Almie 

Philippines – Carlo Biado / Johann Chua

Singapore – Toh Lian Han and Aloysius Yapp

Thailand – Amnuayporn Chotipong / Tanut Makkamontree

 

Australia – Justin Campbell /Michael Caccioli

Canada – Alex Pagulayan / John Morra (TBC)

Kuwait – Bader Al Alawi / Mohammad Saleh Al Kashawi

New Zealand – Matt Edwards / Toar Dotulong

South Africa – David Anderson / Francois Ellis

USA – Shane Van Boening / Skyler Woodward

 

Commencing on Tuesday June 13 and culminating with the final on the evening of Sunday 18, the event will be played to a single elimination format over six days with two sessions a day. There are 31 matches in total.

 

The draw will be announced on Monday 8th May.

 

Tickets are on sale now at www.matchroompool.com priced at just £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Sunday) and £8.00 per weekend afternoon session. Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free. A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £60.00.

 

The World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports as well as other stations around the world. It is then syndicated internationally as 31 x 1 hour programmes.

 

2017 WORLD CUP OF POOL is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event.

 

Shaw, Shane Go On The Offensive

Jayson Shawn (Photos courtesy of Bo Bader)

After an unpredictable day of world class pool, the 2016 WPA World 9-ball Championship has come down to the last 16 competitors. From here the pressure and drama is guaranteed to be ramped up, as the remaining players can suddenly see the golden prize, pool’s ultimate and most prestigious crown. The round of 16 and the quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday. The semi-finals and final will be held on Thursday.
 
And what a race to the mountain top of pool it will be. The final 16 still standing comprise an amazing mix of players from nearly every pool playing region. Some of those still present represent the current and old guard, while a slew of them embody the strong youth movement in the sport of pool. The only thing we know for sure is that we will crown a brand new champion come Thursday evening.
 
Great Britain’s Jayson Shaw today made an excellent case for some seriously good odds being placed on the affable Scotsman. Shaw came into this year’s championship playing the best pool of his career. In Doha, the 26 year old had to come from the loser’s side in the group stages, and in his first match in today’s round of 64, he was paired up against none other than defending champion Ko Pin Yi. 
 
Shaw never flinched and looked as cool as the Al Arabi Sports Club air conditioning out on the TV table. Breaking well and playing excellent safeties, the Brit surprisingly waltzed to a comfortable 11-5 win over the fancied Taiwanese.
 
In the round of 32 Shaw then had to face another monster in the Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo, who had just come from behind to topple Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, 11 – 8. Again, Shaw was unflappable, coming back from an early deficit to walk away with the match, 11-5.
 
The Scotsman certainly seems to have that winner’s air about him. Relaxed, focused and clearly having the time of his life, Shaw has all the tools in his bag to advance even further.
 
“I feel really calm out there,” Shaw said after disposing of Orcollo.  “I’m just taking it ball by ball, not thinking ahead, grinding away, stay down on the shot, put the cue straight through the shot, take my time, don’t let it affect me if I make a mistake or two.  I’m happy with my performance. Breaking good, safeties are good.  When the tournament started my goal was to get to the last 16, and I’ll just carry on from there. Now I’m there. I’m happy, really pleased.  Hopefully I can keep the momentum tomorrow and roll on again.”
 
If you’ve watched enough pool at this level, it quickly becomes clear that being able to let the inevitable stress roll off your back and play without a care in the world is a big  key to success.  Which means just because Shaw’s next opponent in the round of 16 is hardly a big name, that doesn’t tell him things will get any easier.
 
[photo id=45156|align=right]Ukraine’s Artem Koshovoj hasn’t even played much competitive pool in the last two years, as he’s been busy helping his family run their wall paper factory. But this break from the game seems to have served Koshovoj well. The Euro tour veteran only got an entry into this year’s World 9-ball Championship when he placed 5th in the European Championships this year.  He only spent two weeks practicing before coming to Doha.
 
Like Shaw, Koshovoj has been playing relaxed and carefree and today that approach saw him take down two heavyweights. He first defeated the Philippines Johann Chua, 11-8. He then cut down Taiwanese veteran Chang Jun Lin 11-7.
 
“Sometimes it’s better when you have a long rest and then you come back and play,” the Ukranian said afterward. “You are more fresh. I’m just playing my game and everything is going.  I don’t make many mistakes. I have no pressure. When you play all the tournaments, you have to show some results. But I come here just for playing. I hope tomorrow will be the same.”
 
Estonia’s Dennis Grabe also performed marvelously today. After crushing Poland’s  Mieszko Fortunski, 11-3, Grabe headed to the round of 32 to square off with 2005 World 9-ball Champion, Wu Jiaqing. The 26 year old Grabe was hardly in awe of the great Wu. He led throughout and confidently closed the door on a Wu fight back, winning impressively, 11-7.
 
Grabe, one of Europe’s bright young guns, will now square off with 2007 World 9-ball champion Daryl Peach of Great Britain. The “Dazzler” has found a renewed spark this week in Doha and has played some seriously solid 9-ball. Today Peach first beat China’s Li Hewen, 11-7, then manhandled Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen, 11-6.
 
One of the big favorites over the next two days has to be the USA’s Shane Van Boening. Van Boening, who was runner-up here last year, seems bent on taking it all the way this year. Except for one loss in the group stage, the American has played flawlessly, always leaving himself shots on the break and never letting his opponents into the match. Today he took down  Filipino veteran Warren Kiamco and then Taiwan’s Wu Kun Lin. 
 
Van Boeing will be a heavy favorite in his round of 16 match against Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen, who continued his surprising run today, first beating Spain’s  Francisco Pizzarro Diaz, 11-9, then the UAE’s Salah Al Remawi, 11-4.
 
Tuesday was a downright awful day for the always strong Philippine contingent, but Carlo Biado is now making a case for perhaps being the top player from one of the world’s best pool playing countries. After barely making it into the knockout rounds, Biado today played like a man on fire, crushing fellow Filipino Ramil Gallego, 11-5, then Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa, 11-4. 
 
[photo id=45157|align=right]Biado will square off with Ko Ping Chung, the younger brother of last year’s champion, Ko Pin Yi. Don’t be surprised if the boyish Ko goes all the way. The Taiwanese youngster is wildly talented, and some say even more so than his champion brother. Last year Ko made it all the way to the semi-finals where he lost to his older brother. With his big brother now out of the event, this could be the younger Ko’s turn to shine on the big stage. Certainly his matchup with Biado promises to be highly entertaining.
 
It’ll be an all-Austrian affair when Mario He takes on 2014 runner up Albin Ouschan. Ouschan played his typical steady game today while He went to the wire against Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet in the round of 32.
 
Another young European making a name for himself this year is Alexander Kazakis who had two solid wins today including an 11-6 win over China’s Liu Haitao. He’ll face another tough Chinese Chu Bing Jie who marched untouchable through today’s two rounds.
 
Chu’s countryman Dang Jin Hu also advanced today with wins over the Philippines Roberto Gomez and fellow Chinese Han Hao Xiang.  Dang will take on Taiwan’s Cheng Yu Hsuan, who barely escaped against Filipino Lee Van Corteza, 11-10 in the round of 64. A battle hardened Cheng then showed serious mettle in outlasting Konstantin Stepanov of Russia, 11-8.
 
Muhammad Bewi of Indonesia escaped into the round of 16, first with a well played 11-7 win over Britain’s Karl Boyes, then with a gutsy close against Singapore’s Toh Lian Han, 11-10. Bewi will face Canadian-Filipino veteran Alex Pagulayan, who in the last 18 months has found renewed passion for pool after several years away. Pagulayan, a true master of pool and winner of this event in 2004, played solid and steady in his two wins today.
 
Pagulayan’s approach to the game these days sums up the prevailing attitude that seems to produce winning runs in the biggest and most pressure packed tournament of them all; don’t get carried away. Just relax and try to have fun.
 
“I just play the game,” Pagulayan said after his comeback win against China’s Zhou Long in the round of 32. “ I don’t think about anything. It’s just another game. I just think one ball at a time.  I don’t know if my experience is an advantage. The young guys these days they play so good. You have to play good and get lucky. I won’t be here if I don’t think I can win it. But at the same time, I don’t want to pressure myself. It’s just another game. It’s not the end of the world if I lose. It’s not the end of the world if I win. Life goes on. “
 
The round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday beginning at 11am Doha time(GMT +3.) The semi-finals and final will be held on Thursday. All matches will be race to 11, alternate break. The Final will be race to 13, alternate break. 
 
**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
 
The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
 
The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
 
Up to date brackets and live scoring can found at this link: 
http://www.online-brackets.com/view/user/wpc9ball/1010
 
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 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   
 
 
 
LAST 16
Jayson Shaw (GBR) vs. Artem Koshovoj (UKR)   
Mario He (AUT) vs.  Albin Ouschan (AUT)   
 
Alex Pagulayan (CAN)  vs.  Muhammad Bewi (INA)  
Carlo Biado (PHL) vs. Ko Ping Chung (TPE)
 
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) vs. Alexander Kazakis (GRE)
Shane Van Boening (USA) vs. Omar Al Shaheen (KUW)  
 
Dennis Grabe (EST) vs. Daryl Peach (GBR)
Cheng Yu Hsuan (TPE)  vs. Dang Jin Hu (CHN)
 
RESULTS FINAL 64
 
Jayson Shaw (GBR) 11 – 5 Ko  Pin Yi (TPE) 
Dennis Orcollo (PHL) 11 – 8 Throsten Hohmann (GER)
 
Chang Jun Lin (TPE) 11 – 7 Satoshi Kawabata (JPN)
Artem Koshovoj (UKR) 11 – 9 Johan Chua (PHL) 
 
Ralf Souquet (GER) 11 – 3 Chu Hong Ming (TPE) 
Mario He (AUT) 11 – 9 Ruslan Chinakov (RUS) 
 
Francisco Sanchez (ESP) 11 – 8 Hamza M. Saeed (IRI)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 11 – 7 Jeffery Ignacio (PHL)
 
Zhou Long (CHN) 11 – 7  Chang Yu Lung (TPE)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 11 – 8 Isral Nasution (INA)
 
Muhammad Bewi (INA) 11 – 7 Karl Boyes (GBR) 
Toh Lian Han (SIN) 11 – 6 MD Almin (BAN)
 
Carlo Biado (PHL) 11 – 5 Ramil Gallego (PHL)
Jeong Young Hwa (KOR) 11 – 9 David Alcaide (ESP)
 
Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) 11 – 7 Jeffery Deluna (PHL)
Ko Ping Chung (TPE) 11 – 9 Wojciech Szewczyk (POL)
 
Liu Haitao (CHN) 11 – 4 Yukio Akagariyama (JPN)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) 11 – 4 Oscar Dominguez (USA)
 
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) 11 – 3 Ahmed M. Saleh (JOR)
Karol Skowerski (POL) 11 – 7 Hsieh Chia Chen (TPE)
 
Shane Van Boening (USA) 11 – 7 Warren Kiamco (PHL)
Wu Kun Lin (TPE) 11 – 10 Abdul Rahman Al Amar (KSA)
 
Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) 11 – 9 Francisco Pizzarro Diaz (ESP)
Salah Al Remawi (UAE) 11 – 5 Roman Hybler (CZE)
 
Wu Jiaqing (CHN) 11 – 9 Niels Feijen (NED)
Dennis Grabe (EST) 11 – 3 Mieszko Fortunski (POL)
 
Daryl Peach (GBR) 11 – 7 Li Hewen (CHN)
Li Wen Lo (TPE) 11 – 10 Yang Ching Shun (TPE)
 
Cheng Yu Hsuan (TPE) 11 – 10 Lee Vann Corteza (PHL) 
Konstantin Stepanov (RUS) 11 – 8 Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) 
 
Dang Jin Hu (CHN) 11 – 7 Roberto Gomez (PHL)
Han Hao Xiang (CHN) 11 – 7 Ali Maghsoud (IRN)
 
RESULTS FINAL 32
 
Jayson Shaw (GBR) 11 – 6  Dennis Orcollo (PHL)  
Artem Koshovoj (UKR)   11 – 7 Chang Jun Lin (TPE)  
 
Mario He (AUT)  11 – 10 Ralf Souquet (GER)
Albin Ouschan (AUT)   11 – 6 Francisco Sanchez (ESP)  
 
Alex Pagulayan (CAN)   11 – 8 Zhou Long (CHN) 
Muhammad Bewi (INA) 11 – 10 Toh Lian Han (SIN)  
 
Carlo Biado (PHL) 11 – 4 Jeong Young Hwa (KOR)  
Ko Ping Chung (TPE)  11 – 6 Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE)  
 
Alexander Kazakis (GRE)  10 – 6 Liu Haitao (CHN)  
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) 11 – 3 Karol Skowerski (POL)   
 
Shane Van Boening (USA) 11 – 5  Wu Kun Lin (TPE)  
Omar Al Shaheen (KUW)  11 – 4 Salah Al Remawi (UAE)  
 
Dennis Grabe (EST) 11 – 7 Wu Jiaqing (CHN)
Daryl Peach (GBR) 11 – 5  Li Wen Lo (TPE)  
 
Cheng Yu Hsuan (TPE)  11 – 8 Konstantin Stepanov (RUS)  
Dang Jin Hu (CHN) 11 – 7  Han Hao Xiang (CHN)  

Fit, Fresh And Fabulous

Nikos Ekonomopoulus, photo by Bo Bader

Greece's Nikos Ekonomopoulus plays perfect pool to book his place with 31 others in the knockout rounds at the World 9-ball Championship.

 

(Doha, Qatar)–Misery and joy danced a sultry tango  today at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha on Day 2 of the 2016 WPA World 9-ball Championship, as 32 players headed for the exits, while another 32 players booked their place in the final 64 knockout stage.

 

As on Day 1, all 128 players saw action, but unlike the opening rounds, much more was at stake.  All 32 losers-side matches in the group stage were do-or-die.  All 32 winners-side matches offered the victor a massive sigh of relief, and a day off as they await the start of the single elimination knockout stage which begins on Tuesday.

 

For the 64 players remaining in this year’s World 9-ball Championship, that means Monday is the dreaded Judgement Day, when every roll of the ball could spell the difference between a career defining run at glory, or a career sullying walk into the lonely Qatari desert, head in hand, never wanting to show your face in public again. Yes, pool at this level can deliver the ultimate prize and the ultimate shame, and all at the same time. It’s why fans around the world love world championship 9-ball.

 

The day started early at 10am inside the icy cold Al Arabi Sports Club with the losers side matches.  A second loss meant an instant out, while a win meant one more chance at qualifying. You could sense the tension straight away as nobody, especially the top players, wanted to go 2 and out in a world championship.

 

Easily the biggest shock of the tournament so far came when former World 9-ball Champion and Hall of Famer Mika Immonen quickly got the big boot. Surprisingly the always ready for prime time Finn couldn’t get himself into the thick of the action this year. Today he fell behind early to Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski and never contended, getting blown out, 9-4. 
 

Day 1 had been a terrible day for the USA, but Shaun Wilke, Skylar Woodward and Shane Van Boening kept hope alive for the American side with impressive wins. Van Boening in particular looked the goods as he broke magnificently in his 9-2 drubbing of Argentina's Ariel Castro. Fans will recall it was Van Boening’s sensational break shot last year that saw him storm into the finals. 

 

2007 World 9-ball Championship Daryl Peach bounced back from a big collapse on day 1 and played perfect in a 9-5 win over Singapore’s Alyosius Yapp, who had made a run to the quarterfinals last year.  Interestingly Peach will play a Judgement Day match against the Philippines Roberto Gomez, the very man he beat in Manila in 2007 to win the world title.
 

Other notable names who survived to play another day include Germany’s Ralf Souquet, China’s Wang Can, the Philippines Carlo Biado, Poland’s Karol Skowerski and Japan’s Naoyuki Oi.

 

The winners side matches in the afternoon presented some brilliant face offs that would be worthy of a semis and even a finals any day of the week. Defending Champion Ko Pin Yi once again looked completely impervious as he took down Austria’s Mario He, 9-5. 

 

China’s Zhou Long and Canada’s John Morra squared off in a battle of young rising stars. Morra has been one of pool’s rising bright lights in the last two years and even made it to the quarterfinals last year in Doha with a sensational run.  But Zhou made a case for his superb skills today, playing what could be the match of the tournament so far, as he beat the Canadian handily, 9-2.

 

Perhaps the biggest matchup on the winners’ side took place between Greece’s Nikos Ekonomopoulus and Great Britain’s Jayson Shaw. Ekonomopoulus has been one of Europe’s best players over the last three years. Shaw recently won two straight events in Europe and currently leads the points race for the European Mosconi Cup squad.

 

Today, however, belonged to the Greek as he played absolutely perfect pool and beat the determined Scotsman, 9-5. Afterward, Ekonomopoulus attributed his stellar play to the fact that he has recently put aside his usual high life living and taken up a training regime. 
 

“I played a perfect set,” the friendly Greek said. “The last two months I made a good workout program for myself. I go to the gym every day, I practice pool for two hours, and I eat good. So I feel better.  It’s the first time in my life I have made a program like that so I feel really comfortable at the table.”  

 

Fans and future opponents should pay attention as Ekonomopolous new focus on fitness is clearly paying off. He’s reached the final in the last Euro Tour event, made two finals in other recent open European tournaments, and won an event in Cyprus. And now he’s in the Final 64 in Doha.

 

Also deserving a good look are the Russians, as veterans Konstantin Stepanov and Ruslan Chinakov barged into the Final 64 undefeated.  It should be noted that both Stepanov and Chinakov have spent the last year under the tutelage of coach Johan Ruysink, the Dutch pool coaching guru who led the European Mosconi Cup team to victory seven times.

 

Several big names failed to qualify today as 2012 World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton and the Philippines Dennis Orcollo both went down to defeat.  Appleton couldn’t fend off the spirited play of Taiwan’s tiny Chu Hong Ming—nicknamed “Peter Pan”—losing 9-7. Orcollo faced fellow Filipino in veteran Ramil Gallego. Orcollo couldn’t get a groove and got swept aside, 9-4. Both players will be back for another go on Judgement Day.

 

The Philippines will be well represented in the knockout stages as along with Gallego, Lee Vann Corteza, Warren Kiamco, Alex Pagulayan(Can-Phl) and young gun Johann Chua all advanced.

 

Former world champion Wu Jiaqing(formerly Wu Chia Ching) once again looked superb and moved on. Already seven Chinese players, including Liu Haitao and Li Hewen, have made it through to the final 64.

 

Other notable players qualifying include two time World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann, Austria’s Albin Ouschan, Great Britain’s Karl Boyes, and Chang Jung Lin of Taiwan.

 

Play in the final day of the group stages begins tomorrow at 10am(GMT +3). 

 

**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.

 

The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.

 

The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.

 

The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 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 RESULTS, GROUP STAGE, LOSERS SIDE
Winners get one more chance
Losers are out of the tournament

Group 1
Mazen Berjuai(LEB) 9 – 3 Mohamed C. Elraousti(ALG) 
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 7 Shahbaz Adil Khan(IND)

Group 2
Karol Skowerski(POL) 9 – 5 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)
Francis Crevier(CAN) 9 – 2  Abdul Aziz Alawadhi(QAT)

Group 3
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 5 Henrique  Corriea (POR)
Omar Al Shaheen(KUW) 9 – 4 Marcus Chamat(SWE)

Group 4
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9 – 5 Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 
Roberto Gomez(PHL) 9 – 2 Mohannad Al Ghumayz(KSA)

Group 5
Artem Koshovoj(UKR) 9 – 8 Aoki Ryoji(JPN) 
Mohammad Al Kashawi(KUW) 9 – 5 Yang Ching Shun(TPE)   

Group 6
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 2 Mohammed Saeed(QAT)
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 7 Armin Mahmoudi(IRN)

Group 7
Imran Majid(GBR)9 -2  Abdullah Mohd Karmastaji(UAE)
Christian Goetmann(GER) 9  – 6 Ali Abdulhadi Almeri(QAT)

Group 8
Konard Juszczyszym(POL) 9 – 5 Karar Abdulwahed(IRQ)
Justin Campbell(AUS) 9 – 2 Robert Hart(USA)

Group 9
Shaun Wilke(USA) 9 – 1 Andrew Kong Bu Hong(HKG) 
Satoshi Kawabata(JPE) 9 – 6 Abdul Latif Al Fawal(QAT)

Group 10
Hiroshi Takenaka(JPN) 9 – 3 Nadim Okbani(ALG)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 4 Mika Immonen(FIN)

Group 11
Skyler Woodward(USA) 9 – 3 Omran Salem(UAE)  
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 4 Sayeem Hossain(BAN)

Group 12
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 7 Abdulla Yousif(KUW)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 1 Fahad Khalaf Al Jassas(BAH

Group 13
Ali Al Obaidli(QAT) 9 – 7 Manual Chau(PER)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 7 Toru Kuribayashi(JPN)

Group 14
Marco Teutscher(NED) 9 – 1 Mohammed Berjaui(LEB)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 2 Ariel Castro(ARG)

Group 15
Salah Eldeen Al Remawi(UAE) 9 – 6 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 2 Do Hoang Quan(VIE)

Group 16
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 0 Abder Rehman Mebarki(ALG)
Ahmed Mohammad Salah(JOR) 9 – 6 Himanshu Jain(IND)

 

Winners side matches
Winners advance to the Final 64, Losers get one more chance 

Group 1
Ko Pin Yi(TPE)  9 – 5 Mario He(AUT)   
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 7  Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)   

Group 2
Chang Jun Lin(TPE)  9 – 7 Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL)  
Johan Chua(PHL)  9 – 4 Petri Makkonen(FIN)  

Group 3
Chu Hong Ming(TPE) 9 – 7 Darren Appleton(GBR)        
Ruslan Chinakov(RUS)   9 – 4 MD Almin(BAN)

Group 4
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 6  Cristopher Tevez(PER)   
Albin Ouschan(AUT)  9 – 8 Antonio Gabica(QAT-PHL)   

Group 5
Zhou Long(CHN)   9 – 2 John Morra(CAN)   
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 4 Luong Chi Dong(VIE)   

Group 6
Karl Boyes(GBR)   9 – 3Hamzaa M Saeed Ali(ERI)  
Toh Lian Han(SIN)   9 – 5 Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)   

Group 7
Ramil Gallego(PHL)  9 – 4 Dennis Orcollo(PHL)   
David Alcaide(ESP)  9 – 8 Irsal Nasution(INA)

Group 8
Nikos Ekonomopoulos(GRE)  9 – 5  Jayson Shaw(GBR) 
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 8 Abdul Rahman Al Amar(KSA)     

Group 9
Lui Haitao(CHN) 9 – 1 Jalal Yousef(VEN)   
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 6 Niels Feijen(NED)      

Group 10
Chu Bing Jie(CHN) 9- 1  Ruben Bautista(MEX)   
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE)  9 – 5 Ali Maghsoud(IRN)   

Group 11
Waren Kiamco(PHL)  9 – 7 Oliver Ortmann(GER)   
Wu Kun Lin(TPE) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)  

Group 12
Francisco Pizaarro Diaz(ESP) 9 – 3 Hayato Hijikata(JPE)   
Roman Hybler(CZE)  9 – 6 Muhammad Bewi Simenjuntak(INA)  

Group 13
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 5  Ryu Ceung Woo(KOR)   
Dennis Grabe(EST)  9 – 4 Oscar Dominguez(USA)    

Group 14
Li Hewen(CHN)  9 – 4 Francisco Olita Felicilda(QAT-PHL)   
Li Wen Lo(TPE)  9 – 5 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)   

Group 15
Lee Vann Corteza(PHL) 9 – 7 Abdulla Al Shemmari(KSA)   
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 6 Rogelio Belleca Sotero Jr(PHL)

Group 16
Dang Jin Hu(CHN)  9 – 3 Bashar Hussaiin(QAT)  
Han Hao Xiang(CHN)  9 – 3 Cheng Yu Husan(TPE)   

The Middle East Rises On The World Stage

Abdul Rahman Al Amar (Photos courtesy of Bo Bader)

(Doha, Qatar)–The moments before the first rack on the first day of the World 9-ball Championship are never easy, even for the best of players. The tables and conditions are new and untested. Players know they only have to win two race-to-9matches to qualify for the final 64, but things in pool can easily go array as you may come out flat, or the balls might conspire against you. Even the top players realize that just because you haven’t heard of the guy you’re paired against, it doesn’t mean you’re going to waltz into the money rounds.
 
Indeed while 15 of the WPA’s top 20 players won their opening matches on day 1 in Doha, several big names suffered setbacks, suddenly finding themselves on the one loss side of their groups, and one more loss from unceremoniously exiting  pool’s biggest stage.
 
After 8 hours of pool at its highest level at the Al Arabi sports club, several things stand out loud and clear. The sport of pool has never seen this many highly skilled players from so many different countries.  This fact, combined with the new rule this year of racking the balls with the 9-ball on the spot instead of the 1-ball, thereby toughening up the opening break shot, means that the 2016 World 9-ball championship will surely see the world crown contested at the highest level we have ever witnessed.
 
All 128 players saw action in the double elimination group stages today and, as usual,  it seems the Taiwanese are ready to contend yet again. Defending champion Ko Pin Yi had a layup of a match to get things started as he cruised to a 9-1 win over Algeria’s Mohamed Elraousti. As the day progressed, the Taiwanese kept notching up impressive wins, going 8 out of 10; Chang Jun Lin, Chu Hong Ming, Ko Ping Chung (Pin Yi’s younger brother), Hsieh Chia Chen, Li Wen Lo, Wu Kun Lin and Cheng Yu Husan all saw victory. Only Chang Yu Lung and veteran Yang Chin Shun lost.
 
Many people believe that a European will be standing in the winner’s circle next Thursday  because the Europeans have been playing with the 9-ball on the spot on the Euro tour for years, and already understand this breaks shot’s unique complexities. One player in particular with good odds is 2014 World 9-ball Champion Niels Feijen of the Netherlands, who didn’t face a difficult task as he waltzed past Qatar’s Abdul Latif Al Fawal, 9-3. It’s rumored that the Dutchman has put in 1000’s of hours perfecting the break shot and has even unlocked a certain secret about its configuration.
 
Other notable Europeans notching victories today include two time World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, Greece’s Nikos Ekonomopoulos,  Austria’s Albin Ouscan, and 2012 World 9-ball champion Darren Appleton.
 
[photo id=45144|align=right]Fans looking for a relatively new European face to break through should pay attention to Britain’s Jayson Shaw. The Scotsman recently topped two very strong fields in Europe and is currently leading the points race for the European Mosconi Cup team.  This is a young player who is clearly on the rise and anxious to make some waves.
 
“My game is about as good as it’s ever been,” Shaw said after besting Iraq’s Karar Abdulwahed, 9-3. “I’m not putting any pressure on myself. There’s some seriously good players here so I’m just taking it one match at a time and trying to enjoy this atmosphere. My goal is to get into the final 16 and from there, anything can happen.”
 
It was a solid day for Spain as David Alcaide, Francisco Pizaarro Diaz, and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz all won. Ruis squeaked by last year’s surprise quarterfinalist from Singapore, Aloysius Yapp.
 
The day proved downright miserable for the USA, as 5 out of six Americans in the field went down to defeat.  Last year’s runner up, Shane Van Boening drew a very difficult opponent in 2011 World 9-ball champion Yukio Akagariyama of Japan. The match was close halfway, but Akagariyama, who earned entry into the tournament by winning a qualifier, pulled away to win, 9-5. Only Oscar Dominguez saved the day for the USA, but barely as he squeaked by Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki, 9-8.
 
As usual the Philippines has one of the largest contingents in the tournament and can be expected to go deep. Dennis Orcollo, Lee Vann Corteza, Johann Chua, Jeffrey Ignacio, Ramil Gallego, Alex Pagulayan(representing Canada), and Jeffrey De Luna were some notable Pinoys who notched wins today. World number 6 Carlo Biado lost to Czech’s Roman Hybler, 9-5.
 
China’s powerhouse lineup performed solidly today. Former world 9-ball champion Wu Jiaqing, world number 3 Lui Haitao,  Li Hewen, Dang Jinghu and three others saw victory.
 
One of the early revelations of this year’s world championship is just how far players from the Middle East have truly come in competitive 9-ball.  In years past Middle Eastern players were just entering these big events for the experience. Now it is clear they are truly on a world class level and will soon start contending and even winning big events. And they are coming from some very surprising places.
 
Nobody thought Iran’s Ali Maghsoud had much of a chance against Hall of Famer and multi world champion Mika Immonen, especially being down 8-5 in the race to 9. But the 27 year old from the Iranian city of Kermanshah buckled down, held his nerve and stormed back to win by a thread, 9-8. 
 
“When I was down 8-5, I just knew I was going to come back,” Maghsoud, who owns his own pool club in Iran, said afterward. “He’s a world champion but I was very positive.”
 
[photo id=45143|align=right]Saudi Arabia showed they are a rising pool nation today as Abdul Rahman Al Amar beat American Justin Campbell 9-7, while Abdulla Al Shemmari took down the USA’s Hunter Lombardo, 9-5.  Eritrean Hamzaa M Saeed Ali, who was born and raised in Saudi and still lives there also won, defeating Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, 9-8.
 
The 27 year old Al Almar is clearly knocking on the door to success. Last year he defeated the Philippines Johann Chua in the group stages and made it to the final 64. The former snooker player informed us that pool is actually backed by the government in Saudi and that there are currently over 14,000 registered pool players in the Kingdom.  Yes, you read that right; Saudi Arabia is one of pool’s hot spots.
 
Even Bangladesh rode the winning wave today as MD Alim handily defeated Swedish veteran Marcus Chamat, 9-4.
 
The group stages at the 2016 World 9-ball Championship continue on Saturday at the Al Arabi Sports beginning at 10am local time(GMT +3.)  All 128 players will again see action on Day 2, with 32 players advancing into the final 64 Knockout rounds, and another 32 players heading for the exits.
 
**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
 
The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
 
The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
 
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 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, DOUBLE ELIMINATION
Winners need 1 more win to advance to the Final 64.
Losers still have to win 2 games to advance
 
Group 1
Ko Pin Yi (TPE)  9 – 1 Mohamed C. Elraousti (ALG)
Mario He (AUT) 9 – 5 Mazen Berjuai (LEB)
Thorsten Hohmann (GER) 9 – 4 Shahbaz Adil Khan (IND)
Jeong Young Hwa (KOR) 9 – 5 Waleed Majid (QAT)
 
Group 2
Chang Jun Lin (TPE)9 – 5 Lo Ho Sum (HKG)
Jeffrey Ignacio (PHL) 9 – 4 Karol Slowerski (POL)
Petri Makkonen (FIN) 9 – 0 Abdul Aziz Alawadhi (QAT)
Johan Chua (PHL) 9 – 8 Francis Crevier (CAN)
 
Group 3
Darren Appleton (GBR) 9 – 4 Bruno Muratore (ITA)
Chu Hong Ming (TPE) 9 – 2  Henrique  Corriea (POR)
MD Almin (BAN) 9 – 4 Marcus Chamat (SWE) 
Ruslan Chinakov (RUS) 9 – 4 Omar Al Shaheen (KUW)
 
Group 4
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) 9 – 8 Aloysius Yapp (SIN) 
Cristopher Tevez (PER) 9 – 6 Daryl Peach (GBR) 
Antonio Gabica (QAT-PHL) 9 -7  Mohannad Al Ghumayz (KSA)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 9 – 6 Roberto Gomez (PHL)
 
Group 5
John Morra (CAN) 9 – 5 Artem Koshovoj (UKR)
Zhou Long (CHN)  9 – 2 Aoki Ryoji (JPN)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 9 – 5  Mohammad Al Kashawi (KUW)
Luong Chi Dong (VIE) 9 – 8 Yang Ching Shun (TPE)
 
Group 6
Karl Boyes (GBR) 9 – 5 Mohammed Saeed (QAT)
Hamzaa M Saeed Ali (ERI) 9 – 8 Naoyuki Oi (JPN) 
Toh Lian Han (SIN) 9 – 6 Armin Mahmoudi (IRN)
Jeffrey De Luna (PHL) 9 – 6 Wang Can (CHN)
 
Group 7
Dennis Orcollo (PHL) 9 – 5 Abdullah Mohd Karmastaji (UAE)
Ramil Gallego (PHL) 9 – 6 Imran Majid (GBR) 
Irsal Nasution (INA) 9 – 2 (Ali Abdulhadi Almeri (QAT)
David Alcaide (ESP) 9 – 4 Christian Goetmann (GER)
 
Group 8
Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) 9 – 4 Konard Juszczyszym (POL)
Jayson Shaw (GBR) 9 – 3 Karar Abdulwahed (IRQ)
Abdul Rahman Al Amar (KSA) 9 – 7 Justin Campbell (AUS) 
Ko Ping Chung (TPE) 9 – 1 Robert Hart (USA)
 
Group 9
Lui Haitao (CHN) 9 – 6 Andrew Kong Bu Hong (HKG)
Jalal Yousef (VEN) 9 – 6 Shaun Wilke (USA)
Niels Feijen (NED) 9 – 3 Abdul Latif Al Fawal (QAT)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE)  9 – 7 Satoshi Kawabata (JPE)
 
Group 10
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) 9 – 3 Nadim Okbani (ALG)
Ruben Bautista (MEX) 9 – 5 Hiroshi Takenaka (JPN)
Hsieh Chia Chen (TPE) 9 – 7 Mieszko Fortunski (POL)
Ali Maghsoud (IRN) 9 – 8 Mika Immonen (FIN)
 
Group 11
Waren Kiamco (PHL) 9 – 5 Omran Salem (UAE)
Oliver Ortmann (GER) 9 – 5 Skyler Woodward (USA)
Wojciech Szewczyk (POL) 9 – 2  Sayeem Hossain (BAN)
Wu Kun Lin (TPE) 9 – 6 Ralf Souquet (GER)
 
Group 12
Hayato Hijikata (JPE) 9 – 7 Nick Van Den Berg (NED)
Francisco Pizaarro Diaz (ESP) 9 – 7 Abdulla Yousif (KUW)
Muhammad Bewi Simenjuntak (INA) 9 – 8 Fahad Khalaf Al Jassas (BAH)
Roman Hybler (CZE) 9 – 6 Carlo Biado (PHL)
 
Group 13
Wu Jiaqing (CHN) 9 – 3 Ali Al Obaidli (QAT)
Ryu Ceung Woo (KOR) 9 – 8 Manual Chau (PER) 
Oscar Dominguez (USA) 9 – 8  Mateusz Sniegocki (POL)
Dennis Grabe (EST) 9 – 2 Toru Kuribayashi (JPN)
 
Group 14
Li Hewen (CHN) 9 – 4 Mohammed Berjaui (LEB)
Francisco Olita Felicilda (QAT-PHL) 9 – 7 Marco Teutscher (NED)
Li Wen Lo (TPE) 9 – 3 Ariel Castro (ARG)
Yukio Akagariyama (JPN) 9 – 5 Shane Van Boening (USA)
 
Group 15
Lee Vann Corteza (PHL) 9 – 5 Salah Eldeen Al Remawi (UAE)
Abdulla Al Shemmari (KSA) 9 – 4 Hunter Lombardo (USA)
Rogelio Belleca Sotero Jr (PHL) 9 – 6 Do Hoang Quan (VIE)
Konstantin Stepanov (RUS) 9 – 8 Chang Yu Lung (TPE)
 
Group 16
Bashar Hussaiin (QAT) 9 – 6 Abder Rehman Mebarki( ALG)
Dang Jin Hu (CHN) 9 – 8 Joshua Filler (GER)
Han Hao Xiang (CHN) 9 – 8 Ahmed Mohammad Salah (JOR)
Cheng Yu Husan (TPE) 9 – 3  Himanshu Jain (IND)

A Four Way Showdown For Pool History

Photo Courtesy of Richard Walker

Ko Ping Chung, Ko Pin Yi, Shane Van Boening and Wu Jia Qing reach the final four at the 2015 World 9-ball Championship

 

(Doha, Qatar)–If you like your pool served up on a golden platter, with the very best in the sport battling it out for the ultimate prize, count yourself lucky because the 2015 World 9-ball Championship just delivered the goods.

 
With literally everything riding on the line at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, four of the sport’s premiere players braved a marathon day of pool, fought their way through a minefield, and emerged into a final four on Friday that is about as rock solid as it gets in pool.
 
In one semi-final Ko Pin Yi of Taiwan will take on former World 9-ball champion Wu Jia Qing of China. In the other semi-final, Ko’s younger brother Ping Chung will match wits with the USA’s Shane Van Boening. 
 
Both race to 11 semi-finals will be played simultaneously beginning at 1:30pm in Doha(GMT +3). The race to 13 final will begin at 5pm.
 
The story lines and possibilities of these two matchups, and the possible finals pairings,–especially with the very real chance of having two brothers face each other for the world crown– have fans around the world lighting up social media with excitement. Wu, who was born and raised in Taiwan before moving to China in his early 20’s is the ex- wonder boy who, ten years ago, won the World 9-ball Championship at the age of just 16 years old. Ko, also 26 years old, was a child pool prodigy himself who finally captured his first world crown in February in the Philippines when he won the World 10-ball Championship. This is a matchup that fans have waited years to see.
 
Wu Jia QingAs prodigious as Ko is, his younger brother Pin Chung is said by some to be even better, if that were even possible. The 19 year old Pin Chung, who will be celebrating his 20th birthday on Friday, has played brilliantly all week, and is seemingly impervious to pressure. For his part Van Boening comes in playing the best pool of his career, and the man who carries the hopes of the USA firmly on his shoulders has an air of destiny swirling all around him. The American versus the young Taiwanese is a true clash of titans.
 
With their stellar play today, and throughout the tournament, it’s nearly impossible to choose among the four who would be a favorite to lift the trophy on Friday evening. But based on his level of competition today, and his overall rock solid play and demeanor, Ko Pin Yi, the older brother, might just get a slight nod from the bookmakers.
 
As the round of 32 began today at the Al Arabi, Ko first squared off in a true marquee match with the Philippines’ Carlo Biado. These two met in the finals of the World 10-ball seven months earlier with Ko squeaking past the Filipino at the wire. Biado was a serioius top ten favorite here in Doha but against Ko the match wasn’t even close. Ko was up 7-0 before Biado could get his cue unpacked and won in a rout, 11-4.
 
In his round of 16 match against the Philippines Warren Kiamco, Ko allowed the Filipino to get close  late, but crossed the line when it counted, 11-9. In the semi-finals Ko was paired with rising Canadian John Morra. Morra had been playing marvelous pool all week and with some recent high finishes around the world, the Toronto native had the look of a man who could take his first title. Proof of this came in the round of 32 when Morra came back from 10-8 down against England’s Mark Gray to win 11-10. Then in the final 16 Morra stormed back from 8-4 down to bury Mika Immonen, 11-8.
 
Ko and Morra stayed even in the first half of the match, which looked like it was going to the wire. But Ko again turned on the afterburners and won seemingly with ease, 11-6, to grab his semis spot.
 
As usual Wu put in a brilliantly steady and workman like performance on his road to the final four. Employing his solid left handed stroke and masterful cue ball control, the Taiwan native first shut down last year’s runner up Albin Ouschan, 11-6. In the final 16 Wu battled back and forth with up and coming Chinese player Wang Can, before winning 11-9.
 
In the quarter finals Wu matched up with Singapore’s 19 year old Aloysius Yapp, who had played his way into being one of the surprises of the tournament. In the round of 32 Yapp, the current World Junior champion, had no issues with the Philippines’ Jeffrey Ingacio, winning 11-6. Yapp then barely got by another great young player, Greece’s Alexander Kazakis, 11-10.
 
Yapp admitted before his match with Wu that the Taiwanese was his pool idol. And the two had played numerous times over the years but Yapp had never won. And today was not the day that streak would change. The two stayed even in the first half of the match before Wu proved he had too much class, winning 11-7.
 
With his baby face and rail thin figure, the younger Ko could easily be mistaken for a shy school boy who couldn’t hurt a fly. On the pool table, however, Ko displays a fierceness that is practically unshakeable. Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama learned this as he went out to Ko in the round of 32, 11-9.
 
Shane Van BoeningIn the round of 16 the USA’s Mike Dechaine gave Ko a handful and very nearly took the match to a one rack decider. But when Dechaine missed a straight in 9-ball down 10-9, Ko had a spot in the quarterfinals. There he met up with surprise entry Wojciech Szewczyk of Poland. Szewczyk seemed exhausted from his previous two grinds and couldn’t keep up with the more talented Ko. The Taiwanese won easily, 11-5.
 
Ko’s semi-final against Van Boening has the makings of a classic. For while Ko offers a solid and steady immovable object, the American is clearly playing the best pool of his career. Van Boeing’s three matches today were veritable clinics in 9-ball pool as he dismantled a solid wall of talent, breaking perfectly and clearing tables with ease.
 
In the round of 32, the American first buried Spain’s Francisco Diaz Pizarro, 11-5. In the round of 16, Van Boening made short work of Taiwan’s Chang Yu Lung, beating the recently former world number 1, 11-4. Van Boening then headed to the TV table for what fans thought would be a showdown with the Philippines Dennis Orcollo. But Shane kept breaking and running, while Orcollo couldn’t find an opening. Van Boening thumped the Filipino, 11-1.
 
The win over Orcollo capped a breathtaking day for Van Boening, who’s looking to restore American pride to pool by becoming the first American player since Earl Strickland 13 years ago to win the World 9-ball Championship. A buoyant Van Boening is sure he has just the right formula to pull off his greatest ever triumph on Friday.
 
“I have a lot of confidence in myself right now,” Van Boening said. “I’ve really been working on my stroke and the break is working pretty well and that’s the key. I’ve been watching a lot of these guys and they are not really breaking well. They are making balls but they aren’t getting a shot on the 1-ball. I’m getting a shot on the 1-ball 80 to 90% of the time and I’m running out. That’s important.Hopefully some day I can win the world championship. This is my chance tomorrow.”
 
Semi-Finals 1:30PM(GMT+3)
 
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) vs. Wu Jia Qing(CHN
Ko Pin Chung(TPE) vs. Shane Van Boening(USA)
 
Finals at 5PM(GMT+3)
 
 
 
**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from September 7-18, 2015. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
 
The players will be competing on Wiraka New Model Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Super Pro TV Balls.
 
The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament, in cooperation with Kozoom. Fans can watch the action live on the QBSF website at, http://live.qbsf.qa/. With all 14 tables streamed live, fans can select which table they want to watch and switch between tables at their convenience. 
 
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 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/wpaworld9ballchampionship
 
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
 
RESULTS QUARTERFINALS
 
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11 – 6  John Morra(CAN)
Wu Jia Qing(CHN) 11 – 7 Aloysius Yapp(SIN)   
 
 
Ko Pin Chung(TPE) 11 – 5 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)  
Shane Van Boening(USA) 11 – 1 Dennis Orcollo(PHL)
 
RESULTS FINAL 16
 
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11 – 9 Warren Kiamco(PHL)  
John Morra(CAN) 11 – 8 Mika Immonen(FIN)   
 
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 11-10  Alexander Kazakis(GRE)
Wu Jia Qing(CHN)  11 – 9 Wang Can(CHN)  
 
Ko Pin Chung(TPE) 11 – 9 Mike Dechaine(USA
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 11 -10 David Alcaide(ESP)  
 
Shane Van Boening(USA) 11 – 5 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Dennis Orcollo(PHL)  11 – 2 Darren Appleton(GBR)
 
RESULTS FINAL 32
 
Warren Kiamco(PHL) 11- 7   Jalal Yousef(VEN)  
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11 – 4 Carlo Biado(PHL) 
Mika Immonen(FIN) 11 – 9 Wu Kun Lin(TPE)
John Morra(CAN) 11 – 10 Mark Gray(GBR)
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 11 – 6 Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL)
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 11- 9 Lui Haitao(CHN)   
Wang Can(CHN) 11 – 7  Ruslan Chinakov(RUS)   
Wu Jia Qing(CHN)  11 – 6 Albin Ouschan(AUT)  
 
Ko Pin Chung(TPE) 11 – 9 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)
Mike Dechaine(USA)  11 – 10 Denis Grabe(EST)   
David Alcaide(ESP) 11- 7 Toh Lian Han(SIN) 
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)  11 – 8 Liu Ching Chieh(TPE)    
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 11 – 4 Oliver Medenilla(PHL)  
Shane Van Boening(USA) 11 – 5 Francisco Diaz Pizarro(ESP)
Dennis Orcollo(PHL)  11 – 7 Hunter Lombardo(USA)   
Darren Appleton(GBR) 11 – 7 Nick Ekonomopoulos(GRE)