Greece’s Nikos Ekonomopoulus plays perfect pool to book his place with 31 others in the knockout rounds at the World 9-ball Championship.
By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer
Photos Courtesy of Bo Bader
(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.
Play in the final day of the group stages begins tomorrow at 10am(GMT +3).
世錦賽次日激戰落幕 7台將順利晉級 3台將最後一搏
2016年男子9球世界錦標賽會內賽在杜哈Al Arabi Sports Club結束了第二天的賽程過後，可說是幾家歡樂幾家愁。在第一階段雙敗階段已有32位選手率先晉級到最後64強的單敗淘汰賽，將迎來一天的休兵日。而另外則有敗部的32位選手慘遭淘汰出局。另其餘的64位選手將在第三天中爭奪最後32席的晉級資格。
開賽至今最大冷門莫過於前世界9號球冠軍暨名人堂成員的芬蘭名將Mika Immonen，在無法進入自身比賽最佳狀態的情況之下，4-9 不敵波蘭的Mieszko Fortunski慘遭淘汰出局。
美國球員在首日比賽迎來了慘烈的一天，6名球員中的5位均輸掉比賽落入敗部。次日比賽中，Shane Van Boening在以9-2痛擊阿根廷的Ariel Castro後，與Shaun Wilke及Skylar Woodward為美國保持著希望，繼續在敗部中尋求晉級機會。
去年闖進到8強的前世界冠軍英國名將Daryl Peach從首日的挫敗中找回手感，以9-5擊敗新加坡新星葉浚偉。Peach下一場將碰上菲律賓的Roberto Gomez。有趣的是，Peach在2007年馬尼拉的決賽中擊敗他贏下世界冠軍，事隔9年後兩人將再度遭遇。
敗部其他選手方面，德國名將Ralf Souquet、中國國家隊隊員Wang Can、菲律賓的Carlo Biado、波蘭好手Karol Skowerski以及日本選手大井直幸都順利在敗部比賽中去得勝利，為自己保住一線生機。
在勝部方面，衛冕冠軍柯秉逸以9-5打敗奧地利的Mario He。另一場則是中國的周龍與加拿大好手John Morra兩位年輕新秀之間的對抗。Morra是過去兩年中的一位後起之秀，去年比賽打進到八強。而中國小將周龍在其精湛的球技及高水準的發揮之下，最終就以9-2輕取對手。
勝部中受注目的對決絕對非希臘名將Nikos Ekonomopoulus和蘇格蘭的Jayson Shaw之戰莫屬。 Ekonomopoulus在過去三年中一直是歐洲頂尖球員之一。而Shaw最近在歐洲連續拿下兩項比賽優勝並在莫斯考尼盃積分榜中暫居領先地位。然而今天勝利女神眷顧著希臘這邊，Ekonomopoulus以幾近完美的表現9-5擊敗Shaw拿下勝利。隨後訪談中，Ekonomopoulus將這一切歸功於最近在生活中所做出的一些改變。
此外，俄羅斯的兩位好手Konstantin Stepanov與Ruslan Chinakov也雙雙闖進到64強。而這也將是Stepanov和Chinakov在與曾帶領莫斯考尼盃歐洲隊拿下七次勝利的荷蘭籍教練Johan Ruysink指導之下的最後一年。
2012年9號球世錦賽冠軍的Darren Appleton及菲律賓名將Dennis Orcollo則不幸中箭落馬。Appleton抵擋不住台灣”小飛俠”朱宏銘，6-9不幸敗北。而Orcollo在菲律賓內戰中，整體發揮不理想，明顯不在狀態上，最後4-9 不敵Ramil Gallego。
2屆9號球世錦賽冠軍-德國名將Thorsten Hohmann、奧地利名將Albin Ouschan、英國名將Karl Boyes、菲律賓兵團 Gallego, Lee Vann Corteza, Warren Kiamco, Alex Pagulayan及後起之秀Johann Chua，中國選手吳珈慶、劉海濤、李赫文、楚秉杰、党金虎、韓皓翔，台灣選手柯秉逸、張榮麟、朱宏銘、柯秉中、謝佳臻、吳坤霖與羅立文等選手均晉級64強。鄭喻軒、張玉龍、楊清順則將在第三日中尋求尋求最後晉級機會。
DAY 2 RESULTS, GROUP STAGE, LOSERS SIDE
Winners get one more chance
Losers are out of the tournament
次日小組賽階段 敗部賽果 – 贏球: 繼續活著/輸球: 打包回家
Mazen Berjuai (LEB) 9 – 3 Mohamed C. Elraousti (ALG)
Waleed Majid (QAT) 9 – 7 Shahbaz Adil Khan (IND)
Karol Skowerski (POL) 9 – 5 Lo Ho Sum 盧浩琛 (HKG)
Francis Crevier (CAN) 9 – 2 Abdul Aziz Alawadhi (QAT)
Bruno Muratore (ITA) 9 – 5 Henrique Corriea (POR)
Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) 9 – 4 Marcus Chamat (SWE)
Daryl Peach (GBR) 9 – 5 Aloysius Yapp 葉浚偉 (SIN)
Roberto Gomez (PHL) 9 – 2 Mohannad Al Ghumayz (KSA)
Artem Koshovoj (UKR) 9 – 8 Aoki Ryoji 青木良治 (JPN)
Mohammad Al Kashawi (KUW) 9 – 5 Yang Ching Shun 楊清順 (TPE)
Naoyuki Oi 大井直幸 (JPN) 9 – 2 Mohammed Saeed (QAT)
Wang Can 王燦 (CHN) 9 – 7 Armin Mahmoudi (IRN)
Imran Majid (GBR)9 -2 Abdullah Mohd Karmastaji (UAE)
Christian Goetmann (GER) 9 – 6 Ali Abdulhadi Almeri (QAT)
Konard Juszczyszym (POL) 9 – 5 Karar Abdulwahed (IRQ)
Justin Campbell (AUS) 9 – 2 Robert Hart (USA)
Shaun Wilke (USA) 9 – 1 Andrew Kong Bu Hong(HKG)
Satoshi Kawabata 川端聰 (JPE) 9 – 6 Abdul Latif Al Fawal (QAT)
Hiroshi Takenaka 竹中寬 (JPN) 9 – 3 Nadim Okbani (ALG)
Mieszko Fortunski (POL) 9 – 4 Mika Immonen (FIN)
Skyler Woodward (USA) 9 – 3 Omran Salem (UAE)
Ralf Souquet (GER) 9 – 4 Sayeem Hossain (BAN)
Nick van Den Berg (NED) 9 – 7 Abdulla Yousif (KUW)
Carlo Biado (PHL) 9 – 1 Fahad Khalaf Al Jassas (BAH)
Ali Al Obaidli (QAT) 9 – 7 Manual Chau (PER)
Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) 9 – 7 Toru Kuribayashi 栗林達 (JPN)
Marco Teutscher (NED) 9 – 1 Mohammed Berjaui (LEB)
Shane Van Boening (USA) 9 – 2 Ariel Castro (ARG)
Salah Eldeen Al Remawi (UAE) 9 – 6 Hunter Lombardo (USA)
Chang Yu Lung 張玉龍 (TPE) 9 – 2 Do Hoang Quan 杜洪寬 (VIE)
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
勝部賽果 – 勝方: 晉級64強/敗方: 最後一搏
Ko Pin Yi 柯秉逸 (TPE) 9 – 5 Mario He (AUT)
Thorsten Hohmann (GER) 9 – 7 Jeong Young Hwa (KOR)
Chang Jun Lin 張榮麟 (TPE) 9 – 7 Jeffrey Ignacio (PHL)
Johan Chua (PHL) 9 – 4 Petri Makkonen (FIN)
Chu Hong Ming 朱宏銘 (TPE) 9 – 6 Darren Appleton (GBR)
Ruslan Chinakov (RUS) 9 – 4 MD Almin (BAN)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) 9 – 6 Cristopher Tevez (PER)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 9 – 8 Antonio Gabica(QAT-PHL)
Zhou Long 周龍 (CHN) 9 – 2 John Morra (CAN)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 9 – 4 Luong Chi Dong (VIE)
Karl Boyes (GBR) 9 – 3Hamzaa M Saeed Ali(ERI)
Toh Lian Han 卓連韓 (SIN) 9 – 5 Jeffrey De Luna (PHL)
Ramil Gallego (PHL) 9 – 4 Dennis Orcollo (PHL)
David Alcaide (ESP) 9 – 8 Irsal Nasution (INA)
Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) 9 – 5 Jayson Shaw (GBR)
Ko Ping Chung 柯秉中 (TPE) 9 – 8 Abdul Rahman Al Amar (KSA)
Lui Haitao 劉海濤 (CHN) 9 – 1 Jalal Yousef(VEN)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) 9 – 6 Niels Feijen (NED)
Chu Bing Jie 楚秉杰 (CHN) 9- 1 Ruben Bautista (MEX)
Hsieh Chia Chen 謝佳臻 (TPE) 9 – 5 Ali Maghsoud (IRN)
Waren Kiamco (PHL) 9 – 7 Oliver Ortmann (GER)
Wu Kun Lin 吳坤霖 (TPE) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk (POL)
Francisco Pizaarro Diaz (ESP) 9 – 3 Hayato Hijikata 土方隼斗 (JPE)
Roman Hybler (CZE) 9 – 6 Muhammad Bewi Simenjuntak (INA)
Wu Jiaqing 吳珈慶 (CHN) 9 – 5 Ryu Ceung Woo (KOR)
Dennis Grabe (EST) 9 – 4 Oscar Dominguez (USA)
Li Hewen 李赫文 (CHN) 9 – 4 Francisco Olita Felicilda (QAT-PHL)
Li Wen Lo(TPE) 9 – 5 Yukio Akagariyama 赤狩山幸男 (JPN)
Lee Vann Corteza (PHL) 9 – 7 Abdulla Al Shemmari (KSA)
Konstantin Stepanov (RUS) 9 – 6 Rogelio Belleca Sotero Jr (PHL)
Dang Jin Hu 党金虎 (CHN) 9 – 3 Bashar Hussaiin (QAT)
Han Hao Xiang 韓皓翔 (CHN) 9 – 3 Cheng Yu Husan 鄭喻軒 (TPE)
**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