By Ted Lerner/WPA Media Officer
(Doha, Qatar)–Judgement Day at the 2018 World 9-ball Championship in Doha came and went in a flash, with just two sessions on the losers side of each of the 16 groups. And while there were the usual jangling nerves rattling throughout the cavernous Al Arabi Sports Club, one thing that was definitely missing from this year’s final day of the group stages was the complete lack of upsets.
This means that the 64 players left in the competition, who begin a single elimination, race to 11 format on Monday at 10am Doha time(GMT +3), comprise the absolute best of the very best in professional pool. Over the next several days these greats of the game will duel it out for the most prestigious prize in the sport and a $40,000 top prize. If you are a fan of 9-ball pool, buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life.
A look at the players still standing tells us a lot about the state of pool, and where the world’s best practitioners come from. The Taiwanese lead the way with nearly 15% of the players left, 9 to be exact. Next up might be a surprise to some fans but not to those who follow the sport intimately: six players from Poland qualified, proof that the sport of pool in Poland is perhaps the most vibrant in the world at the moment.
The Philippines, Japan and China come in next with five players each. The Philippines is an interesting story because many Pinoy players stayed away from this year’s championship to play in boxer Manny Pacquiao’s event in his home town in the southern Philippines. If you are hard core fan that is no doubt a disappointing development. But the 5 Pinoy’s left, including defending champion Carlo Biado, all have a shot at going far.
The Japanese have put in their best showing in years, while the Chinese players have also looked strong. A Chinese player has never won a World 9-ball Championship.(Wu Jiaqing played for Chinese-Taipei when he won in 2005).
One of the most watched matches of the day came between the Philippines Roland Garcia, a runner up here last year, and American Billy Thorpe. The two stayed close throughout the first half of the match, splitting the first 8 racks. But Garcia pounced on several mistakes by Thorpe and then piled on the racks, winning 9-5. Garcia breathed a massive sigh of relief afterward because he had lost his very first match in Doha and had to win two straight to qualify.
In a battle of two former world champions, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann took on China’s Wu Jiaqing. Wu jumped out to a big early lead, 6-2, before the German mounted a brief fight back. But Hohmann admittedly let the match slip away with too many unforced errors, as Wu advanced 9-6.
It was a proud day for the Kuwaitis who once again showed their prowess as a pool playing nation. Bader Alawadhi pulled off what could be the day’s biggest surprise when he shocked Spain’s David Alcaide, 9-7. Omar Alshaheen also booked his spot in the knockout rounds with a handy 9-6 win over Bosnia’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic.
It was also a good day for Finland Petri Makkonen advanced with his second straight win, after taking down the always strong Chang Yu Leung, 9-6. Casper Matikainen put a halt to Filipino Marlon Manalo’s comeback with an easy 9-2 victory.
Austria’s former world champion Albin Ouschan struggled early but qualified with a 9 – 5 win over Myanmar’s Aung Moe Thu. Fellow Austrian Maximilian Lechner put an end to the hopes of South African Jason Theron, winning 9-5 after an early struggle.
Lebanon doesn’t often feature in the business end of things here, but Mazen Berjaoui held his nerve with a break and runout in the final frame to eliminate the USA’s Hunter Lombardo, 9-8.
Canada’s John Morra looked very strong in his 9-3 win over American Tommy Tokoph. Venezuela’s Jalal Al Sarisi (formerly Yousef), who went all the way to the quarterfinals last year, also qualified after handily beating the Netherland’s Ivar Saris, 9-6.
Monday’s action will be comprised of three sessions, with both the rounds of 64 and 32 being completed. The tournament will have a day off on December 18th due to it being the National Day of Qatar. The round of 16 and the quarterfinals will be held on December 19th, while the semis and final will take place on December 20th.
Day 3 Results
Losers Side Matches. Losers are out. Winners qualify for the final 64 knockout stage.
Vitaliy Patsura(UKR) 9 – 6 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Woo Seung Ryu(KOR) 9 – 3 Meshaal AL Murdhi(KUW)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 7 Matt Edwards(NZL)
Mazen Berjaoui(LEB) 9 – 8 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Roland Garcia(PHL) 9 – 5 Billy Thorpe(USA)
Bader Alawadhi(KUW) 9 – 7 David Alcaide(ESP)
Omar Alshaheen(KUW) 9 – 6 Sanjin Pehlivanovic(BOS)
Johann Chua Gonzales(PHL) 9 – 3 Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 6 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP) 9 – 5 Ahmed Tanvir(BAN)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 6 Satoshi Kawabata(JPN)
Ruslan Chinahov(RUS) 9 – 2 Abdullah Alenzi(KUW)
Ko Ping Han(TPE) 9 – 7 Xu Xiacong(CHN)
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 9 – 5 Hayato Hijikata(JPN)
Sharik Aslam Sayed(SIN) 9 – 4 Roman Hybler(CZE)
Toru Kuribayashi(JPN) 9 – 6 Hasan Idan(IRQ)
Nguyen Anh Tuan(VET) 9 – 5 Hoang Duong Quoc(VET)
Wiktor Zielinski(POL) 9 – 7 Sergey Lutsker(POL)
Casper Matikainen(FIN) 9 – 2 Marlon Manalo(PHL)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 6 Martin Daigle(CAN)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Maximilian Lechner(AUT) 9 – 5 Jason Theron(RSA)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 3 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
Wojciech Sroczynski(POL) 9 -3 Richard Halliday(RSA)
Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN) 9 – 6 Ivar Saris(NED)
Nikolaos Malaj(GRE) 9 – 8 Marek Kudlik(POL)
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 6 Denis Grabe(EST)
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 6 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 5 Aung Moe Thu(MYR)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 3 Tommy Tokoph(USA)
Bing Chen Gao(CHN) 9 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)
Wen Lo Li(TPE) 9 – 5 Kwon Hojun(KOR)
Play on Monday begins at 10am Doha time(GMT +3)
Fans around the world can watch four tables on our free live stream which can be accessed via the live scoring page here; http://www.esnooker.pl/live/en/tsnew.php
Click the tables where you see the word “Video” and you will be taken to Youtube to watch the match. Tables 1, 7,8,9. Please visit the WPA Facebook Page for more information.
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.
To view the Final 64 bracket, please CLICK HERE.
*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.
The WPA is 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