While most European players still have a chance for a Gold Medal, Kostas Koukiakadis and Kristina Tkach have exited the event already today.
In the girls division, team Asia is dominating the field at large. Kristina Tkach lost her winner’s round match to Chen Chia-Hua (TPE) 4:7. The same result was valid for Diana Khodjaeva against Shi Tanqi (CHN). That resulted in all European girls being on the loser’s side.
Tkach met her teammate and fellow Russian player Dina Fatikhova in the next round. Fatikhova prove to be the stronger and better player today and finished the match 7:5 to her favour. Khodjaeva managed to stay alive in the Championships with a 7:3 victory over China’s Han Feixue.
Both girls need two more victories tomorrow morning to make their way to the quarterfinals of the event. In their next encounters, Fatikhova will play Wu Yu Mei (CHN) while Khodjaeva will need to deal with April Larson (USA).
In the U19, Patrick Hofmann took the European match against Kostas Koukiadakis with 9:6. Maksim Dudanets wiped the floor with Ivan Augustin Brasca (ARG) 9:1. Daniel Maciol fought a fierce fight with Lo Hu Sum from Hong Kong and that match went over the full distance. In the end, Maciol was the player with the better nerves and fortunately took the victory 9:8 over his opponent.
Being on the loser’s side, Koukiadakis ousted his first opponent Nicholas Taylor Ridley from Canada with 9:4. Unfortunately for him, this victory did not give him the strength and power needed to survive his next opponent, Zhang Ganting (CHN). The balls did not roll in Koukiadakis’ favour and the final result was 1:9 against the young Greek. That terminates his participation in this year’s World 9-Ball Championships.
In the next round, the seats for the coveted quarter-final matches were at stake. Hofmann showed a solid performance and defeated Abdullah Sha Alenezi (KUW) 9:5. Also Maciol did not have the problems with his opponent as he had the round before. He won also 9:5 over Nathan Diedrich (USA). Dudanets, who seemed to have not been really challenged so far at all, had to deal with a tough opponent. He was quickly trailing 3:6 to Ko Ping Han (TPE) and needed to find his way back into the match. Slowly but surely, Dudanets levelled the match and at 8:8, he had the better roll on his side, winning the match in a heartbreaker with 9:8. These results put Hofmann, Maciol and Dudanets in the quarterfinals of the U19.
In the U17, all European boys took their first matches today. In the next round, Sanjin Pehlivanovic dealt with Mongolia’s Temuujin Enkhbold. After both players ran out their first two breaks, the score was 2:2. Then, Pehlivanovic shifted into overdrive and left no chance to Enkhbold, winning very clearly with 9:2. Wiktor Zielinski met Bonaire’s Martis Gyairon in his chance for the quarter-final match.
The match was close in the beginning but Zielinski was the better player in the final stage of the match, winning 7:5. Kestutis Zadeikis came up with another hill-hill thriller against Zheng Xiao Huai (CHN). At 6:6, Zadeikis once again showed nerves of steel and advanced to the quarterfinals, taking the match by a whisker with 7:6. Fedor Gorst unfortunately was not able to follow his teammates on their direct way into the round of the last 8 players. He lost 5:7 to Robbie Capito (HKG) and gets another chance to join the others over the loser’s side.
Photos © Alison Chang