Hong Kong, China 5–7 Austria
Spain 7-5 Finland
Poland 5–7 Great Britain
Hosts Great Britain battled from 4-1 down to beat Poland 7-5 and secure their place in the quarter-finals of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, England.
There were Friday evening wins too for Spain over Finland, and Austria, who defeated Hong Kong, China with both matches also ending 7-5 and the last eight is now set as the tournament moves into its closing stages on Saturday and Sunday, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and networks worldwide.
With Great Britain’s Chris Melling and Jayson Shaw having the home crowd on their side, it was Poland (Konrad Juszczyszyn and Mateusz Sniegocki) who took the first rack, ran the second and then benefited when Great Britain again couldn’t take advantage of having the break in the third.
The hosts got on the board after Shaw executed a good safety from a push out, and Poland then left the 1 on. But Britain again couldn’t take advantage of having the break, this time Melling missing a 6 when they looked to be heading to 3-2, and instead Poland made it 4-1
After their faltering start, Great Britain battled back to level the match and then led for the first time at 5-4. They moved to the hill soon after, but Poland weren’t done yet and pulled a rack back before Shaw and Melling closed out the match to complete the quarter-final line-up.
“They played really well at the start but we didn’t really come out firing,” said Shaw. “We played a couple of silly shots, letting them get in front but we told each other we would get a chance and when we did we took it to go in front.”
Melling added: “I struggled there; early on I was struggling with confidence. Luckily for me I have one of the best players in the world on my team. If we can win playing like that who knows what can happen when we play well.”
The session opener saw Mario He and Albin Ouschan in ruthless form for Austria. Finalists last year and winners in 2018, they ran to a commanding 6-1 lead, capitalising on some sloppy pool by Hong Kong, China.
Knowing they couldn’t afford another mistake, and would probably need some luck along the way as well, Lo Ho Sum and Yip Kin Ling took out the next rack and when Austria broke dry in the next, a 5/9 combo presented itself and Sum took advantage. They took the next rack on their own break and had another chance almost immediately as Austria broke dry. From 6-1 down Hong Kong, China had pulled to within one.
But at that stage Austria regained control of the table, and eventually got their seventh match on the board to progress to a quarter-final clash with Greece.
The last of the quarter-finals will see Spain face Great Britain, after David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz won a match in which momentum’s pendulum swung first to Spain, then to Finland and finally back to Spain.
The Spanish pair established a 4-1 lead over Petri Makkonen and Mika Immonen, only for the 2012 champions to fight back and go 5-4 up. At that point, though, the impetus switched again and Spain levelled before reaching the hill and then coming out on top after an error-strewn 12th to book their spot in the last eight.
The quarter-finals are race to 9 and take place over two sessions on Saturday with the semi-finals and final on Sunday. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.
The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.