Shane van Boening 7-4 Jakub Koniar
Naoyuki Oi 5-7 Eklent Kaci
David Alcaide 3-7 Skyler Woodward
Skyler Woodward knocked defending champion David Alcaide out of the Dafabet World Pool Masters with a 7-3 last 16 win at Europa Sports Complex, Gibraltar.
Eklent Kaci is also through to the quarter-finals after an eventful 7-5 win over Naoyuki Oi, while Shane van Boening won the last of the preliminary round matches with a 7-4 success over Jakub Koniar.
Despite losing the first rack after a missed 8 against the US No.1, Koniar was able to build a 4-1 lead with some sharp shooting. After the thinnest of cuts on the 1 early in the sixth, the Slovakian missed the 6 ball and Van Boening made it with the bridge.
The American won this event back-to-back in 2014 and ’15, and the key then was his ability to break and run, leaving his opponents marooned in their chair. Van Boening did that to Koniar to make it 4-3 and though the eighth wasn’t so straight forward, a tricky cut on the 3 denied the Slovakian a fifth rack and Van Boening was able to level at 4-4.
A brilliant clearance oozed class from Van Boening to go 5-4 up and he ran the next to reach the hill. A good break also left a straight-forward shot on the 2, and Van Boening had a road map to the quarter-finals. The American cleared the table to win 7-4 and will face Fedor Gorst in the last 16.
Kaci had defeated Petri Makkonen in his preliminary match to reach this stage, where Oi lied in wait. The Albanian Mosconi Cup winner cruised to a 3-0 lead, but a remarkable incident happened in the fourth. Shooting the 4 to the top right corner, Kaci hammered it in, only to see it leap out of the pocket. Oi cleared the table, ran the next rack for 3-2, and then levelled after Kaci missed a 6 to the same pocket which had just cheated him of the fourth rack.
He recovered in the seventh and from there extended to a 6-3 lead. He was hooked on the 1 after breaking for the match, and Oi took the rack. He took the next too for 6-5, but a poor safety gave Kaci a shot at the 1.
An eventful 12th saw both players have fortune, mis-fortune and flukes, but eventually Kaci got a chance when Oi was forced to beat the shot-clock beeps and took a hit and hope on the 3. He didn’t make it, and Kaci cleared for a place in the quarter-finals.
The evening’s closing match saw Alcaide begin his title defence against Skyler Woodward, a beaten semi-finalist at the last Masters.
Woodward took the first but a failed jump in the second gave control to Alcaide, who took three racks to lead by two. Woodward fought back, though, and won five consecutive racks to reach the hill 6-3 up.
Alcaide had a chance in the tenth but had to bank the 8 – almost a reverse of the shot he made to win the event two years ago. This time, though, with four-inch pockets, it didn’t drop, and Woodward had two simple balls which he took for victory.
The Dafabet World Pool Masters continues on Monday afternoon with Max Lechner against Mieszko Fortunski, Albin Ouschan facing Denis Grabe and Jayson Shaw in action against Niels Feijen.
The event is broadcast globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Zhibo.tv. Coverage is available on Matchroom.Live in nations without a TV broadcaster. Full details can be found at www.matchroompool.com.
Photos courtesy of ‘Taka Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport’