Finland (11) 7-3 Malaysia
Japan (10) 5-7 Sweden
Russia (15) 4-7 Australia
Two of the unseeded sides upset the applecart as they made their way into the second round of the 2018 World Cup of Pool against fancied opposition as three further round one matches took place at the Luwan Arena, Huangpu District in Shanghai.
The $250,000 tournament originated in 2006 and has since moved around the world before touching down in Shanghai. The World Cup features 32 pairs from across the globe including two from host nation China. Running from 15th to 20th May, the event is on live TV in over 100 countries around the world.
The Australian pair of James Delahunty and Justin Sajich became the first Australian team to win a match at the World Cup of Pool as they progressed at the expense of the fancied Russian pairing of Fedor Gorst and Ruslan Chinakhov.
A delighted Sajich said, “It was tough out there, we were nervous but we fought hard, kept it together and we managed to pull it off. I think we knew we were the underdogs, although we wouldn’t have admitted it to each other. We will go back to the pool hall before the next round. We have been practicing six hours a day since we got here.”
Delahunty was equally thrilled, “We knew it wouldn’t be an easy match and we had to play as well as we could and I think we performed pretty well. We didn’t miss many pots and that’s what we needed to do. We weren’t looking too far ahead in the draw but we will have to play well in the next round – it is on us again, if we play well then we give ourselves the best chance to win.”
Earlier, underdogs Sweden (Christian Sparrenloev-Fisher and Tomas Larsson) put in an equally fine performance to bring down the fancied Japanese duo of Naoyuki Oi and Toru Kuribayashi. The score was 7-5.
Fischer said, “We are really happy, of course. We knew we needed to play well to win it and we played okay. We know the Spanish players well, they are friends to us and we know we can beat them, we just need to play our game and anything can happen.”
Finally, in the opening match, Finland looked a bit shaky but still had too much for the Malaysian duo of Muhammad Almie and Darryl Chia.
Mika Immonen: “It wasn’t our best performance but we got through. We played better at the start of the match even though we were settling in. Then we gave them a little window, but they didn’t take it.
“We are looking forward to playing USA. We played them in the quarter-finals last year and we lost, but we are confident we can improve from this match. We will need to improve against USA because they are a formidable team. We are looking forward to that and avenging the loss from last year.”
Play continues on Thursday evening with the final first round match and two second round matches.
Rnd 1 China A (2) v Estonia
Rnd 2 Austria v Poland
Scotland v Holland