By Ted Lerner
WPA Media Officer
Photo Credits WPA
(Doha, Qatar)–If the first day’s play of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship is any indication–and by all measures it certainly is just that–then fans around the world better be prepared for a wild roller coaster ride over the next three days. Drama, upsets, nerves, revelations, suprises, excitement and downright brilliant 9-ball at the highest levels were all on display as play commenced in the 28th running of pool’s premier crown. And with a loaded field just getting warmed up, it’s only going to get better leading to the final on Tuesday.
With 64 matches played on 16 tables at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Day 1 saw 32 players book their spots in the final 64 knockout stage which begins Sunday. None of the 96 players have yet to see the exits, but there were plenty of upsets, near upsets, and upstarts making their mark on pool’s biggest stage.
The top 32 seeds were given a bye in the first round of their groups, so these players only had to win one match to reach the single elimination knockout rounds. Defending champion Joshua Filler of Germany did just that, but not before a shaky start which saw him tied at 4-4 in the race to 9 alternate break match against Qatari veteran Bashar Hussain. The World number one was never in trouble, though, and cruised to a 9-5 win.
2017 champion and runner up last year Carlo Biado of the Philippines didn’t fair as well as he got dumped over to the one loss side of his group with a shocking 9-3 loss to Chile’s Enrique Rojas. It was Rojas’ second straight victory of the day, the first coming over Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyusef. Rojas now books his well deserved spot in the Final 64 tomorrow.
The USA’s Shane Van Boening is one of the favorites here this week, but he looked a bit cold early on in his match with young talented Chinese player Xu Xiaocong. Xu is part of a large crop coming from China’s youth movement and he had the American down three quarters of the way through their match. But SVB pulled it together at the last minute and squeaked by the Chinese, 9-8. Xu will get one more chance on Sunday.
Fellow American and Mosconi teammate Billy Thorpe also booked his spot in the final 64 with a 9-5 win over Canada’s Stephen Holem.
It was a solid day for team Taiwan. World 10-ball Champion Ko Ping Chung went up against Myamar’s rising star Phone Myint Kyaw, who also goes by the moniker, Muang Muang. Kyaw is a player that pool fans will want to pay attention to. He’s a former snooker player who has been winning regularly on the brutally tough Chinese 8-ball circuit, and he just grabbed two gold medals in the Southeast Asian games in Manila. His stroke is one of the most solid in the game and anyone who watches him play instantly can see the potential in this young man.
But of course, Ko is a young prodigy who has already proven his metal in American pool with his recent win at the World 10-ball in July in Vegas. Little Ko didn’t have much trouble with Muang Muang, winning handily, 9-4.
Little Ko will join his older brother Pin Yi in the final 64, who defeated the always stingy Jalal Al Sarisi of Venezuela, 9-4. Other Taiwanese cruising into the final 64 include Chang Jung Lin, Chang Yu Lung, and Kevin Cheng.
The Philippines is surprisingly unrepresented in Doha this year with only four players in the field. With Biado losing early it was up to Johann Chua and Jeffrey Ingacio to save the day for the Pinoys. Both looked the goods and nabbed spots in the final 64.
It was a mixed bag for the European Mosconio Cup team. Greece’s Alexander Kazakis is one of Europe’s top bets here this week and he qualified for the knockout round with an easy 9-5 win over Qatar’s Waleed Majid. But Albania’s Eklent Kaci and former World 9-ball Champion Niels Feijen of the Netherlands weren’t so fortunate. Kaci lost big to the Netherlands’ Ivar Saris, who had earlier looked solid in a 9-6 win over Poland’s Karol Skowerski. Feijen went down to upstart Hong Konger Yip Kin Ling, 9-7, who took his spot in the Final 64 with his second win of the day.
The surprises kept coming throughout the day. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis first squeaked by Peru’s Gerson Martinez, 9-8. Then he took on former World 9-ball Champion Wu Jiaqing, and shocked the Chinese great with a 9-7 upset, and a spot in the knockout rounds.
Also booking a spot in the final 64 was Canada’s John Morra, who continued his return to fine form with a 9-8 win over Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki. Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp showed that he’s clearly a dark horse to watch here in Doha with a 9-4 drubbing of China’s talented Dang Jinhu. England’s Chris Melling came back from 6-2 down to defeat Vietnam’s Do The Kien, 9-7. Also advancing today were Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, Austria’s Max Lechner, China’s Lui Haitao, Estonia’s Dennis Grabe, Finland’s Petri Makkonen, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, and Spaniards David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.
Play on day 2 on Sunday, Dec. 14th will begin at 10am Doha time(GMT +3). The field will be whittled down to 64 players playing single elimination knockout race to 11. The round of 64 will be completed in the first two session, and by the end of the day, the field will be down to the final 32.
The winner of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The total prize fund is $150,00.
*The 2019 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Qatar from December 10-17, 2019. 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.
Fans around the world will be able to view live scoring, results, brackets and live streaming of many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform at esnooker.pl. Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public.
Bashar Hussain (QAT) 9 – 6 Hasan Hwaidi (IRQ)
John Morra (CAN) 9 – 7 Jerico Bonus (PHL)
Ruslan Chinakhov (RUS) 9 – 5 Mohammad Soufi (SYR)
Mieszko Fortunski (POL) 9 – 6 Kong Bu Hong (CHN)
Pijus Labutis (LTH) 9 – 8 Gerson Martinez (PER)
Dang Jinhu (CHN) 9 – 7 Saki Kanatlar (TKY)
Kong Dejing (CHN) 9 – 6 Matt Edwards (NZL)
Jalal Al Sarsi (VEN) 9 – 7 Marc Vidal (SPN)
Waleed Majid (QAT) 9 – 5 Mohammad Al Amin (BAN)
Oliver Szolnoki (HUN) 9 – 3 Woo Seung Ryu (KOR)
Tomasz Kaplan (POL) 9 – 5 Ali Alobadili (QAT)
Do The Kien (VET) 9 – 3 Ricky Yang (IND)
Liu Ri Teng (TPE) 9 – 5 Abdulatif Alfawal (QAT)
Radoslaw Babica (POL) 9 – 1 Nadim Okbani (ALG)
Lin Ta Li (TPE) 9 – 1 Hassan Shhada (JOR)
Enrique Rojas (CHL) 9 – 7 Abdullah Alyusef (KUW)
Phone Myint Kyaw (MYR) 9 – 3 Khaled Alghamdi (KSR)
Stephen Holem (CAN) 9 – 6 Casper Matikainen (FIN)
Yukio Akagariyama (JPN) 9 – 7 Mohammad Berjaoui (LEB)
Max Eberle (USA) 9 – 7 Ali Maghsoud (IRA)
Ivar Saris (NET) 9 – 6 Karol Skowerski (POL)
Hunter Lombardo (USA) 9 – 1 Ahmad Aldelaimi (KUW)
Damianos Giallourakis (GRE) 9 – 7 Marck Bijsterbosch (NED)
Yip Kin Ling (HKG) 9 – 8 Abdulla Alshemari (KSR)
Xue Zhenqi (CHN) 9 – 5 Clark Sullivan (NZE)
Masato Yoshioka (JPN) Luis Lemus (GUY)
Jakub Koniar (SLV) 9 – 8 Darren Appleton (ENG)
Richard Halliday (RSA) 9 – 4 Fayaz Ussain (MAL)
Konrad Juszcayszyn (POL) 9 – 7 Robbie Capito (HKG)
Jang Moonseok (KOR) 9 – 6 Wang Can (CHN)
Petri Makkonen (FIN) 9 – 0 Mohamed El Raousti (ALG)
Xu Xiaocong (CHN) 9- 2 Riccardo Sini (ITL)
Winners Side Matches Day 1.
Winner is through to the Final 64, Loser goes to one loss side of their group for one more chance
Joshua Filler (GER) 9 – 5 Bashar Hussain (QAT)
John Morra (CAN) 9 – 8 Mateusz Sniegocki (POL)
Denis Grabe (EST) 9 – 7 Ruslan Chinakhov (RUS)
Mieszko Fortunski (POL) 9 – 4 Fedor Gorst (RUS)
Pijus Labutis (LTH) 9 – 7 Wu Jiaqing (CHN)
Aloysius Yapp (SIN) 9 – 4 Dang Jinhu (CHN)
Kong Dejing (CHN) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann (GER)
Pin Yi Ko (TPE) 9 – 5 Jalal Al Sarisi (VEN)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) 9 – 5 Waleed Majid (QAT)
Oliver Szolnoki (HUN) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk (POL)
Chang Yu Lung (TPE) 9 – 6 Tomasz Kaplan (POL)
Chris Melling (ENG) 9 – 7 Do The Kien (VET)
Johann Chua (PHL) 9 – 3 Liu Ri Teng (TPE)
Max Lechner (AUT) 9 – 6 Radoslaw Babica (POL)
Liu Haitao (CHN) 9 – 3 Lin Ta Li (TPE)
Enrique Rojas (CHL) 9 – 3 Carlo Biado (PHL)
Chung Ko Ping (TPE) 9 – 4 Phone Myint Kyaw (MYR)
Billy Thorpe (USA) 9 – 5 Stephen Holem (CAN)
Yu Hsuan Cheng (TPE) 9 – 8 Yukio Akagariyama (JPN)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 9 – 3 Max Eberle (USA)
Ivar Saris (NED) 9 – 4 Eklent Kaci (ALB)
Naoyuki Oi (JPN) 9 – 1 Hunter Lombardo (USA)
Jeffrey Ignacio (PHL) 9 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis (GRE)
Yip Kin Ling (HKG) 9 – 7 Niels Feijen (NED)
Ralf Souquet (GER) 9 – 8 Xue Zhenqi (CHN)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) 9 – 8 Masato Yoshioka (JPN)
David Alcaide (ESP) 9 – 7 Jakub Koniar (SLV)
Jung Lin Chang (TPE) 9 – 4 Richard Halliday (RSA)
Konrad Juszcayszyn (POL) 9 – 8 Corey Deuel (USA)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 9 – 4 Jan Moonseok (KOR)
Petri Makkonen (FIN) 9 – 5 Lin Wu Kun (TPE)
Shane Van Boening (USA) 9 – 8 Xu Xiaocong (CHN)