Etisalat WPA World Eight Ball Championships Opening Day
WPA Press Officer
The Etisalat WPA World 8-Ball Championship began today with a press conference, the players meeting and a welcoming dinner. At the press conference the organizers thanked the players for their participation and the sponsors for making the event possible. The Gold Sponsor is the Prism Company and the rest include Dubai Sports Channel, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Adnoc, Pro Master, Al Ahli Holding Group, Al Diar Siji Hotel, Fujairah International Airport, Vopak Horizon, Fujairah Cement Industries, Knight Shot Billiards, Coral Residence Group, Crystal Arc, Millenium Avenue and Pepsi. Knight Shot announced that they will be giving a special prize for any player from the UAE who makes it into the final 16 group. This will include a pool table and other billiard items.
The players meeting featured Tournament Director Ishaun Singh who explained the format and the rules and took questions concerning timeouts, the shot clock (45 seconds) and other assorted queries.
From there we went to the gala welcoming dinner. Here we feasted on steak, sushi, chicken, veggies, Arabic bread and a wide selection of sweets. Then it was off to bed and a good nights rest preparing for the battles to come. First round of play kicks off at 3PM (Emirates time) on Monday.
The format for this event is eight groups of eight players in each group. Each of these groups will play double elimination races to eight games until we are left with only two players on both the winners and the one-loss side. Then we will have 32 players who will form the final single-elimination bracket. The players from the winners side will be seeded according to their performance and the players from the one-loss side will be drawn at random into the brackets.
Real-time scoring and brackets will be available throughout the tournament at AZBilliards.com.
First Round of Play in the UAE
WPA Press Officer
The first round of the elimination stages began today at the Etisalat WPA World 8-Ball Championships in Fujairah, UAE in the beautiful Fujairah tennis club. In the very first group to go out Joven Alba set what must be a record for finishing a race to eight in 8-Ball. He defeated Ali Nasih 8-0 in under thirty minutes!
Our first upset of the tournament occurred in the same round when Vincent Facquet defeated world ranked number 1 Mika Immonen. Facquet went out to an early 3-1 lead but Immonen held steady and brought the math back to even at 3. Then Facquet again surged to a 6-3 lead and again the Iceman was able to bring the score line level at 6. From there the hard-working Frenchman gave no quarter and never allowed Immonen to se another eight ball as he closed out the win 8-6 to send Immonen over to the sudden-death side of the charts.
Other matches of note found Scott Higgins defeating Marcus Chamat 8-6 and Karl Boyes winning 8-5 over Saeed Al Mutawe. Also Ronnie Alcano slaughtered Radoslaw Babica 8-1, Raymund Faraon beating Lee Chenman 8-4, Won Sik Ham (please say that name out loud) beating Mohamed Al Assel 8-5 and Mohammed Hosani slipping past John Morra 8-7.
Round two was a bit more predictable. Ruslan Chinakhov won his match 8-1 over Moein Khedri. Ricky Yang dismantled Khaled Sebata 8-0, Dennis Orcullo took down Oliver Mednilla 8-2, Mehdi Rasheki ran over Sandile Madlala 8-2 and Hussin Sayeem fell to Yukio Akakariyama 8-3. Predator International champion David Alcaide won his match 8-3 over Ismail Yaqob, Lee Van Corteza survived a late-round surge by Majid Sultan to survive 8-5 and Pei-Wei Chang defeated Khaled Sebata 8-3.
The first man to finish in round three was Shane Van Boening. The very confident-looking Van Boening wasted little time in beating Masaki Tanaka 8-3 even though he very uncharacteristically actually scratched early in the match with ball in hand. (Makes you feel a little better about your game, yes?) Three-time World Juniors Champion Pin-Yi Ko knocked the pins out from under Omran Salem 8-1 and Andreas Roschkowsky nearly duplicated that with his 8-2 drubbing of Kim Aquino. The drought on close scores continued when Jalal Sarkeski upset Lu Hui Chan 8-3 and worsened when Thorsten Hohmann handed the 8-0 doughnut to Abdulatif Fawal.
The other matches were closer. Darren Appleton got by Francis Crevier 8-6 and Jeff de Luna was upset by Mustafa Hassan 8-5 in a match that never saw de Luna catch a gear or even get his famous break working. Finally, Kenny Kwok and Abdullah Yousef had a close battle throughout that ended with Kwok on top 8-6.
Our final round of the day began with Huijdi See demolishing Sumit talwar 8-2. Stephan Cohen treated Salah Al Remwy no better and won by the same score. The quick-game massacres continued with Niels Feijen defeating Takhti Zarekani 8-3 and Ralf Souquet rolling past Kang Lee also 8-3.
Antonio Gabica looked in fine form and never appeared to feel any pressure as he methodically dismantled Matteuz Sniegocki 8-4. Rueben Bautista then ended his day on a positive note by taking out Majid Al Azmi 8-5 and at about the same time Marlon Manalo and Bashar Hussein took their match to double hill, tied at seven games apiece. Manalo took a break to gather his thoughts. But he scratched on the break to give the ball in hand advantage to Hussein. Hussein took the rack and sent Manalo over to the desperation side of the charts.
Finally, the day came to an end when Shaker Wahdan ran the last table he saw and went home the victor over Amin Fekry 8-5.
A special word of thanks must go out to Knight Shot, one of the primary sponsors of this event. Not only are they supplying the tables they are also providing 24-hour technical support for the players. According to their representative they are the only WPA-approved supplier in the region with this capability. Tournaments of this caliber rely on sponsors such as this to make these events possible.
Day Two Complete at World 8-Ball Championships
WPA Press Officer
Our second day of competition at the Etisalat World 8-Ball Championships in Fujairah, UAE, began with a round of winner’s side match-ups. The Russian powerhouse, Ruslan Chinakhov, got his day underway with a satisfying 8-6 victory over David Alcaide after Alcaide had led the match early at 3-0. Ronnie Alcano also trailed early in his match against Mohammed Hosani and at one point trailed 5-1 only to dig down deep and rally to an 8-6 win.
Ricky Yang made t look easy as he trampled one of the strongest players in the world, Pei-Wei Chang, 8-2 and in a match that saw a lot of its time consumed with racking issues Karl Boyes ate up Won Sik Ham 8-3. Yukio Akakariyama easily handled Mehdi Rasheki 8-4 and Joven Alba never broke a sweat as he dominated Scott Higgins 8-3. Raymond Faraon then beat Vincent Facquet 8-3 and Lee van Corteza finished the round by defeating Dennis Orcullo 8-5.
The second round, also winner’s side, had some great match-ups. Pin-Yi Ko vs. Shane van Boening, Thorsten Hohmann, vs. Andreas Roschkowksi, and Huijdi See vs. Antonio Gabica among them. Van Boening was the first to finish, cruising past Ko 8-4 in a marvelous display of position play. Shortly later Jalal Sarkesi booked his seat into the final 32 with an 8-5 win over Mustafa Hassan in a match that was tied at 5 games apiece before Sarkesi found his high gear.
Ralf Souquet continued his winning ways with an 8-1 victory over Reuben Batista while Antonio Gabica kept it a bit closer in his 8-5 win over Huidji See. Niels Feijen bested Shaker Wahdan 8-5 while Stephan Cohen ended his match with an 8-4 win over Basher Hussein. Andreas Roschkowski came back from a 6-5 deficit against Thorsten Hohmann to win his match 8-6. Darren Appleton closed the round out with an 8-2 victory over Kenny Kwok.
This brought us to the do or die rounds on the one-loss side. Any loss here means your efforts are over and you can only look forward to being a spectator for the remainder of the event. The nerves begin to cook your arm. Marcus Chamat seemed impervious to the heat. He destroyed Ali Nashi 8-0 to begin the round. Neither did Mika Immonen break a sweat as he easily got past Lee Chen Man 8-2. Oliver Medenilla had more of a struggle then the score shows but took advantage of the opportunities when they came and won 8-3 over Majid Sultan.
Other matches were closer. Ismail Yaqob defeated Moein Khefri 8-5 and Saeed Al Mutawe beat Mohamed Al Assel by the same margin. Vincenancio Tanio slid by Khaled Sebata 8-6 while John Morra escaped a match that had seen many ties to win 8-5. Finally, Sandile Madlala lived for at least one more round when he inched past Hussin Sayeem 8-7.
The last group of the evening found Matteuz Sniegnocki defeating Sumit Talwar 8-4, Magid Al Azmi over Kang Lee 8-2, Kim Aquino beating Abdulatif Fawal 8-4, Francis Crevier over Abdullah Yousef 8-2 and Jeff de Luna besting Lu Hui Chan 8-6. Finally, Takhti Zarekani defeated Amin Fekry 8-6 while our last two matches went hill-hill. Marlon Manalo took Salah Al Remwy 8-7 and then Masaaki Tanaki defeated Omran Salem, also 8-7.