DAZLIN DARYL IS IN IT TO WIN IT
Story and Photo by Ted Lerner
(Doha, Qatar)–Wild finishes, unpredictable outcomes up until the very last ball, plenty of star power and pressure galore were all key ingredients of two very memorable evening sessions in the 64 player knockout stage at the World 9-ball Championship in Doha today. But as the tournament heads into the business side of things on Thursday’s day of reckoning, where the field will be reduced from 32 to 4, it’s instructive for fans and students of the game to pay attention to one awesome performance that sent a shot across the bow to the remaining players in field.
While every single one of the over 500 fans inside the Al Sadd Sports Club was focused on the TV table, and a match between their hero, Efren Reyes of the Philippines, and unknown Filipino Marlon Caneda, England’s Daryl Peach quietly put on one of the strongest performances of the tournament so far. And in the process, the 2007 World 9-ball champion announced to all that he came to Doha with every intention to reclaim the prize that was once his.
Interestingly Peach faced the very man whom he defeated in Manila in ’07 to win pool’s most prestigious title, the Philippines’ Roberto Gomez. On any other day, this intriguing matchup would have screamed marquee, but with Reyes and Francisco Bustamante also playing, most in the crowd barely noticed.
Too bad because Peach was simply sensational. After Gomez got out to a 2-1 lead, Peach literally steamrolled the Filipino, quickly piling on the racks to make the score 6-2 in the race to 11, alternate break match. Everything the Englishman did was as it should be—good breaking, solid potting, confident safeties–and soon he was up 9-3. By the time it ended at 11-4, Gomez walked away with his tail between his legs, while Peach was jacked to the gills.
“That was perfect pool,” the Dazzler said as he walked off the table. “I think I missed one ball, at the end.”
Of course one match does not a tournament make, but let’s be clear. Peach has been there before, in Manila in ’07 when he faced down some of the most incredible pressure ever seen on a professional pool table. And he may be peaking at just the right time. Just the way he’s carrying himself and speaks about his performance tells you there’s something special there.
“A guy came up to me after the match and shook my hand and said, ‘That was surgical,’” Peach said. “I agree. That’s the way you play.”
Peach will first have to tangle tomorrow with the experienced Fu Chei Wei of Taiwan, who defeated the Philippines Jeffrey de Luna, 11-9. Fu also defeated Peach the last time the two played at the China Open back in early June.
The evening session produced mixed results for the Filipinos out on the floor. The crowd of overseas Filipino fans had shown up in mass to hopefully see Reyes perform his legendary magic. But the 28 year old Caneda stole the show by thoroughly dominating the legend and, at same time, making Reyes look every bit his 57 years. Caneda raced out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. Reyes at times looked uncomfortable, while Caneda was the picture of cool. Caneda, who works in Saudi Arabia as a pool coach, was never challenged, and won 11-5.
“He’s the people’s champ but I can’t think about that,” Caneda said afterward. “I just focused on the table. Maybe he’s not in the best condition. He told me afterwards that he was having a problem with his eyes.”
Caneda has gotten plenty of experience playing top Filipinos in this tournament. He nearly beat Bustamante in the group stage. His next opponent in the round of 32 is one of the tournament favorites, Dennis Orcullo. Orcullo, the current World 8-ball champion, fought a tough battle with Indonesia’s Muhammad Zulfikri in the evening session but prevailed in the end, 11 – 9.
On another table defending champion Francisco Bustamante looked strong in his match against Germany’s Sascha Andrei-Tege, winning 11-3. Bustamante will now play Indonesia’s Riyan Setiawan, who defeated Spain’s Carlo Cabello, 11-8.
Stephan Cohen of France took out the Philippines Raymund Farun in a tough battle, 11-9. Cohen now faces Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi, who looked good in an 11-8 victory over England’s Karl Boyes.
All of the high drama on the second half of day 5 was reserved for the late afternoon session, when the beautiful Al Sadd Sports Club became a cauldron of one tension filled match after the next.
Englands Scott Higgins was up 6-1 on the Netherlands’ Niels Feijen when the Dutchman mounted a furous fight back. The two were tied at 8, then Higgins went back up 10-8, only to see Feijen storm back to tie. The two were engaged in a high quality battle and the final sudden death rack promised to be a classic.
At first it looked like Higgins would win walking away as he broke off and had a clear path to victory. The burly Englishman cleared to a basic straight in shot on the 9, which incredibly, he missed. Higgins shouted in utter disbelief and frustration.
“I’m thinking I’m not going to be able to get over this,” Higgins recalled afterwards. “But I left the 9 ok.”
Indeed as Feijen leapt out of his chair, he found himself confronted with a either a full table bank off the center of the short rail, an impossible safety play, or a very thin cut in the corner. He chose the thin cut and missed, leaving Higgins another long straight in shot for the win. This time Higgins nailed it for the win.
Higgins will now play Taiwan’s Chang Yu Lun who also stood on the edge of certain defeat right about the same time. Chang led the Philippines Israel Rota throughout their tense match and got to the hill first at 10-8. Rota got two to tie and take it sudden death. Rota had the break, and got two balls down, but also scratched. But that wasn’t Rota’s only problem. In what had to be a massive heartbreak for the Filipino overseas worker, the 2 and 9 ball were lined up perfectly after the scratch, and with ball in hand Chang pocketed the combination to advance to the final 32.
India’s Raj Hundal, who lives in London, was engaged in a back and forth match with Japan’s Tomoo Takano for nearly two hours. The entire match was tight with Takano keeping a slight edge throughout until the Hitman tied it at 10 with two straight. In a precarious sudden death rack the pair engaged in a nervy safety battle. Raj found an opening on a risky full table 2-9 combination. He took the shot on and it paid off for a spot in the final 32.
“I dug deep and played some good safes,” Hundal said. “That saved me. I’ve been doing this for a while and I know how it goes. There’s a lot of talent out there so you just gotta bring your heart. Don’t worry, the Hitman’s going to bring his heart.” Hundal will play the Philippines Ronnie Alcano in the round of 32, who defeated Canada’s Chris Orme, 11-7.
In the other matches in the third session, veteran Filipino player Antonio Lining handily beat Germany’s Oliver Ortmann on the TV table, 11-5. Lining now plays the Czech Republic’s Roman Hybler in the round of 32.
The USA’s Hunter Lombardo made it two for two for the American side(the other being Shane Van Boening) as he defeated 18 year old Austrian Mario He, 11-9. Lombardo will next face Toru Kuribayashi of Japan who took down World 10-ball Champion Huidji See of the Netherlands, 11-8. See’s loss made it a miserable day for the Dutch team as all three players were eliminated from the tournament.
Three rounds will be played on Thursday at the Al Sadd Sports Club and the field will be reduced to 4 at the end of the day’s play. The round of 32 begins at 10am local time(GMT + 3 hours).
The WPA will be providing complete coverage from inside the Al Sadd Sports club throughout the tournament. Fans around the world can follow matches as they happen via our live scoring platform. The live scoring button can be seen on the front page of the WPA’s new and improved website, www.wpa-pool.com . There you can also see the brackets icon which will give you updated standings from each group and the knockout stage.
Fans can also get instant updates, insights and scores by following the WPA on Twitter. Our Twitter user name is @poolwpa. You can go directly to our Twitter page at, http://twitter.com/poolwpa.
In addition, the WPA will be providing insights and analysis with articles posted several times daily on the WPA home page.
To view the brackets for the knockout stage please click here. Or click the Brackets button the home page of the WPA at www.wpa-pool.com Scroll down to the bottom of the PDF file to the see the knockout stage brackets.
Complete results from sessions 3 and 4 in the round of 64 are listed below:
Ronnie Alcano(PHL) 11 – 7 Chris Orme(CAN)
Raj Hundal(IND) 11 – 10 Tomoo Takano
Chang Yu Lun(TPE) 11- 10 Israel Rota(PHL)
Scott Higgins(GBR) 11 – 10 Niels Feijen(NED)
Antonio Lining(PHL) 11 – 5 Oliver Ortmann(GER)
Roman Hybler(CZE) 11 – 7 Liu Haitao(CHN)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 11 – 9 Mario He(AUT)
Toru Kuribayashi(JPN) 11 – 8 Huidji See(NED)
Dennis Orcullo(PHL) 11 -9 Muhammad Zulfikri(INA)
Marlon Caneda(PHL) 11 – 5 Efren Reyes(PHL) vs
Francisco Bustamante(PHL) 11 – 3 Sascha-Andrej Tege(GER)
Riyan Setiwan(INA) 11 – 8 Carlos Cabello(ESP)
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 11 – 9 Jeffrey de Luna(PHL)
Daryl Peach(GBR) 11 – 4 Roberto Gomez(PHL)
Stephan Cohen(FRA) 11 – 9 Raymund Faron(PHL)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11 – 8 Karl Boyes(GBR)
Matches for the round of 32 on Thursday
Ralf Souquet vs. Mariusz Skoneczny
Lo Li Wen Vs. Vicencio Tanio
Carlo Dalmatin vs. Yukio Akakariyama
Lee Van Corteza vs. Carlo Biado
Antonio Gabica vs. Naoyuki Oi
Chris Melling vs. Mark Gray
Darren Appleton vs. Alan Cuartero
Shane Van Boening vs. Chang Jun Lin
Ronnie Alcano vs. Raj Hundal
Chang Yu Lun vs. Scott Higgins
Antonio Lining vs. Roman Hybler
Hunter Lombardo vs. Toru Kuribayashi
Dennis Orcullo vs. Marlon Caneda
Francisco Bustamante vs. Riyan Setiawan
Daryl Peach vs. Fu Chei Wei
Ko Pin YI vs. Stephan Cohen