Story and Photo by Ted Lerner

(Doha, Qatar)–There was plenty of heartbreak and lots of relief as well inside the spectacularly appointed Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar Sunday  as  Day 2 of the 2011World 9-ball championship has now been completed.

32 players saw their dreams of glory crash out , while 32 others got a much welcome reprieve as all of the matches on the losers side of each group bracket took place.  The field of 128 players from over 40 countries around the world has now been trimmed to 96.

The final two sessions of the day saw several dramatic and pressure packed matches  as players desperately  tried to hang on to their dreams of moving on in the most prestigious pool tournament in the world. One trend that was clear is that the talent level across the globe is growing exponentially, especially in the Middle East. Guys you’d expect to win handily were be taken to the limit by unknowns from countries not normally considered pool breeding grounds.

The Philippines Roberto Gomez came into his match with Jordan’s Almed Naeem Ali as a massive favorite but quickly found himself in a dogfight for survival with the boyish looking 19 year old. The pair were tied at 7 and Gomez had the all clear for the lead but blew a shot on the 7 ball. Ali stepped up and cleared to go up 8-7 in the race to 9 and got himself a big cheer from the nice crowd on hand. Ali then broke for the win but  got robbed when the cue ball got knocked  in.  Gomez looked confused and was clearly under pressure and eventually gave the table back with a poor safety. Ali was heading for the biggest win in Jordanian pool history when he scratched with just three balls on the table. After Gomez tied the match, the Filipino broke and ran for the lucky escape, leaving the youngster from Amman devastated.

Germany’s Thomas Engert survived to play another day when he squeaked by Canada’s John Morra 9-8. Filipino Francisco Felicilda, who works and plays out of the United Arab Emirates stayed alive in his group when he barely ousted Estonian Dennis Grabe, 9-8.

One match that seemed to catch the local crowd’s fancy was Qatar Abdulatif Fawal and Syria’s Mohamad Al Sofi. The two battled for nearly two hours and went right down to the wire. From 7-7, the pair were under so much pressure that they could barely hold their cues, and even simple straight in shots became major testers.  Much to the delight of the many Qataris in the crowd, Fawal somehow managed to get his act together long enough to make the final two balls and one more chance to make it to the final 64.

Other players who put in fine performances and can still see daylight were Chinese Taipei brothers Ko Pin Yi and Ko Ping Chun, the Philippines Lee Van Corteza, the USA’s Hunter Lombardo, Oliver Ortmann of Germany, Tamoo Takano of Japan, Liu Haitao of China, and Mohamad Asfari of Syria.

The 2001 World 9-ball Championship continues in Doha on Monday with the winners from each bracket squaring off. The players have been divided into  16 groups of 8, playing a double elimination format, race to 9, alternate Beak. 4 qualifiers (2 from winner’s brackets and 2 from loser’s brackets) will advance into the final round of 64 players which is single elimination, race to 11, alternate Break.  The final will be a race to 13, alternate break.

The 2011 World 9-ball championship has $250,000 in prize money on offer, with $36,000 going to the winner.  The tournament will run daily through July 1.

The WPA will be providing complete coverage of all the action 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.

Complete results from sessions 3 and 4 on Day 2 of the World 9-ball championship are listed below. All the winners have one more chance to move on to the final 64, while all the losers are out of the tournament.

Group E Losers Bracket

Ahmad Faufiq Bin Murni(BRU) 9 – 5 Meshal Turkey(QAT)
Roberto Gomez(PHL) 9 – 8 Almed Naeem Ali(JOR)

Group F Losers Bracket

Hany Al Hori(UAE) 9 – 6 Martin Daigle(CAN)
Ko Ping Chun(TPE) 9 – 3 David Alcaide(ESP)

Group G Losers Bracket

Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 9 – 5 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 5 Mohammad Al Harthi(KSA)

Group H Losers Bracket

Ibrahim Bin Amir(MAS) 9 – 5 Riyan Setiawan(INA)
Thomas Engert(GER) 9 – 8 John Morra(CAN)

Group I Losers Bracket

Venancio Tanio(PHL) 9 – 4 Ameen Fekree(UAE)
Francisco Felicilda(PHL-UAE) 9 – 8 Dennis Grabe(EST)

Group J Losers Bracket

Mariusz Skoneczny(POL) 9  – 1 Mohd Buainain(QAT)
Joven Alba(PHL-UAE) 9 – 6 Bruno Muratore(ITA)

Group K Losers Bracket

Kim Laaksonen(FIN) 9 – 3 El Assal(EGY)
Israel Rota(PHL-QAT) 9 – 6 Mazen Berjaoui(LEB)

Group L Losers Bracket

Abdulatif Fawal(QAT) 9 – 8 Mohamad Al Sofi(SYR)
Lee Van Corteza(PHL) 9 – 4 Erik Hjorleifson(CAN)

Group M Losers Bracket

Raymond Faron(PHL-UAE) 9  – 2 Hamzah Al Saeed(ERI)
Nguyen Phuc Long(VIE) 9 – 3 Keng Kwang Chan(SIN)

Group N Losers Bracket

Lui Haitao(CHN)9 – 2  Khamis Obaidly(QAT)
Mohamad Asfari (SYR) 9 – 0 Omar Al Omari(KSA)
Group O Losers Bracket

Desmond Goh Teck(SIN) 9 – 5  Mohammed AlBin Ali(QAT)
Tomoo Takano(JPN) 9 – 5 Badr Al Hamdan(KSA)

Group P Losers Bracket

Taher Hussain(QAT) 9 – 2 Ramiz Turulja(BIH)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 9 – 6 Liu Cheng Chieh(TPE)

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