WPA Pool | Alblooshi stuns Alcaide while Van Boening Survives Day One of WPA World 10-Ball
WPA Pool | Alblooshi stuns Alcaide while Van Boening Survives Day One of WPA World 10-Ball

Mar 1, 2023 | World 10-Ball Champs

Alblooshi stuns Alcaide while Van Boening Survives Day One of WPA World 10-Ball

Heading into this year’s WPA Men’s World 10- Ball Championships, there weren’t a whole lot of people who could pick Talal Alblooshi of the United Arab Emirates out of a lineup.

After his first-round match on Tuesday, many spectators – and probably a few fellow competitors – are sure to take note.

Alblooshi erased an early deficit against two-time World Pool Masters champion David Alcaide and defeated the Spaniard 8-7 to advance at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He will now face Australia’s John Wims in a winner’s side second round matchup on Wednesday afternoon.

“I am very happy about being able to play David,” said Alblooshi after the match. “I wanted to play my best and I was lucky because he missed a lot of shots and I got chances.”

The Spaniard built an early 2-0 advantage, but his opponent tied the score thanks to superior safety play in back-to-back racks. Alcaide then displayed some stellar play own by forcing his opponent into a loss when he fouled three times but missed a routine 8 ball in the next game which allowed Alblooshi to even the score. After Alcaide misplayed a 6 ball in the seventh game, his opponent again jumped ahead by two games when the Spaniard missed a tight cut shot on the 4 ball in the next game.

After Alcaide took advantage of a positional error by his opponent and cut the lead to 5-4, he left an opening on the 4 ball after a safety attempt that allowed Alblooshi to tack on another game. Using a safety exchange on the 1 ball, the Spaniard grabbed a game back to narrow the deficit to 6-5 only to scratch on the break in the next game. He got new life in the next game when his opponent misplayed a safety and left the 7 ball in front of the side pocket, allowing him to tie the match and use a safety of his own in the next game to take a 7-6 lead.

Now breaking with a chance to seal the match, Alcaide again scratched on the break which gave Alblooshi a spread-out table to tie the score. After failing to pocket a ball on the break in the match deciding game, Alblooshi knocked home a long shot on the 1 ball after trading safeties once more, running out the rack to seal an 8-7 win.

While Alblooshi was pulling off an early upset, American Shane Van Boening was working to avoid one of his own, coming back to defeat Austria’s Daniel Guttenberger, 8-6.

Guttenberger controlled the match throughout the first half, jumping out to a commanding 5-1 advantage until Van Boening won five of the next six games to catch the Austrian in the 12th game. With a crowd now surrounding the table, the American failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 13th game but didn’t leave an opening on the 1 ball either. After his opponent played a safety, Van Boening successfully jumped the ball in and cleared table to take the lead, then took advantage of a missed bank shot by Guttenberger in the following rack to secure an 8-6 victory.

Approximately 50 feet away, Filipinos Lee Van Corteza and Roberto Gomez were locked in a battle of their own, with Corteza outlasting his fellow countryman, 8-7.

After splitting the first 10 games of the match, Corteza took advantage of a dry break by his opponent to win the next two games and take a 7-5 lead. Gomez snagged two games back to again tie the score heading into the match-deciding rack and, after making two balls on the break in the deciding game, Gomez won a safety exchange on the 2 ball but left an opening on a similar exchange on the 4 ball. Corteza used window to clear the table and advance to the next round where he will face Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet.

Later in the evening, two-time Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Skyler Woodward met former World 10-Ball champion Ko Ping-Chung, with the young man from Chinese Taipei pulling away down the stretch to defeat the American, 8-5.

Ko jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage until Woodward tacked on two racks of his own to tie the score. After splitting the next two games, the former champion traded safeties with his opponent in the ninth game until he found a window of opportunity and climbed through to regain the lead, then added a break-and-run to again push his lead to two racks. He appeared to be in position to increase his lead more until he missed a 6 ball in the 11th game, allowing Woodward to clear the table and cut the lead to a single game.

At the table now with a chance to again tie the score, Woodward failed to pocket a ball on the break and his opponent ran out to close to within a game of winning the match. When Ko couldn’t land a ball on the break in the following game, it appeared that Woodward was positioned to clear the table until he rattled the 9 ball in the corner pocket, handing Ko an 8-5 win.

In other matches from around the room, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan used an effective cut break paired with a handful of mistakes by reigning Alfa Las Vegas Open champion Wiktor Zielinski to cruise to an 8-1 victory and Albania’s Eklent Kaci jumped out to an early 5-0 advantage and defeat Joven Bustamante, 8-1.

The second day of competition begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Alcaide facing former U.S. Open champion Corey Deuel in an elimination match as well as Kaci taking on Radoslaw Babica of Poland and Ko Pin-Yi matching up against Petri Makkonen of Finland on the winner’s side.

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WPA Pool | Alblooshi stuns Alcaide while Van Boening Survives Day One of WPA World 10-Ball