BEARING DOWN FOR SURVIVAL
By Ted Lerner
(Doha, Qatar)–32 players saw their dreams of glory crash and burn after a busy day 2 of the 2012 WPA World 9-ball Championship came to a close here in searing hot Doha, Qatar.
The proceedings inside the Al Sadd Sports Club went pretty much to the script, unlike day 1 where upsets were the order of the day. All but one of the sport’s big name players won and will continue on in the group stages.
The day started with Groups 13 through 16 seeing their first action of the tournament. The Philippines’ Ronnie Alcano, runner up last year in this event, easily took down Singapore’s Toh Kian Han, 9-3. The USA’s Hunter Lombardo, one of only two Americans in this year’s championship, sprinted past Morrocan youngster Al Masskini, 9-2.
World number 8, Lee Van Corteza of the Philippines blanked Croatia’s Ivica Putnik 9-0. Japan’s Tohru Kurbayashi defeated New Zealand’s Ceri Worts, 9-6.
The Philippines’s Dennis Orcullo, definitely one of the top five favorites to win this event, had a tight tussle early with the UAE’s Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi, but prevailed 9-6. Also claiming wins were Germans Oliver Ortmann, and Ralf Souquet. The Netherland’s Nick Van den Berg had a tough opening match against the Philippines Joven Alba, but prevailed, 9-7.
All winners in the group stages need one more win to advance to the knockout stage in the final 64. The losers of each match headed over to the left side of the bracket where they would need to win twice to advance.
The rest of the day was given over to that left side of the bracket, where a single roll of the ball can spell ultimate doom for any visions of pool grandeur. In other words, one more loss and you’re history.
The most surprising early exit from this year’s event was from England’s Mark Gray. Gray is one of his country’s and Europe’s top talents and was a semi-finalist here last year, where he played gutsy pool in brutally pressure packed situations. But in his do or die match against Hong Kong’s very capable Lee Chenman, Gray fell victim to that mysterious malady that lurks throughout this sport; play great but the balls don’t behave.
“I didn’t miss a pot today,” Gray said afterward. “But I guess I didn’t get the rolls.” Gray’s only consolation is that he’ll be playing with Team England next week in Beijing at the brand new World Team Championship.
For the rest of pool’s top names, the afternoon and evening session of do or die matches spelled pure redemption. The Netherland’s Huidji See and Niels Feijen, Finland’s Mika Immonen, the USA’s Shane Van Boening, and England’s Chris Melling all put in solid efforts to win handily. All are still on the chopping block but will need one more win to advance to the single elimination stage.
The Philippines contingent, which is backed by a vocal throng of overseas Filipinos who work and reside in Doha, bounced back nicely on day 2. Elvis Calasang, Joven Alba, Israel Rota and Raymond Faraon all won in do or die matches are still alive in the event.
The Al Sadd Sports Club is sure to back packed to the rafters on day 3 as Filipino and world pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes sees action in round two of the winner’s side. Reyes is sure to be received like a rock star by his fellow Filipinos.
The group stages continue on Day 3 with winners’ side matches. All winners of these matches advance to the final 64, while the losers will get one more shot.
The final 64 will begin single elimination play on June 27th. The semi-finals and finals will take place on June 29th. The winner will receive $40,000, while the runner up with take home $20,000.
The WPA will be providing full up to the minute coverage of the 2012 World 9-ball Championship via its website at www.wpapool.com. There you can follow the action through our live scoring platform, articles with insights and analysis, and updated brackets. Fans can also get updates via the WPA Twitter page, @poolwpa.com.
*Note: The WPA has experienced technical difficulties with its live scoring platform. We expect to have it fixed by Day 3. In the meantime, fans can also access live scoring through the official website of the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation at: http://www.qbsf.net/en/live_score.php.
For the latest photos from the 2012 World Pool Championship, CLICK HERE
*The World Pool And Billiard Association(WPA) is the international governing of the sport of pocket billiards.
Day 2 Results, Group Stages, Opening Matches
Ronnie Alcano(PHI) 9 – 3 Toh Lian Han(SIN)
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 2 Al Masskini(MAR)
Antonio Gabica(PHI) 9 – 4 Andrea Klasovic(CRO)
Denis Grabe(EST) 9 – 7 Salaheldeen Alrimawi(UAE)
Lee Van Corteza(PHI) 9 – 0 Ivica Putnik(CRO)
Marlon Caneda(PHI) 9 – 6 Francisco Diaz Pizarro(ESP)
Tohru Kurbayashi(JPN) 9 – 6 Ceri Worts(NZL)
Majed Alazmi(KUW) 9 – 3 Nguyen Anh Tuan(VIE)
Dennis Orcullo(PHI) 9 – 6 Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi(UAE)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 9 – 6 Richard Jones(GBR)
Jonny Martinez(VEN) 9 – 8 Raymond Faraon(PHI)
Andrew Kong(HKG) 9 – 6 Hori Ryouji(JPN)
David N. Anderson(RSA) 9 – 4 Henrique Correia(POR)
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 2 Israel Rota(PHI)
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 7 Joven Alba(PHI)
Nayf Abdel Afou(JOR) 9 – 5 Lee Wan Su(KOR)
Day 2 Results, Group Stages, Losers Bracket
Winner stays in, Loser is out of the tournament
Huidji See(NED) 9 – 6 Philipp Stojanovic(CRO)
Mohammed Ali Berja(LIB) 9 – 7 Hwang Yong(KOR)
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 9 – 4 Abdulwahed Al Awad(KSA)
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 – 5 Sundeep Gulati(IND)
Chris Melling(GBR) 9 – 5 Aloysius Yapp(SIN)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 0 Abdulatif Fawal(QAT)
Waleed Majeed(QAT) 9 – 1 Rajandran Nair(RSA)
Lee He Wen(CHN) 9 – 4 Edwin Montal(CAN)
Do The Kien(CHN) 9 – 5 Mohd Buainain(QAT)
Takashi Uraoka(JPN) 9 – 6 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 1 Mohd Al Bin Ali(QAT)
Dmitri Jungo(SUI) 9 – 5 Robby Foldavi(AUS)
Jalal Yousef(VEN) 9 – 2 Dang Jin Hu(CHN)
Ryu Seung Woo(KOR) 9 – 8 Hanni Alhowri(UAE)
Lee Chenmen(HKG) 9 – 5 Mark Gray(GBR)
Serge Das(BEL) 9 – 5 Luis Lemus(GUA)
Lo Li Wen(TPE) 9 – 3 Oliver Medenilla(PHI)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 2 Mazen Berjawi(LIB)
Takhti Zarekani(IRI) 9 – 7 Alaa Bata(QAT)
Dominic Jentsch(GER) 9 – 4 Harvey Shognosh(CAN)
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 6 Hamza Alsaeed(ERI)
Elvis Calasang(PHI)9 – 8 Kuo Yi Che(TPE)
Mario He(AUT) 9 – 5 Alok Kumar(IND)
Imran Majid(GBR) 9 – 6 Mohamed Elassal(EGY)
Andrea Klasovic(CRO) 9 – 0 Salaheldeen Alrimawi(UAE)
Toh Kian Han(SIN) 9 – 3 Al Masskini(MAR)
Francisco Diaz Pizarro(ESP) 9 – 5 Ivica Putnik(CRO)
Ceri Worts(NZL) 9 – 8 Nguyen Anh Tuan(VIE)
Hori Ryouji(JPN) 9 – 3 Ali Saeed Alsuwaidi(UAE)
Raymond Faraon(PHI) 9 – 6 Richard Jones(GBR)
Joven Alba(PHI) 9 – 4 Henrique Correia(POR)
Israel Rota(PHI) 9 – 4 Lee Wan Su(KOR)