EXPERIENCE CARRIES THE OPENING DAY
By Ted Lerner
WPA Press Officer
Photos Courtesy of Richard Walker
(Doha, Qatar)--Long time followers of the WPA World 9-ball Championship know that the event is always full of surprises. The upstarts, the unknowns, the unexpected seem to make a splash in each and every edition of pool’s crowning glory.
As this slowly building drama begins to rise towards a guaranteed thunderous climax six days from now, fans already know the upsets and shocks are going to start mounting. But while the newbies and nobody’s of pool will definitely make their noise, even more true is that good old fashioned sporting standards like experience, possessing a history of winning and performing under crushing pressure are generally going to carry the day.
As day one of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship commenced in this fabulously wealthy desert kingdom this most valuable of athletic tenants carried the storyline in one of the day’s better matches. The Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo would be among any betting man or woman’s top contenders out of the field of 128 players entered here in Doha. But in his first match in the group stage he drew a very difficult opponent in Canada’s Jason Klatt.
Down 6-4, then 8-6 in the race to 9 match, and clearly struggling to find his normally sensational groove, Orcollo was staring at the prospect of a long and arduous road back to reach the final 64. But then, in that manner that champions always put forth, the Filipino star managed to claw back and claim a very hard fought and nervy victory, 9-8. Afterward, Orcollo admitted he was slow to get a feel for the brand new Wiraka table. But he also admitted he’s been around long enough to know what to do when things don’t go your way.
“I felt uncomfortable with the table,” Orcollo said. “I struggled but I didn’t give up. You know I have a lot of experience. And I know that with pressure comes negative thoughts. It’s going to happen in pool. There’s nothing you can do about it. I just try to calm down and stay focused, stay positive and that’s what I did today.”
With the gritty win Orcollo moves to the winner side of his group bracket and now only needs to win one more match to advance to the money rounds. What could have been a disaster has, because of experience, turned into a battle hardening test that will clearly serve the Filipino well moving forward. It also should serve as a lesson for fans looking for an upstart to wreak havoc on the field. Yes, that’s a real possibility in this often wild and crazy sport that is loaded with new and burgeoning talent. But pool, like everything else, generally doesn’t operate outside the laws of the universe. Put a simpler way, the crème generally rises to the top.
There was plenty of tasty crème rising to the top in the 48 matches at the Al Saad Sports Club on Day 1 as most of the favorites claimed victory in the first day of group play. Defending champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany kicked things off with a 9-2 drubbing of India’s overmatched Sumit Talwar. His opponent in last year’s final, the Philippines Antonio Gabica, didn’t have near as easy a draw, as he found himself locked in battle with two time runner up Kuo Po Cheng of Taiwan.
Much like he did last year during his historic run to the finals, Gabica hung around for three fourths of the match, only to pull away at the end for a 9-5 win. Gabica, who’s lived in Qatar for five years and helps coach the Qatar national pool team, admitted afterward that he wasn’t thinking about last year’s finals debacle when nerves and pressure got the better of him and he blew a 6-4 lead to Hohmann. Gabica said this year he was feeling a different kind of pressure; the one that comes from just trying to put food on the family table.
“That’s too much pressure out there,” the friendly Gabica said after the match. “You know at this stage of the tournament if you lose, you don’t get prize money. That’s why I don’t think about last year. I just think about getting to the final 64. I want to get the prize money.”
One player who fans would love to see make a dash to glory is the USA’s Shane Van Boening. The three time and reigning US Open champion has the pedigree to win here in Doha. But Van Boening never seems to perform that well outside the borders of America.
Today Van Boening defeated Eritrea’s very talented Hamzaa M. Saeed Ali, 9-5. After his match, the American opened up about the reasons he feels why he hasn’t yet cracked the winners circle outside of the US borders.
“If it’s winner breaks, then I have a chance,” Van Boening said. “I won three US Opens and they were winner breaks. I’m a rhythm player. I like to run out and then keep playing. I don’t like to give my opponent a chance. I like to put a guy in his chair for a while. With the alternate break format I have a hard time getting in rhythm. “
The Philippines Hall of Famer Efren Reyes clearly couldn’t get in any rhythm today. Several hundred Filipino overseas workers showed up to cheer on their hero but came away disappointed as “Bata” never got in the match as he lost handily to Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa, 9-5.
Other favorites winning solidly today included former champions Mika Immonen of Finland, Germany’s Ralf Souquet, and Wu Jiaqing of China. Also notching solid performances were Greece’s Nick Ekonomopoulos, Niels Feijen of the Netherlands, the Philippines Carlo Biado, and England’s Karl Boyes.
A few dark horses made some noise during today’s four sessions and fans should definitely keep an eye on these upstarts who could wreak havoc in the coming days. China’s Wang Can is perhaps the best of this lot and he looked brilliant today in a 9-2 drubbing of the USA’s Brandon Shuff. Austria’s Mario He seems to have it together at just the right time, as he beat recent China Open winner Chang Yu Lung, 9-7. Ko Ping Chung, the younger brother of Taiwan star Ko Pin Yi, eked out a 9-8 win over Poland’s Karol Skowerski.
The Philippines Warren Kiamco is one of those players who could sneak up on the field in the later rounds. Today the veteran Kiamco carved out a solid 9-7 win over France’s Stephen Cohen. Singapore’s young Aloysius Yapp can’t realistically win this event, but he could stir the pot. Today the boyish Yapp defeated Mohamed Elassal of Egypt 9-5.
Great Britain’s Jasyon Shaw has certainly logged in a few miles in the past few years and is due to make some noise in a big event. He clearly brings the right attitude into the arena, and it’s something others might want to try and copy. That is, if they have the nerve to under all this pressure.
“You’ve gotta take your chances out here,” Shaw said after defeating Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin, 9-6. “If you don’t take chances, you might as well pack up your cue and go home.”
The group stages continue on Day 2 at the Al Saad on Sunday. All the losers will square off on Day 2 with 32 players being shown the exits by the end of the day’s play. The first session begins at 12 noon local time.(GMT +3)
**The 2014 World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Saad Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27. The winner of the 2014 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The runner up will receive $15,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
The players will be competing on Wiraka New Model Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Super Pro TV Balls.
The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation, which is once again hosting and organizing the World 9-ball Championship, will be providing free live streaming of the entire tournament on its website, http://live.qbsf.qa/.
The view the complete brackets for the Group Stages, please CLICK HERE
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner.
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;https://www.facebook.com/wpaworld9ballchampionship
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
For more information you can also visit the WPA website at www.wpapool.com. Fans can also visit the website of the Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation at; www.qbsf.qa
*The 2014 World 9-ball Championship will be held in Doha, Qatar from June 16-27,2014 and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA), the world governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. 128 players from across the globe will compete for the most prestigious prize in Men’s Pool. The 2014 World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.
RESULTS FROM DAY 1
Winners need one more win to advance to the Final 64. Losers move to the losers side of their group bracket. All groups are double elimination.
Thorsten Hohmann (GER) 9 – 3 Sumit Talwar (IND)
Tanaka Masaaki(JPN) 9 – 4 Mohamed Al Hosani(UAE)
Marco Teutscher(NED) 9 – 6 Mohd Al Bin Ali(QAT)
Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE) 9 – 5 Erik Hjorleifson(CAN)
Jalas Yousef(VEN) 9- 5 John Morra(CAN)
Tohru Kuribayashi(JPN) 9- 7 Scott Cooney(GBR)
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 9 – 5 Hasan Hwaida Idan(IRQ)
Dang Jing Hu(CHN) 9- 2 Dimitri Jungo(SUI)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 5 Hamzaa M. Saeed Ali(ERI)
Daniele Corrieri(ITA) 9 – 5 Alexander Kazakis(GRE)
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 9 – 4 Ahmad Taufiq(BRU)
Abdul Rahman Al Ammar(KSA) 9 – 5 Melkonyan Babken(ROU)
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 7 Ramil Gallego(PHL)
Mehdi Rasekhi(IRI)9 – 4 Mishel Turkey(QAT)
Antonio Gabica(PHL-QAT) 9 – 5 Kuo Po Cheng(TPE)
Michel Bartol(CRO) 9 – 3 Fahim Sinha(BAN)
Mika Immonen(FIN) 9 – 5 Liu Hai Tao(CHN)
Ryu Seung Woo(KOR) 9 – 6 Yukio Akagariyama (JPN)
Fabio Petroni(ITA) 9 – 5 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Waleed Majed(QAT) 9 – 2 Detlef Grzella(RSA)
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 1 Frailin Guanipa(VEN)
Abdulla Al Yusef(KUW) 9-3 Mohammed Hamouda(EGY)
Niels Feijen(NED) 9 – 4 Eric Lee(HKG)
Warren Kiamco(PHL) 9 – 7 Stephan Cohen(FRA)
Dennis Orcollo(PHL) 9 – 8 Jason Klatt(CAN)
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 8 Karol Skowerski(POL)
Jayson Shaw(GBR) 9 – 6 Chang Jung Lin(TPE)
Ivo Aarts(NED) 9 – 5 Abdulla Mohammad(UAE)
Roman Hybler(CZE) 9 – 5 Daryl Peach(GBR)
Hijikata Hayato(JPN) 9 – 6 Vilmos Foldes(HUN)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 3 Nour Wasfi Al Jarrah(JOR)
Tom Storm(SWE) 9 – 8 Glen Coutts(NZL)
Karl Boyes(GBR) 9 – 4 Sayeem Hossain(BAN)
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 8 Maj Al Azmi(KUW)
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 9 – 5 Efren Reyes(PHL)
Raymund Faraon(PHL) 9 – 8 Denis Grabe(EST)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 7 Stefan Sprangers(NED)
Elvis Calasang(PHL) 9 – 3 Marzen Berjaoui(LEB)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 5 Albin Ouschan(AUT)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) Alejandro Carvajal(CHI)
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 2 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 5 Mohamed Elassal(EGY)
Huidji See(NED) 9 – 3 Jurgen Jenisy(AUT)
Andreas Gerwen(SWE) 9 – 4 Mohammadali Pordel(IRI)
Mario He(AUT) 9 – 7 Chang Yu Lung(TPE)
Ali Obaidly(QAT) 9 – 4 Mohammad Ali Berjaoui(LEB)
Nick Economopoulos(GRE) 9 – 3 Christian Aguirre(ECU)
Nguyen Anh Tuan(VIE) 9 – 6 Francisco Felicilda(PHL)