Rise of the upstarts
Shock upsets send the big boys packing as the field at the 2014 World 9-ball Championship gets down to the final 32.
By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer
Photos Courtesy of Richard Walker
(Doha, Qatar)–Pool’s next generation of superstars took a giant leap towards claiming their place in the sun today, producing a slew of shocking and unexpected results as the field at the 2014 World 9-ball Championship was cut in half from 64 players down to 32.
It was an extraordinary day given over to unknown upstarts, newcomers, fearless young guns, and a few wily but unheralded veterans, all of whom seemed to collectively state to pool’s elite that it was time for some new and different names to grab the headlines for a change.
So how bad was it for pool’s biggest names? Well, here’s a statistic that could come straight from the crime blotter; five former world 9-ball champions, and the defending champion Thorsten Hohmann all went down to defeat. Heavy favorites like the Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo and Lee Van Corteza also were sent home.
The remaining field still comprises two former world champions, and plenty of pool’s top ranked players. And when they set off tomorrow with all these fresh faces in the mix, the results are likely to remembered for some time to come. That’s because Thursday’s breakneck schedule will see the remaining 32 players whittled down to just four by the end of the day. The semi-finals and finals will them be contested on Friday.
The tone of the day was set early in the first session by Qatar’s very own Waleed Majid. On paper the 26 year old Qatari had no chance against world number four Lee Vann Corteza, who was tapped by some to win this world title. Majid had never before even gone beyond the group stages.
Majid, though, played like he was the one pegged for greatness. Smooth, confident, fearless, the Qatari played near flawless 9-ball, putting the Filipino on the ropes early and keeping him there until the very end and taking an impressive 11-6 victory. It’s the first time a Qatari pool player has ever reached the round of 32 in the World Championship.
While drinking in the hugs, kisses and accolades of his fellow countrymen, Majid revealed that playing the world’s best players doesn’t scare him, but rather it motivates him to play beyond his own capabilities
“During the match I always just look at the table,” Majid said. “I don’t look at my opponent. But before the match if I see I’m playing a world class player, then that really helps me concentrate and play better.
“I felt good in practice before the World 9-ball Championship. I want to do good because I want to help pool in Qatar. I will give everything to help Qatar because Qatar supports me.”
Majid said that before the tournament, he actually had the fervent desire to meet 2012 World 9-ball champion Darren Appleton, a wish which will now come true in the round of 32 on Thursday in front of what promises to be a very one-side home town crowd.
“Before the tournament I was actually hoping to play Darren Appleton. I want to test my skills. I’m ready to play him. I will try my best and hopefully I can win and bring a big honor to Qatar and Qatar Billiard Federation.”
Appleton would present a very formidable obstacle to even the most seasoned veteran as he is clearly playing at the top of his extraordinary game. The Brit found himself up against fellow Englishman and good friend Daryl Peach in a match of two former champions. Appleton got off to a quick start and never looked back and cruised to an easier than expected 11-3 win.
Appleton said not only was he feeling confident about his game, but he was feeling very relaxed and comfortable in the Al Saad Sports Club. It was in this very building two years ago where Appleton had his greatest triumph, winning the World 9 ball Championship in a thriller against China’s Li He Wen.
“I feel at home here in the Al Saad because this is where I won the World 9-ball Championship in 2012. Last year they had the tournament in another venue so in a way I feel like I’m defending my title. I have a lot of fond memories here. And I’d like to create a few more in the next few days.”
The Philippines Dennis Orcollo was expected to create a major memory this year, but the Filipino star ran into a streaking Naoyuki Oi of Japan. Oi, who reached the semis here two years ago, has a marvelous game when he gets his engine cranked and today he played in full gear from the beginning. Orcollo fell behind big early and never recovered, as Oi held him off for an 11-8 win.
Two more Filipinos fell by the wayside early to two of the tournaments impressive young guns. China’s Wang Can certainly seems headed for big things and today he continued his imposing play as he won a stingy victory over the Philippines Warren Kiamco, 11-8. Austria’s young Mario He appears to be coming into his own and looked solid in outlasting former world champ Alex Pagulayan 11-9.
While Filipino fans were in shock at the early exit of many of their big names, several others, including a few newer players, stepped into the void to grab the limelight. Last year’s semi-finalist Carlo Biado played strong today, as did Johann Chua who continued to look brilliant with a dominating performance over Italy’s Daniele Corrieri, 11-4. Raymond Faraon and Elmer D. Haya, two relative unknowns who toil as overseas workers teaching pool in the Middle East also advanced with solid wins.
Canada’s Jason Klatt has been on the scene for a few years but he has never looked better than in the last few days.. The 28 year from Selkirk, Canada, and who now lives in Bloomington, Illinois, manhandled the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, 11-6. Klatt’s spent much of the last two years on the road in the US, playing tournaments, money games and practicing his craft. Much of this travel has been with his good friend, Darren Appleton. Klatt says the lessons learned from hanging around with a talent like Appleton are starting to sink in.
“Just being around a guy of his caliber rubs off,” Klatt said. “He was always telling me, ‘You’ve just got to believe in yourself.’ And I think I’m starting to see the results now.”
Later in the day Shane Van Boening kept the USA’s hopes alive with a hard fought win over Taiwan’s Chang Jung Lin. Former world champion Wu Jiaqing, now playing for China, finally showed his world class form with a drubbing of Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen, 11-4. Taiwan’s young Hsu Kai Lun and China Open champion Chiang Yu Lung also moved on.
Some the day’s best fireworks were saved for the last session of the day. The Czech Republic’s Roman Hybler has been on the scene for over ten years but hadn’t made much noise in about that much time. Today the 37 year old Hybler roared back into the pool spotlight with an impressive outing against former world champ Mika Immonen, winning 11-7.
“When I woke up today and went to the practice hall I felt good, I felt I had a chance today,” Hybler said. “If I can Mika, I can beat anyone.”
China’s Li He Wen, last year’s runner up Antonio Gabica, and Austria’s Albin Ouschan all put in solid efforts today to advance. The Philippines veteran Ramil Gallego, who lives in Japan, took hall of famer Ralf Souquet to the brink and squeaked by at the wire, 11-10, sending the German great home earlier than anyone expected.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire day happened at about the same time on the other side of the arena. Dutch newcomer Marc Teutscher was hanging around defending champion Thorsten Hohmann for much of their tense match. But absolutely nobody could imagine the 22 year old, playing in his very first world championship, could overtake the great German. But Teutscher kept battling away and after trailing for most of the match, finally took a late lead and held off Hohmann with some amazing pressure shots to pull off a shock win, 11-9.
Teutscher’s win was the perfect ending to an amazing day in pool. With many of the sport’s biggest names sent packing, and the appearance of many new names, young sharp shooters, and grizzled veterans rising to the fore, the next two days are sure to see some unusual and exciting turn of events as pool crowns a new world champion.
The round of 32 begins Thursday at 11am Doha 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/.
To view the brackets please visit this LINK
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
**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 Final 64
Wang Can(CHN) 11 – 9 Warren Kiamco(PHL)
Raymond Faraon(PHL) 11 – 5 Liu Cheng Chieh(TPE)
Elmer D. Haya(PHL) 11 – 4 Francisco Felicilda(PHL)
Hijikata Hayato(JPN) 11 – 8 Tanaka Masaaki(JPN)
Waleed Majed(QAT) 11 – 6 Lee Van Corteza(PHL)
Darren Appleton(GBR) 11 – 3 Daryl Peach(GBR)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 11 – 8 Andreas Gerwin(SWE)
Johann Chua(PHL) 11 – 4 Daniele Corrieri(ITA)
Mario He(AUT) 11 – 9 Alex Pagulayan(CAN)
Jeong Young Hwa(KOR) 11 – 9 Jason Shaw(GBR)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 11 – 3 Manuel Gama(POR)
Neils Feijen(NED) 11 – 4 Salaheldeen Al Rimawi(UAE)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 11 – 6 Meiszko Fortunski(POL)
Jason Klatt(CAN) 11 -6 Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 11 – 8 Dennis Ocollo(PHL)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11 – 3 Sundeep Galati(IND)
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 11 – 6 Fu Che Wei(TPE)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 11 – 4 Lo Li Wen(TPE)
Stephan Cohen(FRA) 11 – 5 Huidji See(NED)
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 11 – 9 Cheng Yu Hsuan(TPE)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 11 – 9 Chang Jung Lin(TPE)
Dang Jing Hu(CHN) 11 – 6 Karl Boyes(GBR)
Tohru Kuribayashi (JPN) 11 -9 Alexander Kazakis(GRE)
Nick Ekonomopoulos(GRE) 11 – 5Fabio Pertoni(ITA)
Antonio Gabica(PHL) 11 – 7 Medhi Rasekhi(IRI)
Ryu Seung Woo(KOR) 11 -9 Bruno Muratore(ITA)
Roman Hybler(CZE) 11 – 7 Mika Immonen(FIN)
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 11 – 5 Oliver Ortmann(GER)
Li He Wen(CHN) 11 – 7 Dimitri Jungo(SUI)
Marc Teutscher(NED) 11 – 9Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 11 – 8 Aloysius Yapp(SIN)
Ramiel Gallego(PHL) 11 – 10 Ralf Souquet(GER)