Team Europe still on track but first players have dropped out
Team Europe is still in a nice shape at the WPA World 9-Ball Championships for Under 19’s, Under 17’s and Girls which is currently held in Shanghai, China.
In the girls division, Kristina Tkach (RUS) and Marharyta Fefilava (BKR) were able to win their matches on the loser’s side. Tkach ousted Rachel Lang (USA) 7:1 and then had a thriller coming up against Xiong Shi Yan (CHN). Tkach took an early 3:1 lead but Xiong was able to pull back two racks from her to tie the match at 3:3. Tkach took a timeout and got some momentum from it. She took another two rack lead to turn the scoreboard to 5:3 in her favor. But China’s Xiong turned out to be a real tough fighter. She struck back and managed to tie the match at 6:6. Being on the hill, both players knew it was a do or die from now on. Xiong handled the pressure better and won the heartbreaker with 7:6, eliminating Kristina Tkach from the event. Marharyta Fefilava had to deal with Kayla Roloson (CAN). The first part of the match went definitely into Fefilava’s account. 3:0 was the intermediate result. Suddenly, Roloson started to fight back and the match heated up. It came again to a hill hill situation where Roloson missed the 6-ball and left the table with 4 balls remaining to Fefilava. The young girl from Belarus used that chance and took the victory with 7:6. The next match was the final destination for Fefilava. She had to face Jiang Teng (CHN) who ousted Fefilava with 7:5. The two remaining European girls, defending Champion Nataliya Seroshtan (RUS) and Kamila Khodjaeva (BEL), are still straight on track. Seroshtan won 7:2 over Wang Wan-Ling (TPE) while Khodjaeva handed a 7:0 doughnut to Yang Ji Young (KOR).
Sanjin Pehlivanovic (BIH) caused another upset in the Under 17’s division. He played Yip King Ning Leo (HKG) and furiously took a 5:1 lead. But then it seemed as if Pehlivanovic ran out of gas. He lost rack after rack and finally, Yip was able to win the loser’s round mastic with 7:6 and terminate the event for the young Bosnian. Cyriel Ledoux (NED) won 7:5 over Lo Ho Sum (HKG). The same result was good for Daniel Maciol (POL) who won over Alexander Tapiquen (VEN) 7:5 as well. Maxim Dudanets (RUS) joined his two teammates with a clear 7:4 victory over Zhang Gan Ting (CHN). These three players will play the quarterfinals tomorrow.
In the Under 19’s division, Patryk Statkiewicz (POL) and Raphael Wahl (GER) were already on the loser’s side while Joshua Filler (GER) and Pijus Labutis (LIT) are on the winner’s side. Statkiewicz defeated Jerry Quintero (VEN) 9:6 while Wahl ousted Devin Poteet (USA) 9:4. Then, Statkiewicz saw Xing Xiao Wei (CHN) as his opponent. The Polish played another match filled with ups and downs but remained victorious in the end with 9:6. Wahl came up with the next heartbreaker of the day. His match with Kim Su Ung (KOR) turned out to be a thriller which went over the full distance. At 8:8, Wahl kept his nerves together and won the match by a hair’s breadth with 9:8. Joshua Filler met Long Zehuang (CHN) who made his way in the tournament through the qualification rounds. The Chinese took an unexpected quick 5:1 lead over Filler. But the multiple European Youth Champion suddenly seemed to remember that he is in the event for a reason. He found his rhythm and won the match 9:6. Labutis played with Hsu Jui An (TPE). He dominated throughout the whole match and despite the fact that he also committed several unnecessary mistakes, Labutis won the encounter with 9:4.
If Statkiewicz and Wahl will win their next matches tomorrow, they will be in the quarterfinals as well as seven of their teammates.