32 Players Exit World 9-Ball Championship

One Big Name Surprise Among Big Names

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.

wpa 9 ball championship 32 Players Exit World 9 Ball Championship

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 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 Read more ...