|Canadian hopefull Jason Klatt. Photo courtesy of Richard Walker|
By: Erik Hjorleifson
Once again the worlds best players are off to the races at the Al-Saad stadium in Doha Qatar for the 2015 World 9 Ball Championships. September 7th-11th played host to 4 qualifiers in which the top 4 from each tournament advanced to the main draw. Players that qualified consisted mostly of Filipino and Taiwanese players most notably Fong Pang Cao and Jeffrey Ignacio. The remaining qualified spots were won by players from the Middle East and a few from Japan.
Interestingly there are 41 players from Middle Eastern countries in this years event, approximately 8 of those qualified. In noticing this it kind of left me wondering how a third of the field ended up being from the Middle East. I believe that possibly Europe and North America did not fill all their required spots and they were awarded to Middle Eastern countries. It adds an interesting element to the tournament as tournaments such as the China Open and the World 10 Ball Championships are filled with players from more experienced countries compared to this years World 9 Ball Championships. In the early rounds of the tournament certain draws will be easier than others.
This years championships will once again follow the format that the WPA has adopted for World Championships and major events over the past 5 years. Players are placed into 16 groups of 8 and will play in a double knockout bracket with half the players advancing to the single elimination race to 11 stage. The double knockout portion is a race to 9, both stages are alternate breaks with the magic rack and the 1 ball on the headspot.
Day one saw groups 1 to 12 playing their opening rounds, first round matches are important in this format because the winners have two chances to advance to the final 64 single elimination part of the tournament.
Notable score lines from day 1
Ralf Soquet 9 Chang Jun Lin 8
Naouki Oi 9 Nick Van Den Berg 5
Ruslan Chinakov 9 Lee Van Corteza 6
John Morra 9 Mario He 8
Chin Shun Yang 9 Waleed Majid 6
|Shannon Ducharme. Photo courtest of Richard Walker.|
On the North American side Shane Van Boening and Mike Dechaine were victorious, Hunter Lombardo was defeated 9-6 by Satoshi Kawbata of Japan. For the Canadians World Championship rookies Tom Theriault and Shannon Ducharme were in action. Theriault won 9-7 and Ducharme drew a tough opponent in Wu Jiaqing 2 time former World Champion. Ducharme put up a good fight but went down 9-5. John Morra started off the tournament on a good note with a strong 9-8 win over Mario He from Austria, Jason Klatt also won his first round match 9-5.
On day two the remaining first round matches were completed and here were some notable scores:
|Karl Boyes. Photo courtesy of Richard Walker|
Ho Sum 9 Karl Boyes 5
Fong Pang Chao 9 Haitao Liu 6
Aloisius Yapp 9 Darren Appleton 5
Additionally, on day two the first round losers side matches were completed and the only threats to go winless in this years championships were Konstantin Stepanov and Marcus Chamat. The North American hopes were kept alive on the losers side with Hunter Lombardo and Shannon Ducharme posting wins.
|Hunter Lombardo. Photo courtesy of Richard Walker|
Day 3 will feature winners side matches with the winners of those advancing to the single knockout stage. Local time in Qatar is 7 hours ahead of eastern standard time which makes the timing of a lot of matches not ideal, general viewing time is between 5am and 3pm. Every match will once again be streamed from this years tournament by kozoom and access is completely free, what an opportunity for pool fans. You can view the stream at http://live.qbsf.qa/en/login, stay tuned to http://cuesportnation.com/ for daily updates from this years championships.