HOSTS OUT AS SPAIN AND AUSTRIA MAKE SEMIS

Photo: JP Parmentier/Matchroom Multisport

Quarter-finals
Greece 2-9 Austria
Spain 9–6 Great Britain A

Hosts Great Britain are out of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool after a 9-6 quarter-final defeat to Spain, who will now face Austria in the semi-finals at Morningside Arena, Leicester.

Austria were in fine form as they defeated Greece 9-2, before the host pair of Chris Melling and Jayson Shaw fell to Spain’s David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz after the Spaniards pulled away in the latter stages of the match.

It looked as though the early lead would go to Spain, but Alcaide missed on the 8 allowing the hosts to steal a 1-0 lead. Spain levelled but a clumsy attempted snooker by Sanchez-Ruiz left the 6 on for Britain in the next, and Shaw and Melling cashed in.

The scrappy start continued but at 3-3 Great Britain ran out from their own break and had an opportunity to make it 5-3 until Shaw scratched in unfortunate circumstances. The teams exchanged two more racks to make it 5-5 in the race-to-9 before Alcaide spotted a 4/9 carom to put Spain within three.

At that point Melling scratched and Spain had a two-rack lead, the first time either side had earnt that margin in the match and they were soon on the hill at 8-5. Great Britain pulled one back when Shaw made a high-pressure 1/9 but it was their last rack of the tournament as Spain completed a 9-6 win to move into the semi-finals.

“My partner played an amazing match,” said Alcaide. “I missed a couple of difficult shots but he gave me a lot of confidence.”

Sanchez-Ruiz added: “Austria will be a tough match, they have two players who are two of the best in the world but we believe in our game and will stay focussed on the next round. We are only thinking round-by-round so for us, the semi-final is the final.”

Austria’s Mario He and Albin Ouschan defeated Greek duo Nick Malaj and Alexander Kazakis to land their place in the last four. Austria had complete control of the early stages of the match and raced to a 4-0 lead. They looked sure to go five up but He missed a routine 9. The cue ball was on the rail but nonetheless it was a straightforward shot and it opened the door back into the match for Greece.

However, Kazakis and Malaj couldn’t capitalise and the 2017 champions restored their four-rack advantage. In the next rack Ouschan pulled off one of the shots of the tournament, making a long one and bringing the cue back down the table via two rails for perfect position on the 2.

That helped Austria pull five ahead and more clinical shooting took them to 7-1. Greece got their second rack on the board in the ninth but it was too little, too late; Austria reached the hill in the tenth and were into the semi-finals at the end of the 11th, a 9-2 victory marking one of the standout performances of the tournament so far.

“We had a pretty good start,” said Ouschan. “Mario played some incredible shots and that gave us some confidence. They missed a few balls and didn’t look too confident, but we took our chances.”

He added: “I played well before the missed 9 and I was able to forget it afterwards. It was important but I was able to forget it because we had a good lead.”

The semi-finals take place from 1:30pm on Sunday afternoon with the final a race-to-11 which begins at 6.30pm. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

CHAMPIONS CHINA CRASH OUT OF BETVICTOR WORLD CUP OF POOL

Quarter-Finals
China 5-9 Netherlands
Philippines 9
-5 Canada

Defending champions China have been knocked out of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool after losing their quarter-final clash with Netherlands 9-5 at Morningside Arena, Leicester, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and networks worldwide.

It remains, therefore, that no team has ever been able to successfully defend their title and Niels Feijen and Marc Bijsterbosch will go on the play the Philippines in Sunday afternoon’s first semi-final after the three-time winners defeated Canada in their last-eight encounter.

After six racks China and Netherlands were locked at 3-3 with neither losing from their own break but in the seventh the Dutch took the lead after China had the opening shot and in the very next rack Feijen made it a two-game lead with a golden break, the third of the tournament.

The Dutch duo opened up an even greater lead when they moved 7-4 ahead, and though China (Wu Jiaqing and Liu Haitao) narrowed the gap, Netherlands reached the hill 8-5 up.

Bijsterbosch had the break but Feijen needed to play safe on the 2 and Wu made an impressive jump to bank the object in response. However, Haitao’s subsequent jump to reach the 3 sent the cueball off the table and the Netherlands were in for the win.

“We are extremely happy, of course,” said Feijen, twice a finalist at this event. “We are happy to be back in the semi-finals. We are gelling incredibly well and Marc is a brilliant player, so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

They’ll meet three-time World Cup winners Philippines on Sunday afternoon after Carlo Biado and Jeff De Luna came from 4-1 down to beat Alex Pagulayan and John Morra of Canada.

Canada raced to a 4-1 lead but Philippines fought back and took six consecutive racks. The Canadians looked set to stop the Filipino momentum until Pagulayan got a tough roll in making the 4. The cue ball kissed the 9 into the jaws of the right corner pocket and scratched to the left, leaving De Luna an easy 5/9 to get to the hill.

Canada finally got their fifth the following rack but it didn’t spark the revival they wanted and Philippines expertly ran the next to make the semi-finals.

The remaining two quarter-finals take place from 6.30pm this evening as Greece take on Austria and Spain come up against hosts Great Britain. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

GREAT BRITAIN FIGHT BACK TO REACH LAST EIGHT

Hong Kong, China 5–7 Austria
Spain 7-5 Finland
Poland 5–7 Great Britain

Hosts Great Britain battled from 4-1 down to beat Poland 7-5 and secure their place in the quarter-finals of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, England.

There were Friday evening wins too for Spain over Finland, and Austria, who defeated Hong Kong, China with both matches also ending 7-5 and the last eight is now set as the tournament moves into its closing stages on Saturday and Sunday, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and networks worldwide.

With Great Britain’s Chris Melling and Jayson Shaw having the home crowd on their side, it was Poland (Konrad Juszczyszyn and Mateusz Sniegocki) who took the first rack, ran the second and then benefited when Great Britain again couldn’t take advantage of having the break in the third.

The hosts got on the board after Shaw executed a good safety from a push out, and Poland then left the 1 on. But Britain again couldn’t take advantage of having the break, this time Melling missing a 6 when they looked to be heading to 3-2, and instead Poland made it 4-1


After their faltering start, Great Britain battled back to level the match and then led for the first time at 5-4. They moved to the hill soon after, but Poland weren’t done yet and pulled a rack back before Shaw and Melling closed out the match to complete the quarter-final line-up.


“They played really well at the start but we didn’t really come out firing,” said Shaw. “We played a couple of silly shots, letting them get in front but we told each other we would get a chance and when we did we took it to go in front.”


Melling added: “I struggled there; early on I was struggling with confidence. Luckily for me I have one of the best players in the world on my team. If we can win playing like that who knows what can happen when we play well.”


The session opener saw Mario He and Albin Ouschan in ruthless form for Austria. Finalists last year and winners in 2018, they ran to a commanding 6-1 lead, capitalising on some sloppy pool by Hong Kong, China.


Knowing they couldn’t afford another mistake, and would probably need some luck along the way as well, Lo Ho Sum and Yip Kin Ling took out the next rack and when Austria broke dry in the next, a 5/9 combo presented itself and Sum took advantage. They took the next rack on their own break and had another chance almost immediately as Austria broke dry. From 6-1 down Hong Kong, China had pulled to within one.


But at that stage Austria regained control of the table, and eventually got their seventh match on the board to progress to a quarter-final clash with Greece.


The last of the quarter-finals will see Spain face Great Britain, after David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz won a match in which momentum’s pendulum swung first to Spain, then to Finland and finally back to Spain.

The Spanish pair established a 4-1 lead over Petri Makkonen and Mika Immonen, only for the 2012 champions to fight back and go 5-4 up. At that point, though, the impetus switched again and Spain levelled before reaching the hill and then coming out on top after an error-strewn 12th to book their spot in the last eight.

The quarter-finals are race to 9 and take place over two sessions on Saturday with the semi-finals and final on Sunday. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

CANADA TAKE DRAMATIC ROUTE TO QUARTER FINALS AS PHILIPPINES AND GREECE EDGE THROUGH

Round Two
Philippines 7-5 Albania
Canada 7–6 Estonia
Chinese Taipei 5-7 Greece

Canada beat Estonia in a dramatic hill-hill clash to reach the last eight of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool, while there were also wins for Philippines over Estonia and Greece against Chinese Taipei on Friday afternoon at the Morningside Arena, Leicester.

Three-time World Cup winners the Philippines (Carlo Biado and Jeff De Luna) fell 3-1 behind against the Albanian team of Eklent Kaci and Besar Spahiu but the Asian side then won five consecutive racks to reach the hill in the race-to-seven clash. Albania fought back and ran the tenth before benefitting from De Luna’s dry break in the 11th to cut the deficit to just one.

Then, with the match threatening to move towards hill-hill, De Luna pulled off a brilliant cut to the middle to make the 7 and the remaining two balls were easy for the Filipino pair, who have now equalled their 2018 showing of reaching the quarter-finals.

They’ll meet Canada after Estonia’s Denis Grabe and Mark Magi snatched defeat from the jaws victory, a mistake from the latter gifting the match to Alex Pagulayan and John Morra when it looked like the Europeans would clean up at hill-hill.

Estonia took the lead with a smart 3/9 and when John Morra missed an 8-ball bank for Canada, it was an easy out for Estonia. They picked up two more racks and led 4-0 before Canada got on the board but when they did, they strung together a three-pack. A Grabe 5/9 gave Estonia a two-rack advantage and although Canada replied immediately, Estonia were able to reach the hill at 6-4 ahead.

Canada caught them and at 6-6 the pressure got the better of Magi, who played terrible position on the 7, locking the cue up against the object ball. Grabe then scratched trying to retrieve the situation, and Canada completed the set for the match.

“I don’t know where to begin with that one,” said Morra. “We struggled from game one but we fought to the bitter end so I am proud of us. We have to try and go back and feel how we did in the first match; we felt good and were in control but this time we got behind.

“We lost to Philippines in 2012 where they had a big home crowd behind them, but this year we don’t have to face that crowd, we just have to play well.”

The session’s closing match also went the distance. It was nip and tuck all the way between the Ko brothers Pin Yi and Ping Chung for Chinese Taipei and Greek duo Alexander Kazakis and Nick Malaj, and after ten of the 13 racks it was 5-5.

Greece were the first to the hill and had Kazakis breaking for the match. The one ball was down but there wasn’t a shot on the two. Greece pushed out and after both teams visited the table, Ping Chung attempted to jump a group of balls in the centre of the table to reach the two, but sent the cue flying off the table. Ball in hand was what Greece wanted but Malaj played poor position on the 6 and Kazakis opted for the safety. They were soon back at the table and despite Kazakis being left a tricky shot on the 7, which he could only just see behind the 9, this time they closed out the match.

The second round concludes on Friday evening, with Great Britain against Poland one of three matches. The quarter-finals take place on Saturday with the semi-finals and final on Sunday. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

CHINA SURVIVE ALMIGHTY CHILEAN SCARE TO REACH LAST EIGHT

Round One
Spain 7–5 Australia
Round Two
China 7-6 ChileNetherlands 7-3 USA

Defending champions China survived a huge scare against Chile in the second round of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool, eventually progressing to the quarter-finals with a 7-6 victory at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and networks worldwide.

The Chilean pair of Enrique Rojas and Alejandro Carvajal had taken an early 2-0 lead before being pegged back by China (Wu Jiaqing and Liu Haitao), Wu making a golden break before the defending champions levelled.

Latin American champions Chile, though, we’re unperturbed and worked their way to a 5-3 lead. At that stage they looked set to reach the hill but Carvajal made a mess of the 7 ball, and China were back to within one. It was the turning point China needed. In the next rack it was Chile’s break, one which could have been golden as the 9 sat up in the corner pocket but nothing fell and China had the table.

The combo wasn’t immediately available but after taking down the 1, 2 and 3 the 4/9 presented itself and China were level. They ran the following rack to reach the hill, making it four in succession and looked to be closing out the match until Liu left the 8 hanging over the pocket, setting Chile up to give a fitting conclusion to a match which defined the phrase ‘hill-hill thriller’.

It was China to break in the decider and Liu had the 1 down. Wu then made a powerful 2/6, the table opened up, and the defending champions progressed by the skin of their teeth.

The second last-16 match saw Netherlands (Niels Feijen and Marc Bijsterbosch) up against 2017 runners-up Shane van Boening and Skyler Woodward of America. USA took the first two racks but their opponents took the next two. The Dutch then moved two ahead themselves at 5-3, capitalising on a Woodward scratch in the eighth. Two-time World Cup runners-up Netherlands were in clinical form and took advantage of another American mistake – this time from Van Boening – to go 6-3 up and when the US No.1 left a 3 hanging in the subsequent rack, Netherlands cleared for the match.

In the last of the first-round fixtures, Spain looked on the ropes before eventually defeating Australia 7-5. Australia had raced into a 2-0 lead and extended that after Sanchez-Ruiz left the 9 in the jaws. They could have gone further ahead but Stone played poor position leaving Sajich a tough 9. He tried to double bank it but left the shot on for Sanchez-Ruiz, who made a pivotal pot for Spain, only for Australia to re-establish their three-rack lead.

A break and run settled things again for Spain and they followed it up with two more successful racks to level at 4-4. Australia regained their advantage and looked set to get to the hill until Sajich missed the 7. The cue settled behind the 9 and Alcaide attempted the jump. At that stage the luck Australia had on their side switched allegiance. World Pool Masters champion Alcaide missed the pot but the 7 travelled to the centre of the table where it kicked the 9 into the middle pocket, and rather than being 6-4 down, Spain were all square.

Australia then broke dry and as Sanchez-Ruiz made the 1, again the 9 took a kick and sat in the jaws of the corner pocket, giving Alcaide a 2/9 carom which took Spain to the hill, and breaking for the match.

Spain’s cue ball control wasn’t as tight as they might have liked in the final rack and a tough position on the 7 forced an error from Sanchez-Ruiz. Stone had to cut it, and with the shot clock ticking down was forced to rush his shot. He made the object ball but the power on the cue ball sent it off the top rail and to the bottom right pocket, scratching to give Spain a place in the last 16.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

TWO FORMER CHAMPIONS THROUGH AT BETVICTOR WORLD CUP OF POOL

Austria 7–3 Croatia
Finland 7–5 Singapore
Poland 7-5 Italy

Former champions Austria and Finland are both through to the second round of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool after wins over Croatia and Singapore respectively, while Poland have also advanced to the last 16 after surviving a scare against Italy at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, England.

The day’s opening fixture pitted Austria, winners in 2017 and runners up last year, against Croatia, whose pairing of Philipp Stojanovic and Roberto Bartol had won the European Qualifier to earn their spot at the event.

Austria were again represented by Albin Ouschan and Mario He, but it was the unseeded team who drew first blood after Ouschan missed a long 2. The first six racks were split before Austria moved into a 4-3 lead with the help of a fluked snooker and when Bartol missed the 5 in the next rack, last year’s silver medallists were able to take advantage to earn a two-rack lead.

From there, Austria’s momentum built; they reached the hill at 6-3 and the match was won one rack later after Croatia conceded ball in hand.

“It was a tough match, very close, and I wasn’t feeling great,” admitted He. “I missed an easy 7 ball and I hooked my partner on an easy position, but Albin played really well and he gave me the confidence to come back into the match.”

“Everybody who is in the last 16 can win this tournament; there is no really big favourite. We saw in the first round that in a race to seven anything is possible,” added Ouschan.

Another pair of former champions, Finland, were up next against Singapore. Petri Makkonen and Mika Immonen had lifted the World Cup trophy in 2012 but faced a tricky opener against Aloysuis Yapp and Sharik Aslam Sayed.

The Finnish pair built a 4-2 lead but a missed combo by Makkonen helped Singapore turn things around for a 5-4 advantage. The 2012 champions arrested their slide and took the next two racks to move to the hill at 6-5 ahead.

Immonen had the break and made the 6 but the 1 was hidden behind the 7. Makkonen picked up his jump cue and sunk the object ball before Immonen followed his partner’s attacking lead in banking the 2 to open up the frame for his team.

They kept control of the table for the rest of the rack to run out for victory and will meet either Spain or Australia in the second round.

“We got away with a little scare when they were 5-4 ahead but we closed it out in good fashion,” said Immonen. “I missed a combo to go 5-3 ahead and after that the match turned, but we got away with it.

“At the end I broke well but Petri was hidden from the 1 so I said go to for the jump and see what happens. He made a good shot and then I made the bank so we both made some good shots in the last rack to win it. The first match can always be a bit jittery as you try to get the feel of the table and how the balls are running. It’s always nice to get the first win.”

In the final match of the afternoon, Poland (Konrad Juszczyszyn and Mateusz Sniegocki) raced to a 4-0 lead over Italy. At that stage a brilliant shot from Fabio Petroni propelled him and Danielle Corrieri back into it. The former Mosconi Cup star had to jump the 7 to reach the 6, which he then banked up table. Cueing was difficult, so he had to use to bridges in order to make the shot which set Italy on their way to four consecutive racks.

With the match level, Poland responded and then immediately reached the hill. Italy pulled another back to make it 6-5, at which point Corrieri produced an excelled jump shot to make the 2 but, as the match looked set the hill-hill, the younger of the Italian due went in-off while potting the 7, giving Poland ball in hand and the match.

The first round of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool concludes on Thursday evening with Spain taking on Australia before the last 16 commences with China vs. Chile and Netherlands vs. USA. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

GREAT BRITAIN THROUGH AS CANADA AND GREECE ADVANCE

Canada 7-2 France
Greece 7–3 New Zealand
Great Britain A 7-5 Malta

Hosts Great Britain A progressed safely into the second round of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool after seeing off Malta at the Morningside Arena, Leicester on Wednesday evening, when there were also wins for Canada and Greece.

Jayson Shaw and Chris Melling were flying the flag for the host nation and were up against Malta – Clayton Castaldi and billiards legend Tony Drago – and avoided the potential banana skin and a Maltese fightback as they moved into round two with a 7-5 win. Earlier in the evening Canada had beaten France 7-2, while Greece were 7-3 victors over New Zealand.

The hosts were well supported but it was Malta who took the first rack, before Great Britain levelled. Malta had a chance to go 2-1 ahead but Drago missed a tricky cut to the middle on the frame ball. Shaw had a long pot but secured the rack and instead it was Great Britain A who moved in front.

They built a 5-1 advantage before Malta were back on the board, and looked set to reach the hill at 6-2 before Melling missed an elementary 9 ball. Instead it was 5-3 and it wasn’t long until there was only one rack between the teams after Shaw failed to make a 4/9 which he’d usually expect to sink.

Great Britain had some thinking to do and in the next rack they found a way and finally got to the hill. Castaldi, though, have been breaking well all match and again gave his team a roadmap as they looked to stay in the match.

The Maltese runout piled the pressure on the hosts, who would break next knowing that if they let their opponents take the rack, it would be the visitors to break at hill-hill. But Shaw and Melling, who had looked strong early in the match, eliminated their mistakes when it mattered and booked their place in the second round.

“We played perfectly to get 5-1 up but then it was a bad 9 I missed,” said Melling. “We have played enough tournaments around the world to know that when you do make a mistake you can’t take it back, so you can’t dwell on it, you have to forget it straight away.”

Shaw added: “Every match is going to be tough, so it’s one match, one ball at a time. There is a lot of play left in this tournament and a lot of good teams.”

Earlier in the evening France were defeated by Canada, who had John Morra back in the side after missing last year’s World Cup in Shanghai, alongside Alex Pagulayan. The 30-year-old has switched style and is now playing left-handed due to back issues and looked just as good as ever as a southpaw. Canada took a quick 2-0 lead and despite being pegged back in the third, gave their French opponents Alex Montpellier and Fabio Rizzi a mountain to climb as they move to 5-1 ahead.

France got their second rack on the board to narrow the gap to 5-2, but Canada responded to reach the hill and took little extra time in securing the victory and a second-round clash with Estonia.

New Zealand took the lead in their match against the Greek team of Alexander Kazakis and Nick Malaj, Matt Edwards playing a smart plant for the 4/9 combo. His playing partner, Simon Singleton, was born in the UK and had plenty of support in attendance in Leicester. But the New Zealand followers would be disappointed, as Greece responded to going behind with five consecutive racks.

When Malaj missed the 3 with a jump shot, New Zealand cleared for their second rack. They broke dry but Kazakis scratched on the 1 and the Kiwis worked the table for their third. The comeback was short lived, however, and Greece were soon scoring again and took the next two racks for the match. They will face Chinese Taipei in round two. 

Play continues with the remaining four first-round matches and the first two second-round fixtures played across two sessions on Thursday. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

GERMANY AND JAPAN DUMPED OUT OF BETVICTOR WORLD CUP OF POOL

Germany 6-7 Estonia
Japan 4-7 Hong Kong, China
Chinese Taipei 7
–2 Romania

Germany and Japan were dumped out of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool on Wednesday afternoon as Estonia and Hong Kong, China upset the odds at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and networks worldwide.

There were no such problems for Chinese Taipei, however, as brothers Ko Pin Yi and Ko Ping Chung defeated Romania 7-2.

The first match of the day saw one of the pre-tournament favourites, Germany, take on Estonia, made up of Denis Grabe and Mark Magi. The German team comprised former World Cup winner Ralf Souquet and reigning World Champion Joshua Filler and were fancied by many to go all the way this year.

The teams exchanged the first eight racks, although at 1-1 Grabe snatched at the 9 to leave Souquet a cut which the former World Cup winner missed, giving Estonia a let off.

At 4-3 down and breaking, Magi made the tournament’s first golden break to bring the match level, and from there Estonia opened up a 4-6 lead. Germany pulled one back on their break, but at 6-5 Estonia looked to have a roadmap to the second round. However, Magi scratched to the middle pocket and the German’s took it to hill-hill.

At that stage Souquet and Filler took a toilet break, keeping Estonia in their chair to dwell on the mistake. When they returned, Souquet was breaking but they lost position on the 5 and it was Estonia who got the better of the safety, and eventually the rack, for a 7-6 win.

“We are delighted with the win,” said Grabe. “We beat one of the top seeds, Germany. We know Joshua Filler is the World Champion so it was a tough match but we played well and we are happy with the win.

“We know we are capable of playing really, really well. Last year we only lost 7-6 to the winners, China, so we know we can play against these guys.”

The second match saw a second unseeded team advance as the young duo of Lo Ho Sum and Yip Kin Ling took Hong Kong, China into the second round. They dumped Japan – Naoyuki Oi and Toru Kuribayashi – out 7-4.

The Japanese favourites stormed to a 3-0 lead but Hong Kong, China fought back to level the all-Asian affair. The 19-year-old Yip then executed a brilliant jump to bank the 3 as his side moved ahead for the first time. Japan hit back but from there it was all Hong Kong and the young pairing saw out the victory to advance to the second round.

Among the pre-tournament favourites were Chinese Taipei, and the Ko brothers Pin Yi and Ping Chung showed none of the issues suffered by some of the seeded teams as they dispatched Romania 7-2.

Having fallen behind in rack one, the Romanian duo Babken Melkonian and Ioan Ladanyi levelled after breaking in the second. Chinese Taipei, though, were on the hill before Romania could get their second rack and the comeback was over before it started, a mistake on the 8 gifting Chinese Taipei the rack, and the match.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool continues with three more first round matches, including hosts Great Britain A against Tony Drago’s Malta.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

CHILE STUN GREAT BRITAIN B AS USA AND PHILIPPINES ADVANCE

Chile stunned Great Britain B at the BetVictor World Cup of Pool on Tuesday, dumping the hosts out of the tournament with a 7-5 first-round victory at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

There were wins for Philippines and USA during the evening session, but the big story was Chile. As hosts, Great Britain have two teams in the event, and it was Enrique Rojas and Alejandro Carvajal who had the unenviable task of facing the ‘B’ team of Mark Gray and Imran Majid in front of their home crowd.

But the South American pairing rose to the occasion and matched the host nation throughout. The race-to-seven match reached 4-4 without either side opening up more than a one-frame lead. Chile moved to the hill at 6-4, and though Great Britain B pulled one back, they couldn’t force the decider as the visitors closed out the match for a memorable win and to set up a second-round encounter with defending champions China.

That came after Carlo Biado and Jeff De Luna were pushed all the way in the tournament’s first hill-hill thriller as the Philippines survived an almighty scare against the Czech Republic pairing of Roman Hybler and Michael Gavenciak.

At no point during the match did either side open up a lead of more than one rack, and it was the Czechs who reached the hill first, but their sixth dry break allowed the Philippines to run out and join them, giving a fitting conclusion to a gripping clash.

It was Biado to break in the decider, and with the 1 down the table offered an opportunity to clear. Biado, though, missed a straight 5, which came to rest back along the top rail. Hybler attempted to bank it down table but, as well as missing, he left De Luna a clear shot. This time the Philippines made no mistakes and saw out the match to set up a second-round clash with Albania. 

Earlier in the evening USA had defeated Brazil 7-2. Shane van Boening and Skyler Woodward, finalists at the World Cup in 2017 and Mosconi Cup winners last December, were not at their best but still managed a convincing win over the struggling Brazilians and will meet Holland in round two on Thursday evening.

“We didn’t really play well,” said Van Boening. “We had a problem with our luggage, Skyler’s cues didn’t show up until two hours before the match. We were running around trying to get his bag so he could play, so we didn’t get much practice before the match.”

Play continues with six more first round matches across two sessions on Wednesday, including hosts Great Britain A in action against Tony Drago’s Malta. The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is broadcast live in over 100 countries around the world, including on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.

CHINA CRUSH SWEDEN AS ALBANIA AND NETHERLANDS ADVANCE

Photo Credit JP Parmentier/Matchroom Multi Sport

BetVictor World Cup of Pool – Round One

China 7-1 Sweden
Russia 3-7 Albania
Holland 7-2 South Africa

Defending champions China are safely through to the second round of the BetVictor World Cup of Pool after a commanding performance over Sweden, in a session which also saw Albania beat Russia and Netherlands see off South Africa at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and networks around the world.

The opening session of the $250,000, 32-team event saw China’s Wu Jaiqing and Liu Haitao fire a warning shot to the rest of the field with a resounding 7-1 win as they look to become the first team to successfully defend a World Cup title.

They were gifted the first rack when Tomas Larsson missed a simple 6 and took the subsequent three racks for a 4-0 lead. Sweden, whose team also included European Mosconi Cup captain Marcus Chamat, got one on the board after Wu failed to cut a 4 up table but lost position on the 7 in the following rack. After a brief safety battle, US Open finalist Wu was left an open shot and China completed the set for a 5-1 advantage.

In winning the World Cup last summer, it was Wu who led the attack for China, with Liu perhaps not at his best. It was noticeable in this match that Liu was already performing better than he had 12 months ago, an ominous sign for the 31 teams hoping to rip the title from China’s grasp.

The final two racks required for victory came without Sweden returning to the table, and the reigning champions progressed through to round two with a 7-1 victory.

The second match saw some of Europe’s best young pool talents take to the table. For Albania Eklent Kaci was joined by Besar Spahiu, while Russia featured the fearsome pairing of Fedor Gorst and Ruslan Chinakhov.

The first six racks were shared but from 3-3 Albania opened up a two-rack advantage. They were then given ball in hand when Chinakhov missed the 5 ball, which was sat invitingly in the jaws of the corner pocket. Kaci was struggling with his cueing and couldn’t take immediate advantage, however on their next visit Albania did clear the table to move to the hill before securing their progression to round two with a 7-3 victory.

“We are very happy to progress to round two,” said Spahiu, who works as a full-time police officer. “We enjoyed the match, but we will hope to play better in the next round. The police force is good to me – if we keep winning they will let me take more time off, so let’s hope we keep winning.”

The session’s final match saw Netherlands up against South African twins Vincent and Richard Halliday. The Dutch pair of Niels Feijen and Marc Bijsterbosch raced to a 3-0 lead but the latter scratched with just three balls remaining, allowing their opponents to clear.

The Dutch moved 6-1 ahead before South Africa got another rack on the board, but it took just one more rack for the Netherlands to complete the victory and join China and Albania in round two. All three will find out their next opponents during this evening’s session, which begins at 7pm local time.

The BetVictor World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator are the Official Cue of the event and Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip.