July 15, 2022
Amit Advances with Come from Behind Victory in World Games First Round
Rubilen Amit 9-8 Pia Filler
When Rubilen Amit missed a 9-ball in the corner pocket in the 14th game and allowed her opponent, Germany’s Pia Filler, to snatch the rack and build an 8-6 lead, it appeared her chances to advance to the quarterfinals of the World Games were all but gone.
“I just it seemed as if I lost hope of winning,” she said after the match. “That was actually a crucial shot.”
Thankfully for her, a small group of Filipinos from the Birmingham area were in attendance encouraging her to keep fighting – which she did, using safety exchanges mixed with a little bit of luck to win three straight racks and defeat Filler, 9-8, Thursday night.
“I’m very grateful for them because they kept the energy for me, because there were times where my energy was quite low and I was kind of down,” she said.
Amit missed the 1 ball in the 16th rack but watched as the cue ball rolled into an accidental safety, which allowed her to regain control of the table, clear the rack and pull within one game. She would add on another win when her opponent scratched while attempting to kick at the 7 ball. With the score now tied,
Amit broke open the rack and left the 1 ball perfectly nestled in the jaws of the far corner pocket.
There was just one issue: the cue ball did not have a path to the object ball, instead blocked by a nearby 3 and 7 ball. Amit opted to use the “push out” rule, allowing her to push the cue ball anywhere on the table and offer the shot to her opponent, who can then either take it or decline. When Filler declined the shot, Amit soon realized she’d pushed the ball into an area of table that the vertically-challenged women could not reach, ultimately kicking at and failing to contact the object ball.
“When Pia returned a shot back to me, I was like smiling because I couldn’t reach the shot,” said Amit. “But then I was still quite still quite hopeful because the rack isn’t that easy to clear.”
Which is exactly what happened, as the German scratched after missing a sharp cut shot on the 3 ball. Amit the cleared the table to secure the win, as her newfound crowd of supporters erupted. “Their cheering was what was what kept me on was what kept me in the game,” said Amit.
Veronika Ivanovskaia 9-1 Soledad Ayala
Fellow German Veronika Ivanovskaia jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage and cruised to an easily 9-1 victory over Argentina’s Soledad Ayala in the opening match of the evening session of Thursday night’s round-of-16 competition.
“I played quite solid I would say,” said Ivanovskaia. “I made the right shots and stood calm. All in all, I would say it was a good performance.”
The German experimented with her break during the match due to the cue ball reacting differently on the left side of the table in comparison to the opposite side, ultimately finding a spot which worked for her down the stretch.
After climbing onto the scoreboard in the fifth rack, the Argentinian continued to battle throughout the match but was unable to capitalize on many opportunities.
Ivanovskaia will now face Amit in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz 11-8 Ko Ping-Chung
Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz produced six break and runs as he defeated Ko Ping-Chung 11-8 to reach the quarter-finals of Men’s Pool at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
The Spaniard is enjoying the most fruitful year of his career to date and produced a confident display to overcome a tough opponent in what was a tricky first-round draw.
It wasn’t until the 10th game that either player pulled more than one ahead of his opponent, and it was Sanchez-Ruiz who went 6-4 ahead before extending that lead to 7-4, benefitting from a little luck along with the way. Ko fought back to 7-6 but Sanchez-Ruiz arrived on the hill with a 10-7 lead.
Ko took the next game on his break, but Sanchez-Ruiz came up with his sixth runout of the match – the most by one player so far at The World Games – to complete the victory.
“It was an exciting match and I think I played really well but I had some luck in the middle of the match; I made two flukes,” said Sanchez-Ruiz. “I always take it round-by-round and I know Ko Ping-Chung is a champion so I stayed focused.
“A medal at The World Games would be like a dream, this tournament is so important for me. In the first half of the year I have won the Derby City Classic and a few weeks ago won the biggest title of my career [The World Cup of Pool] with my partner David Alcaide. I give 100 percent to every tournament and have played a lot, so I have to stay focused but I will keep trying my best.”
Sanchez-Ruiz has been taking advantage of the chance to compete alongside fellow Spaniard and three-time carom Gold medalist Dani Sanchez. “I learn a lot from Dani, he is one of the best players in the world. You have all disciplines here, lots of sports, and I am really happy to be here.”
Aloysius Yapp 11-3 Matt Edwards
Aloysius Yapp will form Sanchez-Ruiz’s opposition in the quarter-finals after an 11-3 win over New Zealand’s Matt Edwards. Yapp moved into a quick 3-0 lead before Edwards was on the board, but three games later Singapore’s Yapp was 6-1 ahead.
Edwards, struggling to get balls on the break, pulled himself back to 6-3 but Yapp took advantage of the New Zealander’s struggles and put five games together to complete a comfortable victory.
“Yapp is always a tough opponent,” said Edwards. “It’s the second time I have played him and he got revenge on me because I won last time. He is getting a lot of good results at the moment and I struggled a lot with the break. I was down early on and it is very difficult to comeback. I knew going down early on and him breaking quite well and shooting well would make it difficult to come back, so it was difficult to stay in the match.
“Without the break you have very little opportunity and when you do get one, a player like Yapp can play very good safety shots. I think he missed one ball but still hooked me, so it is frustrating when you’re not breaking well and then can’t execute the few opportunities you do get.”
Pedro Gonzalez 40, Sameh Sidhom 34
Colombia’s Pedro Gonzalez made the most of his first appearance in the World Games, using two breaks of five points to jump out to an early lead and defeat Egypt’s Sameh Sidhom, 40-34, in a tight opening round-of-16 match Thursday evening in Birmingham.
Sidhom took an early 4-1 advantage but Gonzalez would quickly obtain a lead that he would not relinquish although the Egyptian continued to apply pressure. When the Colombian built an 11-point lead, his opponent used a 7-point break of his own to cut the deficit to a single point. However, Sidhom was never able to overtake his opponent, as the Egyptian battled a case of nerves.
“I felt like I was too stressed for the situation that I was in,” said Sidhom “I put myself under too much pressure than I should have been under.”
Kouji Funaki 40-23 Marco Zanetti
Japan’s Kouji Funaki used breaks of six, seven, nine and five points to jump out to a sizable second-half lead and defeat Italy’s Marco Zanetti in the opening round of three-cushion play Thursday evening.
After taking a brief intermission, Funaki broke the match open with a run of nine points which allowed him to build a 33-18 lead.
“After the timeout, I made a big run and that was key,” said Funaki.
Fanetti rattled off five straight points of his own to trim the deficit to 10 points but was unable to pull any closer, as Kouji used a five-point run to close out the match.
The early exit for Zanetti will means that the Italian will not be leaving the World Games with a medal for the first time in four attempts, having earned silver in Poland in 2017, Gold in Colombia in 2013 and a bronze in Taiwan in 2009.
“This game can be easy or very difficult,” Zanetti said. “This time for me it was not running the way I wish. Let’s say the luck was not on my side today and my opponent was playing very strong.”
Pankaj Advani 1-3 Darren Morgan
47-55, 4-84, 63-50, 36-64
Antoni Kowalski 3-0 Ahmed Saif
81-4 (74), 92-31, 89-1
In one of the standout performances of the snooker competition so far, Poland’s Antoni Kowalski defeated Qatar’s Ahmed Saif 3-0 with a break of 74 in the opening frame the highlight from the 20-year-old.
Despite admitting he struggled to adapt to the quick speed of the table, Kowalski was able to outscore his opponent by 262 points to 36 in the match. He took the second frame with visits of 23 and 35 and closed out the win by taking the third 89-1.
Kowalski will take on Great Britain’s Darren Morgan in the quarter-finals after Morgan defeated Pankaj Advani 3-1. A break of 37 in the first frame and 43 in the second helped the Brit to a 2-0 lead. In the third frame, Advani had to clear to the black to remain alive in the match and he delivered what was required with two excellent shots to halve his deficit at 2-1.
However, Morgan used his experience to see out the fourth frame and book a place in the quarter-finals.
“It is disappointing to exit early in The World Games but these are short-format matches,” said Advani. “Darren Morgan is a very formidable player, he has been a champion in the past. He is very seasoned and I thought he got used to the table better than I did, so I wish him luck for the rest of the tournament. It is always an honor to represent India in a major international event and it is a privilege to represent India at snooker in The World Games.”
The Olympic Channel is live streaming The World Games and billiards will feature on July 16 and July 17 when the finals take place. A full streaming schedule and links are at https://www.theworldgames.org/pages/twg2022streaming. The match schedule, results, and live scores are at esnooker.pl
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