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Filler Beats Van Boening At The World Games

Joshua Filler 11-3 Shane van Boening
Carlo Biado 11-7 Albin Ouschan

Joshua Filler out-broke Shane van Boening to inflict a painful 11-3 defeat on the reigning World Champion as the German progressed to the men’s pool semi-finals at The World Games with an ominous message for the rest of the field; he’s only interested in winning gold.

The German struck an immediate blow against Van Boening when he took the first game on the American’s break. Filler was soon 3-0 up but World Champion Van Boening, who turned 39 on Thursday, took the next two.

But that was the last real success Van Boening had in the match. A missed 4-ball in the seventh allowed Filler to move 5-2 ahead and an excellent runout in the 10th made if five consecutive racks for the German.

Up against the pressure of the scoreboard, Van Boening needed to take opportunities but a missed 6 when he desperately needed a runout was compounded when Filler cleared for a 9-2 lead.

When Filler arrived on the hill it was with his second break and run of the match. Fighting to stay in the contest, Van Boening came up dry on his break. Filler wasted no time in leaving his chair but with a roadmap to victory in sight a miscue meant he missed the 8. The crowd let out a collective gasp and Van Boening gratefully took the chance to get his third rack on the board.

But the American’s chances were slim with the alternate break format seeing Filler immediately back at the table and breaking for the match. A powerful strike took three balls from the table and left nothing that looked too difficult for the former World Champion, who this time made no mistake in completing an excellent 11-3 victory.

“It was a one-sided match because my break was really good and working and his break, most of the time he had to play push-out,” said Filler. “By 7-2 you could see he was very frustrated and not really trying any more, which was good for me and gave me more confidence.

“He played two bad safeties which helped me, because in an alternate break when that happens and my break works it is a good opportunity to win.

“I am happy with my positional play and my shot making and playing faster makes me feel better because I don’t need to think about anything else. I already know I am confident and you can see it in my game.

“I am here to win. I know we have a lot of World champions in the field but it would mean the world to me. It is just once every four years this event. I don’t want bronze, I don’t want silver, I want a gold medal.

Filler’s next opponent will be Carlo Biado, who beat Albin Ouschan 11-7 in their quarter-final clash.

“Carlo and myself played one World Championship final and I won that one, but we start from zero again tomorrow,” said Filler. “He beat Albin, and Albin is one of the most consistent players right now so it is going to be really tough, but if my break keeps going like that, it will be really tough for him.”

Biado applied the accelerator at the end of his match against 2021 World Champion Ouschan. The Austrian did lead 5-3 at one stage but much of the match was nip and tuck. However, from 8-8 Biado pulled ahead to reach the hill at 10-8 and he converted the 19th frame to advance to the semi-finals.

Kelly Fisher 9-7 Brittany Bryant 

Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Kelly Fisher took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent – and, for this week, roommate – Brittany Bryant of Canada to come-from-behind and fend off the Canadian, 9-7.

After the two competitors split the first six racks, Bryant tacked on back-to-back wins to build a 5-3 advantage. Fisher won two of the next three racks to cut the deficit to 7-5 but Bryant faced a carom shot on the 9 ball in the 13th rack that would give her an 8-5 lead in a race-to-nine.

She didn’t, as Fisher cleared the table to pull to within a game, then used a safety exchange to tie the score again. The reigning women’s World 9-Ball champion Fisher took the lead for good in the 15th game when Bryant scratched on break.

Bryant had one final chance to tie the score when her opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 16th game but was unable to clear the table, instead scratching while attempting to secure position on the 8 ball.

“I felt hopeful to be in that match because neither one of us could get the table speed,” said Bryant after the match. “I’m just happy that that I was in it given how the match went. I felt lucky that Kelly wasn’t playing her best either.”

Yuki Hiraguchi 9-6 Oliwia Zalewska 6

Yuki Hiraguchi jumped out to an early 5-1 advantage, only to watch the lead evaporate thanks to a handful of unforced errors. In the end, the young girl from Japan used a couple of well-executed combination shots while taking advantage of a couple of misplayed shots by her opponent to seal a 9-6 victory and a trip to the semifinals.

After winning five of the first six games, Hiraguchi started to struggle with her ball pocketing in the match’s middle stages, including a misplayed 9 ball in the 10th, as the young Pole won four straight to tie the match 5-5. After regaining the lead on a safety exchange and using a combination shot on the 9 ball to win the 12th game and build a 7-5 lead, but missed another 9 ball in the 13th game, which her opponent pocketed to cut the deficit to 7-6. Hiraguchi then closed out the set with another successful combination shot on the 9 ball in the 14th game and a victorious safety exchange on the 5 ball in the next rack to seal the victory.

“It wasn’t my best game for sure,” said Zalewska. “I couldn’t focus in the beginning of the match and then result of that was too many mistakes.”

Hiraguchi will now face Fisher in the semifinals Saturday.


Dick Jaspers 40, Torbjorn Blomdahl 20

Five-time Three-Cushion World Cup champion and three-time World Game medalist Dick Jaspers used a series of short breaks early followed by a couple of bigger ones later to put away longtime rival Torbjorn Blomdahl of Sweden, 40-20, to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

“I played good defense in this match but Torbjorn didn’t play his best,” he said.

Jaspers took a 20-11 lead into the halftime intermission, then used a break of four points and nine points to take a commanding 36-16 advantage. Blomdahl was able to tack on a couple of points down the stretch but was unable to do much more. He also struggled to gain any kind of momentum throughout the match, scoring the occasional point then barely missing on the next one. He only ran more than two balls twice during the match.

“I tried to play really good positional shots and, every time, I missed by a millimeter,” said Blomdahl. “Everything was stopped then and he just ran away. And in the end, he defended well and I didn’t get many good chances.”

Eddy Merckx 40, Daniel Sanchez 38

Belgium’s Eddy Merckx and Spain’s Daniel Sanchez staged a back-and-forth match in the quarterfinals of the carom three-cushion competition Friday afternoon, with Merckx using two breaks of 10 points each to hold off the charging Spaniard 40-38.

Merckx first run came in the first half of the match, using a 10-point break to wipe away to erase an early deficit and take a 24-15 lead into the intermission. After tacking another point on after the break, Sanchez went on a run of his own, scoring 11 consecutive points to turn a 25-17 deficit into a 28-25 lead. With Sanchez clinging to a 33-30 advantage, Merckx went on to score eight of the next 13 points to tie the match at 38 each, then ticked off back-to-back points to seal the victory.


Ahsan Ramzan 1-3 Cheung Ka Wai
59-10, 28-60, 60-67, 53-59

Umut Dikme 1-3 Ali Alobaidli
8-54, 26-84, 68-25, 61-87

Cheung Ka Wai will meet Ali Alobaidli in the semi-finals of the snooker division of The World Games after both players won their quarter-final matches 3-1 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA on Friday.

Cheung came back after losing the first frame but responded with four visits totaling 60 points to draw level. Ramzan had the chance to regain the lead in the third but missed the last red to end of a break of 40 and leave Cheung 39 behind with 35 remaining. A seven-point foul gave Cheung the chance to clear the colors for the match lead and he did just that.

Ramzan, the 16-year-old IBSF World Champion from Pakistan, had another major opportunity in the fourth but needed to clear to the black. However, his break ended at 32 giving him just a one-point lead with the black still in play and Cheung took his chance to wrap up the match.

The player from Hong Kong will face Qatar’s Alobaidli in Saturday’s semi-finals. Alobaidli took the first frame 54-8 against Dikme and breaks of 37 and 31 then took him two ahead. However, the German responded in the third, and the fourth was a battle of attrition. The frame concluded with over 30 minutes spent on the colors as both players drew fouls from their opponent. Ultimately Alobaidli was 11 ahead with the final four colors remaining and he cleared to the blue for victory. 

“I am delighted but it wasn’t easy,” said the Qatari. “I played pretty solid to 2-0 up with just a couple of misses, and he didn’t have a chance. He took the third frame and then the last one was scrappy. I was 40 points down and tried to get back into it and that is what happened. We were about 30 minutes on the colors, but it went my way.

“This is snooker, it isn’t only about potting; you have to have an A-game, B-game, C-game and D-game and I can do that. If it takes time then I will take the time to get through.

“I lost to Cheung in the Asian six reds a few years ago in a deciding frame, so I know it was going to be a good match.

“All this practice over all these years is paying off. Tomorrow I have to relax and enjoy the day, because you see the pressure that everyone has.”

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

Follow @wcbsbilliards on social media for full coverage of the billiards program from our team in Birmingham, Alabama.

To request media images from the event please contact ninad.vardam@billiards.sport