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Filler Fights Back On Day One of The World Games

Joshua Filler 11-10 Tyler Styer

From the brink of defeat, Joshua Filler fought back to win five straight games and beat Tyler Styer 11-10 and set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash against Shane van Boening at The World Games.

Styer raced into a quick 4-0 lead against Filler, but two break and runs and a game taken on his opponent’s break meant the Germany forced the momentum of the match in his favor; but it was only a brief swing. Styer arrested that shift with a runout of his own which was soon a four pack for an enviable 7-3 lead.

Filler didn’t get back to within three until he was 9-6 down, but Styer was unperturbed and reached the hill at 10-6. Breaking to stay in the match, Filler produced an excellent clearance when he needed it most.

He took the next game too, and when Styer missed an 8 at 10-8, Filler was able to move within a game of the hill and he was on it one game later.

The German had the break at hill-hill but though he had balls down, the 1 was glued to the side rail, making safety the only option. He escaped Styer’s first response with a kick to make the 1, and the joy on Filler’s face was clear to see has he cleared each remaining ball from the table before letting out a loud cheer as the final 9 went down for an 11-10 comeback win.

“At one point I wasn’t really thinking about the come back because he played amazing,” admitted Filler. “My break wasn’t working and, I have to say, he played great.

“My coach just said hit the break hard. I put on a bit more pressure and since then I made balls on the break and was able to change the match.”

Gerson Martinez 5-11 Shane van Boening

Shane van Boening will meet Joshua Filler in the quarter-finals after the American defeated Peru’s Gerson Martinez 11-5. Van Boening took advantage of some early Martinez errors to take a 4-0 lead. At 5-1 down, Martinez began to find some rhythm and cut his deficit to 5-4. Van Boening, however, isn’t World Champion for nothing and put together three games to restore his four-rack lead.

Martinez got one more rack on the board but Van Boening closed out the match with another set of three to set up a quarter-final against Filler.

“I felt pretty good,” said Van Boening. “I made a couple of mistakes but I took advantage of his mistakes and was able to take control of the match. I have to work on my break a little bit, that is the key shot, but I will work on that and be ready for Friday.

“Maybe there is a little pressure against Filler but I just have to refresh my mind and get into the winning mentality. I will do the best I can do, I know that. There is no shot clock and I know he likes to play fast, I like to play medium speed, but I have to go out there and play my game.”

Oliwia Zalewska 9-4 Eylul Kibaroglu

Poland’s Oliwia Zalewska is not a stranger to major competition, having won the Junior World 9-Ball Championship as a 16-year-old and finishing second the following year. The 27-year-old has recently been adding professional women’s EuroTour titles to her resume, winning the Antalya Open last year – her fourth EuroTour title since 2015.

Now she’s attempting to add a gold medal from this year’s World Games to her trophy case, opening play with a convincing 9-4 victory against Turkey’s Eylul Kibaroglu in the round-of-16 in Birmingham. After spotting Kibaroglu an early 2-0 lead, the young woman from Poland stormed back to tie the match and then win seven of the next nine games.

“It was stressful,” Zalewska said after the match. “The first match always is hard and tough. You have to control your emotions and adjust quick and adjust to the table. She really made a few

mistakes more than me and I used the opportunities.”

Zalewska will play again on Friday against Yuki Hiraguchi, who blanked Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan in her round-of-16 match, 9-0.

Yuki Hiraguchi 9-0 Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan

Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan displayed some sharp shooting while New Zealand’s Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan struggled physically to effectively perform, as Hiraguchi blanked her opponent 9-0 in the opening round of the women’s 9-ball competition.

Kasemchaiyanan practiced for weeks leading up to this week’s competition, only to aggravate a right shoulder injury during her 37 hours of travel to the tournament. She received a shot in her shoulder two days earlier but still struggled with mobility. As a result, the New Zealander couldn’t put together any kind of consistency throughout the match and even spoke to the referee about forfeiting.

“I don’t think I played anything in my match,” she said. “I couldn’t really play. I had so much pain in my arm.”

Hiraguchi will now face Oliwia Zalewska of Poland, who overcame an early deficit against Turkey’s Eylul Kibaroglu to cruise to an 9-4 victory in an earlier match.

Carom Three-Cushion
Daniel Sanchez 40-18 Chang Hoon Seo

Daniel Sanchez thought his opening round match could be a struggle – and in the opening innings, it was. However, the three-time World Games gold medalist from Spain got on a roll at a critical point in his match, posting breaks of nine and 13 to pull away from South Korea’s Chang Hoon Seo and coast to an easy 40-18 victory.

The two competitors traded points early before Sanchez posted the nine spot to build a 22-9 advantage before taking an intermission. The Spaniard opened the second half of play with a break of 13 to push his lead to a commanding 35-10. Seo wasn’t finished, running off his own break of five to cut the deficit to 35-15. He had an opportunity to continue his run but failed to make contact with the object ball as he watched the cue ball spin past it twice. Sanchez then used two innings to close out the victory.

“I was expecting a tough game because he’s the number one player in Korea and Korea is a big country for carom,” said Sanchez. “But I had a good run and the right moment when I

made nine and I went a little bit further with the run of 13.”

Eddy Merckx 40-16 Erick Tellez

Belgium’s Eddy Merckx surged to an early 23-1 advantage in his round-of-16 match against Erick Tellez of Costa Rica and cruised to an easy 40-16 victory in the opening match for both players of the three-cushion competition. Despite the large deficit, the Costa Rican continue to battle, posting a break of eight of his own before Merckx closed out the set.

Merckx advances to the quarterfinals and will face Sanchez, who easily defeated Changhoon Seo in an earlier match.

Umut Dikme 3-0 Habib Sabah
79-26, 72-19, 59-58

Ali Alobaidli 3-0 Taweesap Kongkitchertchoo
62-31, 57-39, 52-33

Germany’s Umut Dikme defeated Habib Sabah of Bahrain without dropping a frame. Breaks of 41 and 47 allowed the German to capitalize as his opponent struggled to score in the opening two frames. Needing to win the frame to remain in the competition, Sabah was able to apply more pressure in the third. With four colors remaining Sabah needed to clear to the pink, but when he fell one ball short, Dikme was able to make the pink and black to take the frame by a point and advance to the next round.

Ali Alobaidli of Qatar will be Dikme’s quarter-final opponent. He defeated Thailand’s Taweesap Kongkitchertchoo, also with a 3-0 score line. Alobaidli spent three weeks practicing in England before travelling on to Alabama, but despite getting an important victory admitted that he struggled to score freely in his opening match of The World Games.

“I am very happy to win 3-0,” he said, “Kongkitchertchoo reached the final of the Under 21s championship earlier this year so he was a good player. I managed to play decent snooker but we were having a dog fight in the match, so it was 50/50 but I got the better of the match.

“When the game is close it is different and you cannot go for everything. You have to wait for the chance and then take it, so every shot is crucial, otherwise he will win.

“I put the work in for a month now in Sheffield, England, and I am looking forward to the next match. I was playing at Ding’s academy against top players so it was very, very good practice on lovely tables; your game goes up very fast. You need that practice to win a big tournament. I am ready to give it all.

“It means everything to represent Qatar, and they have supported me with everything, including going to England. They are taking care of the sport and I am happy to give something back.”