Albin Ouschan is still on course to defend his World Pool Championship heading into Finals Day at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes with America’s Shane Van Boening, Greece’s Alexander Kazakis, and Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyousef all making it into the final four.
There were some stellar morning clashes in the Last 16 as Joshua Filler got the better of Darren Appleton from 10-8 down to set up a repeat of the Premier League Pool final just. a month ago, for a spot in the semi-finals against Ouschan. Ouschan meanwhile didn’t seem to have to break a sweat as he downed fellow two-time winner Thorsten Hohmann 11-5.
Alyousef pulled off an upset against the 2021 US Open runner-up Aloysius Yapp who did reach the hill first. Max Lechner stood between Alyousef and the semi-finals and it didn’t come without drama. After only a few racks, it seemed the 9 ball was rolling off. After much consultation between Lechner, Alyousef, and Matchroom the decision was made the continue the match on another table.
When the match resumed, Lechner led at 9-8 and he looked to be reaching the hill first before failing to cut the 9 ball in and in the process allowing Alyousef to pull it back to 9-9. The Kuwaiti will be hoping to emulate compatriot Omar Al-Shaheen who reached last year’s final, and he will be hoping to keep luck on his side, the eventual winning rack saw Alyousef fluke the 7 in before cleaning up to deal a hammer blow to Lechner.
Alyousef came into the tournament as the No. 50 seed and will face No.1 seed Ouschan for his spot in the final.
Ouschan’s route to the final against Filler could’ve been much worse after finding himself down 4-0 but that is when the Austrian found his Mean Machine nickname to keep Filler frozen out much like in the Premier League Pool final. The two-time champion seems to have Filler’s number of late and came out victorious in his typical calm demeanour.
Kazakis has plugged away all week the Greek put on a convincing display of how far his game has come to overcome Ronald Regli of Switzerland in the opener 11-4. The 2021 World Pool Masters champion beat Van Boening 9-0 in the final last year and will face the five-time US Open winner for a maiden World Pool Championship final after beating close friend Oliver Szolnoki in a hill-hill finish.
It was a contest of highs and lows for both players as it soon went 7-7 but it was Szolnoki who reached the hill first at 10-7. A golden break and combo later, Kazakis was back in the contest as he drew it back to pull off a memorable comeback and set up his showdown with Van Boening.
Van Boening had arguably two of the biggest matches in recent time of his career with a repeat of the 2015 World Pool Championship final against Ko Pin Yi his first task and one that he duly rose to. Pin Yi was returning to the Nineball fold for the first time since the pandemic and had two golden breaks along the road map to a 11-8 win and revenge for 2015. Chang Jung-Lin was next on Van Boening’s agenda who had beaten Naoyuki Oi earlier on in the day.
The break was key to Van Boening’s day as he crunched countless balls in on the break to lead Jung-Lin 8-3. The pair have great mutual respect but in truth, it was always Van Boening’s game to lose as he ran out a 11-8 win. Revenge on Kazakis is next for the USA man.
Sunday 10, APRIL 11 AM
Semi-Final 1 – Albin Ouschan vs Abdullah Alyousef
Semi-Final 2 – Shane Van Boening vs Alexander Kazakis
PHOTOS COURTESY OF Taka G.Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport