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World 8-Ball Down to Sweet 16
Feb 24, 2011, 12:58 PM

Appleton (above) will face Alcano on Friday.
The opening days of the 2011 World 8-Ball Championship saw 112 players jockey for position in the sprint of a single-elimination bracket of 64. With just two rounds of knockout play, just 16 players remain in contention for the first World Pool-Billiard Association's first title of the year.

One thing already settled in the Fujairah (U.A.E.) Exhibition Centre: There won't be a repeat champ. Britain's Karl Boyes, who topped Niels Feijen a year ago, was trounced by Mika Immonen on Thursday afternoon. The reigning champ had to watch as the Finn, himself with world titles in 9-ball and 10-ball, strung together seven racks to open the race to 9. Boyes nabbed a single game before Immonen iced his spot in the 16, 9-1.

Britain's hopes now rest on Darren Appleton, one of the top finishers in the group phase. The reigning U.S. Open champ is far from a long-shot here, though, after dominating English 8-Ball. In fact, the 8-ball world crown was high on the 2010 Player of the Year's wish list for the new season.

Shane Van Boening is the lone American still alive in the bracket. While Corey Deuel failed to emerge from the group stage, Van Boening was joined in the round of 32 by Rodney Morris and Earl Strickland. But Van Boening, fresh off a strong performance at the 2011 Derby City Classic, was the only one to survive the next round, with an easy 9-2 win over Jalal Yousseff.

On Friday, he will face Dennis Orcollo in a rematch of the Derby's 9-ball finale, taken by the Filipino. Orcollo is joined in the round of 16 by countrymen Ronnie Alcano, Joven Alba and Oliver Medinilla.

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