WPC Day One Roundup: Reyes, Alcano pass prelims test
by Mason King Nov 3, 2007, 2:19 PM EST
With four of the 16 groups completing their matches in the opening rounds of the 2007 World Pool Championship, defending champion Ronnie Alcano of Calamba, Philippines, fired out a warning shot to all his rivals that he will not be giving up his title easily.
With all the action taking place on eight Brunswick tables at the storied Araneta Coliseum, Manila, the $400,000 championship featured a revised first round format to separate the field from 128 players down to 64 over the first four days.
Players are grouped into eight with two wins seeing advancement to the knock-out stages and two defeats spelling out elimination from the competition.
Alcano, who took this title a year ago in the same city, only conceded four racks in his two games as he beat lightly regarded Saed Al Mutawa (UAE) 9-3 before hammering Germanyís Harry Stolka 9-1.
Stolka had earlier mounted a great comeback to defeat Alex Lely.
Filipino legend Efren Reyes, a winner of this event in 1999, had looked anything but that as he tamely folded 9-2 against Japanese qualifier Kenichi Uchigaki in the opening match of the tournament on the TV table.
Uchigaki went on to beat Alain Martel of Canada to become the first player in the event to crack the last 64.
However, Reyes knuckled down as he secured wins over Liu Chun-chuan (Taiwan) and Polandís Tomasz Kaplan to make his way into the last 64 mix.
Another former champion, Wu Chia-ching, had a scare as he was taken down by talented Hungarian Vilmos Foldes 9-7, before recovering to beat Englandís Craig Osborne 9-4 to qualify.
Other players who take the higher seedings in the knockout draw with two wins from two games include diminuative Vietnamese Luong Chi Dung, a quarter-finalist last year as well as Foldes.
Lu Hui-chan, another of the army of talented Taiwanese players, scored two good wins against top class opposition as he beat countryman Yang Ching-shun and then Asian Games gold medalist Antonio Gabica to qualify.
Both Yang and Gabica won their losers bracket deciders to secure their spots.
Debutant Joven Bustamante (Philippines) is something of an unknown quantity but wins over Ibrahim Bin Amir and Jonni Fulcher have registered his presence in the tournament.
Tony Drago was another big name to advance with two wins as he dispatched improving New Zealander Ceri Worts in an error-strewn encounter and then made light work of Polandís Tomasz Kaplan 9-4.
Of the 32 players competing today, 16 have advanced to the last 64 which commences on Wednesday 7th November.
ó Courtesy Matchroom Sport