Skyler Woodward delivered arguably his best-ever performance on the Matchroom stage to whitewash Ko Pin Yi 10-0 to reach the semi-finals of the inaugural Spanish Open Pool Championship at Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo, Spain in partnership with The Asociación Gallega de Billar Pool (AGP), live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in Spain, the USA, Italy, and Brazil, Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics and Poland and broadcasters worldwide.
Woodward was dominant as he made the 2023 World Pool Masters winner Ko pay for marginal errors in an exquisite performance that was a joy to behold. Ko left a four-ball astray in the opening rack and from there Woodward didn’t look back. Four break and runs in the opening eight put Woodward only two from victory with Ko left reeling for the smallest of mistakes that allowed his American opposition to pounce. In the end, Woodward, who reached the semi-finals of the UK Open just a few weeks ago downed the former champion of the world to set up a tie with Dang Jin Hu in the second semi-final tomorrow.
The two-time Mosconi Cup MVP said: “Just to beat Ko is tough enough, I knew if he made a mistake, I had to take control. I had him jumping and kicking. I punished him after the two early errors. With the tighter pockets, I do not take anything for granted. I bear down more on every shot, fewer loose shots have helped. I still play the way I do though, nothing really different. The Spanish Open is good. I am having fun out here. I am having a blast here in Spain and I hope to keep playing well and keep rolling.”
Live on the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel, Vietnam’s Duong Quoc Hoang suffered heartbreak after a remarkable comeback to go hill-hill with Marc Bijsterbosch. Bijsterbosch had gathered ahead of steam to a 9-3 advantage making it look like a near impossible mountain for Duong to climb but he did so to push a final rack decider out of nowhere and it’s where the drama began. Duong broke and then left Bijsterbosch in a world of trouble with the Dutchman fouling to leave his opponent with ball in hand with the prospect of a makeable 4-9 combo for a win that looked unlikely just half an hour previous. With ball in hand, Duong played for the combo only to see his cue ball double kiss the nine and track up table to give Bijsterbosch his own go at a 4-9 combo with the nine hanging over the pocket. Victory was secured for Bijsterbosch who reached his own maiden Matchroom semi-final.
Bijsterbosch said: “I am happy to win the match. I was lucky in the end but I started good. Everything went my way but then I missed easy shots to see out the match. Luckily, I got there before Duong did. I had to be patience, I had to get my moment. I just didn’t finish it but I am through to the semi-finals so I am really happy. I am happy to be there for the semi-final, I will go outside and refresh myself.”
Eklent Kaçi went through the wringer to come from behind and defeat Joao Grilo of Portugal in the latest Last 16 encounter to complete with the UK Open champion which set up a tie with China’s Dang Jin Hu. Dang was proving a dangerous prospect all week and Kaçi was left in a spot of bother at 6-1 down before the former had a slice of luck to leave an easy 3-9 combo for seven. Returning to the international stage for the first time since 2019, Dang knew a rematch with Woodward awaited if he was to get past Kaçi, in their meet earlier in the week it was the Chinese star who came through in a tight encounter 9-7 but the margin of victory for both players to make the semi-finals would be remarkable.
At 8-1 up, Kaçi was thrown a lifeline after Dang lost cue ball position on the nine leaving a tap in for the Albanian to cut the deficit to six. It wasn’t that Kaçi had little opportunity to comeback, the WNT No. 7 with the curtains closed at 9-2 after he missed a 1-2 combo to start off an ample opportunity to get table time.
In the other quarter-final, Fedor Gorst was much favoured going into a contest with Pijus Labutis who was venturing into the quarter-finals for the first time. Labutis didn’t seem fazed by the challenge ahead though and he soon got to grips with the 2019 World Champion. The Lithuanian number one was edging ahead slowly at 6-4 and soon 7-4. Gorst hit back at 7-5 but a wayward break saw him hooked on the two, Labutis stepped up to deliver a huge effort to make it 8-5. Labutis’ break was on lock from then on and he claimed the biggest win of his career to date to set up a tie with Bijsterbosch tomorrow afternoon for a spot in the final after Gorst scratched when finding position on the seven.
TV Table – From 1:30pm (CEST)
Marc Bijsterbosch (NED) vs Pijus Labutis (LTU)
Skyler Woodward (USA) vs Dang Jin Hu (CHN)
The semi-finals begins from 1:30pm local time (CEST) with match odds available through online gaming websites.
Live rack-by-rack scoring will be available throughout the event at www.matchroompool.com thanks to our partners PRP.
Wherever you are in the world, you will be able to sweat the action. UK and Ireland based fans can see the final two days on Sky Sports. Fans in the USA will be able to watch all six days live on DAZN whilst those in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland, and Netherlands can watch live on Viaplay. Fans in the Philippines meanwhile will be able to sweat the action on Matchroom.Live and those in Vietnam on VietContent channels.
The Spanish Open Pool Championship is one of five 256-player field tournaments promoted by Matchroom on the World Nineball Tour in partnership with The Asociación Gallega de Billar Pool (AGP), with players set to fight through a seeded double elimination stage led by the top 128 on the World Nineball Tour Rankings before only 64 make it to the single elimination rounds.