Two-time winners of the World Cup of Pool Austria survived an almighty scare to avoid crashing out of the 2023 edition at the hands of Australia from 6-3 down taking place at Pazo de Feiras e Congresos de Lugo, Spain in partnership with The Asociación Gallega de Billar Pool (AGP), Xunta de Galicia and EIDF Solar 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.
Great Britain 7-0 Qatar
Albania 7-3 Peru
Austria 7-6 Australia
A two-time winning pair in Albin Ouschan and Mario He looked out of sorts as Justin Sajich and James Georgiadis took the game to their European opponents in Australia’s 15th first-round match.
Australia took the opening two racks in quick time with Austria finding a return in the third and fourth to level up at two apiece. Sajich made a brilliant safety at 2-2 which put Austria in a world of trouble and the lead was established again for the men from down under. That lead was extended to 5-2 and Austria were about to be on the end of one of the biggest shocks in recent time. Australia went into the match having won only one of their previous 14 World Cup of Pool encounters but this would be a hallmark day for Aussie pool history. A rare error from the duo let Austria in for 6-4 and it was game on. Ouschan scratched in the 11th rack from the break and Australia got to the nine only for Sajich’s effort to be wide of the mark and Austria were within one and a hill-hill finish. Drama was left aplenty at hill hill as Georgiadis missed a cut on the four to allow Austria their chance to complete the comeback from 6-3 behind.
Earlier in the session, Great Britain put to rest the demons of 2022’s opening round whitewash loss to defeat Qatar by the same scoreline.
GB led by Jayson Shaw and Elliott Sanderson, who was making his second-ever World Cup of Pool appearance underlined their intentions to write the wrongs of 12 months ago in a strong showing for the duo. Ali Al Obaidli and Bashar Hussain Abdulmajeed had a tall order from the get-go losing out on the lag and swiftly the opening rack. For Shaw and Sanderson, it was plain sailing but both players will want to produce better when they meet either Kuwait or Vietnam next.
Afterward, Shaw said: “It’s difficult going out first match. It’s playing slick. Overall, we’re delighted. They missed a few chances, and now it’s out the way, onto the next one. We will take the positives and forget about the mistakes.”
Sanderson added: “I didn’t feel so bad on the tale but need to get used to the table. I did miss a few balls. It’s about the journey though, I will try and enjoy it and chill out between the matches.”
Albania’s Eklent Kaçi and Besar Spahiu headed into the week looking to go better than their run to the second round before hopes were ended by eventual champions Spain 7-1 whilst opponents Peru headed in looking to do better than getting past Round 1, something that’s lacked in recent times. Christopher Tevez and Gerson Martinez took the opening rack and had a good opportunity in the second to make it two with a favorable table layout but a wild attempt from Martinez on the two brought Albania to the table and suddenly were severely punished and 5-1 down.
Kaçi’s year has been one of his most consistent to date and buoyed by UK Open victory and a quarter-final berth last week at the Spanish Open, the Albanian Eagle soared to a 6-1 advantage over their South American counterparts. Peru were not without a fight though and they clawed two racks back to fret Albania’s hopes of a swift evening’s work. Tevez went for a raking five in the 10th rack which was wide of the mark which allowed Kaçi and Spahiu to clear up for victory. Poland or Serbia await next.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool continues from 1 pm tomorrow local time live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland with those in Spain, Italy, and the USA able to watch on DAZN. Fans in Scandinavia, Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch on Viaplay with further broadcasters around the world. See where to watch in your country here with more broadcasters to be announced. Action will also be live on Matchroom.Live.
Spanish Open finalist Marc Bijsterbosch pairs up with three-time finalist Niels Feijen for the Netherlands against Hong Kong, China before Chinese Taipei take on Petri Makkonen and Mika Immonen who like their opponents have a star next to their flag. Poland meet Serbia to wrap up tomorrow afternoon’s session.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool will be played alongside the 31st Galician Team Pool Billiards Championship, which will bring together more than 1,000 players in the Pazo de Ferias y Congresos de Lugo, where more than 40 tables will be in action. The participants in this tournament considered the biggest in Europe, will compete for the regional titles and the prizes arranged by the Galician Association of Pool Billiards.