Niels Feijen 7–3 Jeffrey De Luna
Mieszko Fortunski 7-2 Kristina Tkach
Denis Grabe 7-6 Roberto Gomez
Joshua Filler 7–5 Chris Melling
Joshua Filler staved off a Chris Melling fightback to advance to the quarter-finals of the Dafabet World Pool Masters, while there were preliminary round wins for Niels Feijen, Mieszko Fortunski and Denis Grabe at Europa Sports Complex in Gibraltar.
Filler held a 5-1 lead over Melling before the Yorkshireman fought back to 5-5, only to see the recent World Cup winner complete a 7-5 win. That followed a hill-hill win for Grabe over Roberto Gomez and an emphatic 7-2 success for Fortunski over Russia’s Kristina Tkach.
The session had opened with a 7-3 win for two-time Masters champion for Feijen, who put together a six-pack to beat Filipino Jeff De Luna.
De Luna marched to a 2-0 lead and had made balls on each of his first three breaks, but Feijen was able to half the deficit in the third after his opponent had gifted him ball in hand with a missed snooker early in the rack.
Feijen overcut the 2 in the next rack and found himself 3-1 down. He pulled one back in the next and levelled after De Luna’s attempt to jump the 3 sent the cue ball flying off the table. Then, the Dutchman took the lead thanks to a 4-ball kick for a golden break. Two more racks made it five in a row for Feijen, who was now on the hill at 6-3.
Breaking for the match, the two-time Masters champion had balls down and an open table but overcut the 8 to the tight corner pocket, and De Luna had a lifeline. However, he was hooked and had to kick at the 8, but left it open for Feijen who riffled it home to the top corner and this time Feijen made no mistake, winning the match 7-3 to set up a last 16 tie with Jayson Shaw.
“There is always pressure on the first game but I am glad I got over the line,” said Feijen. “You have to compose yourself because the game can get away from you in the winner breaks format, and he knows that as well.”
Fortunski wasted no time in opening up a 3-0 lead over Tkach. The Russian youngster got on the board in the fourth but couldn’t take advantage of her break in the fifth and Fortunski was able to extend to a 4-1 and then a 5-1 lead. Tkach took the seventh and had chances in the eighth, but couldn’t capitalise and Fortunski was on the hill with a 6-2 lead.
He missed the 5 on the hill but when Tkach failed to make the 9, Fortunski was able to clear up for a last 16 match against Max Lechner.
A jumped 2-9 combo saw Gomez level at 1-1 against Grabe in the afternoon’s final preliminary-round match. He jammed the 3 in the jaws of the corner pocket in the next rack but came out on top of the ensuing safety battle to lead 2-1.
Neither player was at their fluid best during the match, and neither could develop a lead of more than one rack until Grabe was first to the hill at 6-4. Gomez fought back however, taking the next two racks to make it double hill, and the Filipino was breaking for the match.
‘Superman’ made the 1 and the 4 on the break, but a loose safety on the 5 gave Grabe an opportunity which he grasped with both hands to finally win the match 7-6.-
The session concluded with the first of the last-16 matches, as recent World Cup winner Filler took on Melling, who had beaten Sanjin Pehlivanovic 7-4 in his preliminary round match.
Melling took the first rack but Filler then put together a five-pack to take an enviable lead. Melling pulled it back to 5-2 but scratched in making the 1 in rack eight. However, the table wasn’t open for Filler and the German wasn’t able to clear. Melling made it 5-3 and then pulled another one back to reduce Filler’s lead to one.
The Yorkshireman then drew level, but missed a thin cut on the 1 to the middle pocket and Filler was first to the hill at 6-5. A dry break brought Melling back to the table, but he missed a delicate up-table 4, and that allowed Filler in to steal the frame and win the match. A testament to the quality of match was the pot success rate; Filler’s was 95% and Melling’s 94%.
The Dafabet World Pool Masters continues with the final preliminary round match this evening; Shane van Boening vs. Jakub Koniar. Two last 16 matches follow; Naoyuki Oi against Eklent Kaci and defending champion David Alcaide against Skyler Woodward.
The event is broadcast globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Zhibo.tv. Coverage is available on Matchroom.Live in nations without a TV broadcaster. Full details can be found at www.matchroompool.com.