Following three hectic days of group stage and early knockout rounds action in Melbourne, Australia, just eight players remain in pursuit of the iconic John Roberts Trophy at the 2019 Endeavour Life Care World Billiards Championship.
Reigning champion Sourav Kothari is putting up a strong defence of his world title; the Indian cueist qualified top of Group A before eliminating fellow countryman and three-time champion of this event Pankaj Advani during a blockbuster last 16 clash. Kothari is aiming to be the first player since 2011 to retain the title. Meeting Kothari in Friday’s quarter-finals is England’s recent Austrian Open winner Rob Hall, who also emerged as one of the top eight seeds from the groups phase.
Elsewhere in the top half of the draw, current and 17-time Australian national champion Matthew Bolton exclusively carries his flag as the final host country hope left in. Bolton has been relatively comfortable so far, but he will expect a very tough assignment when he faces one of English Billiards’ greatest ever players – 12-time former winner Mike Russell – in the last eight. Russell finished first in his group, but he had to navigate the round of 24 before getting the better of main tour snooker professional Steve Mifsud in the subsequent round.
In the bottom half, David Causier continues his relentless assault on the field at the plush Royal Automobile Club of Victoria. Undefeated on the World Billiards circuit in nearly a year and victor of the preceding Reed Furniture World Open, the Englishman capped Group C that contained Advani and then recorded a mammoth 1666-230 win over Steve Brookshaw in the last 16. Causier is looking to claim this title for the third time in five attempts. Trying to halt Causier’s streak on Friday will be perhaps surprise package Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar – one of five different nationalities still represented. Oo emerged from an exciting last 16 match against 1986 winner and event ambassador Robbie Foldvari by just nine points; the tightest finish of the knockouts so far.
Completing the line-up of big hitters is India’s Dhruv Sitwala and world number one Peter Gilchrist of Singapore; both have 100% records so far and ended the group stage as two of the top eight seeds, therefore advancing straight into the last 16. Gilchrist has claimed six World Billiards majors over the past twelve months, and he is looking to secure this particular accolade for the fourth time in his distinguished career.
Friday will see the quarter and semi-finals both take place, with the five-hour title decider held on Saturday.
The Sylex Ergonomics World Women’s Billiards Championship also plays out over the next two days; Australia’s Anna Lynch, who won a match in the open championship on Wednesday, is one of the main contenders for the trophy.
Image supplied by @jonmossphotos
To view the full results from the 2019 Endeavour Life Care World Billiards Championship, please visit HERE.