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Thirty-one Countries Vie for World Dominance in Wales
Aug 24, 2006, 10:04 AM

National pride is at stake at the PartyPoker.com World Cup of Pool, taking place now at the Newport Centre in Newport, Wales. Pressure is high as the scotch doubles matches are played on a straight knock-out basis.

The first round began on Aug. 22, with 32 two-man teams working together to represent their country. Thailand, represented by Tepwin Arunnath and Amnuayporn Chotipong, fell to Canadians Luc Salvas and Tyler Edey, 9-5. Team Qatar (Fahad Mohammadi and Bashar Hussain) was stymied by Malaysians Patrick Ooi Fook Yuen and Ibrahim Bin Amir, 9-3. And in an inter-continental contest, the Czech Republic, represented by Roman Hybler and Michal Gavenciak, defeated Poland's Radoslaw Babica and Mariusz Roter.

The Phillipines, represented by Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante, were the clear crowd favorites, and rose to the occasion in round one, with a 9-0 massacre over Malta's Tony Drago and Alex Borg. It was a tight battle between Taiwan's Wang Hung-hsiang and Yang Ching-shun and India's Dharminder Lilly and Alok Kumar. The tiny island nation prevailed, 9-6.

England has two teams in the running, one of which is represented by Steve Davis and Daryl Peach. It was 5-5 before the Brits were able to pull ahead of Jeong Young-hwa and Lee Gun-jae of Team Korea. On Davis' 49th birthday, he joyously accepted their 9-6 victory.

In the second day of play on Wednesday, Aug. 23, Russia's Konstantin Stepanov and Konstantin Zolotilov starved Hungary's Vilmos Foldes and Gabor Solymosi of opportunities, defeating them 9-3.

Hong Kong produced a heroic performance to stun sixth- seeded Sweden in the biggest shock thus far in the PartyPoker.com World Cup of Pool. Sweden, whose side consisted of former World Championship finalist Tom Storm and former World Championship semi-finalist Marcus Chamat, had been 4-1, 6-2, and 8-5 ahead in the race-to-9. But the Hong Kong pairing of Lee Chenman and Kong Man-Ho showed their character to win the last four racks to secure a place in the final 16.

Team Japan, Maasaki Tanaka and Satoshi Kawabata obliterated Indonesia's Imran Ibrahim and Ricky Yang, 9-0. While the English "A" team of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Raj Hundal, didn't have it quite so easy against Spain's David Alcaide and Rafael Guzman. The crowd was gutted as the duo fell to a fast 4-0 defecit, but had their hopes back up as England got their nose in front at 8-7, but the Spaniards took the final two racks to close out a famous victory.

Team U.S.A. is composed of Rodney Morris and Earl Strickland, who had a decided victory over Singapore. The home team, Rob McKenna and Ben Davies of Wales, disappointed their fan base with a heart-breaking 9-2 loss to Germany (Thomas Engert and Oliver Ortmann).

Today, Aug. 24, three matches are left to determine the final 16. This morning, Ireland had no luck against Finland's Mika Immonen and Markus Juva, heading home after a 9-5 loss.

The first matches of round two will begin tonight, with No. 1-ranked Phillipines and No. 3-ranked U.S.A. taking on their respective opponents. For up-to-the minute coverage at www.partypoker.com!

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