Hong Kong China needed just one frame in their last PTT-EGAT Snooker World Cup Group D match Friday evening to qualify for the quarter-finals but theypicked up two and so comfortably progressed to the tournament’s knockoutrounds.
Hong Kong’s 3-2 loss to second-seeded Scotland meant elimination for Thailand 2 pair of Thepchaiya Un-nooh and Passakorn Suwannawat, who earlier defeated Poland 4-1 with Passakorn producing a break of 139 points – the highest of the tournament thus far.
Scotland topped the Group D standings with 13 points while Hong Kong finished second with 11 points to their credit. Thailand 2 settled for third place in the group with 10 points.
Pakistan’s dream of becoming the only amateur team to make it to the quarter-finals of the 700,000 US dollar tournament at the Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld hinged on the result of the match in the last Group A match between Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Wales, led by reigning world No. 1 Mark J. Williams, succeeded as expected in beating the Irish pair of former world champion Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien but they could not deliver the 4-1 win that Pakistan were hoping for.
The 3-2 Welsh win gave them the top spot in Group A with a tally of 14 points and they were followed by Ireland at No. 2 spot in the standings with 11 points. Pakistan ended their campaign in third place with 10 points.
Earlier, Australia became the third team to qualify for the quarter-finals, which will be played Saturday afternoon.
Former world champion Neil Robertson and amateur Steve Mifsud delivered the goods on Thursday night when they registered a hard-fought 4-1 victory over the United Arab Emirates.
The result left China needing a heavy win over Thailand 1 in their last Group D match late on Friday night to overtake Malta in the standings and qualify for the quarter-final.
Robertson said after the win: “At the start of the day we knew we needed three frames to force a play-off in the worst case so 4-1 was the result we wanted. Steve and I played perfectly for the first three frames, Steve had a nervy one in the fourth and I had one in the fifth.
“Last time there was a Snooker World Cup (in 1996) Australia got to the quarter-finals so hopefully we can go one step further. We’ve played in the hardest group and it doesn’t matter who we play now.”
The other teams who have been guaranteed places in the quarter-finals are England and Northern Ireland.