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Defending Champion Aly Advances Into Knockout
filed on Friday, July 2, 2010.   19:54 PT/USA

Reigning champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed has got the defense of his United States National Snooker Championship off to a successful start, as he scored four straight Group victories to book his place in the knockout stage of this year's Championship at the Embassy Billiards Club in San Gabriel, California.

The number one seeded player from Brooklyn, NY, topped Group A with 2-0 successes over Pravin Patel, Wayne Tang and Tim Lee respectively, before then securing a 2-1 win in his final group match against Chen Yan Jun.

New York's Lee advanced into the knockout stage as he claimed the group's second spot with three victories, with Chen also narrowly going through as the third place qualifier by virtue of frame difference over both Tang and Patel.

Group A - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Ahmed Aly Elsayed (New York) 1 4 0 8 1 7
2 Tim Lee (New York) 3 1 6 3 3
3 Chen Yan Jun (New York) 1 3 5 6 -1
4 Pravin Patel (Texas) 1 3 3 7 -4
5 Wayne Tang (Arizona) 1 3 2 7 -5

New York's Jian Qiang Wang sealed his place in the round of 16 with a very comfortable three wins from three Group B matches, as the number two seeded player, who was the runner-up when the Championship was last played at the Embassy Billiards Club two years ago, defeated Alex Kopel 2-0, Steve Lucas 2-0 and Cheang Ciing Yoo 2-1 respectively.

Cheang, from Washington state, also booked his knockout stage berth with 2-1 wins over both Kopel and Lucas, but Kopel has also advanced in third place due to his 2-0 victory over Lucas.

Group B - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Jian Qiang Wang (New York) 2 3 0 6 1 5
2 Cheang Ciing Yoo (Washington) 2 1 5 4 1
3 Alex Kopel (California) 1 2 3 4 -1
4 Steve Lucas (California) 0 3 1 6 -5

Group C was the tightest, most closely fought of all the six groups, as the top three players all finished with two wins from three matches.

The seeded player of the group was New York's Raymond Fung, who won two events on the United States Snooker Association (USSA) Tour earlier this year, but after winning his two initial group matches 2-1 and 2-0 over Tony Annigoni and Sim Lim respectively, he lost his final group match 2-0 against Romil Azemat.

That defeat to Azemat slumped Fung down into third place as Annigoni, who is better known for his achievements in professional pool, topped the group as he won the most frames after defeating Sim 2-1 and Azemat 2-0.

Azemat, who was runner-up in this Championship back in 2006, defeated both Sim and Fung 2-0 which helped him qualify for the knockout stage in second place.

Group C - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Tony Annigoni (California) 2 1 5 3 2
2 Romil Azemat (Arizona) 2 1 4 2 2
3 Raymond Fung (New York) 3 2 1 4 3 1
4 Sim Lim (California) 0 3 1 6 -5

Last year's runner-up Ajeya Prabhakar had the only perfect record in group play in this year's Championship. The former Champion and number four seeded player won all of his Group D matches 2-0 over Laszlo Kovacs, Michael Chan and Yi Fei Mei respectively.

Yi, who last year won the USSA Tour event at the Embassy Billiards Club, secured his appearance in the knockout stage after finishing in second place with a 2-1 win over Kovacs and a 2-0 success over Michael Chan.

Chan claimed third place as he defeated Kovacs 2-0 and advances into the knockout stage.

Group D - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Ajeya Prabhakar (California) 4 3 0 6 0 6
2 Yi Fei Mei (California) 2 1 4 3 1
3 Michael Chan (California) 1 2 2 4 -2
4 Laszlo Kovacs (New York) 0 3 1 6 -5

The five-times former champion Tom Kollins competed in Group E as the number five seeded player, though he faced stiff opposition from California's Zhen Yan Y. for the group's top position.

Zhen defeated Kollins 2-1 in his first match, and then preceded to beat Sridhar Shrinivasan 2-0 and Paul Chao 2-1 to win the group.

Chicago's Kollins advanced in second place as he overcame Shrinivasan 2-0 in his first group match, and then in his final match defeated Chao 2-0 but all was not lost for the Californian as he still progressed in third place due to his 2-0 success over Pennsylvania's Shrinivasan.

Group E - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Zhen Yan Y. (California) 3 0 6 1 5
2 Tom Kollins (New York) 5 2 1 4 2 2
3 Paul Chao (California) 1 2 3 4 -1
4 Sridhar Shrinivasan (Pennsylvania) 0 3 0 6 -6

New Jersey's Henry Wong, who lost in final frame of an incredibly tense quarterfinal against Raymond Fung in last year's Championship, came to this year's Championship as the number six seeded player.

However it was another quarterfinalist from last year's Championship that won Group E, as Ernst Bezemer from Texas swept to four successive victories from four matches with the loss of just one frame.

Bezemer started off with a 2-0 victory over Marlin Li and followed it up with the same winning scoreline over Wong, before then defeating Tommy Chen 2-1 and finishing his group campaign with a 2-0 success over Ng Guo Ning.

Wong advanced into the knockout stage in second place assisted by 2-0 wins over Chen and Li, and a 2-1 defeat of Ng. The third place qualifying spot was claimed by Chen after he gained 2-1 successes over both Li and Ng.

Group F - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Ernst Bezemer (Texas) 4 0 8 1 7
2 Henry Wong (New Jersey) 6 3 1 6 3 3
3 Tommy Chen (New York) 2 2 5 6 -1
4 Marlin Li (New York) 1 3 3 7 -4
5 Ng Guo Ning (New York) 0 4 3 8 -5

The USSA would like to thank the Tweeten Fibre Company for being an official supplier to this year's Championship.

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