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Aly Title Defense Still On Track Despite Group Defeat
filed on Friday, May 25, 2012.   11:34pm PT/USA

Group play has concluded on the first day of the 2012 United States National Snooker Championship at the Embassy Billiards Club in San Gabriel, California, with the three-times and defending champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed suffering a shock group defeat by former champion Jack Kung but still advances into the Round Of 16.

Aly was installed as the number one seeded player in Group A, and started the defense of his title with 2-0 and 2-1 victories over Aurangzeb Mahmud of Texas and California's Mihai Visovan respectively, however Kung, champion back in 2007, also began his quest for a second title in impressive fashion as he proceeded to 2-0 successes over both Mahmud (which included a break of 68) and Visovan. Kung stamped his authority over Aly 2-0 with a match that did not produce any breaks of note, but qualifies him for the Round Of 16 as the Group A winner.

Group A - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Jack Kung (California) 3 0 6 0 6
2 Ahmed Aly (New York) 2 1 4 3 1
3 Mihai Visovan (California) 1 2 3 4 -1
4 Aurangzeb Mahmud (Texas) 0 3 0 6 -6

Group B was won comfortably by the number two seed and former champion Ajeya Prabhakar as he produced 2-0 wins over Don Sitarski of Illinois and Washington state's Cheang Ciing Yoo, and a 2-1 victory over Syed Hassan of Texas. The runner-up place to advance into the knockout rounds was incredibly close as all the players finished with one win from three matches, but it was Yoo who secured that spot.

Group B - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Ajeya Prabhakar (California) 3 0 6 1 5
2 Cheang Ciing Yoo (Washington)
3 Syed Hassan (Texas)
4 Don Sitarski (Illinois) 1 2 3 5 -2

Group C - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Raymond Fung (New York) 2 0 4 1 3
2 Michael Chan (California) 1 1 2 2 0
3 Rhett McCreless (Alabama) 0 2 1 4 -3

Group D - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Kwan Kai Won (California) 1 1 3 2 1
2 Jeff Szafransky (California) 1 1 2 2 0
3 Joe Girdpool (Nevada) 1 1 2 3 -1


Group E - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Sargon Isaac (California) 3 0 6 0 6
2 Jian Qiang Wang (New York) 2 1 4 4 0
3 Henry Wong (New Jersey) 1 2 3 4 -1
4 Paul Kimura (California) 0 3 1 6 -5

Group F - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Romil Azemat (Arizona) 3 0 6 1 5
2 Tom Kollins (Illinois) 2 1 4 3 1
3 Zhi Ming Ruan (California) 1 2 3 5 -2
4 John Poon (California) 0 3 2 6 -4

Group G - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Alex Kopel (California) 2 0 4 1 3
2 Vaishal Talati (Illinois)
3 Banda Rian (California)

Group H - Final Positions Matches Frames
Pos. Player Won Lost Won Lost Diff.
1 Ernst Bezemer (Texas) 0 6 1 5
2 Shashidhar Pasupulati (California)
3 Marlin Li (California)
4 Miu San (California)

The live stream action will commence Saturday at 12pm PT / 3pm ET in the United States (7pm GMT) with a Round Of 16 match, followed by a quarterfinal tie, and then by both semifinals. The live stream of the final is scheduled to start Sunday at 12pm PT / 3pm ET in the United States (7pm GMT).

The USSA has teamed up with POV Pool Media, whose owner, Daniel Busch, has been at the Embassy Billiards Club this week running tests and getting to know and interviewing the players for his commentary.

In the interviews below Daniel talks to the defending champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed, and also to the 2011-12 USSA Tour Event 13 winner, Sargon Issac, who he believes is a real contender for this Championship:


Interview with defending champion, Ahmed Aly Elsayed


Interview with 2011-12 USSA Tour Event 13 winner, Sargon Issac

The winner and the runner-up from the Championship will gain automatic selection to represent the United States in this year's IBSF World Snooker Championship, which is to be held in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, from November 4-16.

Sponsors of the Championship include Tweeten Fibre Inc., manufacturers of some of the best known cue tips and chalk brands in snooker, and Saluc, manufacturer of Aramith Tournament Champion Snooker Balls, who have been a long-term supporter of snooker in the United States.

Full coverage of the Championship will be here on SnookerUSA.com.

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