As with all great champions, Appleton, who earlier could not find his rhythm in the preliminary rounds was able to recompose himself and shake the cobwebs in time for his huge head-to-head matchup with 2007 WPA 9ball championships finalist from the Philippines, Roberto Gomez.
Although he trailed early with his opening rack time of 1:12 mins versus Gomez' 49 seconds, a consistent stroke kept Appleton within striking distance all throughout the five-rack knockout contest. In the third, with pressure mounting, it was the Filipino who blinked first, notching two consecutive missed ball errors on the black 8ball and the 2ball for a costly 20-second penalty to have the clock show times of 3:05 versus 2:43 in favor of the Englishman. From there, Appleton never looked back, arriving first at the finish line with 4:44 mins to his name while the Filipino's best efforts only giving him a time of 5:03 mins.
Other preliminary round top performers Chris Melling and Karl Boyes continued their relentless romp through the competition and remain the favorites to reach the finals. Boyes, who ranked first after the qualifying rounds, took care of business in his encounter with local veteran Rudy Susanto with an impressive five-rack total of 4:25 mins.
His compatriot Melling also cruised to victory in his pairing with another local Muhammad Junarto. Another flawless effort complimented with multiple errors from his Indonesian counterpart gave Melling probably the easiest route towards the top 16. In fact, he did not even need five racks to prove himself worthy as the Indonesian conceded midway through the third rack.
Tomorrow's [Monday] action pits the British contingent against tougher competition with Appleton facing USA's top shooter Shane Van Boening, Boyes with Indonesian player Ferdi and Melling taking on American George Breedlove.