FISHER AND ZHOU GO FOR CHINA OPEN CROWN
By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer
Photo Courtesy Tai Chengzhe/Top147.com
(Shanghai, China)–After a night of high drama, Britain’s Kelly Fisher and China’s Zhou Doudou emerged victorious by the absolute slimmest of margins and will now face each other in the finals of the 2012 China Open in Shanghai on Sunday.
Both alternate break, race to 9 semi-final matches went right to cliff, with each being decided by one dramatic single frame.
The first semi-final featured word number 3 Fisher going up against world number one Fu Xiaofang in a rematch of their tense final at the World 9-ball Championship in June, which Fisher won. The match was everything fans could ask for; high quality throughout, tense drama, and a thrilling finish.
Fisher grabbed an early 2-0 lead and held on to it until Fu tied the match midway. The comeback gave Fu a shot of confidence and she soon went ahead 7-5, then 8-6.
Fisher got one back on Fu’s break to make the score 8-7. Then in the following rack, the Brit sank four balls on the break but didn’t have a shot. After a pair of brilliant safeties by both players, Fisher was faced with one of those do or die shots that can become career highlights, if potted. Facing either a difficult bank on the 6 ball or a pick-em safety, Fisher took the dangerous route and went for the bank. She made it and ran out the rack to tie the match at 8-8.
“I had to go for it,” Fisher said afterward. “I’d have killed myself if I had played safe and then lost the match.”
The gamble paid off handsomely for Fisher because Fu scratched on the break in the deciding game. The two had to play safe but Fu left a shot open and Fisher held her nerve for a memorable victory and a spot in Sunday’s final.
“That was a great match,” Fisher said. “We both played really well. I’m very happy with my performance. I’ve struggled for a few years in China and I never got across the finish line. The final in Shenyang at the World 9-ball in June, that was my first final in China, and when I won it just makes you feel that you can do it, you have the confidence. But at this level you have to perform because if you’re even just a little bit off, you’re going to lose.
“I’m just excited to play in the final. I’m just going to go out and enjoy it. I’m pleased with what I have done already. I’m just going to try and bring home the trophy.”
As usual, Fu was stoic in defeat. “I performed well in the semi, and Kelly really is a strong player with her aggressive games. I couldn’t afford any mistake. Once I miss a shot I never had another chance. I didn’t have the luck to win the deciding rack and was not able to do my best during safety changes.”
The second semi-final pitted two of the best of the young generation of Chinese women pool stars, 19 year old Chen Siming and 20 year old Zhou Doudou. Both are considered by many in China to be prodigious talents and both players are members of China’s 8 woman national team. But Chen has had more success on the big stage. Zhou, however, was not about to let her moment slip by.
Zhou was hardly awed by the circumstances as she came back from an early 3-0 deficit and tied the match at 4. She took her first lead at 6-5 but the pair fought it out tooth and nail right to the bitter end. At 8-8 Zhou broke and the pair traded misses. But Zhou found an opening on the two and never looked back for the biggest win of her five year career.
“I was not in great form for the past few years because my attitude was not quite right, and had some technical problems,” a clearly delighted Zhou said afterward. “So I kept improving. I could have done well and make some good result but I knew I was not perfect then. There were no great achievement in World 9-ball, CBSA events and other big tournaments, but I finally did something tonight.”
And she’ll have a chance to do something even bigger on Sunday when she takes on the current World 9-ball Champion in Kelly Fisher. With her big match experience and two world titles in her case, Fisher has to be considered the favourite. But Zhou showed tonight she has exceptional fortitude, and with tens of millions of Chinese fans backing her, she could very well reach the highest point yet in her career.
The 2012 China Open Women’s final will begin at 1:30pm Shanghai time(GMT +8). The match is race to 9, alternate break. The winner will receive $30,000.
The WPA will be providing live scoring of the women’s final on our website, www.wpapool.com.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1;30PM(GMT +8)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) vs. Zhou Doudou(CHN)
RESULTS SEMI-FINALS WOMEN
Kelly Fisher(GBR) 9 – 8 Fu Xiaofang(CHN)
Zhou Doudou(CHN) 9 – 8 Chen Siming(CHN)
*The World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA) is the governing body of the sport of pocket billiards.The 2012 China Open is being sponsored by Star Tables, Andy Cloth, Fury, Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong.