AN UPHILL CLIMB TO THE TOP
BY TED LERNER
Photos by Alison Chang
(Shenyang, China)–For some pool players, like defending champion Fu Xiaofang of China, Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan, and Korea’s Ga Young Kim, the only satisfaction to be found in Shenyang this week at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship will be inside the winner’s circle on Sunday. For others, like the Netherland’s Tamara Peeters-Rademakers, or Belgium’s 15 year old Kamila Khodjaeva, just getting through to the knockout stage in a world championship might be considered victory in itself.
Which is why even though perhaps no more than 15 players in the field of 64 can be considered serious contenders for the title, there was still a roller coaster of emotions and plenty of nervy drama on display inside the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena on day 2 of the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship on Friday. It was the Day of Reckoning as the field was reduce down to 32 players and the knockout stages were set to begin.
The second day of action in Shenyang began with players on the winners’ side of each group going head to head to see who could walk straight into the final 32. Things are certainly looking up for the home side as world number one and defending champion Fu Xiaofang locked horns with the USA’s Monica Webb before prevailing 7-5. China’s 2009 World 9-ball champion Lui ShaSha and compatriot Chen Siming, who’s just 17 years old, both looked in solid form as they cruised to convincing wins. And China’s First Lady of 9-ball, Pan Xiaoting, made it through to the knockout stage with a stingy 7-6 win over Korea’s Lim Yun Mi.
Others are looking to make their mark as well. The Philippines top female player, Rubilen Amit, looked extremely sharp for the second straight day, stomping Venezuela’s Carly Sanchez, 7-2. Canada’s Brittany Bryant admits she hasn’t played her best, she beat China’s Zheng Xiaochun 7-5 for two straight and a spot on the big stage.
Not everything went according to the script, however, as several of pool’s stars unexpectedly found themselves on the verge of elimination. Korea’s two big names Ga Young Kim and Yu Ram Cha both had to go to the losers side with 7-6 defeats. Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan also lost in the morning session and was sent to left side of her bracket for one last chance.
The nerves and tension could clearly be felt in the afternoon sessions inside the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena as each match became a do or die affair where careers lived and died on a single roll of the ball. Kim, Cha and Ouschan showed their class by easily winning their matches and advancing to the final 32. But plenty of others started feeling the pressure, missing makeable balls and losing the ability to even think clearly.
This was not the case for world ranked number 5, Kelly Fisher of Britain and Japan’s top player, Chichiro Kawahara. The two brought their ‘A’ games to their sudden death match with each executing four break and run outs. Kawahara prevailed 7-5 only after Fisher committed her very first mistake late in the match, over cutting an 8 ball in the last rack.
“That 8-ball was the only ball I missed all match,” a shell shocked Fisher said afterwards. “We both played great and it was a really good match. It was a tough draw to get her but that’s the way it goes.”
15 year old Kamila Khodjaeva was making her third appearance in a world championship, and while she and her father have no illusions about winning here this week, the family’s happiness after her 7-4 win over Taiwan’s Wu Zhiting was palpable.
“It’s a very big accomplishment for Kamila to make it into the final 32,” her father Timur said afterwards. “We are very happy.”
Peeters-Rademakers found herself in a tension filled match with Taiwan’s former two time world champion Shin Mei Lui. The pressure of the moment got to both players and shots started going array in the late going. After the Dutch woman finally prevailed she was ecstatic, revealing how for some players, just crossing that barrier into the final 32 is satisfaction enough, at least for the moment anyway.
“I was so nervous at the end,” Peeters-Rademakers said. “I needed to get into the knockout stages so I could get the $2000. That’s the money I need for my next tournament. If I don’t win, I don’t play in that tournament.”
The 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship now moves onto the 32 player single elimination knockout stages, which begin Friday evening, where the field will be reduced to the final 16.
The total prize fund for the 2011 Women’s World 9-Ball Championship is $150,000 with $30,000 going to the winner on Sunday.
The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. Fans around the world can follow matches as they happen via our live scoring platform. The live scoring button can be seen on the front page of the WPA’s website, www.wpa-pool.com . There you can also see the brackets icon which will give you updated standings from each group and the knockout stage.
In addition, the WPA will be providing insights and analysis with articles posted several times daily on the WPA home page. Fans can also follow the action via the WPA Twitter page, providing fans with instant updates, insights and scores as they happen. The WPA’s Twitter user name is @poolwpa. You can go directly to our Twitter page at, http://twitter.com/poolwpa.
The World Pool Association(WPA) is the world governing body of pool. The 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship is being sponsored by Chevrolet Automakers. Star is the official pool table, while Andy is the official table cloth. The event is sanctioned by the WPA and the Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association, (CBSA).
Results from Friday.s group stages
Day 2, Sessions 1 and 2, Winners Side
(Winners advance to Final 32. Losers move to 1 loss side of bracket)
Fu Xiao Fang(CHN) 7 – 5 Monica Webb(USA)
Gao Meng(CHN) 7 – 6 Line Kjorsvik(NOR)
Tan Ho-Yun(TPE) 7 – 6 Cha Yu Ram(KOR)
Miyuki Fuke(JPN) 7 – 5 Chou Chieh-Yu(TPE)
Brittany Bryant(CAN) 7 –5 Zheng Xiaochun(CHN)
Wu Jing(CHN) 7 – 4 Chichiro Kawahara(JPN)
Yu Han(CHN) 7 – 3 Wu Zhiting(CHN)
Chen Xue(CHN) 7 – 5 Jasmin Ouschan(AUT)
Lai Hui Shan(TPE) 7 – 6 Kim Ga Young(KOR)
Zhou Doudou(CHN) 7 –2 Lyndall Hully(AUS)
Bi Zhu-Qing(CHN) 7 – 6 Liu Shin-Mei(TPE)
Lin Yuan-Chun(TPE) 7 – 6 Han Fang(CHN)
Liu Sha Sha(CHN) 7 – 3 Chan Ya Ting(TPE)
Rubilen Amit(PHL) 7 – 2 Carlyn Sanchez(VEN)
Chen Siming(CHN) 7 – 3 Marika Poikkjoki(FIN)
Pan Xiaoting(CHN) 7 – 6 Lim Yun Mi(KOR)
Day 2 Losers Brackets.
Winners advance to final 32. Losers are out of the tournament
Line Kjorsvik(NOR) 7 – 4 Hoe, Shu Wah(SIN)
Monica Webb(USA) 7 – 2 Akimi Kajatani(JPN)
Chou Chieh Yu(TPE) 7 – 4 Li Jia(CHN)
Cha Yu Ram(KOR) 7 – 4 Su Qin(CHN)
Chichiro Kawahara(JPN) 7 – 5 Kelly Fisher(GBR)
Tsai Pei Chen(TPE) 7 — 6 Zheng Xiaochun(CHN)
Jasmin Ouschan(AUT) 7 – 3 Ye Sisi(CHN)
Kamila Khodjaeva (BEL) 7 – 4 Wu Zhiting(TPE)
Zhu Tingting(CHN)7 — 6 Lyndall Hully(AUS)
Kim Ga Young(KOR) 7 – 2 Viktoria Nagoma(UKR)
Tamara Rademakers(NED) 7 – 5 Liu Shin Mei(TPE)
Park Eun Ji(KOR) 7 — 5 Han Fang(CHN)
Eylul Kybaroglu (TUR) 7 — 5Carlyn Sanchez (VEN)
Chan Ya Ting (TPE) 7 – 1 Hynu Jiwan (KOR)
Iris Ranola (PHL) 7 – 5 Lin Hsiao Chi (TPE)
Lim Yun Mi (KOR) 7 — 0 Marika Poikkijoki(FIN)