WOMENS WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP – FINAL
FINAL – Han Yu (CHN) vs Chihiro Kawahara
After getting away to a good strong start and leading 3/0, Chihiro missed an easy 1- 9 combination shot which allowed Han to the table for her first real chance in the match, and she ran the balls to make it 1/3. In rack five with the chance to run the rack, Chihiro had left herself a really difficult shot, and after losing the previous rack, it seemed as though this shot on the 7 ball would be expecting too much, but as clean anything into the pocket it went and now she led 4/1. Han broke off in the next, played a push, was sent back in and fouled, Chihiro cleared to now lead 5/1. In rack eight, Han broke the balls and was left without an easy safety. Instead, from the wrong side of the table, she cut the 3 ball onto the 9 to make a fantastic combination to win the rack, now 3/5. Chihiro replied with a nice break and run to lead 6/3. Not to be phased, Han replied with her own break and run to trail 4/6. Rack eleven, Han missed a shot at the 2 ball and Chihiro ran the remaining balls to lead 7/4. It appeared that the writing was on the wall; Chihiro was playing very well, great control of the cue ball with her positional shots, her only blemish really was the missed 1 – 9 combination in the fourth rack. Han won the twelfth rack, and in the thirteenth Chihiro scratched on the break and Han ran out, now the gap had closed to just one, 6/7. Inn rack fourteen, Han broke and made three balls, and played another great 2 – 9 combination to level the scores at 7/7. In each fifteen, Chihiro made three balls on the break, but no shot at the 3 ball, played safe. Han faltered and gave Chihiro a great chance to get back to the lead. In clearing up, she got herself a little out of ideal position for the 7 ball and tried to force the shot, with the ball refusing to go into the pocket. Han was left with a bank shot, which she made and for the first time in the match Han moved into the lead. In the final rack, Han broke the balls and ran out to win and become the 2016 world champion. Her last few shots were relatively easy if one were playing socially down at the club, but for world title she was starting the feel the nerves set in. Many a deep breath was taken before and after each shot. Both players should be very proud of their performance, there was very little between them. Chihiro was very gracious in her defeat, which must have been hard to do as she must have thought she had the title in her keeping at one stage. This is the second time that Han Yu has won the world championship, and she was a very popular winner here tonight. She is a great ambassador for the game.
Winner – Han Yu (CHN)
Runner-up – Chihiro Kawahara (JPN)
Third place – Gao Meng (CHN)