IT’S ANYONE’S GAME IN SHENYANG
BY TED LERNER
WPA PRESS OFFICER
Photos Courtesy of Tai Chenghze/top147.com
Photo of Alison Fisher courtesy of Alison Chang/alison-chang.com
(Shenyang, China)–After a day of ups and downs as only 9-ball pool can offer up, the 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship has been whittled down to 16 players. And a quick glance at the line-up ready to do battle over the next two days tells you clearly that this is going to be one fun ride to the biggest prize in women’s pool.
Fascinating facts about this year’s final 16 include; the appearance of four out of the last five world 9-ball champions, two BCA Hall of Famers, a four time winner of this event, a four time runner up, the current World 10-ball champion, and seven out of the top ten women players in the world. There are also a few young upstarts, tested veterans, and a few prodigies who are certainly due to win the biggest event in women’s pool. And, to ensure good storylines for the fans around the world, a total of six countries are represented.
The fact that the final 16 is so stacked with talent means that Day 2 inside the Richgate Shopping Center provided few massive upsets. But there was still plenty of edge of your seat drama to be had.
Easily the biggest story of the day belonged to Great Britain’s Allison Fisher. The “Duchess of Doom” began Saturday’s play fighting for survival on the losers side of her group in a marquee match against 2010 World 9-ball Champion Fu Xiaofang that could easily have been a big time final.
In a short race to 7, Fisher was up 4-2. Fu, last year’s runner up to Kelly Fisher, tied it at 5-5, then moved to within one of qualifying at 6-5. Fisher, a four time winner of the Women’s World 9-ball, then tied it at 6. In the final rack, Fisher had two balls remaining when she missed the 8-ball in the corner. But before she could head to her seat and begin the postmortems, the 8 ball careened off the rail and into the side pocket. Even better, the cue ball landed with shape on the 9. Fisher advanced to the final 32 knockout round, while Fu looked like she’d been struck by lightning.
Later in the knockout round of 32, Fisher found herself up 8-3 against Taiwan’s Chan Ya Ting in a race to 9. Chan stormed back to tie it at 8 and had the final break shot. But Fisher prevailed yet again, to move into Sunday’s Final 16.
“I’m proud of myself for keeping it together,” a delighted Fisher said afterwards. “Everything went my way at first. I had control of the match. But then she didn’t miss a ball and I got a bit tentative. You have to be committed in this game. It’s always a battle with yourself. I do feel like I have an angel looking over me today.”
Even without the vaunted Fu in the field, the lineup of Team China appears to be very formidable. 20 year old Chen Siming, who many feel is the most naturally gifted pool player in a veritable Chinese sea of talent, looked very good on the TV table today, as she taught a lesson to 13 year old—yes you read that right– Chinese player Jiang Teng, 9-4. Teng is one of these amazing talents that seem to pop up regularly in China and is definitely one to keep an eye on in the coming years. She wields a beautiful stroke and dazzles with her shot making ability and cue ball control.
Chen, on the other hand, was only recently where Jiang is now; a child prodigy with awe inspiring talent. Chen, however, has put in her time, suffered stinging defeats and won several big events. She hasn’t yet won a world title but nobody would be surprised if this is her year.
China’s Liu Shasha is another heavy favourite here. The 20 year old Liu won the China Open in May and that win propelled her belief in her game to sky high levels.
“I think maybe I got a bit lucky to win the China Open,” Liu said through an interpreter after defeating fellow Chinse Bai Ge, 9-7. “But after I became the China Open champion, I’d say my confidence is really high right now.” Liu acknowledged that playing in front of tens of millions of her countrymen and women provides serious pressure, but it also helps motivate her to play better.
“I want to win the championship so we can keep the title in China,” she said. “Yes there’s a lot of pressure on Chinese players, but there’s also a lot of motivation playing in front of your own people. Actually there’s more pressure on me because when you win a tournament, people expect you to win all the time.”
Liu will face the 2011 World 9-ball Champion, fellow Chinese, Bi Zhuqing in the final 16. At about 4’10” and decidedly boyish looking, Bi is the polar antithesis of the striking Liu in terms of marketability in China. But Bi can flat out play the game and this match should be a cracker.
Defending champion Kelly Fisher of Great Britain finally caught a gear today, looking solid in beating Russia’s Anna Mazhirina, 9-4. Hall of Famer Karen Corr of Ireland continued her fine run in her comeback to pool, defeating the Philippines’ Iris Ranola, 9-6. Corr, who has been runner-up in the world championship four times, says she will retire if she doesn’t win this week. She’s clearly living on the edge as she goes up against Chen Siming in the round of 16.
Korea’s Ga Young Kim also seems to be in a grove, as she proved with a solid 9-3 win over China’s Gao Meng. Should Kim go all the way, it would prove a massive hit with the Chinese fans. The dashing and fashionable Kim, who speaks fluent Mandarin, is adored by Chinese fans, who besiege her for photos and autographs everywhere she goes.
Taiwan brings four solid players into the final 16, including 2008 World 9-ball champion Lin Yuan Chun. As one of the world’s great pool playing countries, Taiwan always can be counted on to offer up new talent and this year is no exception.
Wei Tzu Chein is part of the new generation of pool talent coming out of the island nation. The 23 year old from Taipei studies business management at university and plays pool every chance she gets. She won a local qualifier in Taipei to gain a spot in the World Championship. She came out of the losers bracket today and met up with Taiwan’s number one woman player Chou Chieh-Yu, who just returned from Columbia with a gold medal in the World Games. The bright lights certainly didn’t faze Wei, however, as she played superb in a 9-7 win to advance.
Pool is very much a mind sport and Wei explained she is using her brain to keep herself together.
“I have no stress,” Wei said afterwards. “In Taiwan she(Chou) is more famous than me. So if I win it’s ok. If I lose, it’s ok. This is my best result in a world championship so it’s all new to me. I’m just enjoying it.
“Before the match I got a piece of paper and wrote down all the bad thoughts that I have, and also all the good thoughts. I took the paper with the bad things and ripped them up and threw it in the garbage. The good list I kept with me in my bag. I even looked at it when I went to the bathroom during a break.”
The round of 16 begins at 10am Sunday(GMT +8). The quarterfinals commence at 1pm local time and will be played separately on the TV table. The semi-finals and finals will be played Monday.
The winner of the 2103 WPA Women’s World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000 while the runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $150,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA) will be on hand in Shenyang throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Richgate Shopping Center with daily articles containing insight and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship here; http://www.facebook.com/pages/2013-WPA-Womens-World-9-ball-Championship/360470447416060?ref=hl
Follow the WPA on Twitter: @poolwpa
Visit the official website of the WPA at www.wpapool.com
*The 2013 Women’s World 9-ball will be held in Shenyang, China from August 6-12, and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association(WPA). 64 women players from across the globe will compete for the biggest prize in Women’s Pool. The 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.
Last 16, August 11, 10am(GMT +8)
Chen Siming(CHN) vs. Karen Corr(IRL)
Lin Yuan Chun(TPE) vs. Kim Ga Young(KOR)
Tsai Pei Chen(TPE) vs. Akimi Kajatani(JPN)
Bi Zhuqing(CHN) vs. Liu Shasha(CHN)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) vs. Tan Ho Yun(TPE)
Chichiro Kawahara(JPN) vs. Wei Tzu Chein(TPE)
Chen Xue(CHN) vs. Han Yu(CHN)
Allison Fisher(GBR) vs. Wu Jing(CHN)
Quaterfinals begin Sunday at 1pm local time. Each quarterfinal will be played separately on the TV Table.
RESULTS FINAL 32
Chen Siming(CHN) 9 -4 Jiang Teng(CHN)
Karen Corr(IRL) 9 – 6 Iris Ranola(PHL)
Lin Yuan Chun(TPE) 9 – 5 Rubelin Amit(PHL)
Kim Ga Young(KOR) 9 – 3 Gao Meng(CHN)
Tsai Pei Chen(TPE) 9 – 7 Wang Xiaotong(CHN)
Akimi Kajatani(JPN) 9 – 6. Charlene Chai(SIN)
Bi Zhuqing(CHN) 9- 4 Nouchi Masami(JPN)
Liu Shasha(CHN) 9 – 7 Bai Ge(CHN)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) 9- 4 Anna Mazhirina(RUS)
Tan Ho Yun(TPE) 9 – 7 Lai Hui Shan(TPE) vs.
Chichiro Kawahara(JPN) 9-4 Yu Ram Cha(KOR)
Wei Tzu Chein(TPE) 9- 7 Chou Chieh-Yu(TPE) vs.
Chen Xue(CHN) 9 – 4 Pan Xiaoting(CHN) vs.
Han Yu(CHN) 9- 8 Zhou Doudou(CHN) vs.
Allison Fisher(GBR) 9 – 8 Chan Ya Ting(TPE) vs.
Wu Jing(CHN) 9- 8 Jung Bo Ra(KOR)
Day 2 final results in the losers brackets. Winners advance to final 32. Losers are out
Wang Xiaotong(CHN) 7 – 2 Hou Shu Wah(CHN)
Wei Tzu Chein(TPE) 7 – 3 Angeline Magdalena Ticaalu(INA)
Iris Ranola(PHL) 7 – 2 Caroline Roos(SWE)
Lai Hui Shan(TPE) 7 – 4 Wu Zhi Ting(TPE)
Chen Xue(CHN) 7 – 5 Li Jia(CHN)
Bi Zhuqing(CHN) 7 – 4 Park Eunji(KOR)
Allison Fisher(GBR) 7 – 6 Fu Xiaofang(CHN)
Zhou Doudou(CHN) 7 – 5 Choi Sullip(KOR)
Jung Bo Ra(KOR) 7 – 4 Jennifer Vietz(GER)
Cha Yu Ram(KOR) 7 – 3 Sone Kyoko(JPN)
Rubelin Amit(PHL) 7 – 4 Huang Yi Ting(TPE)
Gao Meng(CHN) 7 – 1 Natalia Seroshtan(RUS)
Bai Ge(CHN) 7 – 1 He Hsin Ju(CHN)
Akimi Kajatani(JPN) 7 – 1 Ina Kaplan(GER)
Jiang Teng(CHN) 7 – 6 Ine Helvik(NOR)
Anna Mazhirina(RUS) 7 – 5 Lin Hsiao Chi(TPE)