CHEN STUNS OUSCHAN WITH IMPROBABLE COMEBACK
Story and Photos by Ted Lerner
(Shanghai, China)–17 year old Chinese pool star and defending champion Chen Siming lived up to all the accolades and adoration when she stunned Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan in the semi-finals of the China Open 9-ball late Saturday night in Shanghai, storming back from an 8-3 deficit to win their semi-final match 9-8 and move into Sunday’s final.
Chen’s improbable comeback means that Sunday’s race to 9 final will be an all Chinese affair. In the first semi-final earlier in the evening on the TV table inside the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium, current World 9-ball champion Fu Xiaofang put in a solid performance and outlasted Korea’s Lim Yun Mi 9-7.
The matchup between Chen and Ouschan had promised to be an explosive clash between east and west as both players had been playing extremely strong pool over the last few days. Ouschan especially seemed to have built up momentum and confidence after losing her first match of the tournament, then winning five straight.
The pair split the first six racks in their final four showdown, then Ouschan showed her class. Playing excellent safeties, and keeping the game simple, the Austrian star grabbed the next five racks to move within one of a finals berth. Chen won the next two racks, but any comeback seemed improbable. Then, up 8-5, the wheels fell off of the Ouschan Express.
After Chen broke dry, Ouschan had a clear path to the finish line, until she ran out of position on the six ball. She played a poor safety that allowed Chen to clear. Chen then won a safety battle in the next rack, and made some incredibly gutsy shots to move within one, as Ouschan began to lose her composure.
Ouschan played another poor safety in the following game, allowing Chen to clear from the 3 ball and to tie the match. The final rack became another tense safety battle, until the unflappable Chen found an opening and coolly potted six straight balls to win the match at close to midnight.
The final match between the two best women players in China will be aired over China Central Television(CCTV) and the viewing audience is expected to be in the tens of millions.
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