FISHER IN A ROUT!
By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer
Photos Courtesy Tai Chengzhe and Yu Yan/Top147.com
(Shanghai)–Britain’s Kelly Fisher came into Sunday’s final at the China Open feeling pretty good about her game. But even she had no idea just how good things were about to get.
With an eye squarely on the prize, and clearly on greatness as well, Fisher put in an electrifying performance as she completely routed an overmatched Zhou Doudou of China, 9-2, to capture the 2012 China Open.
The entire match took just 45 minutes, and in that short span of time, Fisher left no doubt that she is the premier performer in the women’s game at the moment, and by the looks of it, for the foreseeable future.
With two world titles and years more experience in her arsenal, Fisher was obviously favoured coming into the match with Zhou, who at 20 years old had never before played in a final of an international tournament. Still, with China’s government backed sports system churning out young world beaters, most people expected the match to be close.
While Fisher completely dominated the proceedings, she did get plenty of help along the way from Zhou, who could never find a groove. After Fisher nabbed the opening rack in the alternate break match, Zhou completely missed an elementary 2 ball in rack two. Zhou got away with it as she accidentally snookered Fisher and ended up winning the rack. But it was a portent of things to come. And in a hurry.
“When she missed that two ball, I figured right there that she’s not as settled as me,” Fisher said after the match. Indeed Fisher smelled blood, and Zhou sensed a hungry shark was on the prowl as she missed a makeable 9-ball in rack three to help put Fisher up 2-1.
Two racks later Zhou missed another 9-ball to put Fisher up 4-1. From there the match was for all intents and purposes over. Fisher’s confidence was sky high and palpable to the several hundred fans watching at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium arena. Zhou, meanwhile, played as if she had been struck by the fear of a higher power.
Within minutes of being up 4-2, Fisher looked to be in a different galaxy as she went ahead 7 -2. Zhou then scratched in rack 10 and Fisher went up 8-2. Putting an exclamation point on the proceedings, the Brit then broke and ran for the final slam dunk and another big time title on her resume.
Afterwards, as fans mobbed her for photos and autographs, Fisher seemed to be in awe of what she had just done, and struggled the find words to fit the moment.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” she said. “I went in confident. How can I explain it? You go out on tour. You know the odds are against you with the standard being so high now. You can get knocked out at any stage of a tournament. But I’m feeling great about my game.
“I felt more prepared and I came in with confidence. Winning the World 9-ball championship in Shenyang gave me a boost. But getting knocked out in the World 10-ball in Manila this year knocked me down a bit. I just figured that I’ve won the World 9-ball, the World 10 ball, but I’ve never won the China Open, Now I have.
“She made a couple of errors and I played really well so there’s not a lot she could have done. She’s a fantastic player. I have a lot more experience than her. There’s a lot of great players coming up now so I’m going to try and take it while I can.
“This is my peak in pool. I played for 8 years in the States and I was always asking myself, ‘Was it going to happen? Could I win the big international events?’ I knew I could do it. But actually doing it is another thing. I’m surprised but I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Characteristic of all Chinese players, Zhou remained the model of sportsmanship in defeat.
“Kelly played really well and I made a few mistakes,” Zhou said. “I’m satisfied with how I played in this tournament and I’m happy that I reached the final. I will try to learn from the experience and hopefully I can come back in the next tournament and do even better.”
For winning the 2012 China Open, Fisher collected $30,000 while Zhou earned $15,000.
Kelly Fisher(GBR) 9 – 2 Zhou Doudou(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.