FORTUNE SMILES ON THE BRAVE
Story and Photos
by Ted Lerner
(Shanghai, China)–Shock upsets and plenty of tense drama filled the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium in suburban Shanghai as the men’s field of 32 was reduced to 16 during the first two sessions of play in the 2011 China Open 9-ball championship
Two of the biggest names to find themselves knocked out were Mika Immonen and Dennis Orcullo. Immonen was locked in a tight struggle with Singaporean upstart Chang Kan Wang throughout his race to 11 match. But one poor miss on an elementary 6 ball in the thirteenth rack was all the opening Chang needed. Chang, backed by some lucky snookers off of missed pots, carried the match to the finish line, winning going away, 11-8.
Afterwards Immonen, who doesn’t take losing easily, was beside himself with frustration.
“I shouldn’t lose to a guy that,” Immonen said, clearly irritated. “I kind of lost my composer when I blew that six ball. This is not good.”
The same fate befell World 8-ball champion Orcullo of the Philippines. Orcullo had been up 9-6 on China’s Liu Wei but suddenly found himself repeatedly snookered by chance off of misses by Liu. The 30 year old Beijing resident, who’s biggest win to date was an IPT qualifying win over Ronnie Alcano, stormed back, held his nerve and won the match went hill—hill 11-10.
Perhaps the finest performance of the day was put in by the Philippines’ Lee Van Corteza, who easily defeated US Open champion Darren Appleton of Great Britain, 11-4. Corteza repeatedly sank at least one ball on the break and found himself with makeable run outs, while Appleton couldn’t get anything going on the break in the alternate break format. Everything Corteza touched turned to gold, a fact that Appleton was only too happy to acknowledge afterwards.
“That’s probably the best anyone’s ever played against me,” Appleton said. “He played perfect.”
Other fine performances in the first session were put in by Chinese Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi, Great Britain’s Chris Melling, and China’s Fu Jan Bo. Ko easily took out Filipino veteran Antonio Lining 11-5. Melling, who is currently ranked 2nd on the Euro Tour and has seen his stock rising in recent months, buried Hong Kong’s Kenny Kwok, 11-5. Fu looked in fine form, cruising by American Corey Duel, 11-6.
The second session saw some incredible matches and dramatic finishes. Chinese Taipei’s Chang Jung Lin was two balls from claiming an 11-10 victory over Japanese rising star Yukio Akakariyama when he inexplicably missed a straight in shot on the seven ball. This was second straight day Chang dogged an important shot in crunch time but this time it was a do or die match. Akakariyama couldn’t believe his luck and jumped out of his chair to clear the table for the victory.
Moments earlier on the adjoining table, Ralf Souquet and Shane Van Boeing went toe to toe with Souquet squeaking by 11-10. In another thriller, Ronnie Alcano rebuffed a spirited effort by Brunei’s Murni, Ahmad Taufiq Binh, 11-10.
Other winners moving on to the round of 16 were Neils Feijen, Lui Haitao, Thorsten Hohmann, Kuo Po Cheng, Wang Can, Hsu Kai Lun, and Fu Chei Wei.
The remaining 16 men will be back for the evening session. The field will be reduced to four players tonight. All matches are race to 11, alternate break.
The World Pool Association will be providing live scoring throughout the remainder of the China Open. Updated brackets can be found by clicking here.
MEN’S ROUND OF 32, SESSION 1
Lee Van Corteza(PHL) 11—Darren Appleton(GBR) 4
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 11—Antonio Lining(PHL) 5
Chris Melling(GBR) 11—Kenny Kwok(HKG) 3
Chang Kan Wang(SIN) 11—Mika Immonen (FIN) 8
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 11—Nguen Phuc Long(VIE) 7
Neils Feijen(NED) 11—Huang Yong(KOR) 7
Kuo Po Cheng(TPE) 11—Zhang Yulong(TPE) 6
Lui Wei(CHN) 11—Dennis Orcullo(PHL) 10
MEN’S ROUND OF 32 SESSION 2
Fu Jan Bo(CHN) 11—Corey Duel(USA) 6
Lui Haitao(CHN) 11—Wang Ming(CHN) 4
Wang Can(CHN)11—Luong Che Dung(VIE) 6
Ralf Souquet(GER) 11—Shane Van Boening(USA) 10
Ronnie Alcano(PHL) 11– Murni, Ahmad Taufiq Binh(BRU) 10
Hsu Kai Lun(TPE) 11—Scott Higgins(GBR) 8
Yukio Akakariyama(JPN) 11—Chang Jun Lin(TPE) 10
Fu Chei Wei(TPE) 11—Vu Trang Khai(VIE) 9