STARS RISE, A BIG STAR FALLS AT WOMEN’S WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
By Ted Lerner
(Shenyang, China)–With short races to 7 racks, the world’s best pool talent on hand, and the pressure of a world title at stake, pool fans have come to expect plenty of upsets in the opening stages of world championships.
But for Chinese 9-ball fans, Monday produced one of the biggest downers imaginable as China’s wildly popular Pan Xiaoting lost twice on the very first day of the 2012 Women’s World 9-ball Championship and was sent packing from the 64 player field.
Pan’s lightning quick exit took a mere few hours. Trailed by paparazzi and adoring, camera toting fans, the petite and likeable Pan was first up on the TV table inside the swanky Richgate Shopping Center here in Shenyang in northeastern China. Things looked to be going well for the superstar, as she racked up a 6-3 advantage over Indonesia’s Angeline Ticoalu.
But then the 27 year old from Jakarta, playing on the biggest stage of her career, got her game on and soon tied the match at 6-6. In the final rack, Ticoalu played two marvelous safeties that forced Pan into giving up the table, allowing the upstart Indonesian to take the match, and leave local fans in stunned silence.
Ticoalu could barely believe what she had just done but Pan had no time to rue what went wrong. First round losers had to play straight away and this time Pan never had a chance as she went down easily on the upstairs table, losing to Singapore’s Charlene Chai Zeet, 7-4.
Always trailed by awestruck fans and photographers, Pan, who is known as China’s Queen of 9-ball, revealed afterwards that she has been suffering from terrible neck pain for over a month due to a misaligned spine. The injury and constant visits to the doctor have eaten into her practice time and make competing at a high level difficult. But always the polite competitor, Pan put on a brave face.
“There are many other tournaments to play,” she said, hiding her disappointment.
Chinese fans don’t have to look far for heroes to follow, though, as the field in this year’s Championship is top heavy with Chinese players—33 of the 64 in fact—and many happen to be some of the best in the world.
Chinese fans and media go gaga over pretty and demur winners, thus the boyish and tiny defending champion, Bi Zhu Qing, seems to attract almost no attention. The shopping mall is festooned with hundreds of colorful posters featuring the biggest names in Chinese women’s pool, along with plenty of foreign stars. But Bi(pronounced Bee), clearly doesn’t fit the model for popularity here and is conspicuously missing from the marketing materials.
Bi, though, is a marvelous talent who plays without a care in the world. She looked in great form today as she won both her matches and advanced to the round of 32 knockout stage which begins Tuesday afternoon.
World number 1, 18 year old Chen Siming, who could be China’s most talented player, handily won her first two matches today and also advanced, as did World number 4 Han Yu and world number 5, Fu Xiao Fang. Other Chinese names to look out for in the coming days are Bai Ge, and Han Fang who advanced by sending former US Open Champion Ga Young Kim to the losers side.
There’s a few foreigners on hand here in Shenyang who are clearly aching to upset the proverbial apple cart and none more so than the Fishers, Allison and Kelly. Both are veterans of the Chinese tournament circuit, are surely stars here, and both have come close to winning tournaments China but always fallen short. And last year both Fishers crashed out early in this Championship.
On day one this year, however, things have gone much better for the British duo. Kelly Fisher cruised through to the final 32 with two wins, including a 7-2 thrashing of America’s lone entry in this year’s event, Monica Webb.
Allison Fisher showed she’s more than ready to cash in this year with a terrific comeback win over 2010 World 9-ball Champion Liu Sha Sha. Liu was up 5-3 before Fisher took the next three. Fisher gave away the 12th frame only to break and run the final rack for a nervy 7-6 win and a place in the final 32.
The Philippines two bets had mixed fortunes today. Both Rubilen Amit and Iris Ranola won their first matches. Ranola lost her second match, while Amit won a hill-hill nailbiter against Junko Tsuchiya of Japan. Korea’s Park Eun Ji, a fine talent who has a knack for pulling out victories, won 7 – 6 over China’s very capable Zhou Doudou to advance to the final 32.
Day one saw 16 players eliminated from the event, while 16 players made it through to the final 32. Tuesday will see the field whittled down to the final 32 by lunch, and the final 16 by evening time.
The semi-finals and finals will take place on Thursday June 21. The winner will receive $40,000 while the runner up gets a check worth $20,000. The total prize fund is $160,000. In keeping with the Chinese love of glamor in their women’s sports, organizers are offering a $2000 prize for the “Most Stylish Player.”
The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action from the 2012 Women’s World 9-ball Championship in Shenyang on our website, www.wpapool.com. There you can get all the latest updates with live scoring of all matches, articles offering insights and analysis, updated brackets and photos. Fans around the world can also follow the tournament via the WPA Twitter feed, @poolwpa.
RESULTS FROM DAY 1
First Round Group Stage
Race to 7 Alternate Break
Bi Zhu-Qing(CHN) 7 – 0 Hyun, Ji-Won(KOR)
Liu, Yichen(CHN) 7 – 4 Wei, Tzu-Chien(TPE)
Jing, Siya(CHN) 7 – 3 Cheung, Pui Man Ellen(HKG)
Chen, Xue(CHN) 7 – 2 Li Jia(CHN)
Ge Bai(CHN) 7 – 5 Cha Yu Ram(KOR)
Ren, Qiuyue(CHN) 7 – 6 Chan, Ya-Ting(TPE)
Han Fang(CHN) 7 – 2 Xiong, Shi Yan(CHN)
Kim, Ga-Young(KOR) 7 – 3 Masami Nouchi(JPN)
Iris Ranola(PHI) 7 – 4 Nacola Rossouw(RSA)
Han Yu(CHN) 7 – 4 Yukawa Keiko(JPN)
Tan, Ho-Yun(TPE) 7 – 5 Huey, Charlene Chai Zeet(SIN)
Angeline Ticoalu(INA) 7 – 6 Pan Xiaoting(CHN)
Lin Yuan Chun (TPE) 7 – 0 Marika Poikkijoki(FIN)
Kyoko Sone(JPN) 7 – 5 Ana Mazhirina(RUS)
Jung Bo Ra(KOR) 7 – 4 Sylvia Lopez(ESP)
Chou Chieh-Yu(TPE) 7 – 0 Barbara Bollelli(ITA)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) 7 – 1 Caroline Roos(SWE)
Monica Webb(USA) 7 – 4 Sylvia Gaudino(ITA)
Junko Tsuchiya(JPN) 7 – 5 Natalia Seroshtan(RUS)
Rubelin Amit(PHI) 7 – 6 Wu Zhiting(CHN)
Fu Xiao Fang(CHN) 7 – 5 Line Kjorsvik(NOR))
Lin, Hsiao-Chi(TPE) 7 – 1 Cheung, Pui Sze(HKG)
Zhou Doudou(CHN) 7 – 3 Kaori Ebi(JPN
Park Eun Ji(KOR) 7 – 2 Gernailys Zimmerman(AHO)
Allison Fisher(GBR) 7 – 0 Yang, Fan
Tsai, Pei Chen(TPE) 7 – 4 Sandra Baumgartner(AUT)
Liu Sha Sha(CHN) 7 – 5 Gao Meng(CHN)
Lai Hui Shan(TPE) 7 – 4 Akimi Kajatani(JPN)
Chen Siming (CHN) 7 – 2 Zheng Xiaochun(CHN)
Wu Jing(CHN) 7 – 1 Liu Jia(CHN)
Liu Shin Mei(TPE) 7 – 3 Chichiro Kawahara(JPN)
Liu Liying(CHN) 7 – 2 Jasmin Michel(GER)
Day 1. Session 2. Losers side.
(Loser is out of the tournament.)
Li Jia(CHN) 7 – 3 Cheung, Pui Man Ellen(HKG)
Wei Tzu-Chien(TPE) 7 – 5 Hyun Ji Won(KOR)
Chan Ya-Ting(TPE) 7 – 4 Cha Yu Ram(KOR)
Nouchi, Masami(JPN) 7 – 6 Xiong Shi Yan(CHN)
Keiko Yukawa(JPN) 7 – 2 Nacola Rossouw(RSA)
Charlene Chai Zeet(SIN) 7 – 4 Pan Xiao Ting(CHN)
Marika Poikkijoki(FIN) 7 – 2 Ana Mazhirina(RUS)
Sylvia Lopez(ESP) 7 – 0 Barbara Bollelli(ITA)
Caroline Roos(SWE) 7 – 5 Sylvia Gaudino(ITA)
Wu Zhiting(CHN) 7 – 4 Nataliya Seroshtan(RUS)
Kaori Ebi(JPN) 7 – 1 Gernailys Zimmerman(AHO)
Line Kjorsvik(NOR) 7 – 3 Cheung Pui Sze(HKG)
Akimi Kajatani(JPN) 7 – 3 Sandra Baumgartner(AUT)
Gao Meng(CHN) 7 – 0 Yang Fan(CHN)
Chichiro Kawahara(JPN) 7 – 4 Liu Jia(CHN)
Zheng, Xiaochun(CHN) 7 – 2 Jasmin Michel(GER)
Day 1, Session 3. Winners Bracket
Winner is through to last 32, loser goes to losers side of bracket
Bi Zhu-Qing(CHN) 7 – 4 Liu Yichen(CHN)
Chen, Xue(CHN) 7 – 3 Jing Siya(CHN)
Han Fang(CHN) 7 – 4 Kim Ga Young(KOR)
Ge Bai(CHN) 7 – 6 Ren, Qiuyue(CHN)
Yu Han(CHN) 7 – 1 Iris Ranola(PHI)
Tan Ho-Yun(TPE) 7 – 0 Angeline Ticoalu(INA)
Lin Yuan Chun(CHN) 7 – 6 Sone Kyoko(JPN)
Chou Chieh Yu(TPE) 7 – 5 Jung Bo Ra(KOR)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) 7 – 2 Monica Webb(USA)
Rubilen Amit(PHI) 7 – 6 Junko Tsuchiya(JPN)
Park Eun Ji(KOR) 7 – 6 Zhou Doudou(CHN)
Fu Xiao Fang(CHN) 7 – 1 Lin Hsiao-Chi(TPE)
Lai Hui Shan(TPE) 7 – 3 Tsai Pei Chen(TPE)
Allison Fisher(GBR) 7 – 6 Liu Sha Sha(CHN)
Chen Siming(CHN) 7 – 1 Liu Liying(CHN)
Wu Jing(CHN) 7 – 5 Liu Shin Mei(CHN)