STORY AND PHOTO BY TED LERNER
(Fujairah, UAE)--World 8-ball supremacy, along with $35,000 in cash, is assured of a home in Taiwan for the next year, as Fu Che We and Chang Jun Lin both won their semi-final matches this afternoon at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club.
The all-Taiwan final between Fu and Chang will begin later today at 5pm local time(GMT +). The match will be a race to 11, alternate break.
Fu completely dominated China’s Liu Haitao winning easily 9-3. Fu has been playing red hot 8-ball in the last few days, breaking well and barely missing any balls. It’s a recipe for success in professional 8-ball and has brought the veteran campaigner into his first world championship final.
Chang’s semi-final match vs. Chris Melling was much closer but the 26 year old from Taipei put in a brilliant performance in overcoming the confident Englishman. Melling raced out to a 2-0 but then saw Chang, with his deliberate style, crawl back in the match.
Chang took the lead at 4-3 and never looked back. Melling had trouble all afternoon with the break, consistently coming up dry. Chang took advantage and built up a 6-3 lead. Melling battled back to 6-5, but Chang broke and ran for a 7-5 lead. Melling again broke dry in rack 13 and Chang pushed the lead up to 3. Melling had one last fight back, moving the score to 8-7. But Chang held his nerve in rack 16 to get over the finish line first.
The winner of the World 8-ball Championship will receive $20,000, while the runner up will receive $15,000.
The WPA will be providing up to the minute coverage of the finals on its website, www.wpa-pool.com, including live scoring of the match , as well as blow by blow coverage via the WPA’s Twitter page, @poolwpa.
Entries for month: February 2012
February 17, 2012 · 4 Comments
STORY AND PHOTO BY TED LERNER
February 16, 2012 · No Comments
(Fujairah, United Arab Emirates)—It’s never over until it’s over.
Liu Haitao (right) must surely be singing the praises of that universal phrase about now, after the hard nose Chinese turned a desperate situation around at the very last moment, and came back from an 8-5 deficit to shock Taiwan’s Ko Pin Yi, 9-8, and move into the semi –finals of the World 8-ball Championship in Fujairah, UAE.
The race to 9, alternate break semi-final, which will begin at 1:30 PM(GMT +4) on Friday, will be Liu’s first ever trip to the final four of a world championship. There the 26 year old will face Taiwan’s red hot Fu Che Wei, who notched his third convincing victory of the day in his quarterfinal match when he blitzed the Netherland’s Huidji See 9-3.
The cross straits rivalry is one half of what promises to be an entertaining and intriguing day of championship pool in Fujairah. In the other semi-final, England’s Chis Melling, who played brilliantly in handily defeating the Philippines last bet, Roberto Gomez, 9-4 in the quarterfinal, will take on Taiwan’s Chang Jun Lin. Chang, Taiwan’s number 1 player, easily beat Germany’s Oliver Ortmann,9-3, in his quarterfinal match.
The down to the wire thriller with Ko was Liu’s second 9-8 match in 24 hours. In the round of 32 on Wednesday night, Liu just squeaked by Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes. Today in the round of 16, Liu knocked out Karol Skowerski, who had shocked defending champ Dennis Orcullo the night before.
Against Ko Liu was facing certain elimination as he was down 8-5, with Ko at the table after breaking and sinking a ball. In professional 8-ball, as has been proven all week, sinking a ball on the break virtually guarantees a run out so Liu had no reason to think he’d even get a chance. Besides, Ko hadn’t trailed in the entire match and, as he’s been doing all tournament, was playing superbly, using an incredibly powerful and precision break shot to take command of the match. For two days Ko had been one of the favorites around the arena to get to the final.
Ko, however, badly missed his first shot and Liu pounced, clearing the table. Liu then broke and ran to get to 8-7 down. He then played the rack of his life, deftly breaking up several difficult clusters while potting balls to tie the match. A high pressure break and run gave him an unlikely spot in the semis.
If today’s performance is anything to go by, Liu’s opponent Fu is certainly going to be a tough nut to crack, though. Fu started off by pounding Korea’s Hwang Yang, 9-0. Fu then manhandled the Philippines Lee Van Corteza 9-5. Fu didn’t have much problem handling See either.
While anything can happen in the wide open game of professional 8-ball, England’s Melling (left) surely has to be one of the favorites coming into the final four. The 33 year old Brit has been one of the world’s best players for the last 18 months. Years before turning to the American game of pool, he played English 8-ball where he became one of the greatest ever to play the game, winning every major title several times. Melling brings a fearless and powerhouse style to the arena every time out, and oozes confidence.
Melling, though, very nearly let his chances slip away earlier in the day in his TV table match against the UAE’s best player, Salah Al-Rimawi in the round of 32. Al-Rimawi came back from 8-6 down and had the break in the last rack. Unfortunately for the home fans, Al-Rimawi broke dry. Melling stepped up and cleared the table for a gut wrenching 9-8 win.
That was all the spark that Melling needed as he next rolled over Thorsten Hohmann 9-4 in the round of 16. He then took that momentum into his impressive victory over Gomez.
“Except for a few bad racks in the middle, I played awesome,” Melling said. “I’m confident I can win this thing. The break is massively important. And I can pot as good as anybody. I just can’t make silly mistakes.”
As evidenced by his performance in three matches today, Chang certainly will pounce on the slightest misstep. Chang grinded out a 9-5 win over Bruno Muratore, 9-3 over Carlo Biado, before crushing Ortmann.
The winner of the 2012 World 8-ball Championship will receive $20,000, while the runner up will get $15,000. The tournament has a $156,000 prize fund.
The WPA will provide up to the minute coverage of the semi-finals and finals at www.wpa-pool.com, including live scoring of all matches, in depth articles on the goings on posted several times a day, as well as blow by blow coverage of big matches via the WPA’s Twitter page, @poolwpa.
February 15, 2012 · 2 Comments
This in from WPA's Ted Lerner: Facing elimination, and bearing the burden of having to carry the hopes of the United States squarely on his shoulders, Max Eberle (right) proved his mettle tonight at the Fujairah Tennis and Country club, pulling out a hard fought come from behind 7-4 win over Singapore’s Kwang Chan Ken to advance to the round of 64 knockout stage at the 2012 World 8-Ball Championship.
Eberle, who originally hails from Ohio but now resides in Las Vegas, is now the sole American left in this year’s World 8-ball Championship. The single elimination knockout stage begins on Wednesday at 2pm(GMT +4). All matches will be race to 9, alternate break.
Eberle went into his do or die late night match already knowing he had to carry the flag for the red, white and blue. Moments earlier, Brandon Shuff, the only other American in this year’s competition, blew a golden opportunity to take down the Netherland’s Nick Van den Berg on the TV table. Shuff was clearing the table with the score tied at 5 and played poor position with just three balls left on the table, leading to a scratch. Van den Berg went up 6-5, then broke and ran for the 7-5 win.
“I dogged it,” a gutted Shuff said afterward. Things were looking dire for Eberle as well before he decided enough was enough. Leading 3-0, Eberle suffered several dry breaks and soon found himself down 4-3. Then the fight back began. “Mad Max” won four straight racks for the win.
“It was a gritty win,” a delighted Eberle said afterward. “I had to bear down and pull out some good run outs. I really fought hard and it feels good. America still has hope. I have to pull it out for the USA.”
It won’t be easy, though. Eberle has drawn none other than Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet in his first match in the round of 64. That match is scheduled for 4pm Fujairah time.(GMT +4)
Earlier, there were some tense moments out on the playing floor for former World 9-ball Champion Daryl Peach. Peach found himself at deaths door while facing 13 year old…yes that’s right—13 year old Mohammed Saed Saed of Qatar.
The youngster was playing lights out pool in that fearless way that only a juvenile can do, while Peach played horribly all match. Tied at 5 all, Peach had only the 8 ball left to go up by one, only to scratch after potting the black pearl. This put the kid on the hill with the break, but he broke dry and Peach cleared. Peach nearly gave it away in the decider, but fear and nerves finally caught up with Saed Saed and he blew a certain win with awful position, leaving Peach an easy run out.
“That was the worst match of pool I’ve ever played,” a somewhat stunned Peach said afterward.
The unique World Championship-style pressure seemed to infect many of the tables in the evening session. Aoki Ryoji from Japan and Jayson Shaw of Great Britain went down to the wire, with Ryoji pulling out a 7-6 squeaker. Hamzah Ali, the first and only pro pool player to come out of the African country of Eritrea came from 6-3 down to take Spain’s Carlos Cabello to a one game decider. Hamzah got down to the 8-ball but missed a golden opportunity for pool glory when he missed, leaving a clear and win for the Spaniard.
The remaining three days of this year’s World 8-ball Championship promise plenty of nerves, tension and fireworks as most of pool’s big names made it through. It’s almost assured to see a Filipino in the final four at least as all nine Filipino players entered into the tournament qualified for the final 64. These include defending champion Dennis Orcullo, Lee Van Corteza, Roberto Gomez, Carlo Biado, Joven Alba, Elmer Haya, Ramund Faoron, Demosthenes Pulpul, and Elvis Calasang.
Fans around the world can follow all the action from 2012 World 8-ball Championship in Fujairah on the WPA website www.wpa-pool.com. The WPA will be providing live scoring of all matches, in depth articles on the goings-on posted several times a day, as well as blow by blow coverage of big matches via the WPA’s Twitter page, @poolwpa.
Losers Side Matches From Day 2
(Winner is through to Final 64, Loser is out)
Kenny Kwok(HKG) 7 – 5 Marcus Chamat(SWE)
Nasser Al Mujaibel(KUW) 7 – 0 Mohammed El Assal(EGY)
Phuc Long Nguyen(VIE) 7 – 2 Salah Al Awadi(UAE)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 7 – 3 Mohammed Al Hosani(UAE)
Vilmos Foldes(HUN) 7 – 3 Ali Saeed(UAE)
Oliver Ortmann(GER) 7 – 1 Stuart Lawler(AUS)
Elmer Haya(PHI) 7 – 5 Yousfi Chaouki(MAR)
Ahmad Jallad(JOR) 7—4 Mohammed Ali(IRI)
Dominic Jentsch(GER) 7 – 1 Cho Pil Hyun(KOR)
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 7 – 1 Abdulla Juma(UAE)
So Shaw(IRI) 7 – 2 Sayeem Hossaien(BAN)
Elvis Calasang(PHI) 7 -- 5 Hanni Al-Howri(UAE)
Takhti Zarekani(IRI) 7 – 1 Toh, Lian Han(SIN)
Omer Al Serkal(UAE) 7 – 4 Majid Sultan(UAE)
Saleh MohammedKUW) 7 –3 Meshaal Turki Al Ali(QAT)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 7 – 4 Saleh Ibrahim Ali(UAE)
Abdulatef Fawal(QAT) 7 – 1 Noor Al Jarrah(JOR)
Lee Chen Man(HKG) 7 – 0 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Demosthenes Pulpul(PHI) 7 – 6 Albin Ouschan(AUT)
Mario He(AUT) 7 – 5 Bahran Lofty(BEL)
Daryl Peach(GBR) 7 – 6 Mohammed Saed Saed(QAT)
Shaker Wahdan(JOR) 7 –3 Sundeep Gulati(IND)
Maghsoud Ali(IRI) 7 – 1 Majid Ghare Gozlu(IRI)
Li Hewen(CHN) 7 – 5 Yu Lung Chang(TPE)
Omran Salem(UAE) 7 – 4 Luke Robinson(GBR)
Francisco Diaz-Pizarro(ESP) 7 – 3 Wetsi Morake(RSA)
Nick Van den Berg(NED) 7 – 5 Brandon Shuff(USA)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE) 7 – 0 Ahmed Al Hosani(UAE)
Carlos Cabello(ESP) 7 -- 6 Hamzah Ali(ERI)
Max Eberle(USA) Keng Kwang Chan(SIN)
Reiner Wirsbitzki(GER) Fu Jianbo(CHN)
Aoki Ryoji(JPN) 7 –6 Jayson Shaw(GBR)