Austria and China Through to World Cup Quarters

Jasmin Ouschan

TEAM AUSTRIA, featuring pool superstar Jasmin Ouschan and the solid Martin Kempter, completed a fantastic win over Belgium by 8-6 to advance to the quarter-final stages of the 2008 World Cup of Pool.

There was full credit to their opponents Belgium, comprising Serge Das and Noel Bruynooghe, who battled throughout and only fell behind at the closing stages. It was a match that had everything; safety, shotmaking, drama and real competitiveness.

Both teams seemed determined from the outset but it was Kempter who missed a long 2 ball and Belgium took full advantage to close out the opening rack for the early lead.

A dry break from Bruynooghe was also illegal as three balls failed to pass the headstring. The table was congested but Ouschan and Kempter cleared the nine balls to level the score.

A miss from Ouschan on the orange 5 down the rail, let the Belgians back to the table and they ran out to go to 2-1.

Das and Bruynooghe looked composed in running the next one out from the break but Bruynooghe made an illegal break shot in the fifth to give the table back to Austria who ran out to get back to 2-3.

Austria then took the next from the break to level things at 3-3 before Kempter delivered a superb break that saw four balls drop before the white was kicked into the top left pocket. With ball in hand, Belgium cleared the remaining five balls to retake the lead at 4-3.

The Belgium team spent an eternity contemplating the table following their break shot and they were so caught up in the layout, they neglected to request an extension and timed out, giving ball in hand to Austria.

Belgium got back to the table but Bruynooghe's jump shot saw both cue and object ball fly off the table for ball in hand to Austria. They cleared for 4-4 but a powerful break from Ouschan failed to drop a ball.

Following some safety, Kempter missed a cross table bank on the 1 ball and left it on for his opponents. Belgium, looking rock solid, ran the table to once again regain the lead at 5-4.

Austria got back to the table in the next as Das's safety attempt failed to come off. They played some confident looking shots to run out and tie things up once at 5-5.

Fearful of a dry break, Kempter slaughtered home his break shot and saw a ball drop and the cue ball skid all over the table.

A superb screw shot on the pink 4 to get to the 5, got the applause it deserved from the crowd, but the run ended when the six ball was missed on the bottom rail. The Belgians gratefully seized the opportunity and ran out to move to 6-5.

With the 1 ball down and a shot on the blue 2, it was a good break from Das. A bad safety though from Bruynooghe left the 2 ball on and Kempter took it.

A great snooker from Kempter forced Das to foul and then Ouschan forced another. That gave Austria the upper hand and they took the rack to level it at 6-6.

Kempter missed on a 2/6 combo but Das then badly missed the blue. In the end, Austria steadied themselves and completed a difficult run out to take the lead for the first time as they reached the hill at 7-6.

Completing a marvellous night for Austria, Kempter and Ouschan composed themselves to run out the final rack for a great 8-6 victory and a spot in the quarter-finals.

TEAM PHILIPPINES showed why they are tournament favourites as they took care of business at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam, Holland, beating Denmark 8-2.

Consisting of WPA World No.1 player Dennis Orcollo and Francisco ‘Django' Bustamante, the Philippines looked comfortable throughout against the Danish side of Martin Larsen and Kasper Kristoffersen.

The Philippines got off to a great start as they won the opening three games before a scratch allowed the under pressure Danes to the table and they took the opportunity to get to 3-1.

A failed jump shot from the Danes that sailed over the blocking balls but failed to connect with the blue 2, meant ball in hand for the Pinoys and they took full advantage to move into a 4-1 lead.

Bustamante missed a long cut on the 2 ball but didn't really leave much for his opponents, but they laid an excellent snooker. The Filipinos returned the favour and although Denmark escaped, they left a window and Orcollo and Bustamante comfortably cleared to lead 5-1.

A miss from Orcollo allowed the Danes a chance and they nearly blew it but Larsen's attempt on the 8 ball wobbled in the top pocket and then gently rolled into the centre bag.

Kristofferson deposited the 9 ball to get to 5-2 but they allowed the Philippines back to the table in the next and they ran out to move to 6-2.

Orcollo though, failed to make a legal break in the next but the Danes put them back in. They pushed out and then took advantage to run out to move to the hill.

Bustamante delivered a big break in what was the last rack of the game and the classy pair manoeuvred their way around the table to clear up and take the match 8-2. They will now meet the Russian pair of Stepanov and Chinakhov for a place in the quarter finals.

DEFENDING champions China scraped into the quarter-finals after a hill-hill classic with Switzerland. Jian-Bo Fu and He-wen Li, who lifted the trophy here in September 2007, sealed a dramatic 8-7 victory over the Swiss duo of Marco Tschudi and Dimitri Jungo.

China met Switzerland in the first last 16 match and it produced a high-quality encounter as the lead repeatedly changed hands.

Both teams enjoyed good success at the event last year as China won the competition and Switzerland defeated America before falling at the quarter-final stage.

China put out India in the first round of the 2008 tournament, while Switzerland overcame Hong Kong.

Switzerland claimed the first rack before China won the next two. A fluked 9-ball from Tschudi brought the score level at 2-2 but an illegal break gave China the table for 3-2.

He-wen Li scratched on a break in the next and it was 3-3. But the Asians won the next two for 5-3. A Dimitri Jungo 7-9 combination made it 5-4 before both sides shared the next two.

With the score now at 6-5 to China, a dry break from Fu helped make it 6-6 before there was a bizarre incident in the 13th rack.

Tschudi accidently feathered the cue ball before playing his attempted shot to give China ball-in-hand. It could have been a costly error but Li immediately missed a shot on the blue 2, although China still did enough to win that rack to move to the hill.

China registered a dry break in the 14th rack and Switzerland stayed composed to take it to the second hill-hill encounter of the day after Croatia had beaten Spain 8-7.

However, there was one final twist in the match when Tschudi's break came up dry and to make matters worse China then had a shot on the 1. The frustration showed as Tschudi hit the table and they knew they were in trouble.

Switzerland did not get back to the table and that dry break had proved to be their last shot of the tournament as China held their nerves to move into the quarter-finals.