Chinese Duo Power Through Belgian Team at World Cup of Pool

Jian Bo Fu and He Wen Li

CHINA, winners of the World Cup of Pool back in 2007, made light work of Belgium as they booked their second round spot with a comfortable 8-2 win.

The pairing of Jianbo Fu and Hewen Li cut contrasting figures at the table but their doubles play is second to none and they look in shape to have another go at winning pool's most coveted team title.

There are six first round matches per day and all matches are played in a single table arena with 400 seats and literally thousands more looking from the expansive balconies at Robinson Place.

The Belgian pair of Noel Bruynooghe and Serge Das has had their share of glory moments in the World Cup and they won a qualifying event in Europe to book their spot in Manila. However, they never had a chance to settle as the Chinese twosome ran away with the match.

They now face Italy in the second round and will be a tough prospect for anyone.

With 32 teams representing 31 countries – home nation Philippines has two sides in the competition – the World Cup of Pool sees the gathering of some of the most decorated stars of the pool firmament. The event is taking place at Robinsons Place, in Ermita, Manila.

With a total purse of $250,000, the winning pair split $60,000 between them while first round losers are guaranteed $1,500 each. All the action will be carried live on Solar Sports in The Philippines and other broadcasters across the region.

The second match of the second session was a thriller as Italy's Fabio Petroni and Bruno Muratore edged out the girl power duo of Yu Ram Cha and Ga Young Kim by 8-6, in front of over 1,000 people.

"The crowd here in the Philippines is the best in the world - it's like a soccer crowd in Italy or Brazil. Here everyone knows me as a player but in Italy only my mother and father recognise me!

"It was very difficult for us and I knew they were strong. We know pool and knew we would have to be lucky and play very good. For me the women are very tough, just like the men. Jasmin Ouschan plays better than me.

"I'm very happy we won and we played good. We've played pool for 15 years so we know the game and if we play well and get lucky then we can beat Efren and Francisco who are the best in the world."

There were mistakes as well as quality play from both sides and at 6-6, the match was anyone's.  Both teams made mistakes in the 13th rack but it was Muratore who saved the day for Italy as he bagged a tricky 9 ball to get them to the hill.

Petroni, though, made a dry break in the next but the Koreans came unstuck on the 2 ball as Italy wrapped it up for the win.