Chinese on Track for World Cup Title No.2

Jian Bo Fu and He Wen Li

GERMANY are still on course for their second consecutive World Cup of Pool final as they laboured to a 9-7 win over the French team of Francois Cottance and Stephan Cohen at Robinsons Place Mall in Manila.

Ralf Souquet and Oliver Ortmann would have started as overwhelming favourites against France following highly impressive wins over Hong Kong and Russia but pool isn't always like that as they struggled throughout as the dogged Frenchmen stayed with them.

In the end though they had a little bit too much going for them and they can now look forward to a semi-final match up against China tomorrow (Sunday). The Chinese looked superb in dismantling Indonesia and the Germans will have to pick up the pace if they are to succeed.

"It was a tough one. We win as a team and lose as a team. It's doubles and I can't win by myself and Oliver can't win by himself - It's a race to nine winner break but it felt like alternate break,” said Souquet.

"France were not the favourites against England but still won. I didn't watch the match, just the last couple of racks but I heard from a lot of spectators that France v England was a really bad one but they still beat England who had two of the reigning World Team champions.

"It's not as easy as it seems for outside spectators, once you're in the arena and feel the heat. The French team might be a little under-estimated but Stephan Cohen won a 14.1 world title and Francois Cottance is very well known on the Euro Tour and a regular there."

Ortmann added, “That was my worst match. I didn't play that good and made a couple of mistakes. I'm glad I had a strong partner like Ralf and that's why we won.

"Part of being a team is getting confidence from the other player and that's what helped this time. Ralf helped me a lot and that's why we won. We knew France would play better than yesterday - they couldn't play worse.

"We were the favourites but we know both players from the Euro Tour. Everyone expected us to win and it's tough to be the favourites."

Germany were always in the ascendancy and at 7-4 to the good, it looked to be a formality. However, Cohen and Cottance dug in, chipping away and at 7-8 down and breaking they looked to have a chance.

They didn't take it though and when Cohen missed the pink 4 into the centre pocket, it was game, set and match Germany.

Earlier, the Chinese duo of Jianbo Fu and Hewen Li looked the business in dismantling Ricky Yang and Mohammad Zulfikri of Indonesia and the 2007 champions will be hard to beat.

Both players have strong all round games plus plenty of bottle and both are capable of pulling out stunning shots when needed. Their biggest strength though is their ability to convert racks from the smallest of opportunities and the telepathic nature of their play.

Zulfikri and Yang are both quality players but they were on the rack from the off as the Chinese put them under severe pressure.

China went into a 3-0 lead and the writing was on the wall but Indonesia fought hard and won the next three to level the match. That was to be their last significant contribution to the contest as China came with all sorts of shots to win the next six games and seal victory.

“That was a great win for us and we are feeling good about our game,” said Fu.

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.

Quarter Final Scores

China 9-3 Indonesia
Germany 9-7 France
Philippines B v Finland
Taiwan v Poland

Second Round Scores

Taiwan 8-2 Japan
Indonesia 8-6 Philippines A
Germany 8-1 Russia
France 8-6 England
China 8-5 Italy
Finland 8-1 Holland
Poland 8-7 USA
Philippines B 8-4 Spain

First Round Scores

Russia 8–4 Canada
Indonesia 8-7 India
China 8–2 Belgium
Italy 8-6 Korea
Germany 8–4 Hong Kong
Philippines A 8-3 Thailand
England 8–7 Qatar
France 8-5 Australia
Japan 8–7 Slovenia
Poland 8-6 Malta
Taiwan 8–2 Malaysia
Philippines B 8-4 Croatia
Holland 8–3 Austria
Finland 8-2 Singapore
USA 8-7 Sweden
Spain 8-5 Vietnam