Clean Sweep for China at Sanlig China Billiards World Championship

Siming Chen and Shi Han-Qing
© JP Parmentier
It was a clean sweep for China, as Shi Han-Qing and Siming Chen won their respective divisions at the Sanlig China Billiards World Championship.
In the ladies finals, it was Siming Chen seeking her first World Title, against Kelly Fisher who was seeking a World Title on her fourth different table type (she holds World Titles in English 8-Ball, Snooker, 9-Ball and 10-Ball). The race would be to 17, played over two sessions. 
The biggest difference in this match appeared to be the break, with Chen consistently making a ball on the break, and Fisher struggling with that task for the entire match. Chen raced to an early lead and then held off a comeback attempt from Fisher. Fisher had an opportunity to tie the match midway through the first session, but was unable to run out a fairly open table. Chen won that game for a two rack lead and it seemed to be a momentum builder for her. Chen continued to pad her lead, and by the end of the 1st session, she held an 11-7 lead over Fisher. The players came back from the break and Chen quickly silenced any hopes that Fisher had of mounting a comeback on this day. Chen cruised to a 15-9 lead, taking advantage of uncharacteristic misses from Fisher. The enormity of the situation may have gotten the better of Chen, as it was then her turn to miss a couple shots that she had converted with no problem earlier in the match. Fisher got back within four racks at 15-11, but Chen would shake off the nerves and win the next two games for the 17-11 win. 
The men’s division came down to the break in a much bigger way. English 8-Ball Champion Mick Hill took on #3 ranked Chinese 8-Ball Player Shi Han-Qing in a race to 21 final match. The first session was a close one, with neither player able to forge any sort of sizable lead. With the first session limited to 24 games, Shi looked like he was in good shape with an 11-10 lead as the end of the session neared. It was Hill though, that closed out the session with three games and a 13-11 lead.
Hill would stretch that lead to three racks at 15-12 early in the second session, but four racks later Shi would tie things at 16-16. The following rack turned in to an all out tactical battle as an extended 29 minute safety battle was won by Shi. Hill didn’t allow that rack to phase him as he took advantage of a dry break by Shi in the next rack and ran out for 17-17. The players traded the next three racks as Shi took a 19-18 lead. Hill had struggled with making a ball on the break all day, and Shi took advantage of that problem in the next rack. Shi soft broke, failing to drive enough balls to the rail, resulting in an illegal break. Hill took the bait and asked for a re-rack. He broke dry and Shi was well on his way to the hill, when he scratched while making the 8-ball to allow Hill to run out and tie the score at 19-19. The next rack was another prolonged safety battle, which was again won by Shi for a 20-19 lead. Shi went with the illegal break trap again, and Hill once again took the bait and broke dry. The match looked to be over as Shi was running out for the win, when he jarred the final shot before the 8-ball, and Hill gladly ran out for the 20-20 tie. Another dry break by Hill at 20-20, was the end of the road as Shi calmly ran out for the 21-20 win, much to the crowd’s delight. 
All in all, it was a very successful tournament and this reporter was amazed by the popularity of pool in China. Well over 300,000 Chinese fans were watching the final match on the website of one of China’s largest TV stations, CCTV5. That number pales in comparison to how many must have been watching on television. In addition to the great coverage in China, the event was livestreamed for the first time in the USA by AzBilliards. Plans are already underway for next year’s event, and event organizers promise an even bigger show next year.
The Sanlig China Billiard World Championship was made possible by the great sponsors including Jiangxi Sanlig Elevators Co. Ltd, Star Billiards Tables, Andy Cloth and Cyclop Balls. The event was hosted by the sports bureau of Jiangxi Province of China, the people's government of Shangrao City of China and the people's government of YuShan, China. The event was sanctioned by the WPA, CBSA, WPBSA and the IBSF, and was broadcast in China on CCTV5.